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I can now add the Rex, Wilmslow, which also reopened today, as an example of how tabs add that essential ‘finishing touch’….
I see that the proud new owner operators have made a fine job of the restoration of the circle and , unlike the Odeon Leicester Square, which today reopened its doors after the best part of a year and many millions of pounds of expenditure, it has fine quality house tabs to give that all important finishing touch.
Davepring: I hope you are right……
I should have included as an exception Muswell Hill (being a purpose built Odeon)!
No one would have liked more to be proven wrong about AMC than I.
However, it does look like the ‘no tabs’ policy has now been extended to this iconic building. If so, I say to them : Look at Plaza Stockport, Rex Berkhamsted, Odyssey St Albans, Regal Evesham, Everyman, Muswell Hill (at least this was spared their York treatment) and just see for yourselves how much better these already fine venues look with illuminated house tabs!
With the possible exception of the Plaza Stockport the others are not in the same league as the Odeon Theatre Leicester Square – but, owing to the tabs alone, they look a damn sight better!!!
Antovolk: No tabs in the photos you have taken, sadly. Organ console looks lovely and curtains would have complemented same.
2 photos uploaded showing the Arcadia as it was after the rebuild of 1931.
Article in ‘The Town Crier’ on page 7:–
Not that I was around when this particular photo was taken, of course….
Article re foundation stone laid by Sir Anthony Eden’s father in 1909:–
This reopened for films for a brief period in 1970.
As I recall, the newspaper coverage in The Northern Echo emphasised the fact that the new lessee was going to show 16mm only! I do not recall how long the venture lasted but I guess that it was short lived.
At around the same time another brief revival occurred at the Avenue Cinema in nearby Coxhoe using 35mm.
I have just received the following from a Cinema Veteran (and friend of many years):–
Subject: FW: Odeon defends £40 hi-tech cinema prices
Just picked this up from Michael. Unbelievable, then not so really the crazy way this industry is run now!
Perhaps the 3 of us should book up for a night at the “Odeon Leicester Square” Terry! That will be £120 please; (whoops.. forgot the booking fee!) plus of course “standard return” to London £335 each that will be £1005 plus £120 £1125 to see “Mary Poppins Returns”! Bring your own goodies please. Shall I book up for the 3 of us? We can always sleep at the “Salvation Army” if we miss the last train to Newcastle can’t we!!
You simply “couldn’t make it up”.
Subject: Odeon defends £40 hi-tech cinema prices
Yes – and they can’t even afford a set of screen curtains…..
CF100: Unless tabs happen to be lurking in the wings (quite literally) it seems very much the case that a veto has indeed been exercised. Odeon themselves, admittedly, prior to AMC’s acquisition, had dispensed with their use generally across the circuit; they did, however, retain same and continue their use here.
I am sure that the same organisation, following refurbishment, would have perpetuated the policy at their flagship theatre and I am 99.9 % certain that the decision to use the safety curtain image – as opposed to house tabs – is AMC’s way of paying ‘lip service’ to the old order. Big of them, indeed!
Safety curtains, no matter how ornate, are there for one purpose: namely to segregate the auditorium from the stage in the event of a fire. Audiences at the refurbished theatre are most unlikely to say: “Wow! That is a digital recreation of the Fire Curtain!”, as 99.9 % of them (yes, that percentage again) will never have seen it in the first place.
I could perhaps understand if, as in the case of the former York Odeon, a large screen were floated forward of the proscenium thereby not facilitating anywhere for a curtain track. However, as we all know, this is not so at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square where the screen is within the proscenium and where there is ample room for several tracks.
Fanatical About Odeon and I are probably dinosaurs when it comes to screen presentation and maintaining the belief that tabs are essential for this purpose.
AMC and other multiplex operators decreed many years ago that tabs are unnecessary. Maybe so, but this could be said about many things in this life. As the Season of Goodwill is approaching, perhaps AMC’s executives will consider just handing unwrapped presents to their nearest and dearest on Christmas Day. After all, gift wrapping is unnecessary and the recipients would only see what the present is anyway after the removal of the wrappings, ribbons etc etc – rather like Cinema Curtains, when you come to think about it………..
“Rather cutely, visitors will now see a digital recreation of the original safety curtain, first lifted in 1937…..” So, this is what will greet people as they look at the stage end of the refurbished OLS – a digital image of a safety curtain which was only occasionally seen. I might have guessed that AMC would do something like this and an old maxim which includes the words ‘ship’ and ‘tar’ comes to mind…..
CF100: Unless I have missed one of the rendered views, all I can see is what appears to be a ‘slide’ image of the old safety curtain on the cinema screen.
All will be revealed shortly, I suppose……
CF100: I am guessing that tabs exist (and are used at least on certain occasions) at the Vue owing to Warner Bros having installed them when the complex originally opened. I assume, therefore, that after the most recent refurbishment they were allowed to remain, given the importance of the venue’s location (not that this was taken into consideration by Empire after the latter’s carve – up).
I am aware, however, of no exceptions to the ‘no tabs’ policy by AMC, Odeon’s parent company. Should they happen to diversify from their stringently enforced doctrine at OLS, I shall be amazed – albeit most pleasantly……….
‘Mary Poppins Returns’ would have been a great Premiere/Opening Attraction especially with a medley of the musical numbers played on the Compton organ beforehand; even more atmospheric with houselights dimmed and just the house tabs and ‘flying ladies’ illuminated. I do hope that AMC make an exception for OLS with their ‘no curtains’ policy…..
The last time I visited Morecambe was in 1969 when all the resort’s cinemas and theatres, including the Royalty, were still open apart from the Gaumont.
The film showing when the above photo was taken, ‘Villa Rides’, was released in 1968.
My Dad was Chief Projectionist there during the post war years and my Mum was a cashier. Dad said it was a lovely little cinema with very well heeled regulars – as one would have expected in Ilkley. Circle seats were bookable every evening. There were two Managers whilst he was there: first a Mr Wiggins and later a Mr Longstaff, both of whom Dad liked very much. Owners, Star Cinemas Ltd were a small Yorkshire based company (originally in Otley and later in The Headrow, Leeds) headed by Walter Eckhart. At that time they had well maintained small and medium sized venues mainly in market towns. Things were to change in the late 1960’s when, during the decline in admissions, Star concentrated more on Bingo in addition to pioneering the cheap conversion of cinemas into multi screen outlets using the name ‘Studio’; these would quite often occupy the former circle area of a cinema whilst Bingo was ‘the name of the game’ in the former stalls. Walter had passed away by this time and the two sons, Rodney and Derek Eckhart were at the helm.
Dad was a lover of Cinema (which helps when you work in the industry) and was also an afficionado of theatre organs. The opposition theatre, the New Cinema (which was acquired by Walter Eckhart’s arch rival, Sol Scheckman and renamed Essoldo) was slightly larger than the Grove and it also had an organ (a Compton?) but somehow Dad never got round to making himself known there which he rather regretted as he would have liked to see the auditorium, the projection suite – and the organ.
I later worked in the industry as a Manager with ABC whose nearest theatre to Ilkley was Keighley Ritz although that was a place I never worked in. At least it still exists, I believe, albeit as a Bingo Hall…..
2 photos uploaded.