18 Broad Street,
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Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, Odeon Theatres Ltd.
Architects: C. 'Jack' Foster
Previous Names: ABC Cine Bowl, Cannon
Located in the potteries town of Hanley, Staffordshire. The ABC Cine-Bowl was opened on 23rd August 1963 with Charlie Drake in "The Cracksman". The 1,320-seat cinema had all its seats on a single level, and was located upstairs from the 28-lane ABC 10-Pin Bowling Alley. Organist Peter Kilby played the ABC’s touring Hammond elecronic organ. The Todd-AO screen was 60 feet wide x 20 feet high, with the CinemaScope ratio being 47 feet wide and the same height, and ordinary widescreen was 37 feet wide. The ABC circuit were taken over by EMI in 1969.
In May 1977, it was closed for tripling, and re-opened on 25th August 1977 with three screens, seating 573, 233 and 162. In 1985 the Cannon Group took over and it was re-named Cannon. Taken over by ABC again in a management buy out in the late-1990’s, it was again re-named ABC.
Odeon Theatres took over the chain in 2000, and they quickly closed the ABC on 10th December 2000. The 10-pin bowl had become a nightclub, and finally a casino. The building stood empty for several years, and was demolished in February 2008.
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Recent comments (view all 23 comments)
This debate happened to arise in the comments section of ABC Hanley and thus here it has remained.
Re MGM, the alternate circuit release pattern commenced with Hitchcock’s ‘North By North West’ in 1959 following a period of estrangement precipitated by the film ‘Gigi’ which ABC refused to present on a roadshow basis.
It is well known that Paramount Theatres were first offered to ABC but that the latter declined first refusal hence Rank’s more presitigious City Centre presence in those locations – that is not to say, however, that ABC’s outlets were any less popular- indeed, the Haymarket Newcastle’s box office receipts exceeded those of the Odeon for many years.
The ABC TV logo was similar to that of its cinema circuit whilst not being identical and everyone I knew in the North East associated it with local ABC Theatres, particularly the ABC Globe, Stockton (happily undergoing restoration) where, over the years, millions of people went to see first class live presentations from The Royal Ballet and English National Opera to pantomime and One Night Stands.
ABC were also represented in many locations where there was neither an Odeon nor a Gaumont including the University Cities of Oxford and Cambridge………
As I understand it, the debate was about Odeon and ABC as ‘brands’ as opposed to Rank or EMI and the like and there is no question that Cinven’s decision to adopt ‘Odeon’ was the correct one at the time.
In any event, the ‘points scoring’ which seems to have reared its ugly head is rather futile as we are all supposed to be friends here – or so I understood. The circuits as we remember them have all but disappeared and even the remaining Odeon cinemas have lost their charm and atmosphere as a result of further subdivision and austerity measures. Only the Odeon Leicester Square uses tabs nowadays and then only with 2D presentations and it is questionable for how much longer.
Some of my best friends were Rank Managers and,for all the ‘cut above’ attitude alluded to, our pay and conditions were superior to those of our Rank/Odeon opposite numbers. My dear deceased friend at Odeon Sunderland was on a thousand pounds a year less than I was on at ABC South Shields (a much less important location) back in 1980 and the poor chap’s pension was derisory when he was finally in receipt of it.
Fortunately for Rank and ABC,however,he, like most of us, was not in the industry primarily for the money but because of his love of it and there was a cooperation and camaraderie between Odeon and ABC Managers which co existed alongside a friendly rivarly which, I dare say, does not exist now – nor will ever do again.
@ Terry I agree in every respect. of your comments.
I have been reminded of the Inspection we had to do at night after closure of this Theatre, This had to be done by two people and was strictly done in an order. The boiler house. even with one person walking between the House and Screen Tabs.. while the other walked behind the screen tabs. Even the Exits locks where checked again.. (The time period for me doing this was 1969)
Local History feature relating to the post-cinema usage here
Great memory of the Cine-Bowl during its years of magnificent presentations
To qualify for a Sunday 6th June, the year will be 1965,not quite the premiere run but nevertheless among those fabulous cinema-going years.
I came across this site by chance, it was a suprise to find the ABC Hanley seeing photos of myself and the rest of the projection staff. It brings back happy memories of this great cinema.From Doug Blakemore.
This is home cinema as it should be:–
Apparently, many items from the ABC are incorporated within.
It’s been a while since your post Doug but nice to see you are still interested in the “Trade”. Certainly great days at Hanley and I will always remember the theatre, picture and sound quality and of course you guys in the “pictures”. Thanks again for posting and sorry for the delay in acknowledging.
Kidderminster 12th April 2018
Grand opening ad posted.
3-plex reopening ad:
ABC 123 Hanley Broad Street reopening 24 Aug 1977, Wed Evening Sentinel (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England) Newspapers.com