RKO Virginia Blueprint

As Ebertfest 2017 wraps up, it seems an appropriate time to share this schematic of the Virginia Theater projection booth from 1967. 

The drawing depicts various switches, storage places, and signals used to alert the projectionist of possible playback problems from the auditorium. The creator, Robert L. Gordon, Jr., worked as a projectionist at the theater from the early 1950s until 1970. He began his career in local theaters as a projectionist at the Princess Theater in 1945 after joining the Army Air Corps during World War II. Later, he worked as a spotlight operator at Assembly Hall and at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. He also served as president of the Local 482 of the International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees and Moving Picture Operators of the United States and Canada. Given his involvement with his field of employment, it seems likely that this was used as a training tool for future projectionists at the theater.

Exact provenance of this item from our collection is not noted, but Mr. Gordon was married to Jean Gordon, a longtime employee in the Archives at The Urbana Free Library.

-Sarah L., Archives Assistant