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This was my local cinema, and I visited it frequently from the age of 7 to 16, when it stopped showing films full-time. One of its major attractions was that it was the only cinema in Ealing which was equipped with full 4 track mag Cinemascope presentation capability. I saw South Pacific there – in full surround sound – as a member of an audience of less than 10 people, so it was no wonder it had to close!
Even when it had closed, and was supposedly empty between 1980 and 1983, there were often lights to be seen inside, and the local belief was that people were actually LIVING in it.
Sorry for any confusion resulting from my previous comments. What I was actually referring to was, of course, the screen MASKING, not the non-existant tabs! Even the oil-wheels that Jason mentioned weren’t used for great periods of time when the lamps blew, and spares were not quick enough in coming from head-office.
After twinning, both cinemas DID have screen tabs in the form of rolls of black material of some sort – approximately 4 inches wide – which popped over the top of the screen, when needed, and uncurled themselves vertically. After a few years they stopped working properly – Studio 1 customers got their money back one night when one of the tabs wouldn’t raise for a ‘scope presentation – and operators 'Star Group’, not being well renowned for the quality of their maintainance, didn’t bother fixing them. A friend of mine, who worked in another Star cinema at the time, believes that the offending tab was eventually removed using a pair of scissors, so they were never used in taht screen again.
The projection box was actually located ABOVE the original circle, accessed via a spiral staircase. I believe this to have been the case even when there was only one auditorium – the original screen was certainly raked at one heck of an angle! In the ‘Studio 1&2’ years, the box housed a pair of Westar projectors, complete with long-play towers, so goodness knows how they got those up there.
This is the correct link to the 2006 picture of the whole development.
Three views of the outside of the Bingo hall as it is in 2006.
I’ve just looked at Woody’s advert pics. SO SAD………..
Here is another picture, taken in 2006, showing the whole of the modern development.
I visited the old cinema this weekend, looking for a new sofa – it’s now a Queenstyle furniture and bedding store. From the old stalls, now the furniture area, you can still see where the original circle was. The extra floor has been added at a level which appears to coincide with where the top of the front of the balcony must have been, and extends right to the far wall. It is of concrete construction, and is supported by several very large-looking RSJ’s.
Upstairs, the previously raked circle has also been levelled from where the back row of seats would have been, and the new floor is accessed via two sets of steps. The projection box is now an office. The portholes have been enlarged, but the unusually curved rear wall remains.
Although there was no balcony, the seating wasn’t all on the flat. The rear third was raked from ground level up to just under the projection box. A sufficiently tall person could cast a shadow on the screen, and ‘shadow puppets’, courtesy local schoolboys, would often appear during mattinees!
I remember seeing ‘My Fair Lady’ there in the mid 60’s – presented in 70mm of course! The picture and sound quality were second to none.
This is a picture of the Odeon in 2006
Does anybody know whether the auditorium is actually in use as a coference venue?
The Beatles ‘Hard Day’s Night’ had its premiere here
I helped out here for a while in 1970, and I learnt how to do changeovers properly at the Walpole! The box wasn’t actually attached to the theatre, so, when it rained, the projectionist had to wipe the spots off the glasses between them. The girls who worked in the dance studio next door used to make tea for the staff. I went back there when it was a carpet store. It was amazing to see that they’d cleaned up the screen surround to reveal two beautiful marble pillars, which were not evident before – we thought they were black!
I spent many happy hours in the box, having become good friends with the staff. The chief at the time told me that the screen actually opened out to 90 feet wide for D150 presentations. They screened the original ‘Star Wars’ in this format – despite slight cropping top and bottom – and it looked and sounded stunning. They had to close the front few rows of the stalls because people were being physically sick during the death-star destruction sequence!