The projectionist – Photo of the day
Published by Kathy Hackett on October 8, 2010 in Photo of the day.
This photograph from the Bob Lucas archive shows a man at the window of the projection box in the Haymarket Theatre in Sydney’s George Street in the 1920s. It may have been taken by the young Bob Lucas, who began his career at the theatre as a lolly boy and later became assistant projectionist.
The job of film projectionist was a risky one. From 1895 to the early 1950s, all commercially available 35mm film was made from cellulose nitrate, an unstable and highly flammable substance that was also used in explosives. The speed of the film moving through the projector could cause it to combust and fires in cinemas were not uncommon. Despite being a health and safety hazard, nitrate film is thought by some to have been the most vivid film stock ever created. The high silver content of the black and white variety gave the print a distinctively vivid lustre.
Robert James (Bob) Lucas left the Haymarket Theatre in 1928 to join Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Sydney. Eventually he became the company’s Chief Technician in Australia and was responsible for the technical operation of the nation’s Metro theatres circuit.
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