5 Dickson Road,
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This was the largest of the original Oscar Deutsch built Odeon Theatres, seating 1,684 in the stalls and 1,404 in the balcony. The Odeon opened on 6th May 1939 with “Three Smart Girls Grow Up” starring Deanna Durbin. The main facade and entrance is on Dickson Road but a second entrance for front stalls patrons was provided on Springfield Road. Provision was also made for an organ but this was not installed until 1946, when a Conacher 4Manual/12Ranks with grand piano was installed and opened by Al Bollington.
The Odeon was triplexed in 1975 with the two smaller screens 2 and 3 contained completely within the the under-balcony area of the rear stalls. This meant that from the balcony located screen 1 there was no visible change to the auditorium. Even the wonderful Art Deco style lights remained in full working order until the day of closure. The spacious cafe at first floor level was converted into an equally spacious bar.
Even towards the end of its cinema life it was possible to fill the 1,300 seat (former circle) screen 1 (“Titanic” had especially large queues forming and extra performances added).
Odeon built a new multiplex on the outer fringe of Blackpool, and this original Odeon building was closed in 1998. It was neglected and left in a rather poor state of disrepair.
It was boarded up for several years until it was acquired by Basil Newby who converted the former circle into a gay nightclub;Flamingo’s, a gay bar in the former circle foyer and Funny Girls; a drag-cabaret theatre in the former stalls area.
The Odeon is a Grade II Listed building.
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