Old theater needs projection equipment (501c3)

posted by freeholder on September 1, 2010 at 7:30 am

WILLCOX, AZ — The Rex Allen Theater is a 501c3 charity, and a community supported theater on the national historic registry. We are owned and operated by the Rex Allen Museum. Our twin screen theater is open every day and for matinees on weekends, and is the only theater within a hour drive in any direction. In one theater we are using a Motiograph that is about 60 years old, and in the other a Century that is about 45 years old. Both are on their last legs. We could sure use the donation of some later model projection equipment in good working order. . Thanks!

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Comments (7)

quasimodo on September 1, 2010 at 8:43 am

Your website indicates that you charge $5-$7 for movie admission and you operate virtually without competition. This puts you in a better position than many single and twin theatres struggling to survive in the private sector. So you want to be in the movie “business”, yet want others to pay your bills and give you the tools that you need to do it.

I just don’t get it.

dfc on September 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

The “501c3” movie theater is apparently a growing trend. I guess it’s way of saving a beloved but unprofitable movie theater. I used to assume that these “non-profit” places are more revival/art theaters than first run but now I’m not sure about that. Anyone here have better info on this type of theater??

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on September 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Hey Quasimodo… You must be a champion tightwad like old Scrooge!

There are countless warehouses across this vast country of closed and destroyed cinemas bursting at the seems with cinema equipment, especially projectors.

It’s known as ‘a helping hand’. They could easily DONATE something as a TAX DEDUCTION and receive some ‘Free Movie Passes’ as an added thank you.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen on September 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm

If the machines are “on their last legs” it’s because someone didn’t maintain them. They both should outlive us all. The Motiograph is one of the best machines ever built as is the Century. Parts are hard to get for the Motiograph. But some theatre supply houses have a few machines. I would suggest you contact a supplier and get a quote on overhauling those machines. One I would recommend is American Cinema Equipment (www.ace.com) in Portland, OR. Several years he was ready to sell me a set of used Motiographs. I would also suggest you employ someone who knows something about the theatre business.

EvanJChase on September 4, 2010 at 4:58 am

Bob Allen is right—those classic projectors were designed to run forever if they are maintained properly—keeping oil levels up in the intermittents, gears greased, etc. You should be able to find some used equipment cheap. Some collectors might be able to help you. Go to 35mmforum.com

The biggest challenge should be to convert to digital—it won’t be many years before 35mm film will be mostly phased out. Digital has come a long way and is excellent quality now. I use DLP projection with minimum of 8000 lumens—for commercial theatres your size.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on September 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Please do NOT replace you’re current projectors…especially the Motiograph, which in my opinion is the finest machine ever made. The Motiograph tends to be very forgiving, even when one neglects to maintain them, although this is never acceptable. I have an old Motiograph AAA in one of my theaters that still runs like a charm, every night, and has never given us any trouble. In fact, all but two of my theaters have 50-70 year old projectors and the only two theaters I have consistent booth problems with are the two with 10 year old equipment.
Your equipment can be as good as new with a little work by a tech experienced with such equipment. So long as you have upgraded to red readers for the sound, your equipment is far from obsolete and will most likely outlive the newborn babies born yesterday!
With the exception of Century (who was still making quality equipment into the early 1980s), the projectors of the past 35 years are mostly junk. Especially when you start dealing with the belt-driven and inexpensively made Christie, Kinoton and Horizon projectors which are what are widely used in modern movie theaters.

I’m not sold on the fact that digital will be taking over any time soon however assuming it does, your best bet still would be to simply take care of what you presently have until you can convert.

By the way, I’m not speaking as an “old timer” set in my ways…I am actually in my 20s and quite progressive regarding the operation of my theaters. I grew up in the business and currently run 8 theaters. I know what works and what does not…especially in the booth.

KEEP YOUR OLD MACHINES! You are very fortunate to have them!

quasimodo on September 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Kinoton junk? I’ll trade you a boatload of your AA’s for a PK60D (or “E”).

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