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Apparently this was the last cartoon cinema left in the UK when it closed with ‘The Hound that Thought He was a Raccoon’ on August 27th, 1981. I’d been told by my father about them but I never knew how long they lasted.
Although accessing a screen often involved going up a frustratingly large number of escalators, it’s a still a shame it closed. It had formed a good partnership with the Cineworld Haymarket down the road in that Shaftesbury Avenue would normally show the big, populist blockbusters and Haymarket the smaller art-house films, although sometimes one would be in the other – the last film I saw here was ‘The Congress’ a few weeks before it closed. The disinterest of some of the staff was apparent who probably already knew they were losing their jobs, but I did like the random appearance of a Dalek by one of the escalators, constructed by a staff member for the 2013 50th anniversary episode and left there ever since. Wonder where that is now.
Poor Haymarket now has a challenge in what films it can fit into its three screens. The Fulham Road/Chelsea cinemas have a similar sharing of content between them (situated minutes walk away from each other) but the distribution seems a bit more random there, both big and smaller releases shared between both cinemas.
And still open as of March 2014, as mentioned friendly staff but with an interior seemingly unaltered for at least about 20 years. A bit like stepping back in time.
Interesting to hear – when I went just last month it was still very much stuck in the Virgin/UGC days of the late 1990s.
Still open as of February 2014 and seemingly no sign of closure.
Can anyone confirm if Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’ was shown here around VE Day in 1995? I have a childhood memory of going to an Odeon which was bombed during the war and a short film being played about the rebuilding, then 101 Dalmatians afterwards. The description of both this and the previous cinema on the site seems to match it, if so I was lucky enough to see this cinema before the dividing.
Notable until recently for its popular ‘Cheap Day Monday’ screenings, which at £3.95 (2011-12 price) were some of the cheapest in London. These ended in about October 2012, a similar (though slightly more expensive) ‘Super Tuesday’ scheme, mirroring Cineworld, runs as of November 2013.
Stunned to see this demolished despite only being twenty years old. It’s been a very controversial demolition in the Willesden area but apparently a ‘cultural centre’ will be built in its place.
After the ABC Hendon closed in early 1997, this became our usual cinema. Aged 8 I saw the Special Edition re-releases of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ here. As far as I remember it still kept its very 70s beige interior even then, and felt a bit like you were stepping back in time – especially when the films were as old as the cinema!
Many happy memories of this cinema – we moved nearby in 1995 and this became our local until closure. There was a little newsagent by it where everyone would buy food and drinks for much cheaper than in the auditorium!
Even at this time there was a ‘Saturday Kids Club’ where a magician or other entertainer would perform on the stage before the feature – something I’ve never seen since and must have seemed like from a bygone age even then! But to my seven year old eyes it was great, and I was disappointed when it closed.
I’m pretty sure this was my first ever cinema! I saw Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ there at the end of 1993 as a five year old. Not the most exciting or remembered of places (absolutely no photos of it on Flickr I can find, they’re all of its predecessor) but simply looking at the above reminds me of the excitement of seeing such a big screen for the first time.