Topic Author
Posts: 384
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 1999 6:19 am

In Flight Movie Theaters.

Fri May 19, 2000 6:32 am

Would someone please tell me about the history of Movie theaters in airplanes. I'm really interested at what it was like in the 70's and 80's. It's definitley come a long way with today's LCD screens in seatbacks.
Posts: 2144
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 8:02 am

RE: In Flight Movie Theaters.

Fri May 19, 2000 7:14 am

I was on a United DC-8 in 1971 when I watched them install the inflight movie. I was flying RIC-IAD-LAX. On our stop at IAD, a union projectionist from the Washington local got on the plane with three huge reels of 16mm film, one for first class and two for coach. He then pulled down the projectors from the ceiling, which hinged down, and loaded the reels horizontally into the projectors. Then he pulled down the CinemaScope screens (wide screens) from the ceiling and started running the films so he could make sure they were properly focused and aligned with the screens. That way the flight attendants would only have to turn them on. Then he wound them back to the beginning and retracted the cabin screens. When they ran the film during the flight, we had to close the curtains over the windows for better viewing. I was near the rear of coach, and I noticed that the movie in the forward coach section was a little ahead of ours.
When I flew on Eastern L-1011s and A300s, I discovered that their movies were on Super 8 film, and of much poorer quality than United's 16mm. They were out of focus, and the flight attendants didn't know how to correct this.
Now, most airlines use video projection or TV monitors.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
Posts: 4830
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 3:49 am

RE: In Flight Movie Theaters.

Fri May 19, 2000 7:29 am

Exactly, Bob! WOW!

The movies on the Stretch 8's were purposely started at different times (forward Economy vs Aft Economy) so that the forward Economy cabin wouldn't have to wait for the aft cabin's meal service to finish before the movie started.

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L
Topic Author
Posts: 384
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 1999 6:19 am

RE: In Flight Movie Theaters.

Sat May 20, 2000 1:19 am

Thanks Bob. That was the exact response I was looking for. I appreciate all of the time you spent writing about it.

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