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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 3 (iii)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 3
Page 3

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 3


This past year has seen every segment of the motion picture industry participating in a drama as exciting and engrOssing as anything which has been portrayed on the screen; and it appears as if this real life saga about the business of make-believe is going to follow formula and have a happy ending.

The prophets of doom who painted gloom-streaked pictures of thousands of theatres being converted into parking lots and super markets, and of Hollywood being buried in a box called television without lifting a finger to prevent it, have taken their well deserved place beside those skeptics who said that talkies were a fad, that the airplane would never fly, and the horseless carriage was just a passing fancy. Their fears, doubts, grim statistics and predictions have been washed away by a flood of progress that today finds the film industry on the brink of a new age of prosperity.

As the reader well knows, when the last edition of THEATRE CATALOG appeared, the general picture was one of confusion and a groping towards ways and means of harnessing the new tools which had been forged out of the realization that the industry desperately needed a change.

At first it appeared as if the struggle would be between the wide. screen and 3-D as to which would be the new standard. However, the Supreme Court of opinion, the Public, quickly decided that width rather than depth, was the dimension they were most interested in seeing on the screen.

Starting with wThe Robef CinemaScope productions began to roll up record grosses all over the world, and the race to install this exciting form of screen presentation was on. However, an unsuspected source of friction arose which created sparks that, at times, threatened to send the entire operation up in flames.

To install CinemaScope with or without stereophonic sound? This was a question which had to be answered if the confusion and chaos were to be ended. Having taken one of the most daring gambles in the industryis history by converting its entire multi-million dollar operation to CinemaScope before the anamorphic process had even been seen by the industry or the public, 20th Century-Fox insisted that the system only be used in conjunction with full four-track magnetic stereophonic sound. The drive-in and small theatre operators just as firmly insisted that it was either too expensive, or too impractical for them to install directional sound equipment.

The battle waged hot and heavy, with neither side showing any sign of retreating from its announced position. However, in the Summer of 1954, Spyros Skouras, president of 20th-Fox, announced that the ban on CinemaScope productions without stereophonic sound was being lifted. This was indeed a major step towards bringing a sense of order to the exciting, but oft times confusing situation.

While most of the attention was focused on the CinemaScope problem, there were other events of interest and importance taking place. The only major studio not to use the anamorphic process was Paramount Pictures. The reason for their abstaining was revealed in early 1954 when the. development of the VistaVision process was announced. By turning the motion picture camera on its side and making use of a film negative two and one-half the size of standard 35mm hlm, Paramount was able to achieve a wide screen picture that had tremendous depth of focus and clarity. The large negative was turned 90 degrees and printed down to the standard 35mm release size, thus requiring nothing other than a wide angle lens for projection.

As this issue goes to press the latest development concerning VistaVision is the use of horizontal projectors and the full-sized VistaVision print. The early reports indicate that the results are startling, but at this writing it is too early to evaluate the importance of this innovation.

At approximately the same time that Paramount announch its wide scrcen systcm, the development of an optical directional sound systcin was heralded. (Iallcd Pcrspccta Sound this is a method of achieving a stereophonic sound effect with a standard optical soundhcad and a special integrator unit. The heart of the system is a sub-audible signal on the sound track which activatcs the system when thc integrator is uscd.

\Vith still another weapon in the rapidly increasing arsenal of new weapons dcsigncd to destroy the. post-war busincss slump which attackcd the industry, production and exhibition began making use of these (lcvic Films such as Wllhc High And Thc Highly? s4Thrcc Coins [11 Thc Fountain:9 iWV'hitc (Ihristnlus.ii iAA Star Is Born." and many others pumpcd new life into thc thcatrcs The thcory that quality films slumn In a new shapc would be Inorc than a match for tclcyision, prmcd to bc corrcct.

Many of the questions which were only half fornle last ycar have bccn answcrcd. As has always been the goal of THEATRE (iATALUGis staff, it is our bclicf that by the timc thc rcadcr closcs the cover on this 12th Edition, he will have found the information necessary to take the fullest advantagc of thc strides that haVc hccn made.


1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 3