Carlton Movie House 235 Faraday Street, CARLTON, VIC - Tribute to Gordon McCelland

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Carlton Movie House

Carlton Movie House

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Taken on: January 2, 2013

Uploaded on: February 24, 2024

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Date time original: 2013-01-02 09:14:40 +0000

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Carlton Movie House 235 Faraday Street, CARLTON, VIC - Tribute to Gordon McCelland

Photo - Gordon McCelland at his 35mm portable projector.

TRIBUTE - GORDON McCELLAND

Gordon was a highly respected member of the Cinema Industry & a great supporter of Independent film-making, and a valued friend of this writer – Gordon McClelland, together with the late Baz Brownbill of the Pix Theatre Geelong, pioneered class-room school screenings in Victoria, utilizing 35mm portables – For a large number of years dating from the late 40’s and through the 50’s, 60’s, Gordon ran the Carlton Movie House.

From the second decade of the twentieth century, cinema became another popular form of entertainment in Carlton. While the silent picture theatre, the Jubilee (later the Adelphi), had operated in Nicholson Street, North Carlton from 1912, the first cinema south of Princess Street was the Carlton Theatre, which opened in Faraday Street in 1924.

Originally built as the Carlton Trades Club in 1908, the theatre comprised seating for 472 in the stalls, and 182 in the dress circle. William McClelland operated the theatre for a number of years, and the cinema became affectionately known as ‘Mac’s Theatre’.

William McClelland became known for his handling of local ‘larrikin’ gangs or ‘pushes’ which targeted the venue. The cinema also earned a less positive nickname in the ‘Bughouse’, a reference to an infestation of fleas.

McClelland’s son Gordon continued the family’s operation of the cinema, and in the 1950s, began to screen films that appealed the suburb’s post-war migrants, with a ‘Continental week’ held in mid-1955.182 As noted by Naomi Simon in 2004:

For those who found it difficult to speak English, Italian and Greek film seasons provided an escape from the harsh reality of migrant life.

Once again reflecting the changing demographics of the suburb, from the 1960s and 1970s, arthouse films were shown at the cinema to appeal to students and academics.

The theatre became the Carlton Movie-house from 1979, but its lower standard of amenity compared with the newer Nova Cinema (opened 1992) saw attendances drop and it closed in 1999.

Contributed by Greg Lynch -

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