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Originally opened in January 1914, the cinema was completely redesigned by G. Allen Fortesque and reopened November 17, 1930. It was known as the Deansgate Picture House and was one of the most popular cinemas in Manchester city-centre. By 1937 it was part of the H.D. Moorhouse Circuit. It was later operated by the Brennan’s Cinemas Ltd. chain.
It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in 1959, and was extensively modernized in 1960 when a huge screen was installed and the adverts ran ‘Manchester’s most intimate Todd AO theatre’.
The auditorium, supremely comfortable, now seated 450 in the stalls and 250 in the balcony, and was decorated with twinkling star shaped lights.
In 1971, a second cinema opened, the 167 seat ABC 2, formed out of the former cafe. Again a plain but comfortable cinema.
Ian Grundy recalls, “I remember watching "Earthquake" here and nearly hitting the ceiling when the sensurround system cut in – the cinema seemed in iminent danger of collapse!”
ABC was bought out by Cannon in 1986 and on August 9, 1990, both screens closed. After lying boarded up for a while the building was converted to a bar for the J.D. Wetherspoon chain of pubs, named The Moon Under Water, retaining much of the former original cinema.
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