Page 10 - CR
P. 10

The waiting cars would be lined up   Directly behind the main building was
                                             in Stanworth Road and into Sandgate   a combined work shed and generator
                                             Road. Police had to be hired to control   room which was maintained by the
                                             the traffic in and out of the theatre at   projectionist and was run every Monday
                                             these peak times. The theatre held 600   night to supply power to the whole
                                             cars which meant we could have up   theatre for the night.
          When Boondall first opened there was   to 1200 cars on a busy night and the
          such a demand that we only showed   average people per-car in those early
          a newsreel, a short and or a cartoon   days, was 3 to 3.5.
          and a couple of ‘trailers’, then a short
          interval to allow for a few more sales   The projectionist at a drive-in had more
          in the cafeteria followed by one movie   to do than one at a normal ‘hard top’
          per session.                       theatre. One of the extra tasks being the   At Boondall we also created a character
                                             need to maintain and service the ‘in-car   by the name of ‘Boondall Bertie’ who not
          Then we would empty the theatre    speakers’.  At the Boondall, that was   only featured on slides recommending
          between 9 and 9.30 pm and refill it for a   600 speakers and 300 junction-boxes   certain foods and drinks at the cafeteria
          second session!                    each containing a switch for the service   but was also involved with ‘Uncle Ian’
                                             lights, 3 bulbs and a volume control   and the Boondall Birthday Club. I had
                                                                                recorded a ‘chipmunk’ type voice for
                                             and of course the speaker cone itself.   ‘Boondall Bertie’.
                                             Particularly in the early days, it was not
                                             unusual to have several speakers ripped   Initially this was set up just for children
                                             out or souvenired nightly. These had to   but was later widened to include
                                             be repaired and replaced daily.
                                                                                people of all ages. Children received a
                                                                                package of lollies and adults received
                                                                                a pass for a car-load of people to the
                                                                                theatre and had their names called out
                                                                                over the theatre public address system
                                                                                on their birthday.

                                                                                This was very successful and ran for many
                                                                                years. The passes proved very popular and
                                                                                people tended to spend well at the cafeteria
                                                                                as they didn’t have to pay to come in..

                                                                                Patrons were encouraged to attend even
                                                                                on rainy nights because we always put a
                                                                                ‘special solution’ on their car windscreen
                                                                                that would enable them to see the movies
                                                                                clearly in the rain. People often asked
                                                                                what it was but were always told it was a
                                                                                ‘secret’ solution. In actual fact it was only
                                                                                a cake of the old plain ‘Bon-Ami’ that
                                                                                was wiped on to the windscreen and then
                                                                                hosed off. I guess other drive-ins used the
                                                                                same ‘special’ solution.

                                                                                Special occasions were celebrated
                                                                                in a big way at the Boondall. For
                                                                                example Guy Fawkes Night was still
                                                                                celebrated legally in Queensland at
                                                                                the time, so a large ‘Bon Fire’ would
                                                                                be erected over several weeks leading
                                                                                up to the night and for weeks before,
                                                                                patrons would bring timber down to
                                                                                help build our ‘Bon Fire’.

                                                                                On the night, a bag full of a mixture of
                                                                                crackers and sky rockets was given to
                                                                                everyone entering the theatre, the Bon
                                                                                Fire would be lit and everyone would
                                                                                gather around to set off their crackers
                                                                                and rockets. It was a great night for the
                                                                                whole family.

          10  2011  CINEMAREC ORD
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