15 Derry's Cross,
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Architects: Leonard Allen
Previous Names: Drake Cinema, Drake Film Centre
The cinema was named the Drake, a name made famous by a former mayor, seafarer and citizen of Plymouth, Sir Francis Drake. The large model of the “Golden Hind” sailing galleon on front of the building was a replica of one used in the Spanish Armada from 1588.
The Drake Cinema was built, owned and operated by 20th Century Fox from its opening on 5th June 1958 with Mitzi Gaynor in “South Pacific” presented in Todd-AO. Attending the opening night ‘in person’ were film star Richard Todd & Jackie Collins. The first 20th Century Fox film to be screened was Pat Boone in “April Love” later in 1958. The single screen cinema had a seating capacity for 1,639 in stalls and circle levels. On 26th March 1961 it was taken over by the Rank Organisation and became one of their ‘Odeons’. It was equipped with one of the largest screens in the UK and the projectors were Phillips multi-purpose 70mm/35mm. The stage was occasionally brought into use with one night pop shows.
It was tripled in March 1975 and renamed Drake Film Centre, with seating for 946 in the stalls and two screens in the former circle, each seating 168. In August 1980 entertainer Rolf Harris appeared ‘live’ in Screen 1 for 2 performances on a Sunday. It was re-named Drake Odeon around 1987-1988. On 29th March 1991 two screens were added located in the stalls under the circle, each seating 220. Closed on 31st October 1999, one of the final films screened was Adam Sandler in “Big Daddy” which played to an audience of nine!. Other final films were “Tarzan”, “The Thomas Crown Affair”, “Star Wars & "The Deep Blue Sea”.
It was demolished in 2002, with only the façade remaining. A Grosvenor Casino was built on the site of the auditorium, opening in 2003.
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