ABC Blackpool

130-140 Church Street,
Blackpool, FY1 3PR

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Showing 1 - 25 of 33 comments

70mmbobbyj on August 13, 2015 at 11:32 am

The save the ABC Facebook page has posted a picture showing the demolition of the building.

terry on April 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

I have uploaded a shot of the auditorium taken from the stage which will be more appropriate than the present profile photo which happens to be the Hippodrome prior to its 1963 reconstruction as the ABC Theatre.

I wish that there were some photos available of the stage from the auditorium. I used to have a May 1963 copy of the in house staff magazine ‘ABC NEWS’ which had a feature article and a number of photos of the place but unfortunately I gave it and many other issues to a friend in Sussex many years ago.

If anyone happens to have a copy, however, it would be obliging of them if they were to scan one of the photos I refer to and upload it to here. One is of the stage and proscenium with the house tabs fully across whilst another is of the stage show ‘Holiday Carnival’ with the full cast in front of the ABPC Elstree Studios backdrop.

I shall always maintain that there was and is not a theatre as wonderful as the ABC Blackpool – what a sad loss!

terry on September 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm

From the British Pathe Library :– (The opening of ABC Blackpool at 05:20)

The Beatles Live: ABC Blackpool 1965 :–

Watch out for the all-star line up at the end!

Robbie25646 on July 28, 2014 at 7:54 am

I spent a wonderful summer season here with Tommy Steele, Billy Dainty and Mary Hopkin, I think it was 1968 loved every minute of it.

LoveCinema on July 28, 2014 at 1:35 am

Being raised in a family with cinematic background in a small town in Germany (my Great Grandparents opened their first Cinema back in 1929)I’ve always been “addicted” to Cinema since.

I remember going to the “ABC” Blackpool whilst staying in Poulton-Le-Fylde with my british stepfather and family attending great Summer Shows.

In 1984 I experienced the “ABC” (big Auditorium) as a technically perfect Cinema, but undergoing dramatic convertions, of course. Sorry to see it being pulled down. Happy Memories.

Mike_Blakemore on July 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I forgot to mention from my notes Modernisation Ltd., The Freize-Greene company did the interior decor and fittings. I believe it was Hall Stage that fitted out the stage house

70mmbobbyj on July 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

According to the Facebook page the local council which borrowed money to knock it down and will have to pay back £4.5 Million all so they can have a “SMALL” car park have “RUN OUT OF MONEY”. They can no longer afford to demolish it.

Also there are problems with the adjoining buildings who are worried about the party wall, and the company which owns the telecom equipment on the roof has not found another suitable location yet.OOPs

terry on March 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I attended a few reunions in Bournemouth which were arranged by my friend and former colleague, Richard Roper.

Many people present were, as you aptly put it, Real ABC, although a number were there purely on the basis of having worked for the Company that simply bore the relaunched name.

Bob Parsons had moved to pastures new by the time I had anything to do with the North West but I knew Gordon Chadwick and Brian Wrathall very well at the A B C ( Gordon’s wife, Joan Chadwick was Bar Manager and had managed a number of A B C theatres including the Empire Stockton and Regal Bridlington) as well as Chuck Walker at the Princess.

Gordon Chadwick had managed the ABC Globe Stockton which was another important and large ABC live venue and, I am pleased to say, is currently undergoing restoration.

Mike_Blakemore on March 15, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I remember the First Manager of the of the Facelift Theatre.. Bob Parsons the following one was Frank Chadwick. If my memory is correct..

Mike_Blakemore on March 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I did cover at the ABC Chester.. when it was moved to our Zone.. I was able to do a Full Theatre Advance Booking. So I got lumbered. Morcombe & Wise Show and an Orcestra Concert.. for the Chester festival.. We at least we worked for the Real ABC company :o)

terry on March 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I see your point also; I did, however, say that the auditorium of the A B C bore no resemblance to that of the Hippodrome whilst I am aware that much of the shell of the original building was retained.

I am also ex A B C and managed the ABC’s South Shields, Chester, Newcastle upon Tyne (Haymarket and Westgate Road) and Darlington. The latter, like Blackpool, was a partial rebuild (of C J Phipps' Theatre Royal) and much of the old superstructure remained.

Mike_Blakemore on March 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I can see you point.. But under normal practice on this site.. A LEGAL FACT.. ABC Theatre was not a NEW Theatre as such. The 4 Walls of the original theatre, where used in building of the Refurbed theatre.. This apart from cost.. Was a contrivance to legally get round the planning laws. Interior was gutted and old roof removed. New spans where installed on the Original Walls. Exterior got make over.. Internal. Had new steelwork and refit etc etc… One here a great number of theatres have had such a make over.. and not had seperate entires..
I am Ex ABC and knew members of the design team and even met Jack Foster) As I was interested in design. He explained what work was done..

terry on March 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Please caption the photo ‘HIPPODROME BLACKPOOL’.

The 1963 A B C auditorium bore no resemblance to this at all. It would be even better if someone with extensive knowledge of the Hippodrome were to compose a separate article about the place and the photo were to be used in conjunction with same.

davidstirzaker on February 10, 2013 at 7:10 am

As a little boy I lived in Fleetwood and was taken to the old Hippodrome to see David Whitfield.

terry on January 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Firstly, I understand that the final name of a venue is the one used on this site.

M G M was the penultimate name as A B C was reintroduced latterly. It therefore closed with the name by which it was known in its glory days, namely the A B C, which was an extensive rebuild of the old Hippodrome, the auditorium of which is shown at the top of this page.

I never was in the Hippodrome but it would appear, by the photo, that when in use as a cinema, the screen was forward of the theatrical proscenium which is heavily masked by drapery. It seems that screen tabs were not used – unless, that is, they were either out of action or away being cleaned when this photo was taken.

Amazingly, whilst many photos of the Front Of House of the A B C Blackpool exist, few of the very impressive auditorium do; at least they are never made available if there are any. The only one I have seen is within the In House journal for the staff of Associated British Cinemas, A B C News, viz May 1963, when extensive coverage was given to the opening of ‘Europe’s Most Luxurious Theatre’ – as it was billed at that time.

During the lengthy period of the Hippodrome’s reconstruction, hoardings on Church Street advertised that the new theatre would present Number One Stage Shows, TV Shows,Pre- Release film runs and Cinerama presentations. Whilst the latter failed to materialise, the venue did indeed present the very best in Stage, TV and film entertainment until its conversion to a triple screen venue in 1981.

Many A B C Cinemas were converted using the ‘drop wall’ principle – IE the Circle and Front Stalls would be used for the main auditorium whilst 2 ‘minis’ would be constructed within the under hang (Rear Stalls).

As the 2 ‘minis’ at Blackpool did not utilise the Front Stalls, this method of conversion could have been adopted here but,sadly, this was not the case and the famous stage (with revolve) together with the sixty feet wide proscenium, fly tower, Front Stalls and dressing rooms were all sealed off.

The conversion, however, was still carried out in a manner whereby the alterations were reversible and the stage could once again be brought back into use should the fortunes of live shows ever improve (as I think can safely be said applies today). Unfortunately, the people who bought the A B C from ODEON for conversion to ‘The Syndicate’ Nightclub ripped out the entire interior of the building – and, in the process, any realistic hope of the building ever being restored to its former glory. This is very sad, I know, but I am afraid that the hue and cry now being made about the proposed demolition of the building should have taken place before the Night Club owners did their handy work.

Recently, BBC 2 transmitted a one hour documentary about the hey day of Blackpool’s Entertainment Industry, and, I am pleased to say, this included many clips of shows at the A B C Theatre :–

The third segment commences with the opening of the A B C Theatre in 1963.

madorganplayer on January 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

Seems to me that anything of any interest in this place has been swept away years ago.Looking at the photo of it as built-what a fantastic building but its been butchered beyond recognition now.Other big buildings such as the opera House,the Grand and the old Odeon (Funny girls) or now more worthy of listing.

rasLXR on January 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm Campaign to save Blackpool’s ABC Theatre from demolition

A campaign to save a Blackpool theatre which hosted stars such as the Beatles and Morecambe and Wise has started.

Demolishing the former ABC Theatre would destroy an “important part” of the town’s heritage, said Gill Payne whose petition aims to save it.

But Elaine Smith MBE from Blackpool Civic Trust said it should be demolished. “People are confusing memories with heritage.”

Blackpool Council is planning to buy it and use the site as a car park.

The 1960s TV show Big Night Out was filmed at the ABC Theatre before it became a cinema in the 80s.

In 1992 it was transformed into a club and opened as the Syndicate. This closed down in 2011 and it has remained empty since.

Ian on December 7, 2012 at 3:26 am

The Syndicate closed circa 2010 and the building in 2012 is unused and for sale.

Robbie25646 on September 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

Memories, Memories. I did a long, long summer season here with Tommy Steele, Billy Dainty and Mary Hopkins. It was the happiest summer season I ever worked!

Mike_Blakemore on May 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Take a look at the new pics I have loaded.. Memories of Better times

abcman on February 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

The opening show in 1963 at the new Church Street ABC Theatre was in fact called ‘Holiday Carnival’.

Picturedrome on February 18, 2012 at 7:56 am

The ABC Princess wasn’t on the Promenade, and was opposite the Metropole Hotel (not Theatre), whose front was on the Promenade.

Mike_Blakemore on February 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm

???? It was devided up in 1981 before the Cannon Takeover.. The First Manager was Bob Parsons followed by Chadwick from memory I used to work for the Real ABC co., before going Independent