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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 222 (186)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 222
Page 222

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 222

utilizing two different screen ratios by installing wing or leg tracks for masking. For example, let us assume the proscenium opening measures 60 feet to accommodate a typical wide screen and the screen size is to be condensed at various intervals in order to reflect standard 4 to 3 short subjects. A heavy duty track would be used to support the main curtain and a masking track would be installed with each section in back of and parallel to each end of the main track, but just in front of and parallel to each end of the screen frame. Each section of this masking track would be only as long in length so as to produce, with its closed curtain, the 4 to 3 effect. With this method curtain control guesswork is eliminated because each track is controlled by one standard curtain machine (not of the stop, start and reverse type) with limit switches pre-set for stopping the curtain at each track end.


A number of our nations theatres are so constructed that practically no type of curved track can be satisfactorily used. This is due to the unique structure of the stage. The proscenium arch is often laid out in such a way that the curtain track would have to veer sharply so as to be able to clear and parallel the sloping side walls. Then frequently the screen itself has to occupy all available space in the proscenium area allowing no room for a draw-type curtain track. In such cases where there is suflicient height a lift or contour type curtain is the only practicable answer. Since an adequate lift curtain installation vitally depends on a proper stage rigging layout we will dwell only with its automatic control. This type of machine is equipped with either a 1/; or

% horsepower motor, magnetic starter, three-button control stations, and has a positive drive which produces an elevator type traction effect. This is accomplished through the use of sprocket and roller chain which assures maximum power without possibility of slippage. Lift machines can elevate curtain weighing up to 500 pounds dead weight. With the use of counter-weights curtains of any weight can be electrically lifted. The speed is approximately 50 feet per minute equivalent to curtain separation of about one and one-half feet per second. Lift controllers are supplied with the three button stop, start and reverse attachments and include all features of the standard curtain controls. They are also obtainable with brake motors.

Additional Equipment

We have briefly outlined the main characteristics of the principal curtain controls now in demand for new wide screen installations. Supplemental equipment is obtainable with all of these mechanisms and depending on the peculiarity of the particular stage either or all of these accessories can be put to good use. All curtain controls, for example, can be furnished with sprocket and chain drive instead of the normal V-drive pulley and wire-centered cord. However, for draw curtains positive drives can only be applied where the height from floor to track is greater than it the track length. With raised curtains an appropriate lift machine should be used but very often our standard controllers with sprocket attachments are substituted (contrary to our recommendation and guarantee). In such cases the job must be accurately and

ANOTHER fine example is the Novelty Scenic Studio installation at the Midway. Forest Hills.

properly counterweighted. The motivw tion behind the use of sprocket and chain on a curtain control is to prevent cord slippage and avoid overtravel. However, most curtain machines are provided with a hinge which elevates the apparatus at one end thus assuring sufficient cable tension.

Another accessory is known as the flying machine. This is nothing more than an attachment of the curtain machine to the track itself by use of special brackets. As manufacturers we prefer to see our curtain controls mounted on the stage floor rather than raised out of reach. Obviously, a problem presents itself should there be power failure in the theatre which would necessitate hand operation of the curtain. While all curtain machines can be easily" converted to hand operation by disconnecting the clutch included on each machine, the clutch is of no value when the machine is not within easy reach. The main advantages to "flying" the machine are to clear the stage of obstructions or where there simply is insufficient back-of-stage floor space.


One can readily deduce that as far as choosing the proper curtain track and control for a new wide screen installation it is simply a case of upaying your money and taking your choice." A well-integrated and diversified line of merchandise is available for the asking. For the would-be purchaser of equip; ment whose function it is to beautify and embellish the screen presentation a wide variety of track and control come binations can be had to fit the specific need and obtain the desired theatrical effect.


1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 222