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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Plywood boxes on backsides of theater (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Plywood boxes on backsides of theater
John H. Crawford
Film Handler

Posts: 29
From: Carbondale Illinois USA
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 08-06-2018 04:19 PM      Profile for John H. Crawford   Email John H. Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Was looking at Cinema Treasures and came across this abandoned 4-screen theater a few towns over. On the backside of each auditorium, there were these plywood boxes hung onto the outside walls, that were at least 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. And in one, the box must have fallen off over time and had been replaced with a sheet of plywood, which also had fallen off over time, leaving a empty hole in the wall, exposing what was left of the auditorium to the elements.

Speaker enclosure?
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This theater in question. It had originally been a Kerasotes operation that was built in 1975 as a twin and had two more screens added two years later. It was Marion's only theater until December 1993 when Kerasotes opened a brand new 8 screen (Illinois Centre 8) on the west side of town, behind the mall. Where this theater was immediately downgraded to a dollar house and soldiered on until 1999-2000 when it closed for good.
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/29159

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1567
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 08-06-2018 06:00 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know what those are, but I've seen something similar on several
older theaters that were the outside frame of fire hose enclosures that had
been recessed into the auditorium walls at some point. Some of them also
held one or two fire extinguishers, in addition to the hose and rack. While
the actual fire hose enclosure boxes were metal, I've seen them with wood
covers, similar to these, to protect them from the elements, I guess.

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Kenneth Wuepper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 996
From: Saginaw, MI, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 08-06-2018 06:07 PM      Profile for Kenneth Wuepper   Email Kenneth Wuepper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Could be speakers.

Our local Cinema & Suds two screen theater had three boxes sticking out of the walls behind each screen. They contained the three speakers for each screen. No ned to waste floor space when you can have a cinder block sound wall with the speakers inset into it.

It worked pretty good. The building is now remodeled into the Pain Clinic. (really!)

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John H. Crawford
Film Handler

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From: Carbondale Illinois USA
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 08-06-2018 06:08 PM      Profile for John H. Crawford   Email John H. Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Up-close shot of one of the boxes.
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Shot of the other auditorium with the missing box, and shot of inside the auditorium...
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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
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 - posted 08-06-2018 07:18 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Funny, we were just contemplating doing that in two screening rooms -- not building the speaker "blimps" outside the building, but into adjacent rooms. However the bureaucratic nonsense we would have to go thru to get permits would be mind-boggling. Plus we realized that unless we built the blimp structure from floor to ceiling, basically altering the lobby space into which they would protrude, those boxes sticking out into another space aside from being ugly as all get out, they could actual be a pretty nasty safety issue. It would be iffy to do this if it were a private theatre, but this is part of a performing arts center under the jurisdiction of a college which is under the jurisdiction of City University of New York, which I under the jurisdiction of the City of New York, which Is under the jurisdiction of the Dormitory Authority of the State of NY....you get the picture. I can't imagine whatever municipality this theatre above is in that would approve those makeshift roof structures. Any wind gust over 30mph could rip them of and rain those pieces of plywood on anyone below.

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Steve Kraus
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From: Chicago, IL, USA
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 - posted 08-06-2018 08:16 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
99.99% that it's speakers. Mono. I wonder how much sound was audible outside.

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John H. Crawford
Film Handler

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From: Carbondale Illinois USA
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 - posted 08-07-2018 04:56 PM      Profile for John H. Crawford   Email John H. Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I guess it was a more cheaper route than actually building a small stage area behind the screen to make enough room just for the speaker. There was another 70's era Kerasotes theater in the area that had the same setup.

I wonder what would have been done, say later on if the theater had been upgraded to stereo?

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Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-07-2018 05:16 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, how would they service the loudspeakers, then? Would it require taking down the entire screen? Or would they open the box from outside?

This doesn't seem like a great idea, especially if, as mentioned above, they ever wanted to upgrade to different loudspeakers or stereo sound.

It looks bad from the outside, too.

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Gordon McLeod
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From: Toronto Ontario Canada
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 - posted 08-07-2018 05:26 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have seen many a theatre like that with the speakers in a box jutting out the building but even odder was some very old silent theatres that had the screen painted on the back wall of the stage had a structure built to house the massive vitaphone horn

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Sam D. Chavez
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From: Martinez, CA USA
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 - posted 08-07-2018 05:58 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They were used a lot on the west coast. We called them dog houses for some reason. They started out as mono (mostly A7 or A5's) but when stereo became a reality there were shallower speakers for the left and right. Just harvested some really nice A5's out of one of of those complexes.

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John H. Crawford
Film Handler

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From: Carbondale Illinois USA
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 08-07-2018 06:30 PM      Profile for John H. Crawford   Email John H. Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Scott: good question. And they don't seem the most weathertight as well, not considering you caulk them up good between the box and the walls.

Surely a "doghouse" made of steel or metal with a hinged door to service the speaker would have been a better alternative.

I notice this practice was not used on theatres that Kerasotes built later on in the 80s. They actually built the screen out a few feet with a stage area behind the screen for the speakers, especially with the advent of stereo sound...

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Sam D. Chavez
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From: Martinez, CA USA
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 - posted 08-07-2018 06:48 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There were some houses that converted to front/surround instead of full stereo mainly because there was no room for left/right speakers.

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Justin Hamaker
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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 08-07-2018 06:51 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
So, how would they service the loudspeakers, then? Would it require taking down the entire screen? Or would they open the box from outside?
My theatre has 3 auditoriums with these boxes. When the speaker does need service it requires a ladder or scaffold on the outside or unlashing the screen. Although the structure of these boxes is sound, we do have some rot on the exterior plywood which needs to be addressed, but it may require taking the screen offline for a day.

These boxes are pretty well insulated so there isn't a lot of sound audible from outside. If you are standing within about 10 feet you can hear the speaker, but not much beyond that. There is nothing on the back side of the theatres so it's not an issue.

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John H. Crawford
Film Handler

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From: Carbondale Illinois USA
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 - posted 08-07-2018 06:53 PM      Profile for John H. Crawford   Email John H. Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here's another old Kerasotes theater with this speaker setup, the Dexter Twin Cinema in Dexter, MO that opened in 1977. The doghouses even have roofing shingles on their tops, from what I can see.

https://goo.gl/maps/qXxo6NX8ALE2

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Louis Bornwasser
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From: prospect ky usa
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 - posted 09-01-2018 12:03 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speakers. Born out of the theory that the front row of seats would be too close to the screen. Did it myself for a miserly theatre owner. ONE auditorium of 8 had stereo so the wall was moved in by exactly 3 feet. No one noticed that this room was different. 20 years later stereo was needed and a war ensued over adding the walls. Walls were added. Now the second row was exactly the same as row 1 used to be. Still no one noticed.

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