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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Mobile Saenger and Fox Tucson featured in History Channel program

   
Author Topic: Mobile Saenger and Fox Tucson featured in History Channel program
Adam Martin
Administrator

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted March 27, 2005 07:05 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
Back to the Blueprint aired yesterday on the History Channel with a show about theatre restoration at the Fox Tucson and the Mobile Saenger.

Did anyone catch this? Comments?

I just about died when I saw the tiny video projector at the Saenger. *Whatever*.

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William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted March 27, 2005 11:49 PM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Was the video projector in the projection booth?

If so, the ignorant egomaniacs replaced a double-bladed water-cooled Century & Dolby CP-200 with the video projector.

The director of Mobile's Saenger Centre [sic] Carlos Parkman has been interviewed in the newspaper a couple of times saying "You can't show film, of course." But I guess you can make up your own reality.

I haven't been down to the Mobile Saenger since it was bought by the city & operation turned over to the Saenger Centre in 2000. It's like one of those horrible 80s "Cannibal" movies down there.

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Adam Martin
Administrator

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted March 28, 2005 01:34 AM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
Not in the booth ... hanging off the front of the balcony!

Every time they said something about showing movies, they showed the video projector, so I assume they're on the wave of the future and will never show film again. [Frown]

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted March 28, 2005 07:38 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
Purists may bemoan the loss of traditional film projectors from booths across the nation, but video of some sort is certainly on the horizon, if not actually here as when Adam says: "hanging off the front of the balcony!"

There is actually a precedent for this as some may have seen in the case of the bulky Ediphor TV projectors that in habited the balcony rims of many of our palaces in the 1950s, largely used to bring sporting matches, mostly boxing, into our palaces via closed circuit TV. There was one in the balcony rim of the former WARNER in Milwaukee, and I have a photo showing its equipment racks in the projection booth remaining many years after the the four foot high by 5 foot deep projector was removed and disappeared during the spliting into the CENTRE CINEMAS in 1973. The CENTRE became the GRAND CINEMAS in 1982 but today it sits dark for the past ten years, with the Ediphor racks vandalized, and other things missing from the booth and motor-gen. rooms. Sad that the projectors were not preserved, since they may all have helped reuse the theatre these days.

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William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 04, 2005 02:41 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Applying a romanticization to the criticisms of video projection by call them "Purists" comes only from an absence of critical information. Adam has not only technical background in theatrical movie presentation, he is also able to be critical of 35mm film because he's worked with 70mm film. Adam also knows what a theatrical video projector looks like.

Film is still the industry standard, & the video formats are as of now trying to prove themselves of quality acceptable to be compared with film. Theatrical video projectors cost upwards of $100,000, do not provide the resolution, contrast, or color fidelity of film;, Adam knows what they look like, & knows that what he saw was no theatrical video projector.

The Mobile Saenger had an excellent rep house setup with an incredible picture, which they replaced with a Sony 3100 VPLFX200 projector. It's not DLP, it's an LCD projector. It's not a theatrical video projector, doesn't come close. It doesn't have the resolution of a theatrical video projector, or of 16mm film. Its picture quality is even LESS than TV in your home.

It's a conference room projector being passed off as modern "digital" projection.

In the September 26, 2004 Mobile Register feature on the remodeling of the Mobile Saenger (called a "restoration" by the current operators), Carlos Parkman, CEO of the Center For The Living Arts which undertook the remodeling was interviewed by the paper's "Arts" editor:

---
MR: What is your hope for the Saenger Film Series?
PARKMAN: We are going to get a new screen - one that doens't have holes in it (laughs) - although our presentation equipment will not change. We bought that system the summer before last. The DVD's we're getting are better for the big screen, but the problem for vintage movies is you can't use the film. You have to use DVD's...So people come in and they're disappointed in certain films, but that technology is getting better than ever.

--

It's worth pointing out that these statements were unchallenged by the interviewer, who attends films at Martin McCaffery's theater in Montgomery, gets press releases for film series at the Alabama in Birmingham, Saenger in New Orleans, etc.

The Mobile Saenger's screen had no holes in it prior to the theater's acquisition by the current group (no need to make jokes about the perfs for sound in all movie screens).

Attendance has plummeted. There was far better attendance for films - steadily growing each show, the last summer series with film had over 1,000 at the last show. In their video series, they claimed "about a hundred" per show to a theater manager friend of mine who can count a house, who said it looked more like "eighty". That 80 includes a forest of comp tickets given away for publicity, spiffing donors, etc. The picture is reported to be awful, & of course the audience's standards by which they judge whether they'll go are the quality of the picture at home on TV, & at the multiplex. Bad publicity can't hurt you, but a bad show will ruin you. People don't come back to a crappy show. Why shold someone go see that mess?

It's not about putting on a good show, "presenting the arts", or putting butts in the seats. What's it about? The only obvious fact is that the Mobile Saenger has contempt for the audience which buys tickets to movies there. They know how bad it looks.

Saying "video of some sort is certainly on the horizon" is incredibly easy & empty: I could dig up references from the 1930s (& maybe 1920s) in trade magazines to preparing for the advent of television replacing film in theaters, & referring to the installed base of about 100 US *theatrical* DLP projectors (most not paid for by the theaters, but placed there by the manufacturers) only points out why they're still running 35mm down at the Carmike, AMC, or Regal: better picture, less cost, AND the reliance of the business on the return of customers.

That's the reason they're not running Eidophors, either, & why Eidophors didn't replace 35mm. The picture was really crappy compared to film, it was only for video presentation of broadcast & closed circuit events. You can't make money day-to-day with something that looks that bad. People don't come back to a crappy show. Imagine the joy of having a job running a theater where you don't have to care if they like it or not. Not just the attitude, but the economic model is VERY different.

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