Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#1 by Greg Perry , Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:02 pm

Some of the movie theaters each of us went to in years past are special above and beyond the great movies we saw there. Here are a couple of places that standout to me from "the good old days". It would be great to see a pic or two posted by other members of their favorite places from the past.....

First we have the "Southtown Theater". This was a single screen cinema with a huge screen and the red velvet curtains that opened and closed. It was deluxe back in the day and it was always a big deal to get to see a movie there. I think this was built in the 1960's as it has that ugly modern look to the outside. Eventually they cut the single screen in half and remodeled to allow two films to be screened. I think it closed in the late 1980's as four-screen theaters started to become the new norm. This theater was bulldozed to build a strip mall in its place. Many fine memories of films seen there with family, buddies, and dates as well....
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Next, we have the "Lucky Twin Drive In". This two screen drive-in was in our hometown, which at that time was a small town on the edge of farmland. Not like that now. Saw a bunch of films there as a little kid with my sisters and Mom and Dad. The neon sign was beautiful with a nice green shamrock. Sadly, this closed in the mid 1980's and was converted into a commuter bus stop with parking ramp and some apartment buildings.
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Finally, we have another drive-in. The "France Avenue Drive-In". This was the place to go on the weekends with friends and girls during high school. So although fun movies were watched, their were other "distractions" that soon became more compelling than what was being shown on the big screen (back of screen pictured below)...Now it is a retail area with Trader Joe's and a bunch of other places I would never shop at...
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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#2 by Vidar Olavesen , Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:13 pm

This was one
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This still standing, but sadly digital
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And my first ever visit was here
g118-Gre-aring-ker-Kino.html


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#3 by Tom Photiou , Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:48 pm

The were several cinemas here in Plymouth. The main ones i use to go were the lovely Odeon cinema in union st where i saw many movies, the last being Close Encounters, this one is still here but has been closed and boarded up for most of my adult life,
There was the other odeon, also named as The Drake cinema, just a few hundred yards from the one in union street, spot the Golden Hind ship at the front, this one was the first to be turned into a three screen cinema, that ruined this one, it is now a club or casino but still has the ship at the front. Then there was the brilliant Belgrave cinema, also know as the flea pit, this was a privately owned cinema and usually screened two main films so you always got your monies worth.
This is where i first saw Assault on precinct 13.
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I almost forgot the other great cinema here in Plymouth, (before it also became a three in one) The ABC, this one is still there but is now a Reel.
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Now we have the usual VUE complex that has ripped us off for years, most interestingly though, they have just dropped the ticket price to just £4.99 for everything, (other than the VIP seats) until the end of the year. I suspect this is in a panic response the the utterly huge Cineworld building going up which apparently is also going to have an IMAX screen. I am looking forward to this one, it looks very impressive so far.
My school friends Dad was the manager of the two odeon cinemas in town so we got to go pictures for free once a week, he was allowed to take one person with him, luckily i was his pal.Great days, great old cinemas.

After the old Belgrave closed, (just up the road from where i live now), it became a snooker hall. Me and my workmates often had a few nice evenings there playing the game. The owners kept much of the old cinemas look, posters etc, even the screen curtains were kept up. It closed again a few years ago, i'm not too sure what it is now but the old building is still there.



 
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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#4 by Greg Perry , Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:01 pm

Thank you for posting these great pictures! What I find quite interesting is the very unique architecture and design that went into all of these different theaters you posted about. Nowadays, the giant "d*word" warehouse multiplexes with 12 screens sure don't seem to have the same character.


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#5 by Vidar Olavesen , Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:26 pm

Agreed, it used to be magnificent, now its just the money, no style at all


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#6 by Robert Crewdson , Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:41 pm

Very interesting thread this. First on my list is the Electra Cinema in Queen Street, Oxford. It opened in 1911, was the last cinema in Oxford to be converted to sound. My parents took me here in 1954 to see Kirk Douglas in 'Ulyssess', but as I was a baby then I knew nothing of it. It took me more than 60 years before I got to see this film. It closed in 1958 and the building was demolished in the 1970s.
Oxford Electra Cinema.JPG - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

Next, was a favourite of mine in my early years, the Ritz (now called the Odeon), in George Street, Oxford. About 1962 it was gutted by fire, but re-opened 6 months later, good as new. I don't recall all the films I saw here, but one was 'Jason and the Argonauts', and later I saw 'The Sound of Music'; my sister took me to see that, then I persuaded my parents to see it, so saw it twice. Here they showed 'The Great Escape'. I didn't see that film, but remember the queues stretching right back outside of the building, and the large poster reading like a Who's Who of the film industry. This cinema premiered the Taylor/Burton film 'The Taming of the Shrew', with both the stars in attendance. I Have been a couple of times since it went digital, but the building has been ruined; also the facade has been altered.
Oxford Ritz.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)
Thethird cinema became my favourite, and I saw most of my films here, the Super, in Magdalen Street, Oxford (now called The Odeon). It looked small on the outside, but was a very long building, with huge framed oil paintings on the walls. It was here that I saw 'One Million Years B.C', 'The First Men in the Moon', Ursula Andress in 'She', 'Zulu', Cary Grant in 'Father Goose', and Audrey Hepburn in 'My Fair Lady'. I haven't been back there since the cinemas were converted from one single huge screen. It's probably best to remember it as it was.
Oxford Super.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)

I feel very fortunate in that I have been able to obtain copies of the films that meant the most to me, and I can view them as they were originally meant to be seen, not digitally.


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#7 by Greg Perry , Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:26 am

Robert,
Great to also hear about the very classic and memorable films you were able to see over the years at the theaters you pictured!
I am really glad you have a completed collection and can enjoy them now for many years to come, without spending time and funds hunting and chasing for elusive missing titles!


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#8 by Eivind Mork , Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:26 pm

The first cinema I went to was Sagatun kino (kino = cinema). It is located in Hamar, the nearest town to where I grew up. I have many memories from this place. My first tilm I saw there was Pinchcliff Grand Prix as far as I know. It has 484 seats.

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This is how it looks today. In addition to the main screen, it has now has four more screens
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When I moved to Oslo, my favorite place was Colosseum. According to Wikipedia: "The Colosseum Kino in Oslo, Norway is the largest cinema in Northern Europe and the largest THX cinema in the world." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum_kino). It has 1158 seats. It still exists, but is all digital by now.
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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#9 by Greg Perry , Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:48 pm

Eivind,
Thank you for sharing those pics...
It doesn't seem like these huge 1,000+ seat theaters are being made but rarely nowadays. Maybe only for Imax? Here in the U.S. (and I am sure everywhere else) the multiplexes have numerous smaller screens with maybe 50 seats or so in each of the individual theaters. You can reserve individual seats in advance (which I like) and the seats are the deluxe motorized recliners with footrests and cushioned armrests--just like you might have at home. Very comfortable, but I would trade that to go back to the way things used to be with film and a overall better and more meaningful movie-going experience.


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#10 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:08 pm

I was shocked when I went to the cinema in Oxford, the screen looked small, and as you say Greg, there was only about 50 seats. I don't think there was more than about 8 of us there in the audience. The walls were plain. It was just like being sat in a large garage, not a cinema. The noise lever was uncomfortable as well; I was more concerned about the damage it could do to my hearing.


 
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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#11 by Greg Perry , Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:12 pm

RIght about the sound...the last several non-film shows I went to the sound was way, way too loud. And my hearing isn't even that good!
I thought to go ask them to lower it but figured I wouldn't be able to find anyone that would or could help, plus would miss 5 or 10 minutes worth of the show....


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#12 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:38 pm

Here is another cinema my parents visited, but I was too young to remember, The Regal, at Abingdon -on-Thames, Berkshire, as it was closer to them then than Oxford, which was 7 miles further. I don't know what film they saw here. The cinema closed in the 1970s, then some years later small band of people got together, and were allowed to open it for a limited time each week. They wanted to re-open it permanently, but the site owner wanted to have it demolished and sell the land to a housing developer. The council gave their approval; then just a few months later, the council said 'What this town needs is a cinema', with plans to build one on a green field site; fortunately it never happened. The cinema had almost 1,000 seats.
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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#13 by Tom Photiou , Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:46 pm

When you look at some of the modern 70 crap architecture they want to keep as listed buildings, yet they were all to quick to knock these places down. Just look at the details in them.

Another one i almost forgot about from my young years was the Plazza in Plymouth, This is where i saw where eagle dars and The Guns of Navarone, My Mum took me to these two. Unfortunatly, the ABC company sold this and it became a place of xxx films for a number of years. Now its a snooker hall.
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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#14 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:18 pm

A lot of these buildings were erected during the art deco period of the 30s, and some were called picture palaces. I liked the ABC cinemas; we always bought a copy of the ABC Film Review; I wish we had kept some.


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RE: Which movie theaters did you go to in years past...

#15 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:33 pm

I just learned that ABC Television belonged to the same group. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSMyqYZ5yGE, this was up to about 1960, then gave way to Rediffusion Television.
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