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The ABC Sheffield was opened on May 17th 1961 with Richard Todd in “Don’t Bother to Knock”. It was the most modern cinema of its day, fully equipped with 70mm facilities and full six track stereophonic sound system with a 60ft wide screen (one of the largest in the UK). For the opening week, a Hammond portable organ was installed and was played by Albert Brierley.
Built in a stadium style with a large stalls area and more steeply raked lounge area with more luxurious seats at the rear, the total seating capacity was 1,327. The yellow house tabs spread half way along the side walls and were illuminated with concealed fluorescent lighting, while the silver screen tabs were illuminated with flood lights along the deeply curved stage edge and coloured lighting up the sides.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, many 70mm films were shown: “Ben Hur”, “King Of Kings”, “"Becket, "My Fair Lady” (Fabulous on the 60ft screen here), “Camelot”, “Half A Sixpence”, “Far From Madding Crowd”, “Grand Prix”, “2001 A Space Odyssey”, “Gone With The Wind”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “The Wild Bunch”, “Kelly’s Heroes”, “The Towering Inferno” – just to mention a few.
The cinema kiosk and paybox were on ground level with stairs up to a cafeteria area known as the Concourse with large windows looking out onto Angel Street. The stalls and lounge entrances led off from the Concourse. The Concourse was converted into a 94 seat mini screen cinema which opened on 21st September 1975, with periscope projection from the main cinema projection room.
Obviously the ABC passed into the Cannon Group’s hands on their take over of the ABC circuit in May 1986, and from then on its days were numbered. It was re-named Cannon in January 1987 and finally closed on 28th January 1988. It was demolished the following year. The site remained a car park for over 10 years. Now an hotel and shop occupy the site.
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