St. George's Cinema

25 Castlegate,
York, YO1 9RN

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FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

The “Hall” part of the title had been dropped by the ‘fifties and the cinema was known to one and all as the St. George’s. The heading block used for newspaper advertising showed the cinema’s name in the Gaumont house-style of lettering and a sign above the cinema entrance proclaimed “A Gaumont Theatre” in the Circuit mid-blue colour. Centrally situated and being larger and technically superior to the City’s other two cinemas with Gaumont links, (Scala/Electric and Picture House) the St. George’s enjoyed the pick of the Circuit’s films. Both the sister cinemas closed during the 'fifties and once part of Circuits Management Association, the St. George’s not only took the less appealing Rank Release product but also re-runs of the most profitable films to have appeared at the larger and superior Odeon. Sometimes films would literally transfer from the Odeon to the St. George’s overnight, “Tom Jones” was one such film – two busy weeks at the Odeon were immediately followed by a healthy week here. The Odeon would occasionally run films for a short “season” on a roadshow basis(“The Longest Day”, and “Cleopatra” for example), but these were usually no more than two weeks while some general release films would also run more than one week at the Odeon (“Mary Poppins” four weeks, Bond films two or three weeks). When the busy Odeon was thus occupied, Rank release films it would otherwise have shown played the St. George’s so that York kept up with the combined circuits’ output. A fairly ornate auditorium with barrel-vaulted ceiling, elegant pendant light fittings and much fancy plasterwork made for a pleasant place to enjoy films if slightly old fashioned and a tad narrow compared to the younger, more modern Odeon, Regal, and Rialto (not forgetting the modern suburban halls Clifton and Regent). Film presentation at the St. George’s was to a high standard; its last chief projectionist was welcoming and cheerful Mr “Johnny” Johnson whose kindness led to my first visit to a projection box as a schoolboy. The “box” was positively tiny and only just accommodated the two Gaumont Kaylee 21s, rewind bench and other necessary equipment. I was in the capacity audience at the Cinema’s closing and it was a sad and nostalgic night for many. The close relationship with York’s Odeon was emphasised, the closing film, “Cleopatra” had played the Odeon during the previous year and, in the intermission, an electric organ was played on stage by George Shepheard, the Odeon’s manager, while members of York Light Opera Company sang a selection of songs from musicals. Trivia: the screens of the Regal and St. George’s were little more than a couple of hundred yards apart and both cinemas suffered at times from flooding of the river Foss which flowed close to their “screen ends”.

Ian
Ian on January 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

A photo of the former cinema entrance in 2006 here:–

ST GEORGES

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 18, 2012 at 12:34 am

A picture of the theatre from the 1920’s can be seen here.