Ask Chris: Why Are There No More Searchlights in the Sky? Did the FAA Weigh In? Or Did They Become Passé?

Our in-house historian has the answer

Though the roving carbon arc lamps are harder to find, they aren’t extinct. Smaller Sky Tracker lights still show up at film premieres and store openings, but the massive lamps you know from the beginning of every 20th Century Fox movie were military castoffs. Only a handful survive. Bob Meza of Santa Clarita recently restored one just as L.A.’s last big supplier, Valley Skylites, scrapped 28 of them. Meza says the “young kid” movie publicists don’t appreciate the WWII-era spectacle.