Michael Anderson

In the mid 1970’s, was running a saturday matinee at the Denis theater, in Mt. Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. The 1,000 seat house was PACKED with screaming excited kids. I always enjoyed my job the most when the audience was appreciative.

I had just made a change-over to reel 2 on my right hand Simplex E7. I opened the doors to make sure everything was running correctly. To my horror, the take-up reel was not rolling, and the film was piling up in the bottom of the sound head. I quickly pulled the film out and let it run onto the floor. I ran over to machine 1 and killed the lamp and the motor.

While machine 2 was still running, i managed to spin the take up reel with my finger and get the film off the floor, on the reel and out of the sound head. So there I was, 1,000 kids watching the movie, me spooling the film up by hand and wondering how I was going to get machine 1 ready with the next reel. I deftly flipped the film out of the sound head to roll onto the floor again. I called the manager on the house phone and told her I needed an usher to spool film onto the take-up reel so I could thread and re-trim.

She said, no way, she was very busy. I told her I could simply shut down the projector and see if her crew could handle 1000 kids coming to the lobby with a complaint all at once. The usher was arrived in less than a minute. I instructed him to sit on the floor, put his finger in the conveniently located hole in my Goldberg aluminum take-up reel, and maintain the tension. I made the changeover back to 1 and quickly repaired the broken take -up belt. I was ready to go just as the changeover alarm rang.

Michael Anderson
Celina, Texas

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