Page 7 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2002 #37
P. 7

Briquette furnace
                 Exit                                    Exit


                                                                                 Cross Aisle

                     Stand by Manager              Switch
                      plant                        room
                              Tickets                                              Biobox
                                                   Ladies                  Rewind  Switchboard
                                    Foyer                                                        Store
                     Gents                                                                       room

                                             Nepean Highway
            The plan drawn from the author’s memory. There were twice as many rows in the circle as in the lounge; the number
          shown is only indicative. It must have been a shallow balcony because there were no side exits.

             The projection room protruded     After the curtains closed a great   After the arrival of television the
          into the auditorium and robbed the  fanfare played and the curtains would  theatre was forced into a policy of
          rear of the circle of a few seats.  re-open, as the decorative lights faded  restricted screenings - three nights a
          Seating capacity was 1095 in 1957.  to reveal a wide screen---wow what  week instead of the usual six.
             The heating plant was a briquette-  presentation---something that’s rare  After seven years under Mel’s
          fired furnace. Access was from the  these days. Most wide-screen films  management the Mayfair’s final
          laneway behind the theatre. A blower  were Paramount's VistaVision - a high  screening was 23 January 1960 with
          moved air across the furnace hot box  definition process.             MGM’s The Scapegoat. The theatre
          and into the auditorium through air  Mel’s contacts in the industry   was soon demolished for the widening
          chambers concealed by large plaster  helped to smooth over budget     of the Nepean Highway.
          grills above the stage side exits. The  problems. The
          system was very effective. Although  Mayfair never did
          air conditioning was out of the    have its own set of
          question, running the blower without  anamorphic lenses for
          the furnace in hot weather created  CinemaScope films.
          enough air movement, assisted by   Instead Mel arranged
          ceiling exhaust fans to let patrons feel  to borrow them as
          that their needs were understood.  needed from the
             The projectors were Powers (later  Western, West
          replaced with C& W Juniors, by     Brunswick (another
          Arthur Pyers) on RCA sound heads   Selleck house.) This
          (gate type) mounted on Powers      complicated the timing
          pedestals. The arcs were Colda and  of some bookings.
          looked rather ancient with asbestos  Programs were
          blankets hanging on the back to stop  booked from
          light glare. A definite No. No these  Paramount, B.E.F,
          days! The sound amplifier was a    M.G.M, Columbia,
          Gaumont-Kalee “Duosonic” mounted   Blake, and the
          on the wall between the projectors.  newsreels were from
          The wall and proscenium lights were  Cinesound.
          dimmed manually by means of slide
          resistors. The main houselights and
          curtains were electrically operated but
          the top and side masks were hand-                         The Mayfair came into its own when it showed
          winched from the projection room via                      continental films. The Herald Friday 2 Nov. 1956.
          very long cables.                                         (Source: State Library of Victoria.)

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