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I visited the RCMH booth just before the restoration and wondered about what has changed. At the time there were 5 projectors, 3 of them were Simplex 35/70 and the other two were Simplex XL 35. All were equipt with a Xenon light source, the carbon arc lamps having been removed a while ago.Dolby Digital had been installed and they were running on 6k reels. No platter in site ,thank heavens, I hope it stayed that way. At one time RCMH employed multiple union projectionist on each shift, two would monitor the changeovers, one calling out the que marks as not to miss them. A chief projectionist was also on hand.The reels were rewound by hand and inspected after each showing. Any one with more info?
Re-opens Friday, July 23 with a double bill, “Bourne Supremacy"
and "Anchorman”. This is the first drive-in movie showing in New Jersey since 1981. Capacity is 700 cars, and the screen is an awesome 120 feet wide. Admission will be $6 for adults and $3 for children which is rather a bargain for a double feature. I would be wonderful if the public were to turn out to support this wonderful piece of Americana.
National Amusements buys only the best in projection and sound. In addition, the equipment is kept in top form thru a maintenance agreement with a projection survice company. The condition of the theatres is monitred regularly, nothing in the booth or anywhere else in the theatre is allowed to deteriate and must be kept in tip top condition at all times.
OH MY GOD! Did anyone else see those pictures of RCMH on television last night? The stage is a basketball court. They built some sort of hidious frame around the stage and hoops were installed and I saw men playing basketball. The image of that has been burned into my mind and I am cursed to see that forever.
How dare they do such a thing? obviously they have no respect at all. Do yourself a favor and do not allow yourself to see the hall in her present state.
National Amusements has a second complex of this type in White Plains, the design is called “Cinema Delux”.
The 15 White Plains cinemas cinemas are equiped with huge wall to wall screens and state of the art Dolby Digital sound. The concession stand features “Directors Hall Express Service”. Ushers will also show you to your reserved seat. This concept brings a little class back to the movie going experience.
Ahhhh a time machine, lets see, take me to Christmas 1954 to see “White Christmas” in VistaVision at RCMH
Holmes, I think the ship has sailed on that.
The Paramount sat for several years with no one interested in saving it, and now someone has purchased the building who has no interest at all in keping it as a theatre…. no interest at all
I have difficulty even driving by, it’s just too sad
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