Alpine Four Theatre - Grand Rapids MI

Address: 3219 Alpine Ave NW
City: Grand Rapids
State: MI
Zip: 49544
County: Kent
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Owner History: Jack Loeks Theatres
Theater Type: Shopping Center - Early Multiplex
Number of visits to this page: 14687
General Information:

Source: Cinema Tour

In 1970, John D. "Jack" Loeks, along with nine other stockholders, formed a new theatre circuit called Auto-Cine, Inc. with the intention of building small, automated twin theaters throughout western Michigan. The Alpine Theatre, which opened on September 23, 1970, was the second theater in this new circuit. The major premise in the twin theaters was to operate two auditoriums while using common box office, concessions and rest room facilities and a minimum of personnel. A manager also handled the threading and starting of the films and the box office cashier doubled as a concession clerk. Projectors were outfitted to use larger reels, accommodating up to one hour each, instead of the usual 15 to 20 minutes.

In an article in the Grand Rapids Press, Loeks says, "What it amounts to is that we can set up two projectors, get the show started and have the whole operation complete itself without any manual assistance. We've moved from the old hand-crank projector to almost complete automation. Even some of the later advances still had the projectionist installing four to six reels for a feature film. Now only two are needed." The article continues to explain, "The first projector even turns itself off and activates the second projector through a magnetic strip attached to the film. The only real problem is when a film tears or splits, which calls for immediate splicing, but modern movie film is such that it rarely occurs.

The building was demolished in 2002.

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