KatPM

Chevrolet Mini Theater

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does anyone know much about this Chevrolet mini theater? I have the tapes to go with it but not sure the machine works. It was in a dealership but don't know the years. Also have tons of film strips and phonograph records that dealers received also

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Very few of them still work. The drive gears are plastic, and the heat from the exciter bulb tends to destroy the gears.

 

IF YOU TRY TO GET IT WORKING, PLACE AN EXTERNAL FAN SO IT WILL BLOW ON THE PROJECTER!!!!!! Just on the off chance yours still works, the fan will move the heat away from the gears.

 

I collect the ones for Pontiac. Here is a link to the section of my website about the Pontiac ones.

 

http://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Pontiacaudiovideo.htm

 

The film is Super 8, and may be played WITHOUT SOUND if removed from the cartridge and wound on a Super 8 reel. The soundtrack on these things is optical, rather than the normal magnetic.

 

EDIT: there is information in the link on the filmstrips / records as well. Filmstrips are 35mm. Records are 33 1/3 RPM. The earliest records are 16 inch, which requires a special turntable to play them.

 

Jon.

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
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I remember the local Chevrolet dealer had one in 1969 or 1970. At the time I remember thinking, why would they have a TV to show commercials of the Chevrolet when the real car is right here? It seemed like a read dumb waste of money.

 

It turns out this was one of John Delorean's scams. There was a small manufacturer of teaching machines, they were designed to be used in schools. They had been working on them for several years but never sold more than a few hundred of them. Delorean came along and gave them a big spiel about how he was a big shot GM executive and could make them rich and successful if they made him a partner in the business and gave him a big block of stock. As head of Chevrolet he made every Chev dealer buy one of these machines, which sent their sales over 3000 units for the year, which made them a good profit, which made the stock shoot up in value. Delorean sold all his stock and walked away with a big profit on stock that cost him nothing, and never had anything more to do with the company. They went out of business a few years later. This was not the only time Delorean pulled this scam.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I was talking about the machines they had in new car showrooms, which lasted a year at most. If this was a teaching aid for training mechanics it could be a different deal.

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A friend of mine has a few of those. Lots of the tapes too. He & his dad made reproductions of the plastic gears. I can send you his contact info if you’d like.

 

Mark

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36 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

I remember the local Chevrolet dealer had one in 1969 or 1970. At the time I remember thinking, why would they have a TV to show commercials of the Chevrolet when the real car is right here? It seemed like a read dumb waste of money.

 

It turns out this was one of John Delorean's scams. There was a small manufacturer of teaching machines, they were designed to be used in schools. They had been working on them for several years but never sold more than a few hundred of them. Delorean came along and gave them a big spiel about how he was a big shot GM executive and could make them rich and successful if they made him a partner in the business and gave him a big block of stock. As head of Chevrolet he made every Chev dealer buy one of these machines, which sent their sales over 3000 units for the year, which made them a good profit, which made the stock shoot up in value. Delorean sold all his stock and walked away with a big profit on stock that cost him nothing, and never had anything more to do with the company. They went out of business a few years later. This was not the only time Delorean pulled this scam.

Not sure about that.  Ford, Chrysler and AMC also had variations of these stand-alone audio-visual units with 15-20 minute 'infommercial' video tapes. It may sound odd with the new cars right there beside them, but they did show selling features the cars and trucks had in the 'off-season', or in a rocky area no salesman would ever let one take a brand new car on a test drive.  The Ford one was the bulkiest.  Their audio-visual station encompassed a standard 20" Philco color TV set (when Philco was a Ford division.), hooked up to a video cassette recorder with various video tapes on Ford cars and trucks.  AMC's was a rather low-budget slide-show, projected onto a Fresnel lens.

 

Craig

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Mark that would be great to send it to me. Email is ksayl@yahoo.com  Thanks everyone for the info

 

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On 2/20/2019 at 4:34 PM, Mark I said:

A friend of mine has a few of those. Lots of the tapes too. He & his dad made reproductions of the plastic gears. I can send you his contact info if you’d like.

 

Mark

 

Hi Mark, 

 

I have 3 of these Mini Theater projectors as well, and I am in need of those reproduction cam gears. Can you please put me in touch with your friend that has the reproduction gears? Terharer@gmail.com  

 

Thank you! 

Frank

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Re the melting gears. When I was a kid we had like lots of people, a Super 8 projector for showing home movies. It worked great for years, then the bulb went out and we had to get a replacement. It was a superseded part number replacement, short story was the new bulb worked but it put out too much heat and would destroy the film on occasion. That may be what happened with these super 8 machines.

 

As a selling tool I can see their value. It's a perfected presentation and sales pitch that can be replicated over and over, salesmen can't do that consistently. Also, if the customer has to wait, it gave them something to look at, rather than getting perturbed and walking away.

 

Interesting bits of automotive history.

 

-Ron

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Good evening and I’m hoping to find some help.

I joined on here hoping to find an answer or a working super 8mm capable of playing a rack of cartridges we’ve found at our shop. 
We’re in the process of waking up a 70 year old former Oldsmobile Chevrolet dealership in southern Alabama, and I’d like to see about getting this transferred to digital for putting up on something like YouTube so at least these can be looked at instead of rotting away.

 

any help is appreciated!

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I’ll respond to you guys asking about the gears. Sorry for the very tardy response. Didn’t see that this thread was still active.

 

Mark

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Hello I have alot of Chevrolet and Oldsmobile Cartiges I also have a projector with screen and just a projector. Also I have a disc player.

I would like to sell them, if you are interested please contact me. sklump@maqs.net

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I see this thread has been re-activated.

 

A bit more information:

 

I have been searching for a company to digitize these films for 30 years without success! The issue is the optical soundtrack (which is also the reason the plastic gears melt).

 

Normal Super 8 film has a magnetic sound track, where larger formats (i.e. 16mm, 35mm, etc.) have optical soundtracks. The way the sound track is used in the projector is with a very hot "exciter" bulb. The bulb gets sufficiently hot to eventually destroy the plastic gears.

 

Some 30 years ago, I found the individual/company that had bought the last of these machines/parts/etc., and at the time he was offering a restoration service on the machines (no, I don't remember his name). He is the one who explained the issue, and told me ALWAYS have an external fan blowing on the projector for cooling to prolong the life of the gears.

 

I have virtually all of the Pontiac tapes from 1972 (earliest) to 1980, and some of the 1982's. This was not a couple of years project, as some of the earlier posts in this thread thought. I would love to have these digitized. Digitization of the Super 8 filmloops has two issues: (1) the optical sound track which seems to be unique on Super 8 film to these cartridges, and the fps (frames per second) of the Super 8 is different than for digital.

 

My son digitized the Pontiac filmstrips from about 1933 to 1971, so those are preserved, but would really like to have the Super 8 filmloops digitized as well. I have given up searching. If any of you younger folks find anyone that can do it, I would be a customer.

 

I have heard many versions of why GM used these machines; but have no proof of any of them. I do remember that the dealers I knew at the time hated them, as they could not keep them running. One dealer told me the setup (theater, projector, tapes) cost him $2800. the first year (1972) but I have never found any written documentation to substantiate that. If true, $2800. in 1972 would have probably got the dealer one of the less expensive new models.

 

573-392-7378 (9-12, 1-4 Mon-Tues central time)

 

Jon.

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I found a technicolor 2000 projector that plays the tapes but the sound does not work. Might explain a few issues!

we have a number of 1970’s gm/Chevy tapes and I want to get them onto at least YouTube if possible.

I’m interested in that theater, will message.

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16 hours ago, sklump said:

Hello I have alot of Chevrolet and Oldsmobile Cartiges I also have a projector with screen and just a projector. Also I have a disc player.

I would like to sell them, if you are interested please contact me. sklump@maqs.net


I will send you a message on this.

thanks.

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Jon, how many of the mini theaters do you have? Any of them non working with a damaged gear that could be pulled apart and duplicated?

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I think I have an extra, or maybe more; but I am not going to ship either, and with what is going around, no offense, but I am not entertaining visitors.

 

Jon.

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Hi, if anyone has any cartridges for the 1973-1978 GMC Motorhomes, I may be interested in purchasing them.  Thanks!

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Posted (edited)
On 4/20/2020 at 9:00 AM, carbking said:

Digitization of the Super 8 filmloops has two issues: (1) the optical sound track which seems to be unique on Super 8 film to these cartridges, and the fps (frames per second) of the Super 8 is different than for digital.

 

My son digitized the Pontiac filmstrips from about 1933 to 1971, so those are preserved, but would really like to have the Super 8 filmloops digitized as well. I have given up searching. If any of you younger folks find anyone that can do it, I would be a customer.

 

Can the audio be processed first, like through a headphone jack into a PC, then have the film digitized and stitch together the audio and video after?

Edited by Forward_Look (see edit history)

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If you can process the optical audio, I don't see why not.

 

Jon.

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This might be helpful.  Try searching for "magi-cartridge transfer" on Google.  It looks like some folks do offer the service.  I found this one on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/260355675163/posts/the-technicolor-super-8-magi-cartridge-is-super-8-film-in-an-endless-loop-cartri/10154589834090164/  Unfortunately it looks like the cartridge gets taken apart to get the film out to digitize though.

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