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#183898 - 9th Nov 2007 2:26pm Cinemas *****
chriskay Offline
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Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
A couple of days ago I came up & did a little project. One of the jobs I had after I left school in 1952 was as a cinema projectionist. The two cinemas I worked at were the Ritz which was on Conway St., where there's a car park now, next to Argos, & the Plaza in Borough Rd. I didn't go to the site of the Ritz, but visited several others & took pics.
The Ritz was opened by Gracie Fields in 1937, the year I was born. It closed in 1969.
These weren't the only cinemas in town, but they were the main ones. The Ritz & Plaza had Wurlitzer organs, which rose from a pit & were played during the interval.
At that time, the programme would consist of the main feature, a second short feature (what we in the trade called a 2 reeler) & a newsreel & trailers for forthcoming films. The programme always finished with playing of "God Save the King" & it was very rude not to stand for this, or to leave before it finished.
While I was at the Plaza, we were converted for Cinemascope, with a wide screen & extra lenses, called Anamorphics, to expand the film, which was standard 35mm. but had been compressed during filming. These lenses were swung in front of the standard lens when a Cinemascope film was shown. Surround sound too!!
There was quite a skill in maintaining correct illumination on the screen. The light source was carbon arc & you had to keep the carbons correcty adjusted, or the screen would go brown on one side & blue on the other.


Attachments: Viewing Permissions May Apply. Click Me
rialto.jpg

Description: This Aldi is where the Rialto was. Just up the road from Bebington station, towards New Ferry.

regal.jpg

Description: This is where the Regal was; Bebington Rd. King's Lane is 50 yards to the left. Fairs is behind me & 50 yards to my left. Good Saturday matinées here.

regent.jpg

Description: The Regent, on Church Rd., Tranmere,to the left of the Black Horse. The top of Well Lane is 50 yards to the right.

plaza.jpg

Description: The Plaza was next to the Kingsland dance hall, where the builder's yard is. I'm standing in Harrowby Rd.

plaza wall.jpg

Description: A close-up of the only remaining bit of the Plaza. The pink wall with stacks of bricks next to it. There's a 5 foot gap between that wall & the Kingsland; used to keep my bike there. Projection room was on this wall & the screen was to the right.

savoy.jpg

Description: This was the Savoy in Argyle St.

gaumont.jpg

Description: The Gaumont, bottom of Park Rd. East. You can see the main park entrance in the pic.


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#183899 - 9th Nov 2007 3:12pm Re: Cinemas [Re: chriskay]
BMW Joe Offline
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Registered: 30th Apr 2006
Posts: 12369
Loc: Birkenhead
I didn't know what is now a furniture shop, which used to be roller world on Park Rd. East used to be a cinema.

And I've only just noticed that it is similar in style to what is now rileys in Argyle St.

Thanks for sharing happy

what sort of films were showing?
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#183907 - 9th Nov 2007 4:00pm Re: Cinemas [Re: BMW Joe]
MattLFC Offline
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Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Some excellent information there Chris!

thumbsup

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#183911 - 9th Nov 2007 4:30pm Re: Cinemas [Re: MattLFC]
Pomp Offline

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Registered: 19th Aug 2005
Posts: 5253
Loc: Wirral
When did u them pics?
Is Rileys offering free memberships?

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#183913 - 9th Nov 2007 4:36pm Re: Cinemas [Re: Pomp]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Very first line Pomp:

Originally Posted By: chriskay
A couple of days ago I came up & did a little project.

smile

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#183921 - 9th Nov 2007 4:59pm Re: Cinemas [Re: MattLFC]
Waddi Offline

Forum Guardian

Registered: 11th Jul 2004
Posts: 4006
Loc: New Ferry
What about the wallasey based picture houses Chris?

good work. didnt know about the bebington ones.
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#183924 - 9th Nov 2007 5:21pm Re: Cinemas [Re: Waddi]
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 21086
Loc: Wirral
WOW you have just save a chunk of History there Chris,
I wouldn't have known any of them.

Love the little snippet
Originally Posted By: chriskay
The programme always finished with playing of "God Save the King" & it was very rude not to stand for this, or to leave before it finished.
I didn't know that either.

Where there is buildings left you can see that they "Could" have been cinema's, obvious when you know.

How things have changed no

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#183973 - 9th Nov 2007 8:55pm Re: Cinemas [Re: Waddi]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
Originally Posted By: The_WadFather
What about the wallasey based picture houses Chris?



Never went to Wallasey much. The only one I remember was the Continental, which showed esoteric stuff, like opera. You used to be able to order coffee & they would bring it to you during the interval.
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#183974 - 9th Nov 2007 9:00pm Re: Cinemas [Re: BMW Joe]
chriskay Offline
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Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
Originally Posted By: BMW Joe


what sort of films were showing?


Everything. all the latest Hollywood offerings & British 'stiff upper lip' films. I remember the first Cinemascope film I showed at the Plaza was "The Robe". Frank Sinatra was making a lot of films at the time; I remember "Young at Heart" with him & Doris Day.
As far as style is concerned, it was all of its time; late Art Deco mostly & a common theme ran through all the chains.

(I've just been reminded, from another source entirely, that the Regal in Bebington later became part ot the Essoldo chain, but I don't suppose any of you youngsters will remember that)!!
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#183975 - 9th Nov 2007 9:26pm Re: Cinemas [Re: chriskay]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
Stop press. Just watching "Dr. Strangelove" on ITV3. Has one of the best lines ever; "gentlemen, gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room"
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#183981 - 9th Nov 2007 10:44pm Re: Cinemas [Re: chriskay]
SoundLad Offline

Are you SoNutz?
Forum Master

Registered: 22nd Aug 2007
Posts: 2988
Loc: Birkenhead, United Kingdom
My dads friend mally's ex girlfriends dad and mum used to be the projectionist in Argyle street (used to be called ABC Cinema when they where projectionists) i'll have to ask them if they have some photos of the inside of the cinema and out. smile Be nice to see how it use to look etc.. smile
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#183991 - 9th Nov 2007 11:15pm Re: Cinemas [Re: SoundLad]
Mark Online   Reading


Wiki Master

Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 21086
Loc: Wirral
Yeh that would be amazing.

lol chris quote
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#184013 - 10th Nov 2007 12:16am Re: Cinemas [Re: Mark]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Where the bingo hall in Moreton is, that used to be a picture house. Ill see if I can get some photos of it sometime.

My mum used to tell me when I was a kid what it was like in there, so I will see if I can get any info outta her lol.

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#184014 - 10th Nov 2007 12:18am Re: Cinemas [Re: MattLFC]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
The building that is centred:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=moreton+wirral&rls=com.microsoft:en-gb:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGIH&um=1&sa=N&tab=wl

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#184570 - 12th Nov 2007 11:07am Re: Cinemas [Re: SoundLad]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
Originally Posted By: SoundLad
My dads friend mally's ex girlfriends dad and mum used to be the projectionist in Argyle street (used to be called ABC Cinema when they where projectionists) i'll have to ask them if they have some photos of the inside of the cinema and out. smile Be nice to see how it use to look etc.. smile


Yes, I remember now that it was the ABC after the Savoy.
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