Epsilon -9: I bet your hands weren't black from the platter. Titanic was the first major release that the prints were done using polyester. The prints shed like crazy. There were problems widely reported all over the US and Canada. We had to do our weekly cleaning on the projectors after every show, it was so bad. We ran one of our prints for five months and I was surprised that there was anything left of it. When we got our 70 mm print of Titanic, everyone just looked at it because no one knew how to thread 70 but me. (lacing-up?) So I had to teach everyone.
I started with UA in 1983 and went to General Cinema in 1987. And left when they started to collapse in 1992. When I was with GCC I had a log running argument with our City Manager (Assistant DM), who was also the GM of the GCC Northpark I and II in Dallas. She was always claiming that her theatre had the first commercial THX Sound installation. I asked her when it was installed and she said May of 1983. My theatre was done by Lucasfilm in March of 1983. The GCC Northpark was their premier location in Texas. Their small auditorium was 750 seats and their large auditorium was over 1250. She said that they could never get an exact seat count. The large auditorium was like a drive-in with a roof. The floorplan was square so if you sat on one side, the other side's surround speakers were so far away you'd hear an echo.
I hated Cinemeccanica projectors. General Cinema used them for their newer locations built in the 80's. When I left in 92' I went to work for a dollar cinema company that bought GCC's new 8-screen in Ft. Worth, about 40 miles from Dallas. I managed that location for about a year and 6 of the 8 Cinemeccanica Projectors had their plastic gear assemlies blow up. The dollar cinema people didn't know how to work on them. I didn't either so I called in the service company that GCC used. They had actually done the full booth installation there in 88'. I later worked again for UA from 94' to 2006 after the merger with Regal. They shut my location down even though it was profitable. I'm out of the industry now.
As for ST IV. I got to see it early when a working print came to town for the local Paramount office, which UA did screenings for. It was complete except for the effects. I got to see the Bird of Prey fly around the sun without the floaty heads. You could still see the stand under the model and some of the effects guys were standing in the background waving.