67 Queen Street,
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The ABC (Olympia) Cinema originally opened in the early-1900’s as Andrews Hall. By March 1911, it had became known as the Olympia Picture Theatre. By the time talking pictures arrived in the early-1930’s, it was known as the Olympia Cinema.
At this time the cinema was still run by the Andrews family of Cardiff until around 1935 when it was leased to the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain who modernised the cinema, but still retaining its huge capacity in stalls and balcony of around 2,000.
In the early-1960’s the cinema was refitted and made-over for 70mm films on its huge 58 foot CinemaScope screen. Projection was from under the balcony using DP70/35 projectors with a direct throw to the screen.
The prime location in the centre of the main shopping area in Cardiff made this a very busy cinema and long runs of films often played here.
The final film to show in the cinema was “Jaws”, and after a three-month run of the film, the cinema closed in 1976 for conversion to a three-screen complex. After completion, Screen 1 in the original circle area seated 617, Screens 2 and 3 in the former stalls area seating 318 and 150, new projection rooms were also fitted to serve Screen 1 and a combined projection room was fitted to serve Screen 2 and 3, all equiped with Phillips projectors. The cinema was now known as the ABC Queen Street Cardiff.
In 1986 the cinema was re-named Cannon, and in 1991 re-named MGM, converting back to its original name of ABC in 1996.
With the opening of the five-screen Capitol Odeon and the UCI multiplex in Cardiff Bay, and with plans for two further multiplexes in the city, ABC finally made the decision to close the cinema in 1999, the prime location making it more viable for other retail purposes.
The site on the North side of Queen Street, which included the former Odeon and Olympia(ABC) was totally cleared, with the exception of the frontage of the former ‘Andrews Buildings, which included the entrance to the Olympia, and the former office of architect H. Teather. A totally new retail development was built on the site, but where new frontages were included, they are similar in size and slightly resemble the old buildings.
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