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Cinema Bus


Bob Marts
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Thanks Bob. very cool. I remember reading that the soviets had a big flying film production system in the 30s that flew around to all the new republics to show newsreels. It had a film processing plant on board so newsreels shot along the route could be shown at the next stop. I'l try and find a picture.

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There was a company called Charles Fuller Productions in Tampa that had a converted bus they used for a "film mobile unit" around 1970-1972 or so. I suspect this was basically a poor man's Cinemobile unit. Cinemobile shot some late 1960s/early 1970s shows like I Spy and Then Came Bronson:

 

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In fact, didn't they shoot Route 66, back in the day? That might have been the first all-travelling scripted American dramatic TV film series that I can think of. 

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Cinemobile! The first movie I ever worked on, "Harold and Maude" (I was in the Art Department) used the double-decker Cinemobile. I remember every single crew member complained about it. We did have quite a bit of fun with the whole crew riding in the upper deck seating --- we were driven from San Francisco down to Santa Cruz for night shooting on the Boardwalk. It didn't hurt that most of the crew was loaded (this was 1969 you have to remember). 

 

A little known fact was that most all of the grip and electric equipment had to be "special" Cinemobile compatible items --- a regular industry standard C-stand (from Mathews, Century or American for example) would not fit in the compartments of the Cinemobile. So, Key Grips who had their own package couldn't even compete for the Grip equipment --- a production was forced to use the "on board" grip and lighting gear (which incidentally was billed out at much higher rates than the deals the Gaffer, Key Grip and other companies would make). 

 

Sound equipment could also be part of the deal --- I remember my first visit to Cinemobile on Sunset Blvd ("the Sunset Strip" right across from Ciro's) and legendary Sound Mixer Jack Soloman was in there picking out gear to load up into the big Cinemobile. I was in there picking out some pieces of equipment for my first movie (doing sound) and we were going to be using the little Cinemobile. I discovered that most all the sound equipment had to be taken out of the cases and loaded into special cubbyholes designed specifically for the sound equipment that Cinemobile rented to the production. So, for example, there was a little cubby that fit a Sennheiser 815 in a Sennheiser windscreen (zeppelin style) but wouldn't fit any other kind of microphone or windscreen. The Nagra was also put in its own padded compartment where it fit quite nicely as long as you didn't have the 7" reel conversion fitted. It was kind of a nightmare and as pointed out probably didn't really save anybody any money.

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