Showing 1 - 25 of 117 comments
I went to the RKO Palace in Rochester back in 1963 when I visited the city from Canada. Can’t remember what the movie was. The balcony was closed and there were very few people there.
It was obvious that in its glory days it was a magnificent theatre so I was glad to have been there before it closed.
From the aerial shot it looks like the projection room of the original Gaumont, like several other older Gaumonts, was on the roof. Allen Eyles, in his excellent history of Gaumont British Cinemas, mentions that the projection ports are at the rear of the interior dome.
Does anyone know how the projectionists accessed the projection room? Did they use an interior staircase and then have to walk across part of the roof outside?
Did this type of design result in an excessively steep throw for the projectors and image distortion for those in the audience who were sitting towards the front of the main floor?
There is a 7 minute YouTube video of the Hammersmith Odeon projection room in 1987. It’s under “Odeon Hammersmith” but if you add “projection” it will be the first video listed.
Many of the big old Gaumont theatres had projection rooms that were at the rear of a recessed oval in the ceiling. This mean that for many of them, the projectionists had to cross the roof of the building to get to the projection room. Sometimes the rake of the projectors was so steep the screen had to lean backwards, making it difficult for people in the front of the main floor to watch the movie.
I find it difficult to believe that this is the best the architects could do when they had a 2500-3000 seat building to work with. A projection room over the rear of the balcony would have been a far better solution and would not have reduced the number of seats.
Thanks for posting this on Cinema Treasures!
I worked at the Star Hornsea as a part-time projectionist in 1960-61 when I was a student at Bridlington Grammar School. I left when I moved from Hornsea with my parents in April 1961 to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The open window on the right side of the second floor over Cinema was outside the projection booth. We used to hang out the window and chat with people waiting in the line-up.
@ Ron Newman: I was wondering about that too. Maybe the producers did not know either so they used that photo of Harvard Square instead.
A night-time photo of the University Theatre (Harvard Square Theatre) from the early 1940’s was included in Episode 7 (A Strong and Active Faith) of Ken Burns' outstanding documentary “The Roosevelts”, shown last week on PBS. The marquee advertised “All That Money can Buy” (1941) and “The Clipper”.
The photo can be seen briefly at the 22.55 mark of Episode 7. The narrator mentioned that one of FDR’s former Personal Secretaries went to a movie in Somerville, Massachusetts in July 1944 and saw a newsreel showing FDR after he was nominated to run again for re-election as president.She remarked on how ill he looked.
Thanks to Dr David Guss at Tufts for confirming where the theatre was located.
The Rolling Stones played at the ABC (Regal) Hull in 1964. It was a much bigger theatre.
There is a YouTube video here:
Bob or Vito:
Thanks for all the great projection information.
How many projectionists worked on a shift at the Roxy? If the booth was that small, I can’t see it being practical to have any more than two.
According the Ben Hall, in its heyday the Roxy had a staff of 16 projectionists. If the stage crew controlled all the lighting and curtains, the projectionists would only be left with doing changeovers. What else did they do?
Thanks for the ad.
Couldn’t have been said much better.
Let me also say thanks for providing us with the Life magazine link on this page.
I would likely never have seen the demolition pictures without it.
Ben Hall’s book shows some construction pictures so now I have a record of the beginning and the end of a one-of-a-kind movie theatre.
simon, frank and richk:
Its good to hear your recollections of working at the Roxy.
What do you remember about the projection booth? How many projectionists worked on a shift.Did they just operate the projection equipment or did they look after the curtains and lighting too? If there was a separate stage crew how did they co-ordinate the stage show, curtains etc with the projectionists?
Any information would be appreciated.
Do you know what happened to the projection equipment from Cinerama and the old upstairs booth? Was it sent to other theatres or did it all become part of the demolition wreckage?
I had a chance to look at the Empire theatre in Belleville a couple of days ago. What a beautiful job of restoring an old theatre. Its one of the coziest and most comfortable small theatres I have seen.
Also, the sound and lighting systems are recessed in the ceiling so the audience can focus on the stage. They still show movies occasionally too.
I hope someone will post a photograph of the interior on the theatre’s website.
Belleville is lucky to have such a community-minded owner.
Thanks. I have checked so many sites and books over the past 10 years for photos of the Roxy and the Capitol booths but so far no luck. I will shoot an e mail to the archives just in case.
…the booth at the rear of the balcony.
Thanks for the great photos.
Do you have access to any which show the Capitol’s projection booth?
Great photo! Brings back memories for sure….the marquees and the bus.
Ken and Warren:..thanks for the references but I have had the Center bookmarked for a long time. What I have been looking for specifically is more photos of the interior. I have seen the one that ken mc posted here but that is the only photo I have come across in the last few years.
I wish there was more stuff around on the New Roxy/Center. Looks like a wonderful theatre. Makes you wonder what they were thinking when they built Radio City Music Hall and the New Roxy so close to each other…during the Depression.
…also known as the “New Roxy” when it was first built.
Just wondering why the link was posted on this site.
ken mcc…isn’t that the Center…the second movie theatre at Radio City?
Thanks for the extra information on presentation…..makes me feel much better! And no, you were not anal about the non-sync stuff. We did the same thing.
We only had one full time projectionist (Chief) and the rest of us were part-time. However he instilled presentation into us from day one. If anything was not right it wasn’t just our Chief…but the manager too….who would be chewing us out.
Thats why I cringed reading your post about the lack of proper masking. Even after being away from all that for 47 years, I still shake my head at the complete lack of presentation at the multiplexes.
When I was a trainee projectionist in 1960 I worked at a small 390 seat theatre. We had motor-driven masking and..in the true spirit of showmanship…were not allowed let the audience see the masking change. With a Cinemascope feature we would close up the travellers after the previews, open the masking from the booth once they were covered by the closing curtains and open back up right away with the wide scope image on the curtains and screen…with the stage lights also being dimmed. Preferably with the Fox fanfare cranked up a couple of notches! This sure provided a contrast for the audience between the normal wide screen and Cinemascope.Now if this was the situation in a small theatre in a small town why were others so cheap?
And Bob Endres….thanks for the great Music Hall stories. Keep ‘em coming!
Thanks for clarifying Vito.
I was thinking after I posted that maybe using the curtains was preferable to some screens I remember where the masking was so far off that there was a foot of picture each side of it..and on top. Either the gates were cut wrong or someone was too lazy to re-adjust the masking.
As for the stagehands union…I remember in the 60’s one elegant Toronto movie theatre where the projectionist had to hit a buzzer in the booth that sounded backstage so a union stagehand could operate the huge curtain. Of course the audience could also hear the buzzer.