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I want this to be fiction, but afraid it is not

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  • I want this to be fiction, but afraid it is not

    Very long twitter thread about a projectionist from hell

  • #2
    Quote from the above twitter thread: "the other projectionist, Matt, would bring clam chowder for lunch every single day, "

    Years ago, the relief guy who ran the booth on my night off liked to snack on sardines, and he'd just toss his
    sardine tins, that always still had some residual oil & fish-bits, into the trash, which would stink up the booth
    overnight to where it really smelled 'like something died in there" when I would come into work the next day.

    Not only that, but he'd often leave fish-oily finger prints on the walls and even even on some of the switches, so
    that after a few change-overs, my own hands smelled I'd been cleaning fish. ( The cat really loved me when I'd
    come home after work!) I dropped in on him during his shift one night, and spoke to him about it. He was a nice
    guy and he completely understood my objections, so after that he was more careful about keeping his hands
    clean & not leaving any smelly trash in the booth. He eventually got a permanent assignment at another theater,
    which, ironically, was near the waterfront, where he could eat all the smelly fish-guts he wanted & nobody down
    there would probably notice. (especially at low tide)

    I thought my problems were over, but the next guy The Union sent me to replace him was addicted to pistachio
    nuts- the friggin' RED ones. ( ! ) He was reasonably good at picking up all the empty shells, but now I had to
    deal with little red finger-prints all over the place. So, one week I left him a short note and a big bag of un-dyed
    white pistachios, and he got the message.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Twitter stuff
      Management moved Matt to being an usher, where he used a backpack vacuum on the movie screen, ripping a hole in it.
      He clearly hadn't taken the time to see the Harkettes' screen cleaning training video, then.

      Reminds me of the time someone called from a theater in Nebraska, asking if we sold screen repair kits. What exactly did he mean by a screen repair kit, I asked. "You know, like the kits you buy for fixing punctures in bike tires, only with white patches rather than black ones. Some kids were in last night and thought that Avengers picture sucked, so they shot the screen up again. There are so many holes in it now that I've really gotta do something about it." Apparently that was by no means the first time that his customers had opened fire on the screen to protest against bad movies.

      It only occurred to me after the call was over to ask if any of his loudspeakers still worked, given that they were presumably in the firing line as well.


      • #4
        Way back when I was working in a nice little neighborhood theatre, The Campus Theatre in Bryan-College Station TX -- and "little," back then was substantial 850 seats! -- my relief projectionist was a 60s something sweet lady named Peggy and I was a green 21 yrs old. It was very unusual back then for women to be union projectionists. We got to be good friends; she always had the day shift while I always had the night shift so when I came in, there was always food that she made for me that she left on the rectifier to keep warm. Jim's story about sardines reminded me of the awesome clam chowder soup she would leave for me. We really had some fun times in that sweet theatre.

        Every Friday night, our boss, Mr. Schulman, ran soft porn for the A&M Aggies; Texas A&M was directly across the street from the theatre. All the guys knew that what we played for the Fri midnight show -- no marquee, no 1-sheets showing the name or images of the films, just an A-frame out on the sidewalk proclaiming "Midnight Show Tonite" Everyone know what that meant. No one ever asked what's the title of the film that night or who was starring in it, No one ever asked," So what's the midnight movie about?" Thing is, what these films were, they were XXX Hollywood-produced porno films that some outfit in Mexico would edit to make them "soft" -- splicing out all the explicit sex scenes. So there would be this build-up to the sex scene and just when it was about to happen, you'd hear the splice run thru the gate and about 2 seconds later, all 800 pius horny aggies down below would be hootin and hollerin and stamping their feet on the floor. It sounded like a tornado was hitting the building. You could smell the testosterone. The strange thing is, they all KNEW that was what we showed and that they would never see the actually porn, but they came anyway -- always sold out the whole house!

        The very first time I ran one of those shows, at the first coitus interruptus splice, I hear this building-shaking rumbling as everyone is stomping on the floor and I look out the port and see guys throwing soda cups and pennies and popcorn boxes folded into projectiles at the screen. I didn't know what to, do so I shut down the show, which made them go crazy. The assistant manager came running up to the booth asking what was going on; why did the show stop. I explained that the audience was damaging the screen. He insisted I keep running the film. I was adamant; I said I wasn't going to continue, not until I talk to Mr. Schulman. I wasn't gong to be responsible for having the screen ruined. So the AM called the boss right then and there on the booth phone and handed the phone to me. Mr. Schulman said it was ok, just keep running the movie. He chuckled and said, "Listen Yankee-boy (my nickname), you know how much money we make on these skin flicks?" He explained,"I get them from Mexico for $75 flat. We make enough money on these shows that I can buy a new screen every two weeks. Just keep running the movie." Back to Projector #2 to finish the reel.


        • #5
          I had to repair a few screens with holes.

          Mostly, it was just small "barn door" tears from people throwing stuff. I used white adhesive tape, like doctors often use, bought from the local drug store. If you use the kind with the matte finish, instead of the glossy stuff, a careful repair is virtually invisible unless you walk right up to the screen and look for it.

          I suppose white gaffer's tape would also work.

          One time, I found an afro pick stuck in the screen. The tines stuck, perfectly, through the perforations in the screen. It was a one-in-a-million shot! I carefully puled it out and massaged the screen back into shape.

          Another time, a theater employee got fired and came in to watch a movie, the next day.
          The kid used a hunting knife to slash a three foot gash in the bottom of the screen, right along the webbing.

          I was able to make a temporary repair by sewing the screen back together with monofilament fishing line and covering it over with medical tape. There were a couple of wrinkles in the corner of the screen after I finished but the repair was otherwise passable.

          We did order a new screen but the repair lasted long enough to get by until then.

          I have no idea why they let that kid back into the theater after firing him.