Comments from GilesEngland

Showing 1 comment

GilesEngland commented about Odeon Westover Bournemouth on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:45 am

I worked at the Gaumont Theatre, Bournemouth as a trainee projectionist from January 1961 to October 1963, transferring to other theatres in the Rank Organisation chain in an assistant management role in 1964. I returned to the Gaumont Bournemouth in 1968, joining the management team under Charles Booth. I was there at the time it closed for redevelop as a twin theatre, transferring during the redevelopment to the Odeon, Bournemouth. I remember that almost immediately after the audience had left the theatre after the last show, the seats where being ripped out. I returned to the Gaumont for its opening in 1969.

I remember my time at the Gaumont as a trainee projectionist under then Chief Projectionist Tom Mellor with affection. I was particularly thankful that Tom thought it unnecessary to hand polish the positive carbon rods used in the arc lamps on the Gaumont Kalee 21 projectors. This saved me from a dirty and tedious polishing job. I now live in Wales, somewhat saddened to hear that the theatre is likely to disappear. Great attention was made to good presentation and showmanship, which seems to be absent in typical modern multiplexes. On one occasion in 1961 when the screen curtains had been sent away for cleaning (and which shrank, therefore needing to have the length extended with new cloth) I was often sent down to the stage to hand pull the ‘Act drop’ up and down to ensure the presentation was up to standard. This was a heavy (though counter-weighted) red velvet and gold curtain normally only used for stage shows and pop one-night performances. We also marked the vinyl LP disks with chinagraph pencil marks so that the non-sync music finished on cue before the film credits. There were five full time projectionists operating on two shifts, including me. Days long gone.