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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinema Yak   » Colour blobs on screen?

   
Author Topic: Colour blobs on screen?
Paul P. Meyers
New Member

Posts: 42
From: Detroit, MI
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted August 26, 2003 04:09 PM      Profile for Paul P. Meyers   Email Paul P. Meyers         Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Cinematour people (Cinematourists?).

Does anyone recall from the late70's-early/mid80's use of some type of projected colour blobs on movie screens in between shows. This was some type of slide projector or maybe a painted wheel rotating across. I have memories of this type of budget psychedelic lava lamp projection, inbetween shows at a UA many years ago. I'd love to know the technology and reason behind this. [Roll Eyes]

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Bill Gabel
Member

Posts: 288
From: New York, NY
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted August 26, 2003 05:13 PM      Profile for Bill Gabel           Edit/Delete Post 
The tags you are speaking about were tags that National Screen Services sold to theatres. I think they were made by a company called Pike. They came in different sayings to be placed on trailers and features:
  • Feature Presentation
    Coming Attraction
    Starts Next Week
    Starts Friday, Thursday, .....
    Coming Soon
    Special Midnight Show
    No Smoking
During those times before the big chains made their own tags.

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Ken Roe
Member

Posts: 66
From: London, England
Registered: May 2003


 - posted August 27, 2003 05:51 AM      Profile for Ken Roe   Author's Homepage   Email Ken Roe         Edit/Delete Post 
I went often to the late, late late night shows at the Electric Cinema, Portobello Road, Notting Hill in West London (UK) back in the early 1970's. It was a well know haven to smoke pot and chill out watching wierd Avsnt Garde and off circuit releases. Because it was a 'flea-pit' cinema at the time and the screen curtains hadn't worked for years, rather than sitting there staring at a blank white screen while waiting for the movies to start, they projected a moving 'blob' effect. I think this was done by a small stills type projrctor which had a glass plate containing different coloured oils within it, and it either rotated or the heat of the projector lamp made the coloured oils move around. Giving the effect of watching a 'Lava Lamp'

The Electric Cinema (the UK's oldest operating cinema opened 1910) is still going strong, and has recently been restored as an up-market art house cinema. www.electriccinema.co.uk/

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Dave Felthous
Member

Posts: 186
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 27, 2003 04:37 PM      Profile for Dave Felthous   Email Dave Felthous         Edit/Delete Post 
General Cinema used "blobs" for a time. They kind of danced around the screen. But I have no idea how it was accomplished. Looking up at the port windows didn't reveal anything. By the time I worked for them the blobs had blobbed away.

Color wheels were popular in the 50s when theaters went from traverse draperies with "footlights" to pickup curtains that allowed a wider screen behind. The Tower in Fresno had black-light wall decorations and a color wheel on its beige pickup(aka waterfall) curtain. Certainly was a lot of color!

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted August 28, 2003 03:47 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
The Tower had black light decorations on the walls? There's certainly no trace of them now! I guess they weren't original to the theater and were removed when it was restored.

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Dave Felthous
Member

Posts: 186
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 28, 2003 02:48 PM      Profile for Dave Felthous   Email Dave Felthous         Edit/Delete Post 
The Tower's black-light auditorium wall decor was original to the theater. A shame that it's gone. The Tower is/was on some kind of "historic" list and the reason, if I remember correctly, was that it was the first extensive use of black light for decoration.

Are the wonderful sand-blasted glass panels still in the entry foyer and lobby? Some depicted horses, I believe, probably drawn from mythology. Very handsome stuff.

The auditorium walls had a series of indented panels-- maybe four on each side -- with "feathery" designs painted with phosphorescent paint that picked up the black light. Very pretty and soothing. Maybe the walls got curtained eventually as more elaborate sound systems emerged.

I'm glad the place has survived. Does the ball atop the tower still have spikes of multicolored neon that dance around?

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted August 29, 2003 01:56 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
Ah, my bad! The paintings on the walls of the Tower are still there, only on the couple of times I've been there they just had regular lights in the torch things beneath the paintings. (Assuming these are the paintings you're referring to: )
http://www.cinematour.com/tour_us.php?id=9857

The neon still works on the exterior of the theater, and the etched glass details are still present in the lobby. When I get a decent camera I'll have to go back and get some decent pictures of the interior -- the staff was very friendly and let me in before the show to photograph the auditorium on the occasion I took those pictures.

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Ken Roe
Member

Posts: 66
From: London, England
Registered: May 2003


 - posted August 29, 2003 05:39 AM      Profile for Ken Roe   Author's Homepage   Email Ken Roe         Edit/Delete Post 
According to the Maggie Valentine book on S.Charles Lee "The Show Starts on the Sidewalk", the first theatre in the United States to use 'black lighting' was his 1939 built Academy Theatre, 3141 W. Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA. (now a church)

The Tower Theatre, Fresno, CA was nearing completion at the time and the owners spent $1,500 re-doing the auditorium to accomodate the new technique.

The auditorium of the State Theatre, San Diego, CA(1939-40) was the first to be completely illuminated by 'black light'.

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