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deluge system

Discussion in 'Wiki' started by mrtrudeau23, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. mrtrudeau23

    mrtrudeau23 Well-Known Member

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    Chicago, IL
    The modern replacement for the theatre fire curtain. Basically a wall of water that comes down in the proscenium, acting as a curtain to keep a fire onstage from passing into the house.

    There is considerable controversy about the actual utility of deluge curtains, because many of them have gone off accidentally with tremendous damage to theatres as a result.

    One of the most famous deluge curtain stories involves the construction of the Uris Theatre on Broadway (now the Gershwin), with Ralph Alswang as the theatre consultant. It contained a hydraulic rigging system that never worked, and the first-ever deluge curtain in New York City.

    When the fire inspectors showed up to go over the building, they demanded to see the deluge curtain work, just as they would have demanded to see a fire curtain lowered. The house electrician said "Are you sure?" "We're sure." said the fire inspectors. "Are you really sure?", said the electrician. "We're really sure." was the response.

    Whereupon the electrician activated the deluge curtain and thousands of gallons per minute began to pour down onto the stage, where the show Via Galactica was loading in, and into the orchestra pit. The water rapidly began to submerge the house.

    "SHUT IT OFF, SHUT IT OFF!!" from everyone, including the inspectors. "No problem." said the electrician. "But it will take a few minutes because the shutoff valve is three floors up by stairs."

    End result: Replace the first 15 rows of seats and most of the orchestra pit two weeks before the show opened. Clearly, we hadn't gotten this deluge curtain stuff right just yet.

    Rare picture of a deluge curtain being deployed (accidentally).

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2009

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