Odeon Temple Fortune

Finchley Road,
London, NW11

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Odeon Temple Fortune

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the neighborhood of Temple Fortune, located halfway between the districts of Golders Green (a mile to the south) and Finchley (a mile to the North), which are in northwest London. The Orpheum Theatre opened on 11th October 1930 with Ronald Colman in "Condemned". It was built for an independent operator and was designed by the architectural firm, Yates, Cooke & Darbyshire.

The large cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual organ which was opened by Lewis Gerrard. The proscenium was 35 feet wide, the stage 40 feet deep and there were ten dressingrooms. There was a cafe provided for the convenience of patrons. Initially it operated a policy of Pictures & Variety. In 1932 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and then from March 1934 it was taken over by the County Cinemas chain. County Cinemas were taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. in early 1937, and the Orpheum Theatre was re-named Odeon in 1945. In its last couple of years of operation it was known as the Odeon Golders Green.

Although a cinema, there was also much use of the stage at the Odeon, even in later years, when Ralph Reader’s Gang Show (for the Boy Scouts) was an annual event, as well as many other touring stage shows and pantomimes.

In 1972, the Odeon was re-decorated prior to a visit by H.M. The Queen, when she came to see the Gang Show. Just two years later, on 27th April 1974, the Odeon was closed with the double bill programme “Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World" and "Doctor in Trouble". The cinema was just too big and too far from a major shopping centre to be viable in the lean cinemagoing years of the 1970’s. It lay empty and unused for many years, eventually being demolished in May 1982, and a block of flats was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Only the stage house and a section of the right hand side of the front of the building remain standing in this May 1982 demolition photograph:
View link

orpheum
orpheum on May 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

After closure Rank proposed to use this as a Sundown balroom/nightclub.However because there were restrictive covenants restricting this use an application was made to the Lands Tribunal to vary them This was turned down thus dooming the cinema.The cinema was always used by the local synagogue for its High holiday services.

SJT
SJT on June 4, 2011 at 6:03 am

Your Google picture and co-ordinates for this cinema’s location is quite wrong, about one mile away from the actual site, which was just past the crown of Temple Fortune Hill once the parade of shops had stopped, and which is now an enormous Twilight Home (unlike the small offices you show above). What you’re displaying is the location, at 763 Finchley Road, of the former Regal Cinema, which you have separately – and correctly – on this site.

The Temple Fortune Odeon was vast & looked like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldcinemaphotos/2242189514/

SJT
SJT on June 4, 2011 at 6:26 am

As a PS. I don’t know the old Odeon’s number on the Finchley Road, but it occupied the entire block between Birnbeck Close and Child’s Way. I saw “The Agony and the Ectasy” there, in 70mm, sitting in the huge Circle all to myself…

SJT
SJT on June 5, 2011 at 3:04 am

As a PPS, I’ve taken advantage of your “please update the view” rubric, that’s only just appeared, and adjusted the picture laboriously by some mile and a quarter. What it NOW shows is indeed the site of the former Odeon

RHScottSpencer
RHScottSpencer on March 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

I worked at this theatre/cinema for a short time doing stage lighting and 1st projectionist around the late 1960’s early 1970’s Rank had just spent a small fortune redoing the rigging and stage lighting. The new dimmer board was on a platform stage left with three preset’s the fly rigging was also stage left. It was a big theatre/cinema though it did a lot of live show’s which payed there way, it was not paying it’s way as a single screen cinema. Nor would it pay it’s way as a multi screen cinema, it was just to far out of the shopping area.

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