Odeon Halifax

Broad Street,
Halifax, HX1 1YA

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Odeon Halifax

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The Halifax Odeon opened on 27th June 1938 with Errol Flynn in “The Perfect Speciman”. It is bounded by Orange Street, Broad Street, and Great Albion Street. The architect was George Coles and it cost £59,727 to build. It had 1,344 stalls seats and 714 in the balcony giving a total of 2,058. A most unusual façade remains intact with three concave bays covered with buff faience tiles, above the entrance each containing a convex window. A tall Art Deco style tower formerly had the Odeon lettering illuminated by neon. It was however not originally intended for the Odeon circuit, but was a take over during construction, which explains its differences from the typical ‘Odeon’ style.

The cinema had a wide proscenium and a stylish interior with decoration dominated by two large bas-relief female figures either side of the screen. Lighting was entirely indirect.

The Odeon Cinema closed on 18th October 1975 with “Confessions of a Pop Performer”. and stood unused for a while. It was later converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club which is still operating, under a different name, today.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 54 comments)

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 28, 2015 at 8:26 am

Hi Terry,

Yes – ear to the ground! It must be THE Ken I’ve not seen for 49 years!!

You will, I think, have heard that Everyman are attempting to get the funds together (and Landlords' permissions) to acquire Odeons Barnet, Esher, Gerrards Cross and the iconic original Muswell Hill cinema from Odeon Cinemas Ltd.

I will hope to come to you within the next couple of weeks – hospital appointments permitting.

Best regards,

James

danny18badel
danny18badel on April 28, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Hi guys one and both great story Terry Ive made up my mind to build a time machine and go back in time to 1971 and stay there oops just joking but what a great idea Terry we could get together and go across the road and have a pint just like then I could whinge to you about my latest drama on my last shift, I cant even remember the pub we used to use,anyway nuf said for now I am doing an install soon so will be very busy for a little while but will take in your email address and contact you again later ok

danny18badel
danny18badel on May 3, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Still keeping an eye open for any new posts!

danny18badel
danny18badel on May 18, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Hi guys back again just upgraded a small theatre to 4k doesn’t look bad but I still think unless you have a very large screen its just a waste I feel 720 is just as good and the human eye can only see so much detail now there is talk about 8k DMD on the market what next?

danny18badel
danny18badel on May 22, 2015 at 1:25 am

Just a quick comment I noticed the comment at the top of the screen re the last movie screened at the Odeon it is half right the movie was confessions of a window cleaner I know because I was the projectionist at the time

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 22, 2015 at 2:49 am

danny18badel: Are you certain it was “Confessions of a Window Cleaner” as that was released in August 1974 and would have been an over one year ‘old’ film by the date of the Odeon closing? “Confessions of a Pop Performer” was released in July 1975.

Did Rank bring back ‘Window Cleaner’ or do we have the incorrect year of closing?

terry
terry on May 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm

It was ‘Confessions Of A Pop Performer’ as I was Relief Manager at the ABC Halifax that week and , mindful that it was the Odeon’s last ever programme, I recall typing it on ‘ABC Opposition Report Form No. 6 ’ (they were a bureaucratic lot). When I returned to base theatre, ABC Wigan, it was also playing there as, having no Odeon in the town, we played both releases.

The ‘Confessions’ films were ‘much of a muchness’, Danny, so it is not too surprising that you have mixed them up.The first one, ‘Window Cleaner’ I remember playing at ABC Wigan the previous year (the Court which played Rank releases having recently closed) and it was the only time I saw the 2280 seats all occupied!

‘Pop Performer’ did fairly well and the line that got the most sustained laughter, I recall, was Rita Webb asking Robin Askwith (referring to her daughter) if he had seen “her Fanny” and his reply about seeing ‘The Ghost Of Frankenstein’ being bad enough…………

When two further sequels appeared, namely ‘Driving Instructor’ and ‘Holiday Camp’ I was by then in locations where there was an Odeon but I think that the returns were only fair. However, being cheaply made, I am sure that the producers (and Columbia as distributor) made a decent net profit on the four ventures.

danny18badel
danny18badel on May 24, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Hi guys before we all get upset I am probably mistaken and stand corrected, don’t forget it was 40 years ago and I have screened thousands of films since, so please, forgive me at least I got a response,I am so happy to hear from the great Ken Roe just the fellow I want to meet,tell me Ken what are the chances of some photos of the old bio box at the Odeon Halifax it would bring back so many happy memories for me do the Mecca group not allow this or what? please respond again Ken,and a quick hello to my old mate Terry how are you? healthy, happy and wise I hope.

terry
terry on May 25, 2015 at 6:47 am

Hi Danny

Mecca are one of the few remaining arms of the Leisure Division of the mighty Rank Organisation who, upon acquiring Mecca Bingo, dropped ‘Top Rank’ in favour of ‘Mecca’ ; a very odd decision in my opinion but the powers that be considered the ‘Mecca’ brand to be more readily identifiable with the ‘Nation’s Pastime’ (not one of mine, I hasten to add).

I am sure that if the box is still accessible and safe to enter that they would allow someone to take photos although Ken Roe will be in a better position to say for certain.

The same goes for you in the health, happiness and wisdom departments!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 25, 2015 at 6:54 am

The Cinema Theatre Association (CTA) visited the Mecca Bingo Club (former Odeon Halifax) a couple of years ago. I don’t think we were allowed access into the former projection box. I certainly didn’t get in there to take photos. Maybe former projectionist have photographs of the projection box, or another source is possibly the CTA archive (although photos of projection boxes back in the day are quite rare).

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