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Q. If my parents send a permission slip, can I get in to an R-rated movie?
No, your parent or guardian must
come to the boxoffice when you buy your ticket --not
two hours ahead of time, or the day before, but when you actually
buy your ticket, and give us permission to let you in to each
R-rated movie. We cannot accept permission slips because we have
no idea who wrote it. And we can't accept phone calls because
we have no idea who's on the other end of the line.
Q. Why does the Roxy sometimes display posters for movies that never play?
We order posters for at least twice
as many movies as we actually play. That's because we have no
way of knowing, before a movie comes out, if it will be popular
or not. We order posters far in advance because
if we don't, the other theatres will snap them up and we'll be
left without. We may display a poster for a movie that we think
looks good; then, if the movie comes out and goes straight to
the bottom of the charts, we'll take the poster down. In general
you can go by this rule of thumb: If a movie is already out
and we're displaying the poster, the film will probably play
at the Roxy. If the movie is not out yet, however, we
won't usually decide whether to play it until we find out how
popular it is with audiences.
Q. I know that in the old days, the Roxy used to show three or four different movies every week. Why is that not possible now?
A. The movie business today is vastly different from what it was in the 1930s and '40s. In those days, movies were cheaper to make and market, and a lot more movies were produced. Also, in those pre-TV days, the movie theatre was the main source of entertainment for most people, so it was important for the theatre to have a steady stream of new features to keep the people satisfied. Nowadays, movies are so expensive to make (the average feature film these days costs at least $100 million to produce) that there are fewer films made. Even if there were enough films to play three or four a week, the studios won't allow short two or three-day bookings for recent films now anyway; and even if they did, the cost of shipping that many movies in and out every week would cripple the theatre's budget.
Q. How old is the Roxy?
It was built in 1930 and opened on September
6 of that year. You can read all about the building and opening
of the Roxy on our In the News page. Just click the link at the
top of this page to get there.
Q. How old do you have to be to work at the Roxy?
A. You have to be at least 15, due to the "child labor" laws. Kids under 15 can hold jobs, but they can't work past 7:00 at night, so that pretty much outlaws younger kids working at the Roxy.
Q. Is it true the Roxy had a fire in it once?
Yes. The projection booth caught
fire in the early 1950s. The blaze was caused by a spark from
the lamphouse on one of the projectors, which ignited the highly-flammable
nitrate film. The fire engulfed the booth and destroyed most
of the equipment, and there was smoke damage to the upper floor
of the theatre. Firefighters were certain the blaze was out,
but then had to come back again when the fire found new life
in the attic and roof. The Roxy was closed for a short time while
repairs were made and new booth equipment was installed.
Q. How many speakers are in the Roxy's sound system?
If you mean speaker cabinets,
there are 17 in the theatre. Three main speakers sit behind the
screen, along with two subwoofers; ten surround speakers are
on the walls in the auditorium, and two more surrounds are in
the balcony. If you're asking about the individual speaker drivers,
there are 37. Each of the surround speakers has two drivers (a
woofer and a tweeter), while the three stage speakers each have
three drivers. All the speakers were made by QSC, one of the leading
manufacturers of cinema sound systems.
Q. What is the Roxy's policy on cell phones?
Since many people in Forsyth depend
on cell phones with their jobs, you are allowed to have your
cell phone in the theatre. We ask that you set your phone to
"vibrate" rather than ring, if possible. And if a call OR a text
comes in, or if you need to make a call or answer a text, we ask you to go to
the lobby first. Also, please be aware
that most phones emit a bright light from the screen.
This light can be irritating to others. For this reason, we ask
that you take your phone to the lobby if you need to use it --
even for a minute. We appreciate your cooperation.
Q. When the movie is finished playing, do you get to keep it?
A. Wouldn't that be nice! No, the movies go back to the shipping depot.
Q. Who were the architect and builder of the Roxy? Are they still around today?
Well, since the Roxy was built
in 1930, it's doubtful they're still around...but we do
have their names. The architect was Charles Wood, from Spokane,
Washington. And the builder was C. A. Haynes, who was a contractor
in the Forsyth area at that time. You can find more info on the
building of the Roxy in the In
the News section.
First, congratulations on your
sharp eyesight. Yes, the Roxy's screen (and almost every other
theatre screen) is indeed full of holes. The holes are about
1/64" in diameter, and they are spaced about 1/4" apart
over the whole surface of the screen. The purpose of the holes?
To let the sound come through. Our stage speakers sit directly
behind the screen, so the holes allow that sound to come through
clearly. Without the holes, the sound would be muffled.
A. Yes, the balcony was part of the building originally. It has been changed slightly...the balcony was originally held up by three steel posts, but they were replaced in 1953 with a huge I-beam which runs all the way across the building. And yes, until 1979, smoking was allowed in the balcony.
Q. Does the Roxy have a Lost & Found department? How long are lost articles kept?
We find quite an array of goodies
left behind by our guests. While most of the "loot"
is articles of clothing (sweaters and caps being the most common),
we also regularly find wallets, keys, checkbooks, backpacks,
toys, cell phones, and even the occasional skateboard left in
the theatre. Most articles we find are kept in our storeroom
for at least one week. With wallets and checkbooks, if we can
find a name inside, we'll call the owner. If an item contains
money, and we can't find the owner, the money is given to the
crew member who found it after one month.
A. TV and movies are two completely different things when it comes to light. A TV set produces its own light directly from its picture tube, and that's the thing you're looking at; you are looking at the source of the light. With a movie, you're actually looking at reflected light, rather than the source. The light originates from the projection booth, which in our case is about 80 feet from the screen. Think of a lamp in your house...if you look directly at the bulb, the light seems a lot brighter than it does when you look at the light reflected off the wall at the other end of the room.
When a movie shows for two or three
weeks, it happens for one of two reasons. Either the movie is
very popular, in which case we keep it for a second week (this
is called a "holdover" in the biz); or the film's contract
requires us to play the film for two weeks. This happens mostly
when a film is brand-new.
Because they're effective, that's
why. The whole phenomenon of "advance trailers" began
with the movie "Independence Day." That movie didn't
come out until July 1997, but previews were shown for it during
the Super Bowl that year -- six months ahead of the film's release.
The preview generated such a terrific "buzz" for the
film that other film companies followed suit. If a trailer shows months
ahead of the movie's release, we usually will pull it from the screen
after just a week or two so people don't get tired of seeing it. It will
reappear when the movie is closer to release.
We used to sell both those things,
but demand for them wasn't enough to make it worthwhile. We wound
up throwing out more coffee and hot dogs than we were selling.
Today, our former hot dog cooker is still going strong: we sold
it to the Forsyth Country Club. Our coffeemaker, alas, died an
early death when it quit working several years ago.
June 19, 2003
Q. How do you decide which movies to play on the "opening day" and which ones to wait on?
The decisions are made
after taking a lot of things into consideration. First, is a movie even
available to us on opening day? The studios don't always make enough
prints to satisfy all the demand on opening weekend. Second, can we
afford the film's terms? Some movies have very high price tags or long
This isn't likely to happen. The
Western movie is not as popular as it once was, unfortunately.
The bigger problem is with availability of prints. Unless a movie
is a bonafide classic, there probably aren't any usable prints
of it available. Add to this the fact that we'd have
to bump some current movie out of our already crowded schedule,
and you can see why a "western revival" probably isn't
in the cards.
The window has always been where
it is today. Interestingly, we have found two sets of blueprints
for the Roxy's lobby. One set shows the boxoffice as a small
booth in the center of the lobby. The other set shows the window
on the east side, where it was finally built. We can only guess
that the builders had two sets of plans to choose from and decided
to place the window off to one side. It was a good decision,
because if the boxoffice had been in the middle of the lobby,
a lot of space would have been wasted.
June 4, 2003
Q. The outside doors on the theatre don't match the inside ones. Why is that?
The outer doors weren't part of
the original building design. Originally, the foyer opened onto
the street. However, we're guessing that the original owners
decided to install outside doors after the first Forsyth winter
hit. The original outer doors were made of wood, and each door
had a window that was just a little bit bigger than a movie poster.
By the late 1970s, those doors were worn out, so we had new doors
installed. Since then we have worn-out two sets of "door
closers" on those modern doors, proving that they truly
don't make things like they used to!
A. There are actually two basements in the building: One under the boxoffice (which contains our soda-pop tanks, marquee letters, paper towels and other supplies), and one under the stage (which contains our heating system and spare parts for the seats). Other than that, the building sits directly on terra firma. As for the existence of old posters, sorry, that lake is fished dry. We've been through every nook and cranny of the building including the attic, and regardless of the "urban legends" you hear about movie theatres having millions of dollars worth of old posters stashed away, that isn't the case here. (It would be nice if it was true, though!)
Q. Does the Roxy have a sound system for the hearing-impaired?
A. We had one at one time, but it has fallen into disrepair because nobody ever used it. We are currently investigating new options since the hearing-impaired devices are mandated by law. We hope to have a system in place within the next couple of months.
Q. Why did Tom Clifford sell out his half of the Roxy?
A. In 1987, Tom got an opportunity to buy a one-third interest in a golf course in Havre. Since golf is one of Tom's true loves, he jumped at the opportunity. He continued to own half of the Roxy until 1992, when Mike Blakesley purchased his share.
Q. I see on the "Roxy in the News" page that the theatre had 500 seats at one time. How could they possibly fit 500 seats into that amount of space?
A. In the old days, the notion of "comfort" at a theatre took a back seat to the idea of fitting as many seats in as possible. Legroom was not a big concern. The original seating layout featured 15 seats across each row, with the rows being spaced only about 30 inches apart. And yes, there really were 500 seats in the theatre then.
The number of seats has been reduced several times, and for different reasons. Two rows of seats were removed in 1953 when the concession stand was first built. The problem of "legroom" was first addressed in the 1960s when seven rows of seats in the back of the theatre were removed and replaced with six rows of "recliner" seats, on which the seat cushion slid forward.
In 1981, two more rows of seats were removed when we enlarged the concession stand.
The "recliners" and the rest of the original Roxy seats were replaced in 1982. At the same time, the number of rows was reduced and the rows were spread to 45 inches apart, reducing the number of seats to 255.
In 1992, another row of seats in the back and the two front rows were removed and relocated to the balcony. This reduced the number of balcony seats from 75 to 44. These changes lowered our seat count to 214.
When we replaced the main floor seats again in 2002, we spread the rows out even further -- to 48 inches apart. By restoring one of the back rows and one of the front rows, we were able to keep our capacity at 194 seats, of which 44 are in the balcony.
Q. How does the Roxy student discount card work?
Our discount cards allow high school
students to save big bucks on the movies. Any time after you turn 12 years
old, simply request a RoxyCard when you buy your
ticket. Fill your RoxyCard out and bring it with you every time
you come to the show. We'll stamp your card each time you attend,
and you'll save one dollar off of the usual ticket price. When
all ten spaces on your card have been stamped, you can use that
card for one free movie. When you attend your free show, we'll
give you a new card. All together, you save a total of $16.75
every time you fill up a Roxy card, so it makes good sense to
get one and use it. RoxyCards expire when you graduate from high
Q. I noticed the Roxy has a stage. Was it a "stage" theatre at one time?
No, the Roxy was built as a movie
theatre. We're not sure why the stage was put in, because the
screen is fixed -- it can't be "flown" like the screen
in some theatres can -- and there is no backstage area to speak
of (it's all filled with speakers and air conditioning ducts). However,
the stage has been used for lots of live entertainment over the
years, including the Forsyth Chamber of Commerce Community Concert
series of 2002, which featured such entertainers as Dan Seals,
Margo Smith and Barbara Fairchild.
Q. Why does the Roxy sell Pepsi and not Coke?
We actually used to sell Coke (see
a few shots of our Coke machine). In 1979, Pepsi asked us to
consider selling their products, so we added Pepsi to our lineup
while keeping Coke. As it turned out, Pepsi outsold Coke by a
wide margin, so we finally decided to go with Pepsi products.
Q. Has the Roxy ever shown an X-rated film?
Yes, there have been two X-rated
movies shown at the Roxy that we know of. The first was the 1970s-era
classic MIDNIGHT COWBOY, which was the only X-rated movie ever
to win an Oscar for Best Picture. (The film has since been re-rated
R.) The only other X-rated film we've shown is WHAT DO YOU SAY
TO A NAKED LADY, which was a 1972 big-screen version of the Candid
Camera TV show. It was basically the same premise: Hidden
cameras were employed while outlandish jokes were played on people.
The difference, as you can tell by the title, was that the movie
employed nudity...lots of nudity. We don't know if WHAT DO YOU
SAY TO A NAKED LADY has ever been released on video, but we'd
assume it's probably been re-rated R as well.
Q. Is it true the Roxy's screen used to be much smaller than it is now?
Yes. In the 1930s, movie pictures were projected at a ratio of 1.33 to
1, which means that the picture is 1.33 feet wide for every foot it is
tall. A rectangle of approximately these dimensions was eventually
adopted for TV screens. In the 1950s, the movie industry was being
beaten up by the newfangled TV industry, so to fight back, a process
called CinemaScope was invented, in which the picture was over twice as wide
as it was tall. (The actual ratio is 2.39 to 1.) In order to
show this new type of film, theatres had to install wider screens
and buy new lenses for the "Scope" movies. At the Roxy,
two exit doors (one on each side of the screen) were taken out
to make room for the new 30-foot-wide screen. The exit was relocated
to the side of the auditorium, where it is today. The original
exit doors can still be seen on the back of the theatre building.
Q. Why aren't cartoons shown ahead of movies any more?
A. It's mostly a matter of money. Cartoons are expensive to produce these days, and therefore they would be expensive to book. Also, in big cities, screen time is so valuable that no manager would want to eat up six or eight minutes of each showtime with a cartoon when he could be running ads or trailers. A sad development, but it's a sign of the times. A couple of studios, most notably Pixar Animation, still include occasional cartoon "shorts" along with their feature films. (If we were running Hollywood, we'd dust off some of the old classic 'toons and start including them with new movies.)
Q. Any chance the Roxy rest rooms will ever be enlarged?
A. We have been working on plans to enlarge the restrooms, but it is required by law that we have at least one restroom that is wheelchair-accessible, and that's a problem for us due to space and the width of the existing doorways. However, we continue to brainstorm ideas.
Q. Who picks the movies that show in Forsyth?
While we have the final call as
to what plays or doesn't play on our screen, most of the decisions
are made by our booking service. They book movies for around
200 screens, which gives them more "clout" with the
studios than we would have on our own. Every Thursday
or Friday, we have a phone conversation with our booker to plan
the following week's movie, and once the plan is finalized, the
booker contacts the studio early on Monday morning to order
the print for us. If a print isn't available, then the #2 or
#3 choice for the week is booked. After the booker has confirmed
the week's movie, he calls us and lets us know what we'll be
playing. (Usually we have a rough idea of what's coming up in
the next few weeks, but we can't always tell you the "order"
the movies will be in.)
Q. Why can't kids sit in the balcony?
There are a lot of reasons, but
the most important one is our insurance policy. In order to reopen
the balcony in 1992, we had to promise the insurance company
that no one under 21 would be allowed to sit up there. If not
for that promise, the company would not have allowed the balcony
to be open.
Q. Why do movies cost more in the big cities than they do in Forsyth?
A. It is generally less expensive for a business to operate in a small town. We save on just about everything from labor costs (because it takes less people to run a business) to taxes. But the most important reason for a theatre is probably film rent. Big city theatres play every movie on its opening date -- even the "bomb" movies -- so they are obliged to pay high film rents on everything. Since we don't have the room to play every movie the day it comes out, we save some money on film rent by waiting a couple of weeks on some titles. That's good news for the consumer, since it allows us to keep our tickets and concessions priced reasonably.