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government, I think - coming off the
          wharves without paying tax. They
          would bring in a new screen almost
          every year. When I first went there the
          screen was woven fibre-glass, it gave a
          magnificent result.
            I came in virtually on Showboat
          when I was well into the projectionist’s
          course at the Melbourne Technical
          College (now RMIT University), and I
          would have been 20. I remember
          working the shift with Fred Lutchins
          who never showed the second cue on
          any of his changeovers. He was always
          a fraction of a second early with the
          changeover image.
            We had finished the show and were
          walking down Collins Street when he
          shook my hand and said,
          “Congratulations, you’ve done a good
          job,” and my head swelled to about
          twice its size. And chest thrown out I
          went home very happy that weekend.
          Just two of you in the bio-box?
                                            The projection room as Brian first saw it. In 1954 the Simplex projectors shown here
            That’s all. The equipment was
                                            were replaced by Centrex, with Ashcraft arcs.
          Simplex E7 front and rear-shutter
          projectors on Westrex master
          soundheads, the same as at the Regent
                                            Did you ever need a cold shower?      in which called for two projectionists -
          actually. MGM won an Academy
                                               It was a hot old box, yes, very hot.  one for each projector - and one
          Award for their flutter suppressor
                                            Summer days we used to get around  assistant on each shift. The machines
          system, which sat on the sound head to
                                            just in our white combination overalls  ran in tandem, and the assistant showed
          stop any flutter coming back through
                                            and nothing underneath, except our  the slides and re-wound film.
          the sound. It wasn’t a big projection
                                            undies of course.
          room, only one projectionist could walk                              How big were the reels and how did
          behind the projectors at a time.   How long were the runs?           you do changeovers?
            The auditorium was a rebuild of the  Eight to ten weeks, usually. The  There were no changeovers. There
          Auditorium, with a horse-shoe shaped  weekend figures would decide. You  were two main projectors, the Simplex
          circle with wings, similar to the Regent.  could come in on Monday and have a  E7s, which showed a slightly better
          The Royal boxes were curtained in lush  new show, for all you knew. The length  picture than the older model Simplex,
          red velvet. There was a high arch  of run at the Metro determined how  which was the third machine. The E7s
          proscenium with two sets of curtains,  much rental could be charged on the  were interlocked and larger spool boxes
          one a heavy drape material, reddish, and  suburban circuit, so sometimes, as with  were attached to the projectors by
          behind it the silver tabs. Both sets were  a film like A Patch of Blue - which  Westrex Corporation. This allowed for
          motorised.                        came much later - they kept it on at the  just over an hour of film for the first
            A trapdoor next to the projection  Metro Drive-In (which I’ll come to  half - the feature came in two halves,
          room led into the ceiling where, if you  later) for twelve weeks. It wasn’t doing  with an interval - and you put on the
          looked down towards the stage, you  business for the last seven, but the brass  second two reels and synched them up
          could see the top to the original  could say, “It’s had this long run at the  by the footage feeder and then we ran
          proscenium and the plaster work of the  Metro Drive-in”, - all very political. I  the second half.
          original ceiling.                 didn’t get mixed up in that side of  And the audience wore special
                                            things. They sent the film, we made it
            As the Auditorium the theatre was                                  glasses?
                                            up and ran it.
          a two-circle job - a middle and an                                      Polaroid 3D glasses, polarized in
          Upper Circle. And just off the       I turned twenty-one while at the  the shape of a V - the right eye came
          projection room were the remnants of  Metro, which you had to be to hold an  down from the top right-hand corner
          the Upper Circle toilets, one of which  operator’s licence. I sat the exam just  and the left eye saw through a filter
          was kept as a toilet and the other was  prior to Kiss Me Kate coming out in a  which came down from the top left
          turned into a cold shower for the  3D twin-film process.             hand side of the screen.
          projectionists.                      I was part of the way through the
                                            examination, with only ‘Sound’ to do to
                                            obtain my licence, when this film came

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