Comments from David Rayner

Showing 1 - 25 of 45 comments

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Focus Cinema on Nov 4, 2021 at 9:06 am

July, 1959.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Focus Cinema on Oct 23, 2021 at 10:16 am

Photo above probably taken in March, 1963, just before demolition began. The clue are the small patches of snow on the roof and pavement. The remnants of the bitter winter of 1962 – 1963.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Astonia Cinema on Dec 3, 2020 at 1:12 pm

There is a two page article about teenage vandalism in the Parade magazine dated April 7th, 1962, which has a photo in it of an usherette examining seating that had obviously been slashed and ripped open with a knife. The article identifies the cinema as the Astoria, Stevenage, when they should have spelt it Astonia. The magazine has a colour photo on the front cover of Scilla Gabel as she appears in the forthcoming Biblical epic “Sodom and Gomorrah” I will scan the photo of the seat damage and upload it here presently.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Broadway Cinema on Oct 4, 2020 at 2:33 am

The Broadway seen in June, 1959, during a three day run of a reissue programme of MIGHTY JOE YOUNG and WHERE DANGER LIVES.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Broadway Cinema on Jul 1, 2020 at 3:01 am

Evening Sentinel, Thursday, December 4th, 1958.

STAFF SAVE MEIR CINEMA IN FIRE.

Prompt action by members of the staff and men working in the building saved the Broadway cinema in Meir from severe damage yesterday afternoon. The fire, which destroyed the screen and surrounding curtains, was discovered by a member of the staff. While firemen were racing from Longton and Hanley, the staff and workmen tackled the blaze with fire extinguishers and buckets of water. Firemen soon had the outbreak under control. The cinema manager, Mr L.A.V. Plumpton, told the Sentinel today: “We were unable to open last night. We will open as soon as we can get a new screen and curtains, which should be in a day or two. The cinema was closed to the public at the time of the outbreak. The film that should have been shown last night was “A Night To Remember”.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Focus Cinema on Apr 27, 2020 at 5:20 am

You’ve got the year wrong, Terry, and maybe the cinema. My programme records for this period, labouriously copied from the microfilms of the Evening Sentinel, list the programmes beginning Sunday June 2nd, 1963, as Odeon, Crewe, “SUMMER HOLIDAY” and “MOMENT OF DECISION” and the Ritz, Crewe as being “JUST FOR FUN” and “THE SECRET MARK OF D'ARTAGNAN”, But it may be that either I, or the Evening Sentinel got the adverts mixed up, as “SUMMER HOLIDAY”, being an ABC release, should have been shown at the Ritz and “JUST FOR FUN”, being a Rank release, should have been shown at the Odeon. At any rate, no cinema ran “SUMMER HOLIDAY” in 1962.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about We're switching to Apple Maps on Jan 10, 2020 at 1:34 pm

I managed that, Ken. It’s just that when you click on the Focus and the page loads, there is no list of Nearby Theaters in the right hand column as there is with all the other cinemas. It just says there are no more theatres (cinemas) within 30 miles of Longton, which is nonsense.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about We're switching to Apple Maps on Jan 8, 2020 at 4:52 am

I’ve noticed that whatever cinema name and location you enter into the search engine on here, the answer always comes up that it’s not found. However, if for instance, I type “Cinema Treasures Focus, Longton, Stoke on Trent” into the Google search engine, it takes me to that page straight away. Speaking of the Focus, Ken Roe, who included that on Cinema Treasures, didn’t state that there were three other cinemas in the town of Longton in those days, the Alexandra; Empire and Royal. Perhaps if he reads this, he could put that omission right.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Demolition of the Broadway in May, 1973. on Nov 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Demolition of the Broadway in May, 1973.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Odeon West End on May 31, 2019 at 10:17 am

I’ve no idea, curmudgeon, as I don’t live in the London area and yes, regarding the notice stuck to the back of the still, not exactly the kind of information that you’ll find by Googling. It’s something you just drop on through sheer good luck.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Odeon West End on May 29, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Another ancient British premiere for your list. Today (Wednesday, May 29th, 2019), I received from an eBay seller in Glastonbury, Somerset, an 85 years old glossy 8 x 10 publicity still from the 1934 Columbia Picture “NO GREATER GLORY”. Stuck to the reverse of this photo is a piece of typewriter printed paper announcing that the film will open at The Leicester Square Theatre in London on Monday, October 29th, 1934.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about ABC Hanley on May 8, 2019 at 4:38 am

Worse than that, we have lost the beauty of projected celluloid film. It’s all digital now, like watching a large, flat television screen attached to wall at one end of a featureless room. I’ve been told that presentation is mostly dreadful, with films in the wrong aspect ratio, with no moveable screen masking, no curtains or coloured lights on the curtains. In short, no showmanship or pride in presentation. It was all very different when I first started in the projection room way back in 1961. And to top all that, cinema projectionist as a job description is now obsolete and us former projectionists have long ago walked off into the CinemaScope sunset.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Odeon Southgate on Apr 11, 2019 at 12:38 pm

The Odeon, Southgate, opened on Wednesday, October 16th, 1935, and was situated on the corner of The Bourne and Tudor Way and seated 1,438 (810 in the stalls and 628 in the circle). It closed on Saturday, September 9th, 1972, but was later bought by a independent company and re-opened as the Capitol on Saturday, December 27th, 1975, first only in the stalls, but later, in 1979, the circle was re-opened. The cinema closed for good on Saturday, January 3rd, 1981 and was demolished in 1982. An office block now occuoies the site.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Victoria Theatre auditorium on Apr 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm

If this is the interior of the Victoria, they would have had to alter the proscenium considerably to accommodate CinemaScope when it was introduced. Dropping the masking down to have an oblong ribbon of picture across the bottom of the screen would surely not have been right for a first run cinema in the centre of New York.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Globe Picture Playhouse on Sep 5, 2018 at 8:27 am

During the time it was open as a cinema from 1912 to 1946, it had quite a few names, including the Moorlands; Palace; Imperial; Super and Globe. The Evening Sentinel newspaper reported on Monday, November 11th, 1929, when it was known as the Super, that the Managing Director of the cinema, one Mr William Hitchen, of Kilnwick, Denby Lane, Heaton Chapel, Stockport, who was also the Managing Director of three other cinemas in Burslem, was convicted and fined £5 (about £150 in today’s money) of allowing his under manager, Mr Sam Ellis and his manager, Clarence Green, to allow their projectionist to leave a boy aged under 16 alone in the projection room while he went elsewhere for a few minutes, effectively leaving the boy in charge of the projectors during the show. The projectionist, who wasn’t named, was sacked over the affair. Under 16 could have meant any age, even a boy of 12 or 10. But if he had been, say, 15, and was still alive today, he’d be 104 by now.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Queen's Picture Palace on Sep 3, 2018 at 2:30 am

Jupiter Street was also the base for The Potteries Transport and Cinema Supply Company, which, with its fleet of navy blue Thames Trader lorries, delivered films picked up at the film companies in Birmingham to 68 cinemas across South Cheshire and North Staffordshire, as well as picking the films up after the last run and taking them back to Birmingham. When I started work as a projectionist in 1962, this was still a huge undertaking. But gradually, the cinemas closed one after the other and the company no longer had the work to keep the company viable. By the late 1970s, they appear to have gone and were replaced by a white transit van belonging to the Film Transport Service, who delivered films to the by then very small number of cinemas that were still open. Only three or four by that time out of some 35 that once flourished across the area.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about ABC Walton-on-Thames on Aug 19, 2018 at 4:47 am

The front and interior of the cinema was also filmed for the Children’s Film Foundation feature “Raising The Roof”, filmed in Eastman Colour in 1971, shortly before it closed down.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Curzon Soho on Sep 4, 2017 at 7:49 am

I have a press photo of child star Ian MacLaine being presented to HRH Princess Margaret at the royal premiere of the Columbia Pictures release “The Boy and The Bridge” on July 22nd, 1959 at the Curzon. Was this the same Curzon that is featured on this page?

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Regal Cinema on May 29, 2017 at 7:06 am

If BORN FREE was the last film shown, then the last four programmes on this programme card can’t have been shown.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Plaza Cinema on Mar 4, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Added to photos, two pages from the Plaza programme booklet for August, 1963.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Alhambra Picture House on Mar 4, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Added to photos, two pages from the Alhambra programme booklet for September, 1962.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Two pages from the Alhambra programme booklet for September, 1962. on Mar 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Two pages from the Alhambra programme booklet for September, 1962.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Broadway Cinema on Mar 3, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Scan of the March, 1958, programme card added to photos.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Roxy Cinema on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

The Chief Projectionist at the Roxy when it closed on Saturday, November 23rd,1957, was Jimmy Stockton and he had already applied to become chief at Focus, Longton, Stoke on Trent, the job to start on Monday, November 25th. The odd thing was that the last film that Jimmy ran at the Roxy was the X certificate horror opus “The Creature Walks Among Us”, which played a week at the Roxy and which Jimmy would run again for a week at the Focus, commencing on Monday, December 2nd, 1957. It seems that the creature followed him from the Roxy to the Focus and that it may well have been the same copy of the film on both occasions.

David Rayner
David Rayner commented about Plaza Cinema on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:14 am

A COUPLE OF ANECDOTES ABOUT MY TIME AT THE PLAZA.

I remember when we were halfway through showing ‘Spartacus’ on the last run on a Saturday night in July, 1963, the navy blue Thames Trader lorry of The Potteries Transport and Cinema Supply Company arrived early at about 9 pm when there was still over an hour of the film left to run. The driver parked up his lorry and went inside to see the last part of the film. Eight reels had already been run and packed off into an unusually large eight reel transit case and I thought I would do the driver a favour by taking the case down the steps and putting it on the back of the wagon. Well, I dragged it downstairs, one step at a time and eventually reached the car park and dragged it an inch at a time towards the wagon. I dropped the side gate of the wagon and, puffing, panting and straining and using all my strength, tried in vain to lift it onto the wagon. Just then, there was a shout from the open window of the manager’s office. “OI!”, shouted Benny Norcott, “PUT THAT DOWN! YOU’RE AN OPERATOR, NOT A TRANSPORT DRIVER! IT’S HIS JOB TO LOAD THAT ON THE WAGON, NOT YOURS. IF YOU INJURED YOURSELF, YOU COULDN’T CLAIM A DAMN THING!” I dropped the case on the ground and it landed with such force that it made a three inch dent in the asphalt of the car park and I never did anything that daft again.

I remember back in 1968 that we were showing the X certificate film ‘Witchfinder General‘ and, ten minutes before I was due to start the film I was standing by the pay box with the manager, Benny Norcott, when this young lad came in. “You’re not coming in to see this!”, Benny told him. “Well, I’m over 16”, said the boy. “You haven’t seen 13, let alone 16”, Benny told him. “Well, they let me in to see it at the ABC, Hanley”, said the boy. “Well, you’re not seeing at the Plaza, Fenton!”, said Benny. “Now get!” and the boy got!