Drive-in test run aborted

Drive-in test run aborted

Saturday, October 24, 2020

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IT was a dry run. Palace Amusement Company, Jamaica's sole motion picture exhibitor, opened the gates to a refurbished New Kingston Drive-in cinema free of cost on Thursday evening to test the equipment, and what resulted was indeed a test. Technical difficulties plagued the evening's presentation and resulted in the show being aborted.

“We had some technical problems with the projector. This just came up as we did a number of test runs prior to opening, and unfortunately we could not continue the dry run for the patrons who showed up,” Marketing Manager Melanie Graham told the Jamaica Observer.

“We are working on the matter, but in addition, due to the current weather condition, we have decided not to go ahead with the official launch which was set for today [October 23] as planned until further notice. We thank everyone who took the time to come to the test and appreciate your support and feedback. We are making every effort to ensure that when we do launch it will be seamless,” she continued.

Thursday's test attracted a full house inside the venue which can accommodate 227 vehicles. Patrons began streaming in from as early as 5:45 pm, ahead of the 6:00 pm opening of the gates and 6:30 pm showtime.

Things got going but the glitches were too many and the test had to be abandoned.

For couple Kerry-Ann and Locksley Tulloch, coming out to the drive-in was truly nostalgic.

“We haven't done this in such a long time. It feels like history repeating itself; t's a nice experience. We are reminiscing how we used to date way back when everybody [would] drive out to Harbour View, and it was a lot of fun. When it got going I said we have become accustomed to HD [high definition] and the surround sound, but it's a nice blend of the retro and modern. But, this is an experience and I'm enjoying myself,” said Kerry-Ann.

Clifton Clarke was part of the electrical team who worked on preparing the facility to rehouse the drive-in cinema, but he too was excited to enjoy the movie experience.

“I am here on standby to make sure that everything is alright. It was fascinating working to put it back together. I wasn't very familiar – my employers, Donaldson Engineer and Electrical, were the ones who wired it before and they talk about the joy back in those days, so it was exciting to see it back up, particularly given the COVID times. It is the right alternative opportunity to hang out with the family and relax.

Patrons Janelle Waugh and Matthew Williams had never been to a drive-in cinema so they took the opportunity to experience Palace Amusement's test run.

“I wanted to know what it would be like…I just wanted to experience it so I can know what to do once the drive-in is open for business. It looks good so far. I am interested in things like picture and sound quality,” said Williams.

I've never been to a drive-in before, so this is definitely for the experience,” Waugh chimed in

Palace Amusement decided to reopen the drive-in cinema in the wake of the social distancing protocols associated with the pandemic. The company has been forced to close Palace Cineplex in Liguanea, St Andrew and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay due to low patronage. The company's flagship cinema, Carib 5 in the Corporate Area and the cinema complex in Portmore, St Catherine, remain open.

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