Classic Praed Street
5 Praed Street,
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The Electric Theatre opened in 1910 in a converted chapel, the facade was given a striking look that had three large domes on top which were illuminated at night by strings of electric light bulbs. There was no foyer and entrance was through doors located on each side of a central outside paybox. Seating in the auditorium was on one level and the screen was mounted high up on the end wall due to quite a steep sloping rake in the floor.
In 1911 it was re-named the Imperial Cinema, but in 1912 reverted back to the name Electric Theatre. In 1922 it was known as the Gaiety Cinema and in 1926 it changed ownership and the facade was modernised with the removal of all oranamentation(including the three domes) and it was re-named New Gaiety cinema. It had a small resident orchestra to accompany the silent films.
In 1930 it became the World’s News Theatre screening newsreels and topical short subjects. It was acquired by Classic Cinemas in 1941 and began screening cartoon films to accompany the newreels. In 1957 it was re-named Classic Cinema and began screening double bills of ‘classic’ movies but during later years it went over to soft core ‘porn’ films. It closed on 17th July 1986 with the triple bill programme; “Sex Hunters Erotics”, “Lesbos Sex”, and “Virgin Students”.
The building remained unused until 1989 when it was demolished and an office block was built on the site.
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