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|Pete Naples remembers:
It was tripled in the 1980s, although screen 3 was video. This was a rather poor system, a Sony 3 gun video projector, fed by two low band U-Matic VTRs with a system called TALIS, to change from one machine to the other as the tapes were 1 hour max. It was forever breaking down and going out of register.
When Robins took over after the CAC closure , we removed the back 2 rows of seats in screen 3, built a wall and shoehorned a Westar 35mm projector, with tower in the space created. Access was from the auditorium itself, or via booth 2 as a doorway had been formed in the dividing wall. The screen was fixed at 1.66:1 IIRC which necessitated the use of a rather old anamorphic lens, a GB Kalee Varamorph. These have a variable compression ratio, so the picture was bodged to fit the screen. There was a waterfall curtain in 3 which was nothing but trouble.
Screens 1&2 had been equipped with Dolby Stereo, however CAC took that with them, and left the place with Cinemecannica mono amplifiers, Gaumont Kalee 19 projector in 2 and a GK21 in 1. Both were tower fed with Peerless Magnarc xenon conversion lamphouses and T&R rectifiers. After a few years of doing good business Robins put Dolby Stereo back in screen 1, and replaced the worn out Kalee with a Monee projector, a copy of the famous Westar. I recall this causing massive headaches as the left and right screen speakers were found to be u/s and the new Monee machine had all manner of headaches. However it all worked out eventually.
Both screens 1 & 2 had variable side masking and rather nice tabs, the walls were finished in what became the standard CAC folded cloth panelling. At the time of the tripling the CAC theatre controller was Forbes Castell (formerly manager of the CAC Regal in Dunfermline High Street, site of the infamous fire). Forbes lived in Dunfermline and probably pushed for the work to be done to a high standard.
The screen 1 booth was quite spacious, and had entrance doors on either side. Often you could stick your head out and disturb the young couples who always made a bee line for the two small balcony areas either side of the booth. Screens 2 & 3 booths were rather more cramped. As well as housing the projection equipment they housed our supply of trailers, spares and the electrical switchgear for all 3 screens. An interesting note is that the electrics were installed by Andrew Thomson, a local electrical firm who are still in business, although now they concentrate on supplying TV, washing machines etc.
One of my most lasting memories of the place was changing lamps in the roof of screen one. You crawled up through a hatch in the manager’s office, crossed a small void, climbed another ladder and squeezed through another hatch in to the screen 1 roof void. From there you had crawl boards and the lamps were on traps which pulled up into the void for changing. Quite scary when you dropped a globe and watched it slowly spiral towards the auditorium floor!
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