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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…..
There were indeed live shows at the Odeon and two names which come to mind are Adam faith and Dusty Springfield. The Hippodrome, Dovecote Street also had ‘one night stands’ but the main venue in the town was the ABC Globe and the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones used to play there.
Joseph Seal, the famous Resident Organist of the Regal Kingston upon Thames became ABC’s Controller of Live Entertainment and his signature can be seen at the foot of a memo, a scanned image of which I have uploaded to the photos section, from early 1969 relating to a forthcoming live show week at the ABC (Ritz) Huddersfield.
Re Vic Mancini: We ‘lent’ ABC Derby a projectionist (from base ABC Huddersfield) when it tripled. Obviously, he was going to be working overtime, and I asked this particular operator to ring me weekly for details of his shifts at Derby. Prior to his secondment I said that I would , to be going on with, include an extra two shifts in week 1 until we got up to speed (at this time the payroll system was geared to the convenience of London and not those out in the field).
Mr Mancini rang me, and in his usual obnoxious, gruff, belligerent manner, asked “What are you doing about *******’s overtime, mate?” and, before I could explain that what I had arranged for week 1 was just an interim measure, he retorted" Two shifts – what the hell bloody use is two ruddy shifts, mate? Get stuffed!“ to which I replied "Mr Mancini, you may be the Zone Engineer, but do NOT speak to me like that!” and the old so and so climbed down…….
As I said this the Huddersfield Chief knocked at the office door and could not help but overhear my irate tone and said “You just did right speaking to Mancini as you did as he’ll walk all over you if you let him!”
Although, as I recall, the Dick Emery Show in 1976 was presented at ABC Great Yarmouth the previous year ie 1975.
Did you , as a young man, once take a number of interior shots of the Haymarket, Newcastle whilst I was there? If so, it would have been on a Sunday afternoon.
If I am correct, then they will be the only ones of a professional standard taken in full houselights and with the tabs closed. Would it be possible to obtain copies, please?
Better still, perhaps you could upload them to the Haymarket’s photo section as the existing shots do not give people a true indication of how nice an auditorium (albeit rather old fashioned) it really was.
My apologies if I have mistaken you for someone else.
3 more images uploaded.
3 images uploaded.
Image uploaded to photos section.
Uploaded to the photos section are the following:–
3 Roadshow shots.
ABC 1 (former Stalls) with tabs open.
ABC 2 (former Rear Circle: 3 shots).
Four photos uploaded of the auditorium in the houselights taken a few days before closure.
Unfortunately, the cable for the tabs had just ‘given up the ghost’. Steve Veasey, ABC Furnishing Manager, had ordered new curtains and a pelmet for the Haymarket in 1980 but the latter failed to materialise for some unknown reason.
The fountains were only partially illuminated latterly and many of the elaborate light fittings had been removed during a 1976 re-dec. Furthermore, most of the trough lighting had also been disconnected.
By and large, though, the photos give a hint of what the place had looked like in its heyday.