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In 1964 a Gala Film Premiere was held for ‘4 For Texas’ when the Front Circle price was 5 guineas (about £80 today). There was a stage presentation which included Cleo Laine, Jimmy Tarbuck, Oliver Reed, Jess Conrad, Ronald Fraser, James Booth and Elisa Peake. (see image in photos section).
Pardon typo - Cleo Laine, of course.
This cinema was included in various listings throughout the 1960’s and until 1972 as the Regal without ever, as far as I am aware, becoming a bingo hall. It was indeed acquired by Nobles , probably as part of a package deal, who renamed it the Crown and modernised the interior; the circle was curtained off in the process.
Studio 1 originally had a circle and stalls and the overall capacity of the auditorium was around 800. Star closed the circle shortly before leasing the building to Fairworld and the 550 capacity stated would be that of the stalls. An ‘oddity’ of the operation was that the large cinema had a ‘floating screen’ whilst the ‘mini’ had tabs………
If I remember correctly, this was opened as a 270 seat single auditorium by a Mr. Sample who twinned the venue a couple of years or so later. I think the Chester Le Street outlet opened as a twin although it was down to only one screen operating before it was sold and turned over to other use. Sad to think that the two towns had about 6,500 cinema seats until the early 1960’s.
This theatre had, to say the least, rather a chequered history. The dates relating to its later cinema days seem to be slightly adrift. The Tivoli , for a while, from 1976, became the Central Exchange Bingo Club (license transferred from premises which occupied the former B.R. Central Station). A year later, in 1977, it returned to cinema use and this continued until either 1980 or 1981. When I passed the cinema in 1980 the attraction (for the Summer Season) was ‘George and Mildred’ with support ‘ From Russia with Elton’, a 42 minute self explanatory documentary. After a couple of weeks into the run, the titles were ‘swapped’ with the 42 minute documentary headlining and ‘George and Mildred’ being billed as the support - not a good sign…..
This building did indeed become the Carlton ballroom but in 1954 it reverted to cinema use retaining the name Carlton. In the early 1960’s bingo took over and this was the case until Thompson’s, who owned and operated the Empire, transferred operations to the Carlton in about 1969.
Fairworld took over the cinema in the mid 1970’s, when Thompson’s - once a large North East cinema circuit - decided to ‘bow out’ of the business. Fairworld operated the building on lease (as did Thompsons) until closure 40 years ago in 1982. The last film was ‘Annie’.
Proscenium image uploaded. Lovely little cinema!
FOH shot added to photos section.
“Awesome” would most appositely describe the theatre during its ABC Regal era as a 2,769 seat ‘Super’. It could also be used as an adjective for Europe’s first triple conversion in 1969. “Awesome” today? I think not! It is merely four subterranean mini auditoria which bear no resemblance to the superb venue once owned and operated by Associated British Cinemas….
See my comment accompanying image number 3 in the photos section.
In 1960 the Tyne Theatre was operating as the Stoll which I understood to be the only cinema of the (then) Stoll - Moss company. It therefore comes as a surprise to learn that they - at least briefly - owned and operated the Imperial, Hetton-le-Hole.
FOH Image uploaded.
FOH image added.
I often wondered which cinema posed as the Coliseum. Many thanks!
Speaking of films and cinemas which featured in them, does anyone happen to know which cinema interior was seen in John Schlesinger’s 1962 British film, ‘A Kind of Loving’? The exterior (posing as the Plaza), I understand was the Walpole, Ealing. The ‘circle’ where Alan Bates and June Ritchie sat together did not look like a studio set and appeared to be a genuine (late 1920’s?) auditorium.
Please see my comment in the photos section (image 3).
This is not the Olympia. Compare the width and seating style with the photo of the pros. I am fairly sure that the above is the dreadful Adelaide, Benwell which was closed by ABC soon after Union Cinemas came under their control.
s/b “discovery of”……
Image added to the photos section.
Image of a similar theatre interior uploaded.
1960 photo of the auditorium (taken immediately prior to the first modernisation) uploaded to the relevant section.
2 photos uploaded to the relevant section.
Re mention of the intended Wurlitzer organ. This actually arrived at the goods yard at Wigan North Western Station but before it could be un loaded a telegram was received to advise that the instrument had to instead go to the Ritz, Richmond, Surrey where the installation of a much larger instrument (15 ranks I believe) planned by Union Cinemas was cancelled by new operators, Associated British Cinemas.
Had the original plans come to fruition, Wigan would have had a Wurlitzer at the Ritz, a Christie at the County Playhouse and a Compton at the Court.