Eden Theatre Bishop Auckland

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Tiny terry

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Eden Theatre Bishop Auckland

Eden Theatre

Bishop Auckland, GB

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Uploaded on: February 1, 2014

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Eden Theatre Bishop Auckland

The Eden Theatre in the early 1960’s when the ABPC Double Bill ‘The Moonraker’/‘Tommy The Toreador’ was showing.

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terry on February 13, 2016 at 9:22 am

The Eden Theatre profile photo appeared in an article about Bishop Auckland in the ‘Northern Echo’ many years ago which placed great emphasis on its “big city feel” on market days namely Thursday and Saturday. The cutting was given to me by my dear deceased friend, Brett Childes, a Rank Manager who, following a period as House Manager at the mighty Odeon Newcastle, became Manager of the Odeons Hartlepool and Sunderland respectively. Following the closure of the latter he became Theatre Manager at the Sunderland Empire.

Re the “big city feel” quoted in the article, this was no exaggeration as thousands of shoppers converged upon the town from all the surrounding small towns and villages. Even when cinema audiences were declining and the town’s cinemas had been relegated to ‘evenings only’ venues they still operated on a ‘continuous from 1 pm’ basis on market days (and school holidays).

Sadly, the town has lost that “feel” now and this is not helped by the opening of an ‘out of town’ development at nearby St Helens Auckland which, as a young boy, I remember for its landmark mammoth gasometers and very little else. It is soon to be enhanced by a multiplex cinema, I believe……

Re the photo, I remarked to Brett about the fact that the Eden was showing films at the time which would place it in the very early 1960’s as ‘The Moonraker’ (George Baker, Sylvia Syms) was originally released in 1958 and ‘Tommy The Toreador’(Tommy Steele, Janet Munro) was the ABC Christmas attraction in 1959.

Brett’s dry response was that “Solly Scheckman must have rung Warner-Pathe and asked them what they had for a ‘fiver’ that week!”

Solly Scheckman was the founder of Essoldo Cinemas and Warner Pathe was the film distribution arm of Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) who also operated the Associated British Cinemas chain (ABC) and ABC Television (‘The Avengers’, ‘Redcap’, ‘Mystery and Imagination’ etc). The TV Company merged with Rediffusion to become Thames TV with ABC having a controlling interest.

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