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The Lyric Theatre: A Look Back at the Beginnings

Booth Equipment and Acoustics

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 machine.

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 purpose.

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
Lyric Trivia
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
Cinema Trivia
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