Virginia Tech University Libraries, Special Collections
in collaboration with
the Department of Housing, Interior Design, and Resource
Theatre: A Look Back at the Beginnings
Booth Equipment and
The heart of the modern moving picture theatre is its projection and sound equipment. The
projection equipment used in the Lyric Theatre is the most modern obtainable. It has been placed
on the market within the last two months.
The feature of this equipment which will be most obvious to the patrons of the theatre is its
elimination of strain on the eyes. An additional feature is the safety with which the films are
projected. It is absolutely impossible for a film to burn while it is being run through the projecting
The most improved type of Western Electric sound equipment for reproducing Vitaphone and
Movietone pictures has been provided. The two large speakers back of the screen are turned with
the special acoustical wall and ceiling construction to produce sound of an ideal intensity without
echoes. The seats in the theatre auditorium have a special acoustical padding which aids in
securing perfect sound. Nothing has been spared in making this an ideal theatre fro the
presentation of sound pictures, and it is one of three theatres in Virginia built especially for this
Source: V.P.I. Skipper, April 1930, p. 5.
"The modern projection equipment used in the Lyric eliminates the danger of films catching
fire while being run. In case, however, a film not in use catches fire, it is impossible for the fire to
extend beyond the projection booth."
from the V. P. I. Skipper, April 1930
Cinemascope came to the Lyric in January 1954 with the film The Robe. The new
medium involved the installation of a much larger screen and new projection equipment. Manager
Don Kelsey was quoted as saying that for patrons Cinemascope would be "one of the
biggest thrills they will ever witness in the motion picture field."
from the Montgomery News Messenger, January 7, 1954
In Singin' in the Rain (U.S., 1952) Jean Hagen plays a spoiled silent-screen star
whose voice is too declasse for talkies. The producers secretly have her lines dubbed by a well-
spoken ingenue, Debbie Reynolds. In reality Miss Reynolds's speech was not considered classy
enough, and so the voice heard on the soundtrack of the film-within-a-film is not hers at all. It is
Jean Hagen's own normal speaking voice.
From The Book of Lists: The 90s Edition by David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace
(Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1993).
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Last updated: July 21, 1997