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Patch Adams Just the Ticket for First-Time Filmgoers

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WILSON — Students from the Eastern North Carolina School For the Deaf lined up in front of the Regal Cinemas Tuesday and Wednesday night; a new technology brought them to the theater, some for the first time.

Natasha Canady and dozens of other hearing impaired students will always remember their trip to see "Patch Adams." "I've never really seen a movie before," Canady says.

For the first time, Wilson is hosting a movie using a new technology called "open captioning."

The technique is similar to closed captioning, but it requires no special equipment.

Dirk Albrecht and some friends asked the captioning company to send the film here; until now, it was limited to larger cities, far from here.

"I decided... why not here in Wilson?" Albrecht says. "The school for the deaf is here."

Albrecht worked on the project for nearly a year, and he's thrilled with the results. "I'm really thrilled to finally have an open caption motion picture here."

The words imprinted on the film add a new dimension to entertainment for people who are normally limited to movies at home.

"Here, it's a real theater where we can smell and taste the popcorn, the butter, and drink," Deaf Service Specialist Mike Cook says. "We can sit, you know, be in a crowd and watch the movie together."

The film drew a good crowd; good enough, organizers hope, to make open captioned movies a more common feature on the marquee.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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