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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » What's the most creative way you've seen a print destoryed? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: What's the most creative way you've seen a print destoryed?
Mark J. Marshall
Film God

Posts: 3184
From: New Castle, DE, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

 - posted 04-16-2003 09:32 PM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Seeing the thread on replacing damaged prints, and reading some of the stories posted there prompted me to start this thread. So, what IS the most creative method you (or someone you know) has come up with to destroy a print? Hind sight being the wonderful thing it is, this thread is not for lectures or smack downs, but for sharing bizarre booth boo-boos, and learning from each other's mistakes.

I'll start....

Back when Disney's Aladdin was showing the first time, one of our newer projectionists had a problem with a Simplex 1050 projector. At the end of the last show that day, he noticed that the screw holding the intermittent shoe assembly in place had come out, and the shoe assembly was laying on the floor. He looked, but couldn't find the tiny screw, so this enterprising fellow located what he considered to be a screw similar enough to hold the assembly in place long enough for someone else to come in and fix the problem. But he forgot to tell anyone what had happened, and what he had done. The screw that he used was a wood screw.

The first show the next day ran great, but the second show had a bright green scratch down the middle. The third show had a bright white scratch down the middle, and when it was over, the projectionist on duty noticed that the entire print had been sliced in half.

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 04-16-2003 10:21 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of the most creative ways I used to destroy a print was to try and save some time. I assembled a 7-reeler named "The River" for transport to another theatre that was ours. When I took the print off the platter, I carried it down to the car. Since it was raining, I didn't want the print to get rained on so instead of putting it in the trunk, I thought I would just stuff it in the front seat. It didn't quite clear the top of the jamb, so I gave it a gentle push. The center ring collapsed. the seven reels came out of the car like a waterfall and sploosh! Right in the middle of a huge puddle of water in the parking lot. In immediate panic, I grabbed the thing the best I could and dragged the film across the sidewalk and into the lobby. I now had a 14,000 foot wet knot! Took me six hours to put it back together. When it ran through the projector, it sounded like a machine gun with all the splices I made. Lots of green blotches and scratches, too. What a day!!!!!

At least all of my splices were in frame, though. [Big Grin]

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6425
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-16-2003 10:25 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are you kidding? Somebody who actually took the time to put the shoe back on?! Wow!

Most of the places I was in charge of, they would just leave the damn thing lay on the floor! No need to worry about the part(s) getting swept up by accident and thrown in the trash, either... They never swept the floor!

I'd come in weeks later and they'd say something vague like, "#4 don't work right..." I'd walk over, pick the part up off the floor, screw it back on and the thing would be OK again until the next time somebody broke a part off.

How to damage a print...

Slam the sound head door a couple-three thousand times until the hinge starts to get deformed. Instead of repairing the thing, slam the door HARDER! Finally the pane of glass inside the door starts to crack and chip until a small piece falls into the projector and gets wedged into the FM-35 (failsafe/detector).
Make sure you thread the projector at the last second before the movie's start time, press the start button and then walk away, never to return until the next time to thread.

Repeat all day.

The print wasn't sliced in half like yours was but there was a nice gouge down the center of the film. (Much like on your second run.)

Score bonus points for doing this on a SCOPE film... You multiply the width of the gouge by 2!

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 04-16-2003 11:06 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark, did it look like this?

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 04-17-2003 08:21 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I got a call from a Rochester theatre running "Flash Gordon". They had been rennovating their booth, and a cinder block wall was being demolished, with lots of resulting cement dust (of course the construction area had not been sealed off from the rest of the booth). They had a web cleaner, and had been cleaning the print with DRY media. The print was ruined with multiple deep scratches from head to tail. [Frown]

I told them the grit-loaded used dry media would make good sandpaper. [Roll Eyes]

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Mark J. Marshall
Film God

Posts: 3184
From: New Castle, DE, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

 - posted 04-17-2003 08:34 AM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

I was actually out the week that it happened, so unfortunately I didn't get to see it, but yeah, I imagine it looked exactly like that.

That thread mentioned a kids matinee... wasn't Disney's Aladdin by chance was it?

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 04-17-2003 09:35 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
No it was some horrible kids movie from the 70s or 80s.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1498
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 04-17-2003 05:23 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A print of Joe Dirt got emulsion-scratched 2 TIMES, I suspect from being threaded wrong through the failsafe making the plastic scrape the film running through. I guess though if it had to happen this was the appropriate film to do it to. The 2nd time it happened the person working that day scratched 6 other prints the same way, including all 3 of Mummy Returns.

[ 04-17-2003, 06:52 PM: Message edited by: Jesse Skeen ]

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Christian Appelt
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 502
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: Dec 2001

 - posted 04-17-2003 05:44 PM      Profile for Christian Appelt   Email Christian Appelt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

35mm changeover setup (without failsafe device) is left running unguarded with a splicey actetate print. Mean old masking tape splice arrives, film tears inwards and is cut in two halves for about 1100 feet when the next tape splice stops the chopping. Bauer U4 winds up the reel so smoothly that the reel does not fall apart until it is rewound. [Eek!]


Fine KING OF KINGS Tech IB 4-track mag print is stored on 6000 ft. reels. Reel is left standing upright on carpet floor (for about 10 weeks) instead of being put back into storage box. Carpet floor gets wet, humidity creeps up and fungus destroys the lower half of the 6000 ft. reel. KING OF KINGS is gone. [Mad]

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William Leland III
Master Film Handler

Posts: 336
From: Charleston, SC,
Registered: Aug 2002

 - posted 04-17-2003 05:46 PM      Profile for William Leland III   Author's Homepage   Email William Leland III   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One time at the Ultravision I had to open and after powering up 1 and 2, I headed to power up 3 and 4. I was walking around a corner and about to head up the steps leading to 3 and 4 and I saw film lying on the floor. At first I thought a trailer. As I made the turn I saw a huge black mass of film all balled up. I think about 4 reels of "Foolish" laid on the floor looking up and greeting me saying,"Will, please fix me." I remember not getting to mad. It took me about 2 hours to fix it and we didn't lose a show.

I called the closing projectionist and asked what happened and he said plater threw it off. We had those problems all the time at the Ultravision. I leanred alot about learning how to control platter speed. [Razz] He couldn't fix it becasue he had an exam the next day.

I was building up a trailer pack whileteaching someone, he asked me how long do u think that trailer is. I said in a joking manner that it could reach conncessions. No sooner had the words let my mouth, he grab the trailer core and took off running towards the booth door pulling the trailer still attached to the platter. Needless to say he never go there. I was pretty pissed. [evil]

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Thomas Procyk
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1842
From: Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 04-17-2003 07:48 PM      Profile for Thomas Procyk   Email Thomas Procyk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No sooner had the words let my mouth, he grab the trailer core and took off running towards the booth door pulling the trailer still attached to the platter.
Wow. And you let him live to get away with this?? If ANYONE sticks their mits into something I'm doing and adds any more time to my work than it would have normally taken me, I try to make sure that's the last time they use their hands for ANYTHING! [evil] [Big Grin]


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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7035
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 04-18-2003 12:02 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The most creative way I've seen a print destroyed actually got rid of - I'd guess - several hundred of them in one go.

The Swedish Film Archive have some footage of an occasion in the mid-70s when they disposed of all their surplus (i.e. decomposing or duplicates which they decided not to preserve) nitrate. Seven tons of the stuff was piled up in the middle of a field and ignited.

The camera is positioned behind a row of fire engines parked around 100 yards from the bonfire. When it is lit, you see a miniature mushroom cloud immediately followed by several firemen rushing towards the camera screaming - probably something unrepeatable in Swedish! In the aftermath of this holocaust you can clearly see a huge crater. The camera tracks forward towards the fire engines, which are painted bright red on the side facing it. As the camera moves past the engines, you can see that the paint on the side facing the fire has been totally stripped away! [evil]

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Mark J. Marshall
Film God

Posts: 3184
From: New Castle, DE, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

 - posted 04-20-2003 04:51 PM      Profile for Mark J. Marshall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK, here's another...

We had a guy working for us who liked to demonstrate how to focus a bulb while the movie was running. After he left we started getting complaints a day or two later that we needed to adjust the "color" and "tint" on the movie. Soon, all the characters in the movie looked like they had a nasty sunburn. Eventually, the entire image on the screen was turning pink, and there was a pretty wild effect going on while the film was running.

The movie that was cooked....? Believe it or not, "Fried Green Tomatoes."

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Darren Briggs
Master Film Handler

Posts: 371
From: York, UK
Registered: Dec 2001

 - posted 04-20-2003 05:59 PM      Profile for Darren Briggs   Author's Homepage   Email Darren Briggs   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well i had one of those slow-motion type inceidents tonight,
I had just taken LOTR II off the plate (with a little help) to move it accross to another screen, left it stood on its end whilst i cleaned and laced up the next film.
As cleaning i caught my knee on the edge of LOTRII which was stood near by, as i turned around to see what id just knocked, i saw LOTRII falling over (slow motion -noooooooooo) then with a thud it was flat on the floor, still on its collar. PHEW!!
Good job the cinemeccanica platters take up nice and tight!
Gave the films edge which had hot the floor a wipe with film guard on a cloth.
So this was nearly a disaster of 3hrs 8 mins or what ever it is!


Leo-if you read this, remember my Nosferatu incident!

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Bill Langfield
Master Film Handler

Posts: 280
From: Prospect, NSW, Australia
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 04-26-2003 07:12 AM      Profile for Bill Langfield   Author's Homepage   Email Bill Langfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Darren, Yep and at least double that (the 3hrs 8min) putting it all back together if the centre falls out while sliding it of the platter and to vertical with out a cookie/pizza plate or sleeve/envelope.

My best (almost) destruction is of TITANIC, it sank in a sea (kind of)

The projection room had a box gutter built above the port wall with the roof sloping back in the direction of the projectors.

To cut a long story short, the drains became blocked, it was raining VERY heavy, Titanic was running on the top plate, and the water decided it would enter through the roof directly above the platter.

It was impossible to run the print after that without getting a wrap-around. However luckily we had an Eprad double mut, so I put the print to that, the film would stick like hell for a few weeks and the control arms would jump up and down. It ran the rest of the season on the big reels (over a year total), with the added water features for effect!! [Smile]


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