Showing 1 - 25 of 338 comments
2 images uploaded including a very rare one of the old place whilst still open in 1967.
There is a special screening of ‘Rogue One’ at the former Capitol Theatre on 4th May 2017 – so not long in which to obtain tickets:–
If anyone has a copy of ‘ABC News’ from May 1963 there are a number of photos of the proscenium both with house tabs fully closed and with Cliff Richard, Carole Gray, The shadows etc in front of a huge ‘Elstree Studios’ backdrop. I used to have a copy (together with about 200 others, all of which I foolishly parted with).
Perhaps if someone out there still has a copy of this magazine (an ‘in house'glossy monthly)they would scan the relevant pages and upload them.
Ironic that the theatre is preserved on videotape somewhere (as I understand that many of the ABC TV Sunday spectaculars survive) but no one, it seems, bothered to photograph the impressive 60' pros….
4 images uploaded
It looks like the Council have stepped in to save this attractive building from demolition. This is indeed ironic as they usually cannot get rid of former cinemas and theatres fast enough (Odeon, Newcastle and Futurist , Scarborough for example).
Interesting article re potential future use which, if you scroll down far enough, includes a ‘gallery’ of interesting photos relating to the theatre’s past:–
Article in ‘Variety’ re proposed refurbishment:–
I have to laugh at the manifest errors in journalism which are as prevalent ‘across the pond’ as in the UK, it would seem. I refer in particular to “The site houses an original Compton Organ from the silent era, known as “The Duchess……”
As the Odeon opened 10 years after the advent of the ‘talkies’, this reference to the famous Compton is risible, to say the least………
That apart, it is heartening to learn that this iconic theatre is not, after all, to endure the ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ inflicted on other surviving West End venues.
A former Odeon employee told me a few interesting things about the theatre’s de-listing but to name names and to repeat what I was told might prove libellous…….
it was on the local news here but I didn’t know it was on National :–
New link to the famous ‘Beatles Live at the ABC’ :–
It will be interesting to see how long this remains on YouTube but, for those who have not seen it before, there are some good shots of the stage from various angles plus Paul McCartney performs ‘Yesterday’ for the very first time publicly accompanied by the Bob Sharples Orchestra.
Some years ago I pointed out (on Flickr.com) that this is the ABC Regal and NOT the Majestic.
After 16 years of working in Management for ABC/EMI I was appointed Manager there, my previous theatre in Newcastle being one of the many casualties of debt ridden new owners, Cannon……..
Was this the show with ‘The Bachelors’ or Roy Castle? Either way, it would be interesting to see it and I wish I had known it was still at ABC South Shields when I was there, Dave!
Would it be very expensive to have the 35mm filmlet you mention transferred to DVD and uploaded to YouTube?
Thorn-EMI made a mess of Blackpool ABC when, in the tripling process, they isolated the stage (which had a revolve), dressing room block and front stalls all those years ago. It was all reversible, however, just in case the need for large capacities and stage spectaculars should ever return. The acquisition and closure by Odeon and subsequent conversion to ‘The Syndicate’ put paid to that, however.
I have to agree about the screens in older cinemas often being rather on the small side in relation to the auditorium size. Where I worked with ABC (too numerous to list here) the screens were either very large or vice versa with no happy medium.
However, below are links to surviving footage of venues which had very large screens. In the case of Blackpool (ABC as opposed to the Princess where we also had 70mm) the screen is not seen but there are some distance shots of the 60 + feet wide pros which provide an indication of how large the screen was.
Coliseum Cinerama Glasgow:–
ABC New Centre Bristol:–
ABC Blackpool (at 05:24):–
ABC Blackpool (First ever public performance of ‘Yesterday’ – watch out for star line up at the very end):–
My apologies for posting the above on a page devoted to an Odeon but a great deal of cross referencing does occur on the CT site……..
Photo uploaded of The Beatles on stage 22 November 1963.
Needless to say, I have very happy memories of Sunderland Odeon which was one of the most impressive and best equipped venues in the country. It was the favourite cinema of both my Mum and Dad and they remembered going there (Blacks' Regal) in the 1930’s when, as part of the programme, there were stage presentations and recitals at the Compton Organ. I think my Dad said the Musical Director was Arnold Eagle.
For the record, my Dad had been a Chief Projectionist at one time and he was trained by a Gaumont man by the name of Tommy Bell who later worked for Blacks as Co-Chief at the Regal before transferring to the Royal on Bedford Street as the Chief where he was very much at home.
When I used to ask my Dad how the ABC Ritz compared with Blacks Regal he would reply that he would have liked the Ritz more if , at the 11th hour, ABC had not cancelled the Compton organ which it was designed to house (the chambers were above the proscenium).
I always got the impression that, large as the Ritz was at just over 1900 seats, the original project had been scaled down by the time the final plans were drawn up and building work commenced. I mention this as, in towns of similar size with cinemas like the Regal already established, ABC invariably provided a theatre with well in excess of 2000 seats, a fully equipped stage, a restaurant – and an organ! I wonder what went wrong in Sunderland?
I have happy memories of your Dad, John, by the way and our ‘after work pints’ in the likes of ‘The Park Inn’ and ‘The Beehive’……
This is home cinema as it should be:–
Apparently, many items from the ABC are incorporated within.
Article re closure:–
Very interesting to read the comments of the CTA’s Richard Gray when comparing the original ABC and Odeon circuits………
World Premiere of ‘Happy Go Lovely'in 1951 :–
Their conversions might have been cheap but I never considered them cheerful……
Photo uploaded. I made a rare excursion into Newcastle today and fully expected to see the scaffolding already up. So far, however, nothing seems to have taken place – at least on the outside. I guess that inside the usual asbestos stripping etc must be in progress.
What a pity that the Paramount/Odeon was not considered worthy of restoration as it would have made a fine multi purpose auditorium (there is sufficient space at the rear to deepen the stage). It would have been far superior to the barren looking City Hall and the ‘slugs on the riverbank’ known as The Sage…..