Cinemascope message print found

posted by markp on October 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

While at work today at the multiplex in which I am employed, I was breaking down film from the platter. When I opened one of the film cans, there was a label glued to the lid. I could not believe it has survived over 50 years. I copied it down, and now I will share it with you. I wonder if anyone out there even remembers this.

Important Message TO THE PROJECTIONIST who will run this valuable CINEMASCOPE print. This print can only be run on machines that have been specially equipped for Cinemascope film. This applies not only to your projection machines, but also rewinds, splicers, film measuring machines, and any other through which the film will pass. The sproket holes are narrower than ordinary film and can, therefore, be used only on equipment with specially designed Cinemascope sprokets.

PLEASE protect this film by using it only on the right equipment, and also by seeing that the edges are not damaged. Since the soundtrack is so close to the edge, it is important to rewind carefully and keep the edges even. Thank you very much.
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.

Truly something from a bygone era.

Comments (13)

PeterApruzzese on October 29, 2008 at 8:49 am

Very cool! I’ve seen a few similar messages over the years, including ones with electioneering such as “Vote Tony D. for Local 1234”.

ticktock11 on October 29, 2008 at 11:24 am

Fun to read.

How much new equipment did theaters have to buy when they changed to Cinemascope?

nerwall16 on October 29, 2008 at 1:41 pm

i have all the original 1940’s and 50’s directorys for the tri state areas film companies glued to my walls in the booth, as well as ad’s for x rated films that played a short time in the late 60’s

damient86 on October 29, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Ah yes, fox sprockets. You probably in reality only needed to replace 2 sprockets and the intermittent for optical sound. Take the guide pins out of your splicer, and if you had manual rewinds, nothing.

William on October 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm

When they first introduced CinemaScope Fox wanted each theatre to buy the lens and their special screen and add a full 4-Track Magnetic stereo sound system. A short time later they dropped that theatres had to buy their special screen. And they changed the different types of soundtracks they offered to the theatres. They offered 3 different format at the time. 1) 4-Track High Fidelity Magnetic Stereophonic Sound. 2) 1-Track High Fidelity Magnetic Sound. 3) 1-Track Optical Sound. The full 4-Track Mag system was state of the art at the time and cost a pretty penny. Theatres found ways to get around Fox’s contracts for the equipping theatres. The Mag-Optical 4-Track came a little later.

Vito on October 30, 2008 at 4:24 am

I remember it well.
Two other things not mentioned here yet,
Some theatres did not have proper cold splices to accomadate the
Fox spicers. Many instead, filed down the pins so the film would fit. This of course meant being very careful when splicing optical prints due to the play (up/down movement)which resulting in the filed down pins.Of course that was not the norm since most booths had two splicers, to accomadte both type of sprockets

We had a couple of circuits that chose to simply buy only the magnetic penthouse readers and Fox sprockets, and then route all four magnetic tracks into one amplifier and speaker. that basically turning a four track stereo print into a mono one. I must point out that was not done very often, but some of the smaller circuits in the 50s just could not afford the cost of a full blown stereo upgrade. Of course it was not long at all before the started to get mag/optical prints, which had Fox sprockets but could be used in mono (optical) only theatres equipt with Fox xprockets.

BobFurmanek on October 30, 2008 at 7:08 am

In fact, the big change in Fox’s stereo-only requirement came about when the Community Theater in Morristown converted the 4 tracks to mono.

Check out this excellent article “Stereophonic Sound or Bust” for all the details: View link

Vito on October 30, 2008 at 8:52 am

Thanks for that Bob, it reminded me of all the madness and confusion we had during the 50s with another new film format or gimick jumping out at us on a regular basis. I have to admit it was fun though, kept us on our toes.

BobFurmanek on October 30, 2008 at 8:55 am

You’re welcome Vito. He doesn’t update very often but when he does, the posts are extremely interesting. His one about 3-D is very accurate and well documented.

View link

Vito on October 30, 2008 at 9:25 am

Oh Bob, 3-D sync problems were often a nightmare for some.
But ss the article pointed out most sync problems could have been easily avoided. The problem was, not to many of the boys took the time to understand the process and its potential problems.
In particular was the fact that in those days the prints were made on safety film as opposed to todays mylar. This meant the film was more easily torn or could have sprocket damage. The new larger 3-D magazines which hosted the 6k reels would give us problems as well. If the print broke, or needed any repair, it was necessary to be sure any missing frames in the right eye print be also cut from the left eye print. This was easily done due to the edgs numbers printed on the edge or the print. But often what would be done instead was to put a slug of black leader in one of the prints to compensate for the missing frame(s)in the other,we also did this for Cinerama three strip. But it was not always done with care causing the movie ot go out of sync.
In addition, the sync motors themselves would sometimes work irratically, and that was big trouble.
If a movie went out of sync during the showing, a good projectioist could remady the problem by lining up the edge numbers on the print ih the gate.
Ah, the good ole days :)

BobFurmanek on October 30, 2008 at 9:33 am

That’s why the devices introduced by Polaroid in August 1953 to insure synchronization were essential for quality 3-D viewing. But they were about 6 months too late. The damage had been done and too many people had seen 3-D poorly projected.

Click on the images for full scale versions of the text.

TLSLOEWS on October 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

Interesting reading.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I think i will check some film cans i took out of closed theatres,maybe i will find a note.

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