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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 58 (24)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 58
Page 58

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 58

scorched and damaged as the result of bombings and fires. However, their condition was no worse than most of the other buildings, and therefore, the people were satisfied if they could merely get in and see the show.

Since the movies were about the only form of entertainment available to them, the people flocked to the theatres despite the primitive conditions. Wooden benches, such as those used in parks, were set up in rows on dirt floors. When the seating capacity was reached people started to overdow into the aisles and exits, obstructing the view of those in back seats, who in turn started to stand up in order to obtain a better view. This would usually result in a great milling mass of humanity, all striving to get a better position in which to watch the screen.

The patrons were usually so engrossed by the action of the film that they did not pay much attention to conditions about them. At times the benches would break and someone would be injured. In spite of all these things, the theatres continued to draw capacity crowds.

With the passage of time there have been great strides made toward restoration. Provisions can be found in stores in greater quantities, better quality clothing can be seen in the streets, and many new buildings are being erected. The same condition has held true for the construction of theatres, changing their appearance with the trend toward modernity. Therefore, the primary tasks of theatres, to supply comfort and safety, are being pursued in this new era of Japan.

STAIRWAY leading to balcony (above, left) has a truly Oriental flavor. This is also the case in main lobby (below). Another imposing new theatre (above. right) is Nikkalsu, in Tokyo.

Construction Considerations

In making plans for the new theatres one ;f the first things that was given serious attention was good viewing from all Seats. Research on sight-lines had been going on for 20 years, and the principles of proper viewing angles in the auditorium were well established. The only limitation was the problem of keeping construction costs within the available amount of money, without

jeopardizing the seating capacity needed for successful operation.

As with sight-lines, the acoustic theory was reasonably advanced before the war, and the method of its application was well understood. The major problem was the lack of needed acoustical materials, and only recently the much desired materials have been made available at less than prohibitive prices.

In the early stage, the sound absorbent materials were manufactured from some sort of compressed fibre, or texboard. These materials had substantial sound absorbing qualities, although they were inferior in appearance, and varied in thickness, resulting in poorly finished surfaces.

At the present time conditions are greatly improved. The acoustic materials now manufactured in Japan are considered to be the equal of anything produced in the United States. In addition a new acoustical plan designed to absorb both low and high sounds by proper application of various types of sound-absorbing materials, has proved to be practical, and good results have been obtained,

Seating Capacify

Today, the average theatre in Japan must have a seating capacity of at least 600y or else it can not be operated at a profit, according to the theatre operators. If we take an average of all the theatres in Japan, the seating capacity is approximately 500 seats per theatre. However, if we omit the newsreel theatres, the average drops to 300 seats. Houses with a seating capacity of over 1,500 seats make up less than one per

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 58