This design makes good use of a small urban lot by maximizing the advertising space. The design above the marquee is one unit, the design below another. The projecting marquee attracts the attention of both Driver and pedestrian. The exterior could be of concrete, plaster, terra cotta, glass or plastic, the lettering in copper or white metal.
This theatre is designed with a glass front. The box office has an automobile entrance to the parking lot with an automobile exit on the other side of the building. At night varicolored lights play on the façade and the building forms its own reflective background. This design marks a transition to the drive-theatre type.
Note on reverse: This theatre is built with a glass front so the lobby may be viewed from the street. This makes the front entertaining in itself and stresses the fact that entertainment is housed within. The poster cases are designed to sell the show.
Note on reverse: This spectacular design has been planned to care for a change in theatre patronage. It is meant to speak up to the people to come in and see what is inside, and is planned for a locality where the newsreel has become an attraction.
Lee produced a number of designs for newsreel theatres, a type of theatre that would show newsreels on a continuous basis. All the renderings describe in this archive as Theatre Design Concepts are newsreel theatres. The newsreel had been introduced as a short shown before the feature during the 1930s. World War II heightened interest in the newsreel, giving rise to the idea of small theatres showing newsreels only. As technology allowed, Lee began to increase his use of glass and later plastic, both transparent materials that could be used to great effect for buildings whose primary use was at night. Lee's renderings for these designs all show the buildings at night. By using transparent materials, Lee was creating illuminated sculptures that were their own advertisements for the film.Note on reverse: This modern idea has been designed to be inviting, entertaining and smart, to stand out in a busy location. The name on the theatre indicates the design was prepared for Mexico, probably in early 1940s.
This earliest-known concept for a drive-in theater by Lee, the Ventura Drive-In, shows a sophisticated use of illuminated triangular forms massed alongside the large illuminated screen structure and along the edges of the parking lot, creating an advertising sign for the theater out of the drive-in form itself. The sharp-edged forms are clearly Art Deco in character, a style that is sometimes called Zig-Zag Moderne. The design vocabulary was adapted from usage current in theatre design at the time.
Note on reverse: This theatre shall be its own advertising and the front shall sell the picture. Each row will have different colored lighting arrangements and the whole will be a blaze of color with the new fluorescent lighting units.