UA Greenwood Plaza
Englewood, CO, USA
Here it is, the mighty United Artists Greenwood Plaza 12. This
was the closest theater to the UA corporate offices for a long time and
as a result was the theater that got lots of cool toys to play with.
A shot of the theater looking straight on. At the very right
edge of the picture, you can see what is a Big-O Tire shop. It was
great being able to work at the theater and have your tires rotated and
changed every single day without exception. Too bad they didn’t give
us a “retailer/vendor in the same parking lot” discount.
And finally a shot of the right angle of Greenwood, but get this….
This picture was taken AT NIGHT! Can you believe that? Photoshop
ensures that the parking lot is always clean.
A blurry shot of the lobby. The concession stand is modified
to serve personal pizzas (which I took advantage of every Monday… for free!)
and other such nonsense.
The hallway that leads to all 12 auditoriums. Sometimes customers
will venture through this hallway to arrive at their destination, which
usually happens to be a movie auditorium. Satellite concession stand
is on the right.
Here is auditorium #4, which is one of the large houses. All
auditoriums have since been “upgraded” to stadium style seating to follow
the current stadium seating fad sweeping the nation. Actual aluminum
bleachers were used to mimic a stadium as closely as possible, along with
hot dog vendors walking up and down the aisle throughout the movie (just
kidding about that last part).
Once you travel upstairs in an attempt to get to the projection booth,
you pass though a hallway with employee lockers. Notice the sign
that says “Silence” above the entryway to the booth. This is strictly
enforced and as such movie projectors are too noisy and not allowed to
be run here. Customers sit in an auditorium for two hours enjoying
the blank screen. They love it.
Shot of the booth looking north towards Alaska. 5 projectors
on one side, 7 on the other separated only by the staff break room thoughtfully
built right into the booth itself.
Shot on the other end of the booth looking south, toward Mexico.
Obviously this shot was taken at night since it is dark in this picture.
All auditoriums had the current (as of early 90’s) Strong package and Dolby
CP65 sound processors. 1/4 of all the auditoriums at Greenwood could
#4 projector (this is the same house you saw the auditorium for above,
what are the chances of that coincidence?) Equipped with film cleaner
bracket, DTS, SDDS, Dolby Digital (cat 699!) magnetic and even optical
analog sound! You can see the scanner for the barcode reader near
the failsafes. Automation was Strong BCA-10. Notice all of
the wires going out of the porthole? That was for strobe lights set
up just to run the Jurassic Park 2: Lost World trailer. The strobe
lights would flash in sync with the DTS unit (they used the same timecode).
The booth staff got free Lost World t-shirts out of the deal. We ran the
trailer for maybe a month at most. The #4 auditorium is also such
an important theater that there could be no keystoning for the slide presentation,
thus the thoughtful placement of the slide port window.
A shot of #8, a typical non-70 auditorium with all of the digital flavors.
You can see the Strong BCA-10 automation mounted to the wall on the right
side of this picture.
The threading pattern for #9 (another of the large auditoriums) when
it ran in SDDS. We didn’t feel the need to thread through every single
digital reader every time. Just the one being used was enough.
But Ian Price felt the need to draw “bypass” threading paths anyway, to
ensure our crazy projectionist “Steve” got it right.
#9’s sound rack. Featuring from top to bottom: United Artist
signage, Dolby Digital DA10, microphone for making auditorium announcements
such as “Please step away from the screen”, satellite radio device used
for non-sync (every auditorium played a different channel depening on what
movie was showing), Dolby MPU1, empty space, Dolby CP65, switch for
MPU power supply (normal or spare), Component Engineering booth monitor,
and QSC amps. On the left was the first SDDS unit that UA purchased,
and was the first SDDS sound system in Colorado, and remained the ONLY
one for quite awhile. The SDDS was installed the day I began working
Here is the booth desk, right behind #6 (notice the MPU1 in the rack).
That radio sucked. Blame Erika for that one. Ian felt the need
to put a “Greenbooth” sticker on it. Like anyone would steal that
thing! That is the typical amount of film cans we’d have at any given
time, being that we always built up 3 or 4 movies each week for the owner,
VP of concessions, etc etc to watch in their screening rooms at home.
We also did many of the trade screenings.
Right behind the booth desk was the film handling area. That
radio sucked as well. I think crazy projectionist “Steve” was responsible
for that one. It’s probably still there collecting dust. Ian
felt the need to spray paint “booth” on all four sides of the trash can
to avoid confusion. Notice the extra durable reel cabinets to the
What the hell is this? Why it’s a sound rack for the Fargone
Speaker Project, which UA invested $250,000 before deciding it sucked.
The theory was that you could take 8" guitar amp speakers and mount them
in a tall, slim enclosure with the units facing up. Above the speaker as
an angled piece of plywood that directed the sound towards the audience.
There were no highs, so they put in tweeters. The tweeters faced each other
one above the other to create 365 degrees of sound. The sound rack is full
of crossovers, parametric equalizers and delays in order for the system
to sound like speakers at all. A real sound system with JBL speakers
was installed at the last minute.
#4 set up for a Proteus show. Proteus (later renamed Satellite
Theater System Network or some crap like that) used video projectors, computers,
remote keypads for the audience, etc to conduct surveys, business meetings,
and other boring things that brought money in for the theater and extra
hours for me. Here is the Proteus computer which the booth staff
used to surf the internet during shifts. To the right of that was
the crappy Proteus wireless microphone system. Between the projector
and the platter you can see the JVC/Hughes video projector.
A blurry picture of the video projector telling patrons that they can
get a free ticket if they stay and answer questions on the remote keypad
after the show. Questions like “What can we do to get you to buy
more crap at the concession stand?” along with multiple choice answers
are projected on the screen. The masking would open from 1.33 all
the way to 2.39 as the first trailer started.
Better shot of the Hughes/JVC video projector showing the above image
before a show. This projector was often used to play videogames in
the auditorium on the big screen after hours. That was really fun!
Here is the satellite rack we used for business meetings that were
broadcast live into the auditoriums. On the left is a dual LaserDisc
changeover system. On Mondays and Wednesdays we would rent two copies
of old classic movies on LD and program this player to do changeovers,
making the side changes seamless.
The Interfilm system. Here we would insert 3 LaserDiscs and the
system would play a half hour interactive “movie” for the audience.
Each seat had built in joysticks with three buttons on them. At certain
points in the program the audience would “vote” on what they would like
to see/happen next. The whole project was a miserable failure and
the joysticks were eventually replaced by cupholders after about a year
of sitting idle. The only two programs ever shown (or made) for the
Interfilm system were Mr. Payback (starring Billy Warlock & Christopher
Lloyd) and Ride for your Life (starring Adam West).
We leave with a nicely lit shot of the Strong AP3 platter in #5 threaded
up and ready to go.
Special thanks to Joe Redifer for the pics.