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Opened as the Ritz Cinema on 19th November 1934 with Will Hay in “Those Were the Days” and Warren Williams in “Upper World”. It was designed by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in-house architect William R. Glen and seating was provided for 1,100 in the stalls and 850 in the circle.
The decorative scheme was mainly Art Deco style but there were touches of a semi-Atmospheric design via painted panels on the side-walls that showed vistas of cypress trees and temples. The Ritz Cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/10Ranks organ, the console had an illuminated surround and was on a lift. It was opened by Lewis Gerard.
In 1959 the façade was ‘modernised’ by a covering of sheets of metal cladding and a light-box sign was installed to display the film titles. It was also equipped with a Todd-AO projection system and a huge screen was installed forward of the original proscenium. The Ritz Cinema was re-named ABC from 25th May 1959.
In July 1969 it was closed for twinning, re-opening in April 1970 as ABC 1 & 2 with 620 seats in the former stalls and 867 in the former circle. In March 1974 ABC 2 in the former stalls was sub-divided into two screens with 474 and 236 seats.
In 1986 the ABC was taken over by Cannon Cinemas and re-named, they in turn were taken over by MGM and it became the MGM from May 1993.
In 1998 it had become the ABC again but it was reported to be up for sale. The ABC closed on 17th February 2000 with ABC screen 1 in the former circle showing “American Beauty”, screen 2 “Double Jeopardy” and Bollywood film “Shaheed Uddham Singh” in screen 3.
It remained closed and shuttered until February 2006, when it was demolished.
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