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an Antique Lighting Museum

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftapegreenia, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Ok, so I've been thinking about this for a while. Right now, I'm about to go to college for tech theatre/lighting design. However, I have always had an interest in history. This is a major part of the reason I love old theatres and especially old lighting fixtures. I firmly believe that fixtures are only "crap" when you don't maintain them and have no use for them. Old fixtures can fill some pretty unique needs at times. Its the old addage, "one mands junk is another mans treasure". I like to know the past and learn from it. It's great to learn the old tricks as well as what doesn't work. I was on an old circa-1920's stage around here that still had its complete and original lighting setup. 10" scoop-style striplights never looked so good.

    The recent old lighting threads got me thinking. What if someone was to found a theatre history museum, or a lighting museum, or an illumination museum. Of course, you would have to try and target it to bring in an audience. So, what if it was combined with a working theatre, and this theatre did shows in the styles of the different periods. Is there something like this already? Maybe not really that big, or effective, but something in the works. Maybe some theatre has a "basement museum" already. Maybe there are others out there who just dont have the time or money to do such a thing, or don't believe they could find support. So, what do you think? Is there a chance that such a thing could be pulled off.
     
  2. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    I am not sure that it would support itself, but I think it would be very cool to see in a large lobby space. There are many venues that have several theatres with one lobby. Old lighting, props, costumes, etc... in display cases would be enjoyable to all that attend the performances.

    Other than that, I am not sure. It it were combined with a history of movies and movie production museum, it would probably do well. Let's face it, 99% of the country doesn't know the name of anyone currently performing on Broadway, but they know every movie that Tom Cruise has made. (Sad but true)
     
  3. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I do think it needs to be combined with something, and would need some sort of anchor attraction. Of course, location is important too. It would never work here in Michigan. Then again, if it was just a warehosue full of old stuff, you could do it here, so many empty buildings in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. It all depends how much 'success' you want. :)
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    They kinda already exist. Strong lighting maintains a large collection of old spot lights that are still in working condition. I know there is a kliegel museum out there. There is also a strand museum out there. These are not ticket taking places, these are backrooms in warehouses that people go and look at occasionally. I posted a thread awhile back of an archive of old consoles that are all in one place. The gear is still out there and people are taking care of it, everyone just has bits and pieces. I have some original wymbrom "the scroller" scrollers in my attic in full working condition, I also have an old strand mini pallete, also in working condition. And even better, a compaq "portable" computer from 1988, it weighs around 20 lbs and is the size of a small cooler, back in its day it was an ultra portable. Some people (my girlfriend) thinks I collect junk, I really like the old stuff.
     
  5. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Thats part of it too, we all have "bits and pieces". What if we teamed up, and made it a virtual museum at the very least. Something like klieglbros.com but for all makes.
     
  6. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    You host it, and I am sure we all will send in a few pics and descriptions.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    There are many museums for stage lighting fixtures out there. I’m told ETC has quite the museum, there is one in a school in Israel, and another one in a US college that I forget the name of. I’m working on collecting one up for where I work, and many other companies have their own selections of stuff. Yale I’m sure also has a museum as with Strand UK. Than just about every theater company or production company has their own little stash of gear hanging about.

    Stagecraft Archive might have a weblink to the various museums, otherwise do a search into past postings about them. There are a good many museums out there.

    Last I knew there was a little museum above the York Theater in Elmhurst, Illinois. It mostly centered around a few small antiques and blue prints to just about every theater in the country and I’m sure lots of designs on file. Not a very friendly guy and not really open for showing off what he had. Still if there still, that museum would from memory be a archive of theatrical blue prints.
     
  8. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Still there, last paragraph at the bottom:
    http://www.classiccinemas.com/history/york.asp
    My god, that place is beautiful!!
     
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  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Grew up in that town. Never was backstage behind the movie screen but I did see the change from a crappy little run down movie house and what it became which was typical of many of todays theaters turned multi-plex, but better done. Didn't know they did the later improvements to the main stage. It was always heard that they at some point might open back up the stage, perhaps there is hope in it still being there.

    My current local movie house had itself cut in three also, major hack job.
    Really badly done.

    Keeler's Candy... used to eat there a lot (it was also a diner) while reading my comics from the comic book shop that's now also gone. The high school in that town just went thru a huge expansion project which included it's own 1920's or 1930's theater space ripped down and replaced with a brand new complex. Kind of a shame, that's where I was raised on theater.

    Kind of a shame, a few towns West of there in Lombard, I believe they just ripped down a larger theater of the same era. Never really made it as a theater and there was already movie theaters near the mall in that town. Same town Kohlers Trading post might or might not still be at if they also didn't close down. Just a few blocks away in fact. Good salvage yard.

    At least the Uptown in Chicago is still standing and has hope some day of re-opening - of course it has been in this precarious position for like 15 years now between wrecking ball and re-opening. Not a great neighborhood but within a few blocks of some trendy places.
     
  10. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    This a great site if you are a Cinema history buff(mine is on there)
    http://cinematreasures.org/
     
  11. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I can see it now, "Productionland". with atractions like;

    "Ride the Rail", visitors get to hold on to a rope as a counter weight is dropped eighty feet, gloves optional and extra.

    " The Hum-Head Lounge" Visitor are placed in a room with a mixing board and subjected to 140db feedback. The object? First person to succesfully cut the feedback wins a pass to ........

    "Deadline-ville", visitors get to marvel at the pressures of scenic production as they participate in non-stop "Repertory turnovers" all the while Nicely dressed Accountants are screaming," You Cost TOO MUCH"
     
  12. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Don't forget the other attractions, such as.....

    "Cuttin' Color" - This is for the kids! The visitors cut 88 pieces of Rosco 4230 Blue.

    "Genie Bull Ride" - You go up 25 feet, and we pull the outriggers up and have someone push you around, swaying, while still dodging sidearms and teasers.

    "Sound Check" - Stand on stage in front of a mic and think of things to say and the FOH tech says "keep going.....keep going". Test 1, 2, 3, Check.....Mic Check, hello, um... 1, 2, 3....test, test.....hey hey hey....sybolism.
     
  13. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    You forgot

    "Focusing!" Stand in a bright light for up to twenty minutes as it tries to center on you! If you move, you're out. Compete against your friends! First one to go blind, loses.

    For those who body build, there's always

    "Coiling!" Coil hundred-foot socapexes with ease, and without the use of the floor. You'll feel like James Bond, with his rope slung around his shoulder, ready for the next adventure!
     
  14. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    That's only like 50# and fairly easy in a - I got people for that these days type of way.

    Do the 200' Socapex into the road box thing instead, much more fun. This or the making of five wire 4/0 feeder cable olympics by way of pulling them out, doing the plugs than coiling them up after looming. This or the 500' FOH snake having 8/5 SOW, Fiber and Clear Com. Now that it's stretched out, you get to pull it back and coil it into a road case... :)

    Tech work it's a calling - hopefully for someone younger than you.
     
  15. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I was doing a show where these people had the bright idea of making this cable where it was two 10awg Soco cables in one, and there were 6 of them each 200' long. Talk about a non flexable cable. Also as a friend of mine says a tech is a construction worker with a degree.
     
  16. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Can I get back on thread here for a bit. Somewhere up there someone suggested a virtual museum of antique gear. Now i'm in Australia and therefore unlikley to get to the US very often but I am interested in the history of your gear and industry. Im sure some of you guys are also interested in our gear at least intellectually. I have quite a bit of quite old equipment certainly sixties with some going back further. I am also about to collect some pre war gear if all goes well. I would certainly be prepared to create a gallery of pictures with explanations of the history where I know it. Thinking about that I might try and set up some pages on my web site with some photo's.
    I'll give that some thought.
    So what do you say. What about a section of the NuWiki being about antique lighting gear and it's history.
    I know that's a different thread but hey.
     

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