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 36 comments)

danny18badel
danny18badel on April 14, 2015 at 4:39 am

hello there its me Danny again,I need for someone to take photos of my old projection box,its been 40 years since I last saw it,I am now living in south Australia,and I am considering coming home to visit my old odeon again

terry
terry on April 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Hi Danny

I remember you and the staff at the old Odeon. I was with ABC when your old place closed and I got you a post at ABC Wigan where you worked as a projectionist for a short while before returning to the Halifax area.

Hope you are enjoying life ‘down under’.

danny18badel
danny18badel on April 19, 2015 at 3:32 am

Hi Terry its great to hear from you,I have so many happy memories of working at the odeon Halifax.I have been in the industry ever since,It is all digital now,and lost all of its romance.I spend more time at the pc doing editing than I ever did.Anyway how are you going,are you still a manager? or what are you doing,I would love to know.

danny18badel
danny18badel on April 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

Hi guys! Its me again,could you tell me is the guy named James,the same young James who used to work with us at the odeon around 1973?

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Hello Danny,

I’m James (FanaticalAboutOdeon)but, I’m afraid, not the James you mention. I do, however, have a very tenuous connection with Odeon Halifax. I was an Odeon manager with Rank in the ‘sixties/'seventies and I trained with George Shepheard who was the manager of the Odeon, York. He had come to York in 1964 after having been the manager of the Odeon, Halifax. In his youth, he had been a cinema organist but after his time in the forces, he was asked to consider management. With the trend away from cinema organs, George knew which side his bread was buttered! He was a great showman and a real character. I recall he liked to keep his desk as clear as possible and would sometimes pretend to be playing the organ – his hands rippling over imaginary keys and his feet working imaginary pedals to the delight of his team. His arrival at York coincided with Rank spending £20,000 modernising the Odeon and he loved both the cinema and the City. His promotional work and publicity campaigns became legendary and York knew him as “Mr Odeon”. He was very highly regarded by Rank Theatres Ltd. and once said to me, jokingly, “I really must put together a letter declining the offer of the Odeon, Leicester Square – just in case they ever think of me for it. I couldn’t bear to leave York”. They never did make the offer and George remained York Odeon’s manager through tripling and beyond right up to his retirement. He made it into his 'nineties and died a couple of years ago following the death of his beloved wife, Beryl, a few weeks earlier.

I left the entertainment industry in 1981 and I am now retired. I have an Odeon of my own in the form of a home cinema which, fortunately, groups of friends like to visit as well as enthusiasts and those either in, or retired from, the cinema industry.

You can take the man out of the cinema but you can’t take the cinema…!

danny18badel
danny18badel on April 24, 2015 at 10:26 am

Hi James how are you? thankyou for taking the time to answer my question,could you tell me in your home cinema are you using film or video?I would love to see it

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

Hi Danny,

The projection at my own Odeon is digital. I have a JVC cinema projector which is “equivalent 4K” (3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 high in maximum image)which enables me to show THX registered cinematic 3D as well as all screen formats – wide screen, ‘scope, 70mm. and replicated Cinerama. The screen fabric is Draper React2 and contains millions of tiny aluminium flakes to “capitalise” on the image standard the projector is capable of. There are motorised tabs, three-colour circuit pageants and concealed LED lighting to recreate the traditional cinema atmosphere. A number of groups of friends and neighbours come over regularly as well as cinema enthusiasts and interested industry people. If you’re within reach of York, you’d be most welcome to come over for a demo’ and, I expect, a good chat! I’m on the Flickr photo' sharing site and you could contact me via the site’s mail facility. My name on Flickr is also “Fanatical about Odeon”.

James

terry
terry on April 24, 2015 at 11:52 pm

Hi Danny

I think that I transferred to Huddersfield from Wigan at around the time you returned to Halifax (you rang me once from the Rex at Elland) and I rose through the ranks, as it were, to manage the ABC’s South Shields, Chester, Darlington and Newcastle Upon Tyne.

I left the industry in 1995 and most of my contemporaries were doing likewise at the time or have followed since.

I have to say I am dumbfounded that you are still in the business; the last former projectionist of mine was made redundant last year from the Empire Newcastle (originally the new Odeon at the Gate) after digital came along; the former original Odeon Newcastle Chief met the same fate also at that time. Neither of them miss the industry as it became – and I most certainly don’t!

I am delighted that ABC had a good Pension Scheme and I am now a ‘gentleman of leisure’ although if something appealing on a part time basis were to come along (say 2 days midweek – no weekends!) I might consider it….some hope!

I see you are in touch with James from York and that you have an invite to his home cinema while you are back in the UK. He will make you most welcome!

The James you confused him with rang me once at ABC South Shields from the Odeon Barnsley where he had started as a Trainee Manager. This was back in 1980 and I have no idea how he progressed from there or where he happens to be now. He was a ‘canny lad’ as they say in these parts.

Keep in touch.

Terry

danny18badel
danny18badel on April 25, 2015 at 4:59 am

Hi Terry how come you have retired already? you are the same age as me are you not I was 24 when I used to work at the odeon I retire next year thank god I hate digital it is just not as reliable as 35 mm film, tell me Terry do you remember the projectionist at the abc Halifax Brian, is he still alive he would be pretty old by now I wish I had an email address so I could contact him that would be cool and George C Crossland who was the chief projectionist at the abc huddersfield anyway Terry ill wait to hopefuuly hear from you again later from an old mate. Danny.

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Hi Terry and Danny,

Just a thought. If the two of you would like to meet up for a real “catch-up” and some refreshment, you’d be most welcome at my little Odeon in York. I don’t know from where Danny would have to travel, but if York would make a meeting feasible or easier, please feel free to head here.
Just let me know what you both think.

Best wishes, James

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