Showing 201 - 217 of 217 comments
I worked on BTH projectors from 1958 until 1990, when we had to have them replaced after the mechanism on one of them broke beyond repair, ,and had to be replaced by a Westar projector and tower.
I loved our old (Type A) BTH machines which were installed ten years before I started as a young apprentice,they never gave any trouble and films rarely broke even though copies in those days were often in poor condition.
My particular cinema was The Town Hall Cinema in Pwllheli,now renamed Neuadd Dwyfor (Dwyfor Hall)It’s still open and is run by the district council.
I should also mention that BTH had excellent service engineers, one in particular was an absolute genius I thought.
I’m from Wales UK,I spent two nights in Hot Springs with my wife in 1993, we saw “The Fugitive” at this cinema. I can see why they gave it it’s name, but still it’s a bit of a mouthfull isn’t it ?
According to the Cinema Directory for 1958 Cinema was the actual name of this venue. I remember viewing it externally and the projection room was erected outside the building high up on two girders embedded into the back wall.
I think it was constructed with metal sheetings,and the steps up to the box were outside,I don’t think you could enter from inside the cinema.The last time I saw the building the projection room was gone, but you could see where the port holes had been cemented over.
I imagine it did not have a balcony as the cafe was underneath.The sound system was Gyrotone.
The Palladium converted to Cinemascope in 1956 one year after Pwllheli’s other cinema The Town Hall (now Neuadd Dwyfor)and in order to ensure that they had a bigger screen than the opposition they did something different to their other cinemas,they erected the screen in front of the proscenium arch.
The screen curtains reached from wall to wall, which I thought was rather untidy,(but then some would say that I would say that as I was a projectionist at the other cinema! !)actually I grew up a stone’s throw from the Palladium and thought the world of the place.
The first Cinemascope film to be screened at the Palladium was ‘Ferry To Hong Kong'starring Curt Jurgens.also 1956 was the year Palladium celebrated it’s 21st anniversary.
I remember standing outside the Gem while passing through Panguitch in 1992,while on holiday in the States from Wales.It sort of reminded me of the one featured in the film ‘The Last Picture Show'by Peter Bogdanovich.
It was closed even back then,so I’m surprised it’s still standing empty after all these years,glad it’s at least still standing but for how long again I wonder ? I’ll have to dig up the photo I took of it as it always rather fascinated me for some reason.
I remembered today that Llandudno used to be in Caernarfonshire in the period I stated that the Plaza was the only first run cinema in the county.the Odeon Cinema in that town was also bound to have been of equal status.
The Plaza did not close in 2001 as Mr Turner suggests,they struggled' on for quite a few years after Llandudno’s Cineworld opened.I myself saw ‘The Last Samurai'there in 2003,and I remember taking my daughte to see Eddie Murphy’s 'The Haunted Mansion’ that same year.And then again ‘Wimbledon’ in 2004.
I don’t recall what I saw there after that.The Plaza was considered to be a very important first run venue years ago,it was the only cinema in Caernarfonshire to run all films for a whole week up to the late sixties.other cinemas ran their programmes for two & three days until those days.
I took some photos at the start of demolition but at the moment Cinema Treasures are unable to take them.I’m sure Bangor being an university city with quite a large catchment area could support a small (say a 4 screen multiplex)if some cinema exhibitor looked into it.
The projection equipment at Neuadd Buddug consists of two Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 projectors,with a Westrex mono amplifier.The stairs up to the projection rooms are a bit of a nightmare when carrying films,it’s a spiral staircase in a confined area.
Screen illumination is very good considering the age of the screen,which for one thing has been subjected to years of cigarette smoke.
The cinema is only open 3 nights a week,(Wed Fri & Sat)hope the council sees sense.
Installing surround sound would be a start,must be loads of dolby analogue stuff going quite cheap with so many cinemas having installed digital sound.
Should also have mentioned The projector heads were GB KALEE with AWH sound system.
I think the Memorial Hall ceased as a cinema in 1966 but I’m going by memory, so it could have been a little later.
They still had hand fed carbon arcs right to the end,which was quite old fashioned by then,the reason for this was the tiny projection room,these lamps were smaller than the normal auto fed ones of that time.
I remember helping the relief projectionist from the Palladium Pwllheli there one evening in the summer of 1966, the film showing was “Von Ryan’s Express” starring Frank Sinatra.
The cinema at that time was run by the Paramount circuit.Although I only went there out of curiosity on my night off from Pwllheli’s other cinema “The Town Hall”(now Neuadd Dwyfor) he soon had me hand feeding the lamp on No 2 projector,it was not easy to keep the light constant but good fun.
The sound system of the Luxor at the time of closure was British Thompson Houston (BTH) as was their projection equipment.
The equipment was exactly the same as the Town Hall Cinema (now Neuadd Dwyfor)in Pwllheli.
I saw a film there when I when the air conditioning was broken down,we saw the sign informing the patrons of the problem,we should have heeded it. I liked the cinema very much but we were just unlucky to have visited it at this time.
I’ve recently retired as chief projectionist in my hometown in North Wales,and having read edd’s remark that it was hard to work without a chief for six months. I started at the age of 15,and when the former chief became the manager I was on my own for many years,including running two machines (change-overs and all that)with carbon arcs,and I like to think I was very particular with the standard of presentation,and remember in a smallish town where most people know each other if only by sight,you had to face them in the street if you had suffered a technical fault the previous evening.
People could not understand how I could be called the chief if I was working on my own with no one below me.I was occasionally releived by the manager so I could go & see the local football team,to think there were three of us up in the box when I started.
Well there you go,this could go on forever,I only know what I’ve read.As for the Assembly Hall it could have been deemed as a rather small venue in comparison to Neuadd Dwyfor.
By the way I was a projectionist at Neuadd Dwyfor for 50 years,most of them as chief projectionist.The former manager made extensive research on the matter when celebrating the cinemas birthday years ago,the cashier’s books were still at the cinema until not so long ago,they’re probably with Gwynedd Council now.
My last few years at the cinema was as a relief projectionist as like many others I took early retirement when Gwynedd Council took over,but I was still doing a couple of nights almost every week.
Neuadd Dwyfor’s cinema/theatre is located on the first and second floors of the building,with the foyer & public library on the ground floor.Up to 1980 the large cinemascope screen was housed on a large mobile steel frame,which had to be pushed to the back of the stage and lowered to street level for stage events.
This practice needed six strong council workers pulling on pulleys to get it down,but to bring it up again was very hard due to the weight.Also it was a very dangerous job as you had to stand on the edge of the drop,which extended right along the back of the stage.
The most dangerous part was placing the false floor back in place which were in four foot sections,If the actors and singers only knew what was underneath them ! Today’s health and safety executives would be horrified.such a shame that there are no photographs of how it was done.
The present screen is a roll up type,but the same size as the previous one,when it was first installed it gave quite a few problems with folds etc,but it’s ok these days.they do say that the roll up screens are a necessary evil for multi purpose halls.
When a cinemascope film was shown on the old screen one of the projectionists had to go down backstage to change the screen masking by hand for the correct ratio, and even worse if only a trailer was in the scope format it had to be changed for those two or three minutes.
These days all trailers are in widescreen even if the actual feature it advertises is in ‘scope so they’re shown in the same format as the ads.The curtains in front of the screen were as now electrically operated from the projection room.
Mr Turner is quite right that the Palladium’s capacity was 702,that was the figure I thought I’d typed in my comments.I’m not old enough to remember Captain Pritchard but I have heard a lot about him, but I do remember Mr Guy Baker.
For many years Paramount Pictures were unhappy with the circuit Palladium belonged to for obvious reasons,and consequently they were not allowed to screen their products.However they made peace in 1960 just in time for the big box office attraction of Elvis Presley’s first film after leaving the army “G I Blues” But Mr Baker held on to the name
I visited the visitor centre with my family during the easter week of 2008,I was fascinated to find it used to be a cinema as I’m a projectionist in a small town in Wales.
Quite some time afterwards when browsing through my cinema photos I realised I’d actually been there when it was still a theatre,and saw the film “True Identity” a comedy starring the british comedian Lenny Henry,way back in 1991.Although I hate to see these old cinemas close,I was pleased to see they kept to the theme of the place, Many cinemas in this country have been converted into supermarkets “ugh"
The Ogwen no longer operates as a cinema,the projection equipment has been sold off to another cinema.