Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Silent Movies

    There was a time when movies were all
silent! The actors had to portray their
character's emotions through their
expressions and gestures.
    T thought that was many years ago.....
until Sunday night!
    My wife and I paid another visit to the
Garden Drive In Theater to take in the
popular animated feature "Despicable
Me II."
    Of course Drive In Theaters don't have
those speaker you used to put in your car
window to hear the feature.    
    The theater's radio transmitter was working
fine as the twilight faded into darkness. It was
blasting some "tune" that I can't name and
wouldn't care to hear again anyway.
     Then the spotlights on the concession
stand went dark and the screen when bright
with a preview of a coming attraction.
      But, alas, there was no sound.
      The preview stopped, then restarted,
but still our speaker was filled with what
we in broadcasting call "dead air."
       The first frame of the featured movie
popped up next. But the two "Minions"
seen on screen might just as well have been
Charlie Chapman and Buster Keaton because
if they were saying anything, we couldn't
hear it!
       My thoughts flashed back to the days
when my Dad was a Projectionist. He showed
the first sound movie in our hometown of
Hazleton. He had to synchronize a record of
Al Johnson singing with the actor's lips on
screen. And he checked those Drive In
Speakers in later years to make sure they
were working right!
     Now theaters are using digital projectors.
You insert a small package into the machine
and press a button to start the show. It's as
easy as that ...EXCEPT when something
goes wrong!
    Since many theaters have a Manager that
doesn't know much about projecting except
how to press the button.
     I don't know who knows or doesn't know
what at the Drive In. But we waited well over
a half hour before those two "minions"
re-appeared on the screen and started to make
noises we could hear in our car! Of course
half the drivers in the place were blowing
their car horns well before that. As if their
horns could magically fix the sound problem!
    I had finished most of my pop corn by
then and had already opened my Twisters
    I felt bad for the Dads who had hoped to
get the feature in for their kids and still get
home in time for some sleep before their
Monday morning work shift.
    In the end we did see and hear the whole
show though we left a lot latter than
originally planned. Of course there would
have been no problem with the "old
fashion" speaker system!
     Hope they did better with their second
feature! I was well down the road before
Intermission even got started!
     Hope you're on "sound ground" , movie
or not, and that all your NEWS is good!

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