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#152753 - 12/20/05 06:48 PM Avalon Theatre - Part 4 *****  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,457
Hello all:

Attached are some photos from a theatre I service here in So. Calif. Virtually all of the gear is original and dates back to the 1930's when the building was erected.

hope you all enjoy!

- mxslick
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Tools for Electricians:

#152754 - 12/20/05 08:17 PM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
sandsnow  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 167
Irvine, CA, USA
I've heard of the Avalon, but never been. Don't they have some rock shows there?? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

Simply fantastic the stuff is in such good condition!!!!!

Kudos to the owner for high quality maintenance!!!!!

Larry LeVoir
City of Irvine, CA

#152755 - 12/20/05 11:24 PM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
mxslick  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Indeed, this is all in great condition considering it's age.

More on what you're seeing:

#24: Rear view of Brenkert Enarc lamphouse showing the knobs to adjust arc length, reflector position and the rehostat on the left controls the motor which feeds the carbons automatically. The handle is the DC switch for that arc.

#25: Old school meets new school! Foreground is a full shot of the #1 Brenkert projector and Carbon Arc lamp. This machine holds 2,000' film reels (about 20 mins. running time) in the round magazines you see at top and bottom. The projectionist would run alternate reels on the two Brenkerts and "change-over" between reels. The magazines were required in the days of the highly flammable nitrate film. You can see, on the wall to the right of the projector, one of the steel fire shutters which drops over the ports in the event of a fire. A linkage (big iron pipe really) runs the length of the front wall, with it held from rotating down by a fusible link stretched over both Brenkert machines. The end of the pipe and linkage can be seen behind the grey exhaust hose on the top left. There is also a rope by the door which the operator can release to drop the shutters as he leaves. (The only safe course of action in a nitrate fire!) This booth is one of the few left that can safely run nitrate film. The black unit with "Xetron" on it is a modern, 2,000 watt Xenon arc console. In that large box is a very heavy electromagnetic rectifier rig (Think welder on steroids); an automation unit to control the projector, lights(not used here) and sound functions; the actual lamphouse itself with the bulb mounted horizontally inside a deep-dish parabolic metal reflector with forced-air cooling. The projector mounted to it (not visible)is a Century SA with R3 soundhead, and a red LED optical sound pickup. Film is fed from a "platter" transport by guide rollers, it is spliced together (made-up) by the projectionist. Pretty typical of what you have at most modern multiplex theatres.

#26: This is an operator's eye view of one of the Brenkert projectors. The paint job's pretty thrashed, but the machine itself purrs like a very contented kitten (it's twice as quiet as the Century they run every day.) The horizontal machine at the bottom is the RCA 9030 Soundhead, which has the drive motor for the whole machine and the sound pickup parts. It and it's sister on the other Brenkert use the old-style white exciter lamp and solar cell pickup for the sound. As a historical note, it was only after sound became big in cinema that this Projector head/soundhead installation became common. Prior to that, most projector heads were mounted directly to a pedestal base and were cranked by HAND!

#27: Here's and extremely rare item, a Brenkert Dual effects projector. Using color wheels (visible on the bottom right); metal cutouts of clouds, angels, etc. and other neat items, one could project a variety of effects onto the screen or curtain. There were also large slides (I think about 5x8 inches) that you'd mount in the holder to let the crowd know it's intermission, etc. Sadly, this is missing some key parts, but we have struck the carbon arcs and they still work. Behind it you can also see one of the two carbon arc spotlights mounted on a pole. It's mate is on the opposite side of the booth, next to the switchboard.

The theatre still uses the Brenkerts a few times each year, for a big silent film festival. The newer Century/xenon combo runs the daily shows for the island populace and tourists.

I hope you've enjoyed the toru, there is really a lot more to see, but I don't want to drive Bill crazy [Linked Image]

"The circle is now complete." - Darth Vader

Stupid should be painful.

#152756 - 12/21/05 12:03 AM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
Bill Addiss  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,878
I don't want to drive Bill crazy

Not at all, these are great!!

BTW, I've been in touch with a relative of Frank Adam off and on over the last year and a half. She recently sent me some papers to scan and post on ECN. I'll try and get to that soon as I get my scanner working again.


[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 12-20-2005).]

#152757 - 12/24/05 10:32 AM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Tony the photos and explanations where great and very interesting.

Thank you for sending them all in.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#152758 - 12/24/05 04:01 PM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
mxslick  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bob and Bill and everyone else:

You're welcome, I appreciate all the kind comments and questions these pics have generated.

For other than emergency repairs, I visit this location quarterly to check things out and do preventative maintenance on the projectors and lamps. My colleague who is the local Projectionist's Union Rep, is and old-school operator with many years of experience. He spent most of his projectionist career operating machines like the Brenkerts.

On my next visit, I'll try to get into the main service room, the organ motor starters and other points of interest. I'll also get pics of the exhaust fan repairs for your commentary.

Stupid should be painful.

#152759 - 11/19/06 04:39 PM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
mxslick  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bumped due to the "Great Xenon Power Supply Caper" thread.. [Linked Image]

Stupid should be painful.

#152760 - 11/20/06 01:35 AM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4  
techie  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 246
palo alto, ca usa
I've heard of the Avalon, but never been. Don't they have some rock shows there?? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

That would have been the old Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, which actually reopened a few years ago, but appears to be dormant again.

Chet Helms and The Family Dog produced shows there in the 60's, including Big Brother and The Holding Company w/Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield, Captain Beefheart, Moby Grape, The Doors, etc..

poster art from that era:

#194111 - 05/10/10 03:59 PM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4 [Re: techie]  
mxslick  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bumped up to tie in with the "What was this DC generator for?" thread...

Stupid should be painful.

#213348 - 04/12/14 01:47 AM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4 [Re: Admin]  
mxslick  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bumped up because it's been over 8 years for this thread..:)

Stupid should be painful.

#213471 - 05/13/14 05:47 PM Re: Avalon Theatre - Part 4 [Re: Admin]  
johno12345  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 96
United Kingdom
long time since i saw these!

not spoken for ages either mx!

I took my time, I hurried up, The choice was mine, I didn't think enough

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