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TOPIC: zoiks!

zoiks! 05 May 2004 21:11 #22727

  • leeler
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OK, my print of Scooby Doo 2 got shipped to me today. All of the reels were backward ( feet first). So, OK, no big thing to turn them around right? Then I got to thinking, "I'd really have to screw up hard to make this happen!". I mean, I don't think I could even fall asleep and this would happen to me. Another clue is the films were wound much looser than 'normal'. What does this indicate?

a. The previous exhibitor is an idiot who has no business showing film.

b. The previous exhibitor is a newbie. Give him/her a break already!

c. None of the above. You're the idiot Leeler! It's so obvious to everyone but you! Here's what happened......

"What a crazy business"
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Re: zoiks! 05 May 2004 21:19 #22728

  • sevstar
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d. Previous exhibitor does not use platters.
But ran the print Reel to Reel, and did
not rewind after last showing.
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Re: zoiks! 05 May 2004 23:00 #22729

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well, that's not near as cool as one of my possible answers......Hmmmmmm, I must be a newbie or something.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: zoiks! 06 May 2004 01:04 #22730

  • MovieGuy
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Technicolor is great at sending out new prints wound backwards! How about 3 out of 5 reels backwards!
Imagine getting 3 + new films, and finding every other reel needing to be rewound. It's a pain in the ass!
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Re: zoiks! 06 May 2004 08:22 #22731

  • John Pytlak
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The winding orientation of a new reel is dependent on the type of printers the lab is using (unidirectional "loop" printers, or bi-directional "panel" printers), and whether the reel was selected for QC inspection by the lab.

For used prints, I agree that all reels being tail out likely shows that a changeover house just wound the last show onto the shipping reels right on the projector. Since only a 4-inch hub is used for shipping reels, the windup tension may not be optimum, so you have some loose rolls.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
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John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: zoiks! 06 May 2004 08:48 #22732

  • outaframe
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Well, I guess it all depends on where you're coming from... I run reel-to-reel, and much PREFER that films come in tails up... I inspect the film tail-to-head, and take it up on house reels (6k') before showing it, so if the print is heads up I have to rewind it before I can do that... Given the condition of most shipping reels, and the unknown condition of any film that isn't a brand new print, I am really uncomfortable showing a print I haven't inspected this way...
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Re: zoiks! 06 May 2004 09:02 #22733

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I understand. It's just the first time I've had a print shipped to me tails up. It does add several steps to the process for me that I'd rather not have to go through but it isn't that big of a deal. I'm just curious. Actually, the loose winding is probably the bigger issue. I almost dumped one over because it shifted on me and the shipping reel came apart. Luckily I saved it or I'd still be in the booth now fixing it.

"What a crazy business"
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Re: zoiks! 07 May 2004 10:03 #22734

  • sals
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I too prefer it to be tails up....still in the habit after all those years in reel-to reel booths. But...when tails up, you can actually check leaders to make sure the reels are what they are labeled, without an extra rewind. I have gotten reels in the past with the leaders mixed up on the reels.

And aren't those Technicolor reels fun?

Sally
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Re: zoiks! 07 May 2004 13:09 #22735

It is also possible that the print came from a platter house were the breakdowns were made to6K reels (they would be head up) and then to the shipping reels on the bench ending up tail up
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Re: zoiks! 07 May 2004 16:17 #22736

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Very good point Gordon. In fact I would think that it would more then likely be from a platter house for just that reason. 90% of reel to reel houses use 6k reels and have to rewind onto the shipping reels thus shipping out heads up. Really... are there still houses using 2000 foot reels? Yes there are, but very few...there is one in this area. That theatre just put in all new equipment with 2 machines (it's an art house) and even though they have 6k capacity, the union operator prefers 2k reels and changeovers. He says that since he is up there with nothing else to do, he might as well thread, make changeovers, and rewind to keep himself from going crazy.
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Re: zoiks! 07 May 2004 18:50 #22737

  • outaframe
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Yep, ROXY, I remember being "stuck" in the booth (like the Union guy you mentioned) back in the 2k' reel/carbon arc days!... I rigged up reel-end alarms with a gong in the lobby so I could talk with my boss (the owner) who worked concessions on slower nights... I learned a LOT about the business through those talks, and loved hearing his "war stories" about the good old days... I doubt there are any left who were in the "Biz" in the 1930's and 40's, but thanks to him, I experienced the Golden Age "virtually," and it WAS really something!... Much as you too, love this business, I hope you had access to someone who could spin a tale about those days as well as he did!... Somehow, I suspect you did!...
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Re: zoiks! 07 May 2004 22:54 #22738

  • outaframe
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Hi, SALLY... I just re-read your post about the tails helping identify reel numbers, and it reminded me of something that happened in the late 1970's... I was running 2k' reels and carbon arcs, but Xenon and Platters were starting to show up in significant numbers... I had been running this particular picture for 5 days, and probably 700-800 customers had seen it, but a college kid who saw it while he was home over the previous week-end, told me the chronological order was different than what he had seen at home... The picture DID have a LOT of flashbacks, and no one had said a word about it, but I stayed after closing and watched it... The tails had no reel numbers, but I finally decided that the headers of reels 2 & 4 had been switched before I got it... I swapped the headers and finished the run, but I'll never know for sure WHICH was the right version, and it's been so long ago I can't recall what the picture was... Shows ta go ya, ya gotta do whatever it takes to make it work!...
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Re: zoiks! 08 May 2004 01:48 #22739

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Yes outaframe, we are the lucky ones as we are only one generation away from the pioneers of the industry. My first theatre job was that of an usher in a fairly large 1,800 seat atmospheric downtown picture palace. Atmospheric, for those who don't know, was a theatre designed to give the impression of being in an outdoor theatre while in fact you were indoors. It was like sitting in an Italian garden, a Persian court, a Spanish patio or a mystic Egyptian temple under glorious moonlite, where stars twinkled and lazy clouds drifted overhead on a deep blue plaster sky. The theatre I worked at was of the Spanish variety. As a kid it was always my favorite, and when I learned about a staff position being open there, I went directly from school to the theatre to try and obtain it.

I was hired on the spot by Mr. Walter Boyd, manager of the Boyd theatre. I had only worked there for several weeks when I realized that a career in theatre management looked very attractive to me. Walter became my mentor. He realized my interest from the beginning, and proceeded to teach me all that I wanted to know.

Walter had started working in theatres during the teens at the 4,000+ seat Philadelphia Met (Metropolitan Opera House) that was built by Oscar Hammerstein in 1908. His first job was to fill the water glasses for the orchestra members and to see that their sheet music was in place on the music stands. He also was responsible for hailing cabs for the performers as they left the theatre. On several occasions he was used as an extra in various stage productions, usually dressed as a girl as he was small. After Hammerstein's opera company failed, the Met featured vaudeville, movies and legit. It was taken over by the Stanley Company of American in 1928 as a combination stage show and film house. The Stanley company was bought out by Warner brothers, but they retained the Stanley name for a number of years, eventually becoming the Stanley-Warner theatre chain which continued to operate well into the mid 70s.

Meanwhile, throughout the 20s Walter worked his way up into management and in 1929 he was awarded the managing directors position for the new 4,200 seat atmospheric Warner theatre on the boardwalk in Atlantic City New Jersey. The Stanley Co. only operated the theatre for four years as it was much to big for Atlantic City which had 31 theatres in all, 10 of them on the boadwalk. Stanley then leased the theatre to other operators, and Walter packed off to Easton, Pa. in 1934 to take over management of the Seville theatre which was promptly renamed the Boyd.

Having been manager of one of Americas largest movie palaces from mid 29 through early 34, the pinnacle of the movie palace era, and then manager of the beautiful Boyd in Easton for the next 40 years, certainly established Walter as a first rate showman. I had the fortunate privilege to learn theatre management firsthand from one of the best. Later while going to school in Reading Pa. I befriended Mr.Eugene Plank, manager of the 2,900 seat Embassy theatre, another great oldtime showman who had come up through the ranks throughout the 30's, 40s and 50s. Again I had the opportunity to learn much more about the biz from another perspective. Later, I also befriended Jack Beck who ran the Lyric Burlesque theatre in Allentown, Pa. This was one of the very last of the great oldtime Minsky style Burlesque theatres with the live comics, pit band, and chorus line of (somewhat) beautiful girls, and of course the "peelers", or what we today would call the strippers. Jack would give me box seat tickets for his shows and I would take a date and we would have a great time. As I was in my early 20s at that time, my date and I would often be the youngest patrons in the theatre. The audience was made up of almost all couples and was middle aged or older for the most part. Old time burlesque was a fun entertainment, and not what most people today would think it was. In fact it was more or less an adult version of vaudeville. A little off color, but not gross.

These were the people that influenced my theatrical enlightenment. As I look back, I realize how lucky I was to have known and learned from those folks. It's a shame that those going into the business today have no one to learn the roots of the biz from. The managers, district managers and even owners for the most part have no direct connection to the days of true showmanship.

Today they think that if the preshow advertisements and trailers are placed correctly and the show goes through uninterrupted, the theatre is clean, and the temperture is comfortable, that they have truly entertained their patrons. In fact, their {younger} patrons do feel fulfilled and satisfied.

The real shame is that they don't know what they are missing.
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Re: zoiks! 08 May 2004 10:57 #22740

  • outaframe
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ROXY: "The real shame is that they don't know what they are missing."... How very, very TRUE!... When you look back at what was offered then, and how little it cost, it's no wonder that movies were once the #1 entertainment choice, and nearly EVERYONE went AT LEAST once a week...
Having read your posts, and examined your business philosophy, it was evident that you had been exposed to much of the Golden Age by someone who was in the business then... My exposure wasn't quite as grand, but enough to make a lasting impression...
In my high school days, we often took dates to the FOX in downtown Indy, one of the few remaining old time Burlesque houses still around... It was tattered and seedy, and many of the "girls" had lost a lot of the bloom from their rose, but the comics who were genuine old timers, were STILL a hoot, and it was a daring adventure at the time... The Burlesque scenes in "The Sting" still stir memories of those days...
I also recall that as a grade schooler, my Aunt took me to Chicago by train for the day, on a couple of occassions... Of course, that included a matinee in one of those grand palatial downtown houses... Two movies, shorts, cartoon, newsreel, AND a live stage show between features!... I saw a (then young) Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on one occassion, and the Andrews Sisters with the Les Brown Band on another... Matinee admission was a bit over $1 for adults, and the theaters were awesome!...
When pictures broke first run, it was common that the stars would make a live promotion appearence at the early showings, and all traveled by train from city to city to be there for the break... My Mother's best high school chum had married a restaurantuer who operated a coffee shop in a major downtown hotel... They knew and were good friends with an astonishing number of show biz folks, and told me all sorts of interesting stories!...
You mentioned the Stanley Warner theaters, and I had the good fortune to work in one on the coast, for a short time in the late 1960's... It was a gorgeous and ornate palace, and thankfully it has survived and been taken over by the city as a live performance center...
Most of my experiences have been with small town theaters, and on a much smaller scale, but still enough to appreciate what this business ONCE was, and realize it's truly a shame that movie theaters have deteriorated to little more than a springboard for video and cable sales of the product... We are indeed lucky to know what it was once like, and to have experienced part of that!...
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Re: zoiks! 17 May 2004 08:21 #22741

  • Mike Spaeth
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When they're all tails-out ... just build from end-to-beginning onto a pair of 6k's ... then load to the platter from those.
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