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Here is a 1990’s view of the foyer
It was the best quality periscope projection I’ve ever seen, as it happens, but the nature of the conversion enabled everything to be pretty ‘square-on’, so the geometry was correct right from the start. Also, unlike a lot of periscope projected screens, the distance between the two mirrors was not great, since ABC1 was the former circle, rather than the former stalls. As an aside, Studios 1 & 2 in Guildford – now demolished – used the original projection area, and both had periscopes, even though you could see screen 2 from the box. The bottom mirror of Studio 1’s periscope was immense, with the resultant loss of quality.
Looking at the photo, the place doesn’t look big enough to have housed a 45' deep stage and 600 seats.
I was in Shanklin in 1990 by which time the building was definitely not boarded up. I was able to look through the front doors, but got the shock of my life when I realised the foyer floor had been removed to reveal nothing but a deep void, which was quite scary!
Is all that stuff REALLY still inside? The projection box looks as though it was last used yesterday!
Contrary to an earlier posting, I believe the entire second run of Star wars was presented in D150 – it was Close Encounters that had to be shown in ‘standard’ 70mm, though there was NOTHING very standard about the sight of the mother ship when it came over the top of the mountain for the first time….. the whole audience gasped!
Having looked at it again, I think the gaping hole, between the two areas of blue at the bottom of the pic, could well be where the bottom mirror of the periscope was mounted. The screen was still pretty large for a tripled theatre.
If you look at the last of these pics, you can JUST make out the original portholes behind the top of the blue cladding. When the former circle became ABC 1, the screen was raised to ‘circle level’ and a periscope projection system erected to raise the picture, which would otherwise have clipped the roof.
A life of less than four years is extraordinary!
I’ve just had a look at the WTW website, and these look really nice. It’s interesting to see the projection facilities for two of the screens, and that they’re using Westar towers, rather than the ubiquitous cakestands. I was also fascinated to see that the towers are set at 45 and 90 degrees to the projectors. I had experience of early Westar towers at Studio 1&2 in Guildford, which were vicious with their film handling on startup – due to insufficient tension on the takeup reel, causing frequent breakages – so I can only assume those problems have been sorted out by now!
It was certainly an unusual looking place as a cinema. Has it retained its exterior appearance?
Here are three photos taken on 27th March 2009, showing the present state of the site.
Follow this link to 3 pictures taken in May 2008
Brilliant pictures, but VERY sad. To think that when I was a boy, it was the local 1st run cinema.
I used to attend Saturday morning pictures in the early 1960’s for 6d a week – that’s 6 old pence for those born post 1971 – at which time the cinema was known as ‘The ABC Forum’, and was signed accordingly. When Virgin took it on for a while, they spent Â£1M doing it up. I had a holiday job as a projectionist at the Walpole around the corner, and we were always jealous that the ABC operated with 4000ft changeovers, rather than the 2000ft that we had. My wife and I went to see ‘ABBA The Movie’ in screen 1 during a fuel shortage, and were offered a refund if we couldn’t tolerate the extreme cold for the length of the programme. Happy days…………
The family resemblance with the former Ealing Forum/ABC/Virgin/UGC is amazing. The Ealing version was tripled some years ago, but is currently being demolished. There were stories doing the rounds that a multiplex is going to replace it – utilising the former frontage – but we must wait and see.
Does anyone know exactly WHERE this was in the precinct? I used to work round the corner, and it would be great to know.
I saw ‘Close Encounters’ at the Gaumont on its first release, and ‘boy’ was that screen big!!
Does anybody know what happened to the original Odeon in Guildford, which was located at the top of the town?
How wonderful to see Gary Painter’s pictures. I used to attend the Odeon almost on a weekly basis at one time, and it’s great to see what a marvellous job the Church has done/is doing with the interior.
I went to the nightclub on a couple of occasions when the local NHS trust rented it for their christmas party. During this time, it was also used as the venue for a film fair for two or three years, and 8mm and 16mm films were shown in the auditorium. I appreciate this wasn’t on the scale of the CTA screening, but it WAS an instance of the place being used for what it was designed for.
I believe that, for a short while at least, the cinema was considered as a possible new home for the Musical Museum collection from Brentford. The Museum has now moved to a purpose built location a few hundred yards from its former home.
There have been great changes during 2008, as the former stalls are now occupied by a Lidl Supermarket. The furniture store has remained in the old circle.
The Rolling Stones performed on the stage in 1964, and part of their EP ‘Got Live if you Want It’ was recorded there.
The multi-media show was produced by Robin Prater – one of the leading exponents in the AV field – and, if my memory serves me well, MAY actually have involved the use of at least one movie projector as well as 56 Kodak carousel slide projectors showing 46mm superslides. The whole lot was controlled from a multi-track tape via Electrosonic
equipment. I also seem to remember that it used to live in the former ‘Lyons Corner House’ before it went into the newly converted Trocadero. It had operated very successfully in it’s original home, which I believe became part of the Troc, but never really took off in its new home – mind you, neither did most of the OTHER attractions which found their way in there!
The site is still totally devoid of any activity, although ‘rubble mountain’ has gone, so there seems to have been no purpose whatsoever in demolishing the building so quickly