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Nice job Ron!
Thank you for sharing
Yes Simon, I remember the coming attractions made exclusivly for RCMH,I used to think it lent a certain amount of class to the show. I also remember Radio City Music Hall news which was a compulation of the best stories from two or three different news reels.The news began with a wonderful RCMH opening folowed by the best clips from News Of The Day, Warner Pathe and Movietone news. I wish clips were available of those wonderful previews and news openings.
The curtain at the hall does appear to raise differently as well, I remember visiting the stage being shown the many motors required to raise her. As we know the curtain can be raised in many different ways it all depends on the ways the motors are programmed. I don’t like the way she raises now, it seems to eliminate most of the waterfall effect and it goes up all at once. Even in the full up position it’s almost a straight horizontal line across.
Oh my gosh, go right now to Bob Ketler’s home page and read the magnificent article he wrote on RCMH. I also want to thank Simonl for the walk thru memory lane. I attended just about every new show from the mid 1950s thru the mid 1970s We always tried to see the stage show in the front row behind the lighting guy and then rush up to the top mezzanine to watch the movie.We would sit right under the projection booth. What I would not give to go back there and see one more movie and a stage show for a buck twenty five.
Yes Will, you are correct, two prints were run in case of a film break or malfuntion. In those days a blank screen, or white sheet, as it was called then, was a projectionist worse nightmare.
Bill’s comment said it well. Curtains, missing now from our theatres, for me added to the granduer of the movie going experience. When I worked as a projectionist during the 50s and 60s, we always closed the curtains at the end of whatever preceeded the main feature, (cartoon, tralilers etc), and reopened them at the start of the feature, most imes the stage lights were also raised and then lowered again. THAT was showmanship. The showing of a white screen was not permitted, as well as showing the screen masking moving going from one format to another, it was timed so that the curtains hid the movement of the masking. The audience never saw the masking move or a white (blank)screen.In addition the curtains had to be timed, thru the use of a cue mark on the film, to be fully closed at the same moment the movie faded out.
Yes, the wider the screen and the longer the throw from the booth to the screen, the worse the digital image is. Perhaps that is why the Ziegfeld took the equipment out and now shows only film.
Yes Warren, Cinerama was best used for travelogs, feature films like “How the West Was Won” did not work for me, I found the two seams very distracting, and if the projectionist did not set the carbons properly and keep them in the proper relationship with the aperature and reflector, there would be an annoying diference in the color and brightness in the three panels. Later with
“Mad Mad world” and “2001” which was filmed in 70mm single strip Cinerama was much more enjoyable.
You are right Warren,I forgot about Cinerama which was an 8 channel magnetic track interlocked with the three projectors, as opposed to 3-D which was an optical photographic track, I seem to recall the stage speakers were recorded on the left print and the surrounds on the right in a 3-D config. Correct me if I am wrong.
William, I worked for fox in the 50s on 50th St near 10th ave.
Many a morning was spent at the Roxy opening new Fox films. I remember the magnificent marguee which advertised CinemaScope in huge neon letters:
CINEMASCOPE THE MODERN MIRACLE YOU SEE WITHOUT GLASSES.
The reference of course, to the 3-D movies playing at the time which required poloroid glasses be worn. Movie goers were astonished at the size of the screen and the magnificent 4 track sound, the thunder and lightning sequence was especially impressive with lightning striking thru the surrounds all over the theatre. Although WB had played around with stereo a little less than a year earlier with some 3-D films at The Paramount such as “House Of Wax” and later with “Charge at feather River”, it was “The Robe”,
I think, that really impressed moviegowers with stereo sound. Agree?
I honestly do not remember the number of seats the Plainview had. The orchestra had at least 800 and the balcony another 300 so perhaps 1100 in all.
To Ken F: I too remember the Plainview, having worked there for a few years. unfortunatly it is gone now having been converted into office space. It was run by Century theatres, the best cicruit in it’s day. The booth had three Century JJ 35/70 projectors with Peerless corelight carbon arc lamps. Many 70mm roadshow engaements like “Ben Hur” were presented there. The last 70mm I believe was a re-issue of “sound Of Music”. Like all Century theatres, the first show of the day began with a showing of the National Anthum.
Bob007 made a very good point, I believe it may be why the industry was a little gun shy about buying into Dolby noise reduction and stereo in the 70s. In addition of course is the cost factor, who is going to pay for all this new DLP equipment? Of course the studios would like to elimimnate the cost of print production and shipping, but what’s in in for the theatre owner? So far the public has not shown as much interest in Digital projection as it did to Digital sound. When tracking the grosses in a multiplex where 3 prints of the same film were playing, one digital and two film, the digital version was not preferred, in sharp contrast to a time in the early 90s when Dolby or DTS Digital sound prints outgrossed prints presented in anaolg Dolby stereo. So back to the question of who pays, The cost of DLP projestion is enourmous, an exhibitor can literally equip an entire 10 screen projection room with film projection at the same cost of equiping just one screen with DPL. So untill the cost comes down dramatically or the studios begin to help with the financing, I do not believe we will see much in the way of DLP.
Good point bill, I believe Ron Howard was inspired to film “Far and Away in 65mm after screening a print of "How the west was Won”
No one has made mention of the brave move Ron Howard made in filming “Far and Away” in 70mm with 6 track mag sound.That may have been the last movie filmed in 70. The recent re-release of “Vertigo"
was shown in 70, transfered from the original VistaVision neg, but
The sound was DTS 6 track rather than 6 track mag.
Jerry’s policy of showing only PG/PG-13 films was doomed from the start. By the mid 70s most if not all the theatres were either closed or sold.
I think her name was Josie
The restoration lives!
…..and a new a/c unit is coming, they have to fly it in and install it by helicopter, can not use a crane.
I talked with Rosemary, the new owner, and will meet up with her this week. Update to follow. Meanwhile anyone interested in helping out should call Rosemary at 718 979 1900
I was happy to learn the Ziegfeld is presenting Day after Tommorrow in 35mm film format rather than with Digital projection, which the theatre had installed and recently removed. I want to see movies on film and no other way. Digital projection is ok I guess on a small screen but NOT on the Ziegfeld screen.
Thanks William, Yes the end off 4-track mag came along with Dolby optical noise reduction prints and then Dolby stereo, although most studios had stop making mag prints available in the early 60s. Even Fox which released all of their films prior to 1960 in 4-track
mag-optical, switched to straight optical mono prints.I can recall the joy of getting a rare post 1960 mag print like “Hello Dolly”, “Star”, “2001” amoung a few others,and then presenting the film in stereo. We would put it on the marguee, presented in 4 track sterophonic sound. As for the Music Hall’s image size I believe you are quite right, it was rather small but the alternative Magnascope added much to much grain and robbed more light, even with carbon arc ,then the Hall could afford to lose.
The image was true to the original 1.33 ratio which made the picture look small but it was shown the way it was meant to be seen and how it was presented originally. As for the sound I think perhaps you have gotten used to modern day Dolby sound and have forgotten or are too young to remember what is what like back then, Warren, William, Vincent…
Has anyone ben in the Music Halls projection booth lately? I visited the booth several years ago when there were five projectors,
three Simplex 35/70 with Dolby Digital capability as well as magnetic penthouses, and two Simplex XL 35mm with optical capability only. There were no platters, thankfully, although I was told that “Lion King” was presented in 70mm, but not with standard 70mm six track magnetic sound, a seperate 35mm Dolby Digital sound print was interlocked using platters. What is in the booth today?
I was very interested in Williams notes about the Hall’s 70mm presentations. I knew the 35mm prints were made a little lighter because I worked at Deluxe labs in New York during that time. I believe before Dolby came along many 35mm prints were struck with magnetic stereo tracks and although after 1960 such prints were hard to come by, Radio City still played a lot of films in 35mm 4 track magnetic. Anyone know more about this?