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Did you lose your 3D image?                                             With construction of the drive-in
            A few frames in sequence - crack,                                  under way, Geoff was offered the job to
          crack, crack, crack as they went                                     open it. Geoff put it to me to go with
          through the machine - and you'd feel                                 him. He would take Field One and I
          your right eye blinking. You got an                                  would have Field Two. So it came to
          impression that you had a nerve                                      pass that we started there about a
          twitching in your eye.                                               month before the theatre opened,
                                                                               helping Westrex install the equipment
          Even before the film was damaged you
                                                                               and generally setting up the place. Both
          wouldn't want to have one of the
                                                                               fields held 750 cars each; they were
          projectors shift out of alignment.
                                                                               identical actually, 1,500 cars in total.
            We used to check regularly with
          two copies of an alignment film, one in                              That must have been an enormous
          each machine. The target film had a                                  wiring job?
          chart with a cross in the middle, and we                                All done with trenching, laying the
          would move each machine until the                                    wires, sand over and then bluestone
          crosses were a perfect overlap.                                      metal put over the top. Then the ramps
                                                                               were sealed. The apprentice electricians
          All this came up at a time when you
                                                                               came along and located the coils of
          still had one year left for your sound
                                                                               wire under the ground and dug holes to
                                                                               put the speaker poles in - all by hand.
            I had to get a special licence to say
                                                                               Junction boxes were put on top of the
          I could be a projectionist for the season
                                                                               poles, and the wires brought up the
          of Kiss Me Kate. Once I had my
          licence I was shifted around to the
                                                                                  There were a few cock-ups. The
          Metro Bourke Street and Metro
                                                                               walk-in pavilion in back of Field One
          Malvern for the holiday relief. Tommy
                                                                               had outdoor furniture and speakers.
          Millane was a licensed projectionist
                                                                               When they came to stoke up the sound
          doing a lot of relief work on the Metro
                                                                               system in One, the lights were flashing
          circuit at this time. Tommy drifted off
                                                                               in the pavilion in time with the sound.
          into other things and that left the door
                                                                               They had wired the sound into the
          open for me to become relieving
                                                                               lights. Fortunately they didn’t put 240
          projectionist at the Metro Collins  Kiss Me Kate competed            volts down into the sound system!
          Street and the Metro Malvern.     with the opening of The Robe at the
                                                                                  The cafeteria, was an ‘island’ at the
                                            Regent a few doors away.
          What do you remember about Bourke                                    back of each field, separating them, and
                                            The Herald Tues. 15 Dec.1953.
          Street and Malvern?                                                  behind each field was a car holding
            Malvern had Australian-made                                        area big enough to hold enough cars for
          Centrex projectors. It was a theatre with  Apparently MGM had a lot of  another capacity house at the next
          acoustic problems, which required  shares in General Motors, which they  session.
          absorbent panels set into the walls.   pulled out to finance the building  The projection rooms were 450-feet
                                            program. When I started at Metro the
            At Bourke Street the projectors                                    (137m.) back from each screen, and the
                                            story was that Australian law only
          were Super Simplex. The booth was in                                 screens were 116-feet wide (35m.) by
                                            allowed them to remit the equivalent of
          the old spotlight box above the Upper                                50-feet high (15m.), which gave a 2.3:1
                                            20 cents in the dollar. So they
          Circle, at an angle of about 20 degrees                              (CinemaScope) ratio.
                                            accumulated all this wealth in Australia
          to the screen.                                                          And all the drive-ins MGM built,
                                            and had it in General Motors shares.
            Metro theatres had standby                                         even in Italy, all the projection rooms
          generators, hefty ones that could run  How did you get involved in   were 450-feet back from the screen and
          the whole theatre without you knowing  establishing the Metro Twin at  used identical focal length lenses.
          that you were on standby power.   Clayton?                              The projectors were American
          Malvern used them a bit because they  I was working with the chief   Century with R2 soundheads - single
          seemed to be on the end of the power  projectionist who’d come down from  sprocket soundheads. They were a
          line, but city theatres never seemed to  Brisbane - Geoff Atkinson. He was to  soundhead made or designed from the
          have trouble.                     take over the Metro Malvern, but was  re-recording head in America. The arcs
            I was on relief for about three years,  transferred to Collins Street when Tom  were Cinex with 18-inch diameter
          from about 1956. Then we heard the  Payne, the chief there took ill. Tom  (7cm) mirrors. We used 165 amps to
          news that MGM were going to build  transferred to Malvern where there was  run black carbons, through silver
          drive-ins in Newcastle, Adelaide and  less pressure, only two shows a day. At  contacts to get the current to the end of
          Perth, with Melbourne and Sydney  Collins Street Geoff took over as chief  the carbon, and water-cooled of course.
          each getting a twin.              projectionist for MGM theatres in  The weight of an anamorphic lens was
                                            Melbourne.                         like lifting an artillery shell on to the

          16  2008 CINEMARECORD
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