ASCOT THEATRE & GARDENS, RIVERVALE

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Uploaded on: August 6, 2017

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ASCOT THEATRE & GARDENS, RIVERVALE

The theatre was used as offices, and later as a warehouse. The building has now been demolished and is now an office.

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film on August 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Greg Lynch said.. Let me set the scene – If memory serves we moved as a family to Rivervale during the latter part of the 1940’s. The war was not long over & food rationing coupons were still being enforced, which meant clothing, tea, sugar, butter and meat were limited to the number of coupons you had on hand..From an early age I had been interested in movies and cinema, so it wasn’t long before I discovered the local flea house (that’s the Ascot theatre located on the right of the Great Eastern Highway Rivervale, as you proceed towards Belmont) – In my young life a visit to the flicks was always a much looked forward to event. The Ascot during the 40’s was Indeed a flea house, however in retrospect I use the term with much affection. The building had pretensions of Art Deco, but once you walked through the door all bets were off, as it was really only a country hall. (Perth in the 40’s was still a village with approx 250 thousand people and Rivervale a pioneering suburb) The front stalls were equipped with wooden benches without backs, while the ceiling (curiously) was decorated with fading streamers, or bunting. During the winter of 48 my dad took me to a Friday, cartoons & featurette night which included an episode of the Sam Katzman, black-and-white Columbia Pictures serial “Superman” starring Kirk Alyn as Superman – Later I was to learn that this was the first live-action appearance of Superman on film. Some time during 1948 an open air theatre was built along side the cinema, thus becoming “The Ascot Theatre & Gardens”. The term gardens were a stretch as there was very little greenery, however on the positive side the sight-lines were excellent and the stepped canvas seating (300 capacity) more than adequate. The standard ratio screen was erected with it’s back to the highway and it was a pleasure to sit under the stars on a hot summers night in the comforting bosom of the new open air gardens. On one such night Perth were having power problems and electricity was being rationed. In this case the power was on for one hour, then browned out for half an hour. So there we sat like lemmings watching the 1946 Monogram Pictures production “The Shadow Returns” in installments, while the power company played musical chairs with our entertainment. I can’t imagine today’s theatre audience accepting this for a micro second. By 1959 the television juggernaut had began with the launching of TVW-7 Perth, and the resulting cinema audience devastation. The Ascot Theatre & Gardens survived longer than most, however were forced to close in 1966. And now after a lifetime of working in the Cinema/Motion Picture Industry this writer looks back with warm appreciation to the Golden Era and know we have lost something very special with the passing of our suburban Picture Palaces and unique cinemas, such as The Ascot Theatre and Gardens. …Greg Lynch –

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