The neon sign atop the Regent Theatre is missing the
letter ''e'' after running low on gas. Photo by Brenda Harwood
The Regent Theatre wants to buy a vowel, and it's going to
need a crane to do it.
For the past three weeks, the theatre's giant neon sign has
read ''Reg-nt'', after the second ''e'' went dark because of
neon gas depletion.
The solution to the problem is relatively simple - the letter
needs to be taken down, re-filled with gas and put back into
place. However, the location of the sign was a complicating
factor, Regent Theatre technical manager Nelson Miles said.
''Taking the letter down is a two-minute job, but we will
have to block off the Octagon and bring in a crane to do
it,'' Mr Miles said.
The work will involve representatives of Dunedin firm Miller
Studios, which has neon specialists, and an electrician to
re-connect the letter once it is re-filled.
The recalcitrant ''e'' had put additional pressure on the
electrical transformer powering the ''Regent'' sign, so had
been disconnected, Mr Miles said.
''We really don't want it to cause damage to any other parts
of the sign.''
The theatre and Miller Studios had formulated a plan to get
the letter off the roof, re-filled and back in place in one
go - probably during an early morning, Mr Miles said.
A rough estimate put the cost of the work, including crane
hire, at $3000 to $4000, he said.
''We want to get the job done as soon as possible, but we
can't do it during the New Zealand International Film
Festival - things are just too busy at the moment,'' he said.
''We will get it done as soon as possible though.''
The Regent Theatre has sported the neon sign since the 1950s,
when it was created by Dunedin firm Claude Neon. The Regent
sign's metal frame was replaced with plastic in 1998, and its
glass tubing re-filled with neon gas by Miller Studios in
2002, Mr Miles said.