TITLE: One Right Way 4-4-2015
By Roy Proctor
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
One Right Way
“Projectionist wanted for local theater,” the ad read. “Must be at least sixteen years old. Will train. Contact Sumner Hall at the Avon Theater.”
The idea of earning money at my first job was exciting. It was time for childhood to be replaced with tryouts for adulthood. With my first driver’s license in my wallet, I proudly drove into town for my first job interview.
“Mr. Hall,” I’m Roy Proctor. I’m answering your ad for a projectionist.”
“I’m pleased to meet you Roy.”
We engaged in small talk and Mr. Hall asked questions about my family. “Was Hattie Proctor your grandmother?” he asked.
“Mm, no.” I said. “She may have been my great grandmother.”
“I don’t think so,” Mr. Hall replied. “We went to high school together.”
“Great move Roy,” I thought to myself. “You just made your prospective boss a generation older.” But our interview proceeded in a congenial manner.
“Great. I’ll look forward to seeing you here on our next showing.”
The projection room was intimidating to a beginner. There were two large projectors and an extensive work bench. “Tonight I want you to just watch. I’ll explain everything I do as we go along.”
Mr. Hall was systematic in his instruction. “There are many wrong ways to do something but only one right way. He said. “I’m going to show you how to do every part of this job the right way. If you put the things I’ll teach you into practice it will go well with you. If you don’t, you’re be in serious trouble. Understand?”
“Yes sir, I understand.”
“First, you have to put your first reel together,” he said. “It consists of the cartoon, previews of coming attractions and whatever else you may get. You have to splice each part together to make the first reel. So follow closely because each splice has to be right. If you make a bad splice it can break apart. Make sure both parts of the film are cut straight. Then you sand each end just right, apply glue and place in in this jig. When it dries you must have a neat splice. Now you try one.”
After a few tries, I was able to make a perfect splice.
“Okay,” Mr. Hall said. “Now for the second step in your preparation. You have to insect all of the film on every reel to make sure there are no breaks in it.”
Contrary to what one might think, there were frequent breaks that had to be fixed using that perfect splice. When this final stage was finished, you were ready for the show.
“Well,” Mr. Hall said. “You seemed to have learned this part of the operation. The next show I want to watch you run the projectors. When I feel you’re ready, I’ll turn the whole operation over to you.”
“Sounds good to me,” I replied. Actually, I lied a little. Being a typical teen age boy, I wasn’t too keen on being supervised. Or was it rebellion brought on by my dad’s persistent verbal abuse? Yet I loved Mr. Hall’s affirmative support. He was like a grandfather that every boy would love to have.
The time soon came for that all important milestone in every job. “Okay,” Mr. Hall said. “I think you’re ready to take it over.”
Arriving a short time before the movie was to start I walked into the projection booth alone. My mentor was downstairs preparing to usher people to their seats. My heart wanted to jump out of my chest on that first run. The hardest part was to count ten seconds between the first and second set of cues to change projectors. They appeared in a circle in the top left corner of the screen. It was no time to be daydreaming about Delilah, the pretty girl that ran the popcorn stand down in the lobby. Every change had to be exactly right to maintain a continuous picture.
Fortunately, that first run went well. “You did well,” Mr. Hall said. “You missed a couple of cues but it created only a brief interruption.” My performance did improve to the point that I felt confident to perform the job.
My confidence was shattered one night, however. Without warning I heard a loud “pop” in the running projector. The sound sunk into silence and the light shrunk to a state like midnight at winter time. I opened the projector and saw a horrifying sight. It was full of crumpled film. Before I could do anything Mr. Hall rushed into the room. He brushed me aside, repaired the damage, and started the show again just in time to prevent the restless movie watchers from revolting.
“You made a bad splice,” Mr. Hall said. “I heard it pop all the way downstairs.”
“Oh,” I said.
“So, tomorrow we repeat film splicing 101. Be here.” With that he abruptly left.
“Okay,” Mr. Hall said. “Remember, there are several wrong ways to do a thing but only one right way. If you want to stay here you better make sure you make every splice film right.”
I learned Hr. Hall’s one right way of performing every aspect of the job. But after two years I resigned, preferring the social life of a high school senior.
I was fortunate to have experienced Mr. Hall’s mentoring. His sage advice frequently comes to mind, even into my senior years of life, “There are many wrong ways to do a thing but only one right way.”
There is ever a spiritual application to that sage advice. There are several religions but only one right way to find God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.