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Boxoffice-January.17.1953

3 s J = .1 o ot IfiO Q t

3 s J = .1 o ot IfiO Q t as o •

New Equipment Big News, Too Third Dimension Rushing Toward Movie Screens Third-dimension motion pictures, bigscreen projection and other equipment improvements were big news in the trade this week. With the success of Cinerama in New York, Arch Oboler's "Bwana Devil" in Natural Vision in Los Angeles, and the British Tri-Opticon program at the Telenews Theatre in Chicago, new third-dimensional systems and big-screen projection plans were popping everywhere it seemed. TWO 3-DIMENSION SYSTEMS Inventors announced two entirely new third-dimension systems for projecting motion pictures, neither one of which require the use of polaroid glasses or other viewing devices. From almost every angle it looked like a revolution in equipment was under way—at least it will be if all the ideas projected turn out successful. Here are developments of the week: 1. A third-dimensional system, called Tri- Dim, was reported tested successfully at Trotwood, Ohio, and to have been projected successfully on both a flat screen and beaded screen. It does not require special viewing glasses. 2. In Fayetteville, Ark., a semi-retired engineer. Dr. Edgar Fuller, said he had closed a deal with a group of west coast exhibitors to show a third-dimension system he patented in 1938. It requires only the use of a grid or refracting mirror between the projector and screen to create a third-dimension effect. It does not require viewing glasses. 3. At 20th Century-Fox it was announced that the company is experimenting with panorama-type pictures via both theatre projectors and television and it was planning to hold a demonstration of its big-screen system using 50mm film. 4. Twentieth Century-Fox also will release a third-dimensional feature using its own process. Tests are underway on the coast for a large-screen French process which features a screen several times the size of the ordinary screen. This process utilizes 35mm film. TO MARKET NEW TV SCREEN 5. National Theatre Supply Co.. at a regional sales meeting in Cleveland, announced it will place a large theatre TV screen for drive-ins as well as conventional theatres on the market about March 1. The screen will cost about the same as present screens. 6. National Theatre Supply also displayed its new 3-D Excelite equipment for thirddimensional pictures. W. J. Turnbull, sales promotion manager, and J. W. Servies, vicepresident in charge of sales, said NTS has 148 orders on the books for the equipment and estimated that about 388 installations would be made this year. The cost will be about $1,000 unless booth remodeling is required. BOXOFFICE :: January 17, 1953 Third Dimension Tested Without Use of Viewers TROTWOOD, OHIO—The first successful test of a third-dimensional system, called Tri-Dim, was reported to have been made here this week. The announcement was made by Robert Gump. The system was developed by Stu Sheldon of Trotwood and William Heintz of Chicago. Gump said that Tri-Dim does not require any special screen nor does the viewer have to wear glasses. The system works equally well on a flat or beaded screen although for the test a Da-Lite beaded screen was used. The system Is the result of 18 years of research by Sheldon and Heintz. Sheldon said that all present cameras can be converted to take Tri-Dim pictures, which would enable studios to produce the product within a very short time. Theatre installation costs will be reasonable, he added. Dr. Henry Goldman, member of the state board of opthalmology, who acted as a consultant in the tests, declared that to the best of his knowledge this is the first time that a projected image on a flat screen had a depth equal to what the human eye .sees. Turnbull also said that because polaroid glasses, used to view third-dimension films, reduce light by about 50 per cent, a new high-intensity screen and high-intensity lamps are a must and, to obtain the light, generators mu.st be new or reasonably new. Without high-intensity light, the picture will not be clear. At the same time, Fox West Coast Theatres announced it had developed a new-type screen and was spending $150,000 to install it in 110 theatres in California and Arizona Called Polorama, it was developed under supervision of R. H. McCullough, the circuit's director of research and engineering. The screen has been hailed by Charles Skouras. circuit head, as providing greater depth to photography, eliminating eye strain, increasing Illumination and permitting projection without distortion. McCullough said the screen is seamless and perforated for best sound transmission and is custom manufactured for the width of the theatre and angle of projection involved. At the National Theatre Supply sales meeting in Cleveland, representatives from the central district were present, in addition to home office executives and a num.ber of executives of equipment manufacturing firms. Servies, Turnbull and John Goshhorn of the theatre seating department represented the home office. California Exhibitors To Show Arkansan's 3-Dimension System FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.—A new process for showing third dimension motion pictures which uses standard projection and ordinary film and creates the illusion of depth by merely placing a grid or refracting mirror between projector and screen was announced here this week. Dr. Edgar I. Fuller, semi-retired engineer now living here, said he had authorized a group of west coast exhibitors headed by M. J. Naify to assume motion picture rights for the process, and that a demonstration for theatremen will be held on the coast January 20. Naify, who is a.ssociated with United California Theatres, Golden State Theatre and Realty Corp. and T&D Enterprises, Inc., closed the deal last week. Dr. Fuller revealed that he had patented his invention in 1938 and it calls for use of the grid or refracting mirror placed between the projectors and the screen, "to achieve the illusion of a third dimension—of depth, roundness, and softness in images." The method does not require special glasses of any kind, and utilizes standard 35mm projectors and film. Dr. Fuller said the refraction device is the secret of the system, and explained that he had worked on it for a great many years before patenting it. He bases it on a series of intricate mathematical equations. He first applied for a patent in 1935 when he was employed as an engineer for the late C. M. Joiner, noted Texas oilman. He has been perfecting it ever since, but until the current interest in third dimensional motion pictures made no effort to place it into production. The Associated Press contacted Naify in San Francisco, and the circuit owner said he was acting as Dr. Fuller's agent in arranging demonstrations of the system. While not revealing details of the deal, he said it would possibly involve a million dollars. The plan is to charge exhibitors a rental for using the system in their theatres, with Fuller getting a percentage of the annual rentals. If the system proves practical, all an exhibitor will have to do to provide third dimensional films is to rent the refracting mirror and use it on his regular projector and in connection with any film he books. The inventor said his patent runs for some years yet. At present he is working on a method which will make it adaptable for television. His agreement with Naify is for motion picture theatres only. Natural Vision Will Make Its Own 3-D Equipment LOS ANGELES—Natural Vision, the third dimensional system used for the current "Bwana Devil," now has an equipment-manufacturing associate. The company which created the system has formed a firm to manufacture booth equipment necessary to show the product. The aim is to supply exhibitors with equipment to synchronize projectors during the current heavy demands for playdates. A kit with necessary equipment will be available, for installation by projectionists. 13