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 run 70mm.

#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 there.

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 left.

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.