More speaker replacement policy notices. I wonder what the average annual damage & replacement costs would have been?

More speaker replacement policy notices. I wonder what the average annual damage & replacement costs would have been?

The snipe as a true work of art!

(From a 1965 Coca Cola refreshment snipe.)

The snipe as a true work of art!

(From a 1965 Coca Cola refreshment snipe.)

White River Drive-In, White River Junction, Vermont

I was excited to do some basement digging last night, unearthing a ratty-looking photocopy of the Filmack Gold Book: a sales catalogue for drive-ins, which Filmack President Robbie Mack gave me several years ago. With its help, I immediately verified that the above frames from one of the intermission reels in Northeast Historic Film’s Donald C. Brown, Jr. Collection were all from Filmack productions.

    What I had previously termed the “Clown Clock” might now be better termed the “Economical 3-in-1 Clock,” according to this Filmack sales description. Also note that what we might more properly term the “F-L-E-X-I-B-L-E 3-minute Clock” was apparently ‘restored’ on April 15, 1998. Finally, we can accurately term the intermission tag starring a boxing-ring-like Round Card Girl the “Girl Magician Clock Shell.” Unfortunately, there are no dates associated with the Gold Book (at least not in the photocopied incomplete amalgam I received from Mr. Mack), but at least we can confirm Filmack authorship of these classic snipes. 

    As for the Vermont drive-in, which owner Allan Graves opened on June 12, 1952, the Hartford Historical society has written a wonderful brief history about the theatre, here. The theatre closed in the late 1980s—likely when Donald C. Brown, Jr. salvaged the intermission reel now cared for by the NHF. 

Trippy Clock
Something nifty from the Donald C. Brown, Jr. Collection.

Trippy Clock

Something nifty from the Donald C. Brown, Jr. Collection.

ABC Southeastern Theatres Header

    The location of the Family Drive-In referenced above (4308 N. Broadway) was eventually transformed into Knoxville’s Northgate Shopping Center. This was a common fate for scores of drive-ins, which (like the suburban malls of today) were often strategically located on major automotive thoroughfares, yet distant from the restrictive geography of more densely populated pedestrian business districts.

    As Mary Morley Cohen notes in her 1994 Film History essay, “Forgotten Audiences in the Passion Pits: Drive-in Theatres and Changing Spectator Practices in Post-War America,” the 1970s saw the film industry shift away from fancy exhibition venues such as movie palaces and drive-ins, toward theatres situated in malls—a phenomenon Cohen terms, “the malling of the drive-in.”

    Built in 1950, the Knoxville Drive-In was torn down in 1982, replaced by another shopping facility which, today, houses the Earth Fare grocery store.

    Given the film’s Eastman [PLUS-TRIANGLE] edge-code, suggesting the film stock was manufactured in 1973, and the 1982 closure date of the Knoxville Drive-In, we are able to narrow the date range of production for this snipe. 

Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound’s Intermission Reel

    On President’s Day, I found myself in Knoxville and decided to pay Bradley Reeves (co-founder, with his partner Louisa Trott, of TAMIS) a visit. [Bradley and Louisa, and their friend Jim Childs, host a weekly radio show of audio ephemera and local music on WDVX.] 

    Jeff Lambert at the National Film Preservation Foundation suggested I speak with the fine folks at TAMIS, as they received NFPF grants to preserve several local Knoxville business advertising snipes that were on nitrate stock. After a long and overly nerdy hangout, Bradley asked me to take a look at two intermission reels on safety stock, which he and TAMIS had acquired.

    Above is video of the latter portion of one of the intermission reels, beginning with the local ads which were situated after an ABC Southeastern Theatres “Now Showing” tag, and this trailer for the 1980 trailer for the Dolly Parton vehicle, 9 to 5. (Thanks as always to Alice Moscoso for indulging my obsession, and letting me borrow her split reels.)

    Here’s the playlist:


"Ask them for your free merchants tickets"
     Patrons who mentioned these on-screen snipe ads were likely able to solicit free movie tickets from these businesses.


"Paul Parrott’s Shoe Store, 4618 Kingston Pike Center"
    Bill R. Edmonds, who passed away Saturday, April 12, 1997 at the age of 60, was the former owner of Paul Parrott’s Shoes.

Clown Clock: 3 mins til Showtime
My suspicion, given the B&W rudimentary nature of this clock, is that these are Filmack-produced trailers. Still searching for evidence in INSPIRATION.
 
"Velda Rose Cleaners, 4829 Newcomb St."
    Velda Rose was a Knoxville business from 1977-1993.

"We’re as Regular as Taxes. We’re Open Every Night."
    Oddly, I always think this joke is amusing.

"Beaty Chevrolet, 437 North Broadway"
    Still around, reppin’ (as my Uncle Graham calls it) “Chev” and the Motor City. 


Clown Clock: 2 mins til Showtime
Snipes oracle Jack Theakston makes a good point that the voice-over is particularly un-Chicago-like.

"Chandler’s & Co., 428 West Depot"
No internets info on this one.

"If you have any car trouble…"

"Kingston Pike Fruit Market, 5105 Kingston Pike"
Google Street View suggests that this was located where a strip mall currently resides.


Clown Clock: 1 min til Showtime

"Dixieland Restaurant, 4931 Kingston Pike"
Check out this now-defunct Knoxville chicken joint—complete with “Chicken in the Rough”! Miam-miam!

"Let’s All Go to the Lobby"
    Otherwise known in Filmack sales catalogs as, Technicolor Refreshment Trailer No. 1, this cultural icon was animated by Dave Fleischer and released in 1951.

"Enter the Academy Awards Contest" (Sponsored by the Knoxville Journal)
As I’ll demonstrate in a subsequent post, using the power of Filmack’s INSPIRATION catalogs, we can trace this snipe to Filmack.

DC-63: Cut Speaker Loss and Damage!!

    Drive-In patrons about to leave a satisfying night at the ozoner posed immense threats to theatre owners’ well-being when it came to intentional and unintentional speaker abuse.

    Here is a YouTube version of the Filmack trailer, DC-63, first advertised in this full-page INSPIRATION ad in August of 1956. This snipe is a great example of the conundrum of exactly what to name this movie: in the absence of an official title given in the Filmack sales catalogs, is its title best expressed as a colloquial one endowed by projectionists, or simply as the ordering code projectionists would use to purchase it (eg. “DC-63”)?

Speakers

    Speaker-maintenance was a serious matter for drive-in owners, as evidenced by Toledo, Ohio’s DAWO Corporation pitch for customizable lettering that proposes to deter theft (found in the 1954-55 edition of Theatre Catalog). DAWO’s DRF model ran $5.45 each (about $45 in 2011 dollars). With many drive-ins’ car capacities breaking 1,000, speaker-maintenance was no cheap matter. 

Koiled Kord

    Here’s another Theatre Catalog speaker ad (this one, for the “original and only” Universal model from Kansas City’s Drive-In Theatre Manufacturing Corporation) which mentions the Koiled Kords technology. Both the EPRAD Universal model and the Simplex speakers appear to also have Koiled Kords, yet make no specific reference to the company. 

Speaker Replacement & Drive-In Policy Snipes

    Courtesy of Bradley Reeves and the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, here are two brief snipes with helpful reminders for departing patrons of the Drive-In. 

Valentine’s Post

    This Dr. Pepper snipe has always definitively been a fan favourite, even in Mexico City where my own valentine is from and where I screened it last August.

    It’s also a great example of the emerging sophistication of snipes as evidence of national advertising campaigns taking advantage of screen advertising opportunities at both indoor, and ozoner, theatres. Writing in the 1954-55 edition of Theatre Catalog, an indispensably information-rich annual published mid-century by Jay Emanuel, the Public Relations Dept. of Colorado’s snipes production house Alexander Film Company provides additional primary source background on the practice:

    “Another type of 40-second film is produced specifically for a large manufacturer’s dealer organization. […] Seven-Up makes a series of films each year featuring their famous “Fresh-Up” family theme. Last year over 50,000,000 people saw these films in theatres all across the country. Drive-in and other concessions carrying Seven-Up benefitted too—as an indirect result. The Seven-Up company has been using film advertising for 17 years and recognizes the value of drive-ins as one of their most important audiences. More than 100 other national advertisers are using the theatre screen medium at the present time with more and more emphasis being put on drive-in advertising.”


    My favourite part is the ending, where it looks mysteriously like some wildlife creature is filling up that cup.

Filmack ‘Envelope’ Dater

    Here’s a video of a Filmack date strip for the Lyric Theatre. Thanks to the intact shooting chart, we can date this snipe to 1965 (and observe, as I mentioned in a previous post, that Filmack used the same background plate since 1949). We can also hear what Filmack’s “High Gain Loop 10” sounds like!

Butch Clock by Larry Reynolds

    Here’s another selection from Northeast Historic Film’s Donald C. Brown Jr. Collection: a countdown clock from an intact intermission reel. The clock is burglar-themed, containing characters from Butch a comic panel drawn by Larry Reynolds for Look magazine from the 1940s until 1971. You can see much of this clock here, along with the interesting Tony’s Pizza snipe (which has a local feel but was mass-distributed). 

Motion Picture Advertising Service

    The 35mm prints of the Butch clock also contain the “SP” coding system, [here: “SP6998-5” (the 5 minute clock), “SP6998-4” (the ‘4 TO GO’ image), etc.] suggesting they were produced by the Motion Picture Advertising Service, as with the video snack shell in my previous post.

    (You can see the first part of this code on the left side of the frame grab from the “1 MORE” portion of this clock. Unlike the “SP” codes from the Greek MPA shell, which were printed in between frames, these codes were written along the soundtrack side of the film in the area used for other types of codes, like film stock manufacturer information.)

Tim Reed IDs Motion Picture Advertising Service Edgecode

    Here’s a “snack shell” from my personal collection with some nice Greek tropes going on.

    On these 35mm prints, there is print-through of handwritten codes like “SP-9993,” “SP-9994,” etc.

    Snipes guru Tim Reed has suggested these codes correlate to snipes produced by the Motion Picture Advertising (MPA) Service.

Voyage of the Damned (1976) Passes Maryland Censors
    Tracking down the “DU-48399” code at the Maryland Board of Censors, I was able to discover that this interstitial remnant from my personal collection once preceded a print of the 1976 film, Voyage of the Damned, starring Faye Dunaway.

Voyage of the Damned (1976) Passes Maryland Censors

    Tracking down the “DU-48399” code at the Maryland Board of Censors, I was able to discover that this interstitial remnant from my personal collection once preceded a print of the 1976 film, Voyage of the Damned, starring Faye Dunaway.

Dating Let’s All Go to the Lobby: 1951!

    The upper blue graphic from the June 1948 issue of INSPIRATION shows Filmack employing anthropomorphized candy characters, several years before Dave Fleischer would immortalize similar ones in his Filmack-produced, Technicolor Refreshment Trailer No. 1 (aka the National Film Registry title, Let’s All Go to the Lobby).

    The green image beneath is the full-page inside cover of INSPIRATION’s August, 1951 issue—-the first Filmack ad promoting what was destined to become the paramount example of concessions snipes. Importantly, as my forthcoming AMIA article outlines, INSPIRATION enables us to date Let’s All Go to the Lobby to 1951 (six years earlier than the NFR originally dated the movie) and consider it within the context of diminishing market shares among indoor theatre owners facing of the explosion of the immediate post-war drive-in industry. 

    No intermission break at the NYU Cinematheque’s double feature of Blood on the Moon (Robert Wise, 1948) & Fly By Night (Robert Siodmak, 1942) tonight, but the screening sure did add to my pleasure, comfort and relaxation.

    No intermission break at the NYU Cinematheque’s double feature of Blood on the Moon (Robert Wise, 1948) & Fly By Night (Robert Siodmak, 1942) tonight, but the screening sure did add to my pleasure, comfort and relaxation.