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 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 12:30 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Did they have an actual intermission during this showing of BEN-HUR? A few years ago, when I went to a Fathom Events showing of OKLAHOMA!, when the Intermission card came up, they blew right through it and proceeded directly into Act 2. (Hell, the last time I saw HELLO, DOLLY! at the American Film Institute, they did the same thing.)

Everything by the Roadshow book: Overture, Intermission (w/10 min. countdown) and Entr'acte. At my theatre, no "place cards" while there were at others.

On another point, everyone should know at this stage in the multiplex game that if something goes wrong in the projection booth, you can yell yourself hoarse in the theater, but nothing is going to happen. There is no one in that booth. Someone has to physically get up, leave the theater, and find a ticket taker or concession worker with a walkie-talkie who can get the on-duty manager. That is usually the only person who can get the problem resolved. Because no one seems to know this, I'm usually the person that has to get up and go out.

I smirked to my neighbor, "I doubt there's a projectionist, probably someone sitting in a control tower a couple miles down the road pushing buttons." But the catcalls were fun! And someone did show up eventually.

Speaking of that neighbor with the teenage daughters, when the administrative smoke finally cleared she said "It's a different generation today, that's for sure." As much as I appreciated her also mentioning the music she wasn't exactly hip to the music sans picture i.e. Overture thing herself. And as an aside, couldn't help but feel she and the kids were having some kind of a religious experience during the viewing. Me, with the audience shuffling from multiplex #4 to the lobby and then shuffling back to #4 it was more like a Clue experience.

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 12:55 PM   
 By:   leagolfer   (Member)

I remember watching cinema movies with preludes never seem to have that problem in the UK - last one I saw was Gettysberg I'm sure that movie had 2-3 preludes everyone was cool knew what was happening.

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 1:12 PM   
 By:   townerbarry   (Member)


 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 1:16 PM   
 By:   townerbarry   (Member)

Yesterday’s big screening of Ben-Hur per other current thread started off rather inauspiciously. There was no audio accompanying TCM host Ben Mankiewicz’s introduction. After the customary 20-30 seconds wait to see who would scream first some guy below beat me to the punch. Didn’t work. Next, not even my 4-finger Sensurround whistle mattered, ol’ Ben kept lip synching to nada. Finally the screen went blank. Rewind-Play-Ah that’s better. And how! was it better with the volume turned up and the Overture blasting away. Rozsa and Howard L in cinematic glory. I was really into it when 1/3-1/2 way through the...sound...went...out.

Uh oh, is it going to be one of those afternoons? Minutes went by. Nada. House lights remained down. Young usherette or whatever enters approaching stage right. She’s reporting to whomever on some device. Lady in the audience hollers, “There was sound but no picture!” Guy seconds later hollers, “It’s the OVERTURE there’s not supposed to be any picture!”

You realize this is absolute cannon fodder for somebody like me, a transplant from the NY-NJ Metropolitan area with natural hidden wiseguy talents. So to quell those instincts I turn to the lady next to me who’s there with her teenage daughters and explained, “This is the OVERTURE. You will not see that displayed on the screen like on TCM because in the Roadshow days it was just music, like when the orchestra plays the overture on the Broadway stage before the curtain rises. I think the guy’s right, they’re spooked because of the sound issue with Ben’s intro.”

More minutes go by. It's still dark. Mysterious usherette continues invisible conversation. Finally, the dreaded announcement from what appears to be the manager who just stepped in:

“Folks, we apparently were given a corrupted hard drive. We’re sorry, please exit the theatre and we will issue refunds in the lobby.”

Ugh. Nobody is leaving, absorbed in the unfolded disaster. Well I’m not waiting so I march down there and end up 2nd in line. “We drove an hour for this!” exclaims one lady to her husband. Little old lady in front of me, while the manager who is clearly flustered and having trouble with the first refund, strikes up conversation and I go through the lecture that I don’t think they realize there is nothing wrong with the screen, that’s why they call it an OVERTURE even if you don’t see OVERTURE.

It was said friendly and loudly enough for manager to hear even if he gave no response but no matter, I’m next and ready to engage powers of persuasion. Couple more minutes, still having trouble with first refund, when youngish ticket taker and usherette burst in and announce, “Folks, if you would please head back into the theatre there is nothing wrong. We just found out the screen is blank for the first minutes of music and then the movie starts.”

It’s good if this were to happen that it happened in the laid back Tampa Bay area where it’s just plain too hot to argue and give ‘em the I-told-you-sos and besides that when we all got back to our seats the usherette came in with free passes as a token gesture for all the weirdness this day.

What was listed as 3 hrs 40 min became 4 hrs 40 min. For nothing!!
roll eyes

Howard L....

This what you need to do...Sue. sue them very waste your valuable time, what were they show them All ...who is in charge and the boss...the criminal behavior and blatant failure at your expense. You Probaly can get major change because all the Mental Anguish you had to endure, Howard L. Please contact the Law Firm ...

Rabinowitz, Rabinowitz, And Rabinowitz.

Phone Number and Address Provided when Asked.

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 5:17 PM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

So these jokes would be lost on most folks today.

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 5:23 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

I also saw BEN-HUR in a Cinemark multiplex, this one in a suburb of Austin, TX (which actually has a theater downtown where they occasionally show classic films even without prompting from Phantom Productions). There was a small glitch at the beginning, as the starting time came and went. About 10 minutes past start time a harrassed-looking young man announced that they were having trouble with "the download," which was going slowly. I cleverly suggested that they consider upgrading their dial-up service, but the young man had no idea what I was talking about. A few old-heads chuckled. They gave out rain checks for a free movie, and promised that everyone could get refills on their popcorn, even if they hadn't purchased the bucket-sized large one, the only size that typically warrants a refill. Nobody was really complaining, but the rain check was nice. As it turned out, about 5 minutes later there was ol' Ben Mankiewicz up there on the screen, sound and all, and everything followed nicely from there. As far as I know, nobody had a problem with the blank-screen Overture. A good time was had by all, and there was a nice round of applause at the end. Somehow I doubt that whatever I see for free at the Cinemark with my rain check will be thin gruel compared to what I saw up there on the screen last Sunday!

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 6:20 PM   
 By:   Ray Worley   (Member)

This "no one in the projection booth" problem really gained traction some 30+ years ago when the platter system of projecting movies really started taking off. I saw the handwriting on the wall and got out of the exhibition business around that time. I had been a projectionist in a non-union town and later a manager in a more union-friendly town. It was a weak union though because we were in a "right-to-work" state (i.e. "right to pay sub-standard wages"). Cost-conscious theater chains started to realize they could lose their union (and even non-union) projectionists and just hire 18-19 year old "assistant-assistant managers", teach them how to splice film and change a Xenon projection bulb, and they had things covered. Most of the time all you needed was someone capable of pushing an on-and-off button. Sure, disasters sometime happened, but most of the chains kept one on-call technician to cover a large area to handle major breakdowns. Even small-time owners could contract a tech and the most they would usually lose was one day on one screen if something really bad happened. Hey, it ruined an audiences' day, but some free passes and popcorn was a small price to pay to save all those salaries.
Today's digital distribution system is less prone to failures but when they do happen they require an even more technical person who almost certainly is not going to be on premises. The young employee with "having problems with the download" story above was almost certainly bullshitting as I don't believe there is any "downloading" going on with a multiple Terrabyte digital copy of a huge movie (or even a standard movie) like BEN-HUR. He probably meant they were having trouble accessing the hard drive or other tech issue. Still, except for really special events, like Cinerama screenings, 70mm film screenings, maybe festival events, and world premieres; the days of having anybody in the booth (or even in the building) that can do anything but push the start button are long gone.

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 7:21 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

They weren't having a hard drive issue, they simply didn't know that there was no picture accompanying the Overture, so they concluded there had to be a hard drive issue. Somebody must've beat me to the punch and clued 'em in.

Btw, all this talk of projectionists/projection booth--impossible not to think of Cinema Paradiso. Impossible. Oh I love that one.

Rabinowitz, Rabinowitz, And Rabinowitz.

The house goy. Omigod LOL! we went through this how many years ago, was that you, townerbarry?! I'm gonna havta find that old thread--oh no not that again--I may not fall asleep tonight! big grin

...last one I saw was Gettysberg...

Ah the Yiddish version a la Fiddler in New York!

And hey LC anytime a Bugs Bunny is thrown into the mix that's a big plus in my book. wink

 Posted:   Apr 20, 2019 - 11:18 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

We've had a thread before on what the last film was that had an overture. But what was the last film with an intermission? Was it Gettysburg (1993)? The theatrical version ran 4 hours and 8 minutes.

Should had done a search first, we've had a thread on this:

 Posted:   Apr 21, 2019 - 6:43 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

We've had a thread before on what the last film was that had an overture. But what was the last film with an intermission?

The "roadshow" 70MM showings of The Hateful Eight had a 15-minute intermission.

 Posted:   Apr 22, 2019 - 11:47 AM   
 By:   townerbarry   (Member)

When I went to go see Seven Years in Tibet...My Movie Showed me ven Years in Tibet.

Off Kiltered was the Projector...Even showed the manager of the movie house, who he couldn’t stop the movie now. I got a refund. But when I finally saw Seven Years in Tibet, It truly felted like I was sitting Seven Years in that movie seat watching Seven Years in Tibet!!! The only thing worth while was John Williams lush and beautiful Score.

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