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September 4, 1912.
_SOUTHAMPTON AND DISTRICT PICTORIAL.

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THE RISE OF THE PICTURE THEATRE.
SOUTHAMPTON'S NEWEST ENTERPRISE.
The man in the street may not know it, but it is to Thomas Alva Edi*m that his thank* are due for opening the gates of kuowlwlge and pleasure l»y moans of the cinematograph.
^ Photography, no which it is of course based, is older, and the principle of the cinematograph is older still, being known to ancient peoples aa the weUope. or wheel of life. Edison's adaptation of a new aience to an old principle took place less than thirty years ago. and even then several years pattted before it became a practical part of the entertainment business, for the first public exhibition of the . inemato-graph took place in London in 1896.
The development from the very imperfect and flickering pictures which were sliown to a wondering wmld at thai date, to the scientific perfection which we know, has been one of the romances of the last decade. Faults have been eliminated one by one, machinery perfected, and danger: removed, until today it is a highly apecialised buainesa, calling for enterprise, hardiliCod, and business and financial skill of a high order. An illuminating article which was published the other day contained some staggering figures aa to the amount of capital sunk into this new business, in
THE HUILDIXG OK CIXEMA THEATRES,
in the procuring of Alma, and in the ministering to a public appetite which is rapidly growing insatiable. Only last week a life was sacrificed to the passion for realism in the securing of films, and thousands of pounds are spent daily in every country in the world in producing the latest news pictures, and in providing thrills for the vast public which 611a our picture theatres. It is, indeed, one of the romances of the last decade, for development lias been going on in two Continents. America, the original home of the cinematograph, probably still loads the way, especially in fihn production, upon which vast sums are spent. Special theatrical companies play before the camera for film purposes, and command high salaries.
The new industry has a nomenclature of its own, which itself provides an interesting study. The first machine was called a biograph, which to-day has a dozen variations, while the phrase "picture palace" haa become a generic term for the hundreds of halls and theatres which are devoted to it in every big and little town. Central London haa a picture theatre at every corner, and the bigger towns are following suit. Even our own "population" is about to bo increased by the handsome hall which the enterprise of Mr. William Buck, jun., of Shirley, has conceived and produced, and which is entirely a local venture. Shirley is growing to a degree which is probably not appreciated by those who know it well. 2\ew roods arc being added almost unnoticed, and it is already beginning to have an entity of its own in the way of shopping centres and eveq of industries.
In the very centrc of development stands the new enterprise, which is a credit to Shirley architecturally, and wlijcli is known as
THE ATHEHLEY CINEMA THEATRE,
eo named from the fact that it occupies a site upon the Atherley estate, opposite the Shirley Library. Thus centrally placed, the new liall (which w ill be opened within the next few days) will appeal not only to the public which haa settled in the neighbourhood, but to that wider public to whom it is so easily accessible by means of the tramway service. It is a handsome building, having a frontage of fifty three feet to Shirley-road, and ,150ft. to New lands-avenue, one of thtvfiewTTioroughfarea aforementioned. Upon the/ site haa been erected a hall specially adapted to the needs of pleasure-seekers, who are becoming increasingly critical in these days. Special attention has therefore been directed in this hall, which is 100ft. vlor.g
THE ATHERLEY CINEMA THEATRE.
The Front of the House from the Balcony.
Exterior of the Hew Theatre.
bv 40ft. wide, to such matters as ventilation* I lighting, heating, and convenience of ingreaa and evivaa. not to mention the important matter of seating.
The ventilation is on the meet modern tub* \ principle, supplemented by means of louvres. l!aa radiate** provide the heating, and the light- i ing. by electricity, haa been carried out tistically as well as ettieiently. Fronting Shirley-mad is a liandsomo porticoed vestibule w ith polished mahogany appointment* and swing draught doors leading into the theatre, other entrances, to the cheaper scats, being provided in Ncwlands avenue, wiiece a gloss shelter haa been eivcted. 1 tactically every door in the building "gives" out to the open air, being, of cuurse, specially constructed on the linea laid down in the Cinematograph Act. The requiro* i nieiits of that measure under the head of safety, are, as everyone knows, of the most stringenl order, and every cinema theatre has not only to paaa this test, but alto to satisfy tiio da-mands of tho local authority (which, U trough its Works Cbmmittce, is charged witli the duty of mlniinisk'ring tlio Act) under other heads. 'Huts the operating room is of cuncrote i fireproof material, and, iron shutter* are I provided; the stairs leading to tho baloony are firepiuufed, and finr hydrants are so placed as to be easily accessible.
SKATIXtl ACCOMMODATION,
partitioned into sections, is provided for 660 perwjis, about 500 on tlie floor (specially sloped, by the way), and tlio remainder in a handsomely decorated balcony, and everyone will barvu a tip-up seat, by wliieli perfect comfort and convenience of movement is assured. There will also be spacious cloak rooms at each end of the hall. The whole of the big screen, stated to bo the biggest in Southampton, is visible from every seat in tlio house. The dococaiir* Hchemo is subdued, the effect of tlie panelled ceiling being very light and pretty. With regard to the other appurtenances of the theatre there is a roomy platform, which will be especially used when tho ball is used for other purposes than that for which it has been built, and screened Uuieath the platform is a grand piano.
THE FILM APPARATUS
'S Umj latest mo«lel, a wonderful piwcs of mechanism, as unlike the curlier bioscope* aa the modern camera to tiio cumlwrsome boxes of tliirty yearn ago. Motor driven, it is designed to provide the bc*t results by tlio use of the best films.
This latter necessity, tho most important really, is receiving special attention, though the difficulty of tiio up-to-date cinema manager la not to get Alms, but to make a wise selection from the countless thousands which are available to him. Tho public taste in this matter la notoriously fickle, but an attempt will be made, I there is no reason why it should not sun-d, to so blend tho programme, that it will make an appeal not only to the very varied tastes of rvgular cinema goers, but to a wider public. . Thus there will be travel and educational series, with, of course, the proper proportion of films, the purpose of which will-be educational tlurn amuaing. Those who delight in pictorial thrills will not be forgotten,
I if Uiero is another class which makes a
tiand other tlian those specilhd its needs too I will l*j met
View from the Platform.
■ Mr. Huck is to be congratulated on the enterprise which he has shown in thus bringing to growing Shirley a substantial addition to J its attractions.
It remains to be stated that Messrs. Jurd ,
and Sanders wen© the architects for the theatre, i
which was built by the proprietor, Mr. Win. J
Buck, jun. Mr. H. Cooper haa been engaged . I to asuwt in the management.

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