ABC New Street

88-90 New Street,
Birmingham, B2 4HS

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Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas on January 23, 2013 at 1:35 am

OK Carla,sorry about the gender slip up :)yes it was all a long time ago now,but there are still people around who worked with George,so he is still remembered outside his family. It was nice to make contact with you here,take care.

carlamottram on January 22, 2013 at 6:28 am

By the way, thank you for the lovely comments
About George, also we lived by the barr beacon
Cinema, I remember it well, wonderful building

carlamottram on January 22, 2013 at 6:25 am

Afternoon, so lovely to hear from people that worked with George I just want to note that my name is Carla, not Carl, I’m Georges Grandaughter, sorry, its an easy mistake from my User name, ok, I spoke to my mom again, no one else to ask Sad isn’t it, when links to the past have gone George would have started 1930,s possibly Or…. Definately 1940,s.

Would be great to see that photo!

Take care all, speak soon

petehall on January 21, 2013 at 2:56 am

im looking for info abt john constable who worked with me at the villa x and the abc new street birmingham circa late 60s …i also worked at the beacon cinema scott arms now its just a block of flats..such a shame these beautiful cinemas were knocked down …

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas on January 21, 2013 at 2:51 am

Hi Carl, Great to hear from you,I remember your grandpa George. I started at the cinema as a fifteen year old,and George,the chief projectionist seemed so old to me then,now I am that sort of age myself :(.

George was a great guy,I got on well with him,he retired,while I was there,and Larry took over as chief.

As for Larry being a good looking man?,well he never did anything for me:), but he was also a decent man to work with. Do you know when George started at the Forum?,don’t think I ever had the nerve to ask him.

Its great that you found this site,so pleased to hear from you.

petehall on January 21, 2013 at 2:45 am

hi guys i worked at the abc back in 1969 with larry and the two johns and dennis b4 that i worked 2 years at the villa cross handsworth ..they were golden days

  pete hall
Mike_Blakemore on January 20, 2013 at 11:37 am

Hi Carl.. I have a group picture of Projectionists when they won best box Containing I think George Mottram, Larry Freeman.. Dennis Thomas.. and John Constable when I find it. I have put it somewhere safe.. When I find it I shall put it on.. I met George when he visited Theatre after retirement around late 1974, While I was Assistant Manager to Jonny Simmons

carlamottram on January 20, 2013 at 11:18 am

Wow, stumbled across this by accident, fabulous reading, My grandpa was George Mottram! Bless him, Been looking for anything on the internet connected With the cinema, found this to my delight Just spoke to my mom, an she remembers Larry, said he Was a good looking man, Noel as we knew him, This was his first name, sadly died in October 1976 To this day I miss him terribly. I am 48 now, and Often brag that my grandad was a projectionist I Will keep my eye on the forum.

So pleased I have found this.

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas on December 15, 2012 at 8:10 am

OK Colin,
Thanks for that,I knew of couse that there ‘was’ an organ there,and note above that it was only removed in 1955,but had no idea that it had been used relatively recently,when I was there.

I wish you well trying to contact others that worked at the Forum around the time you were there,one never knows who may pop up on here.

I have,thanks to this site and Facebook, been able to re-establish contact with three guys ‘projectionists'that I worked with,over forty years ago. One of them I talk to on Skype a couple of times a week now.

colinsmith on December 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

Hi Dennis. there really was an organist at the forum in 1950. generally he would play for a while before the show started. i recall that the odeon down the street also had an organist. i believe his name was charles, and i forget his last name.

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas on December 13, 2012 at 3:11 am

Hi Colin The early 1950s were a bit ‘too’ early for me :) I started there late 64 to late 69,and was a trainee projectionist. I also met my future wife there I remember George Mottram,as chief,and also Larry French,Larry took over as chief during my time there,when George retired..

One thing that puzzles me though Colin, an organist in 1950 really? I thought that was a silent cinema era thing?. Dennis Thomas

colinsmith on December 7, 2012 at 9:08 am

are there any old timers who remember the forum from the early 1950’s. i started there as a trainee projectionist in 1950 and met my future wife there. the chief projectionist was george mkottram andn the second in command was larry french. names i remember are donald keogh and roger grey. i believe the managers name was morgan, and there was an organist named joseph flitcroft.

Robbie25646 on September 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

How True Mike! I also worked at the Carlton Cinema, in the Haymarket, London where my dressing room was back-stage it seemed miles from our office over the foyer to get changed like you every night by 6:00pm

Mike_Blakemore on September 7, 2012 at 7:26 am

I used to go up to the Balcony twice a day and go down the right hand Exit (On Picture) to my dressing room to change into (by 6pm) and out of my dinner suit (at close of the final performace) If I was quick enough I could sneek ot the bottom door. other wise I had to come back through the Balcony and down the main staircase The hight and rake was hair raising.. But not as Bad as the Old Theatre Royal next door… That was that high it had angels flying around :o) (That was before it was knocked down)

Robbie25646 on September 7, 2012 at 5:48 am

I can remember going to see Herman’s Hermits in a film here sitting in the per circle, I was scared to death! wit afeaofgover thero

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas on June 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hi Mike, Yes indeed I did have a little beard :) so that was almost certainly me.

I remember Jock,also of course, John Brockington,and Larry French, John Constable, James Dunscombe, and after James left,a guy younger than me Peter Hall.

My future wife was very young then,long black hair,you maybe remember her.

In recent years I have regained some limited contact with John Brockington and James Dunscombe,via Facebook.

With ref to Peter Hall,we talk via Skype once or twice a week,so it’s great to know that some of us are still around,kind of reassuring as we get older.

If you ever track down that picture with me? in it,along with John and Larry,please mail me a copy,that would be great.

Mike_Blakemore on June 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Hi Dennis I was there July 1968 till May 1969 The Manager was Johnny Simmons. Housemanageress Joan Cooks Ne Assistant Manager. Peter Mathews was before me he went to Televison. Jock was Head doorman. Frances was head cashier and I think Your wife was young Did you have a little beard. I have a picture somewhere of You John and Larry French. I went Back to Walsall. Perce the Course was still at Colehill Street. I later became General Manager of The Capitol Ward End and associated Cinemas :o)

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas on June 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hello Mike,as a young projectionist at the ABC New Street end of 1964/to late 1969,I have no memory at all of Joan Cooks?.

I remember a rather attractive,‘I thought’ woman called Francis/Frances? who was a cashier.

I remember Mr Simmons the manager,and a young manager, Peter Matthews who went on to work in TV/radio? forget now.
I met my ‘wife to be'there,Christine,she was a cashier.

I left after a clash with a new manager that had started, called Percy Freeman ?? or whatever his name was,I know what I called him,but would not print it here :)

Thanks for the pictures,

                      Dennis Thomas....
Mike_Blakemore on June 11, 2012 at 3:19 am

I have at last found them. So I have loaded more pictures of the Cinema..

Mike_Blakemore on May 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

Have loaded a picture of the Pay Box and Kiosk

Mike_Blakemore on January 10, 2012 at 4:31 am

To Johncine. It was very common for cinemas to do this. Odeon new street opened side masking and dropped top masking. as did the Gaumont. Odeon Queensway. Our cinemas The Capitol. Stockland Green.. A Number only moved the top masking. Dependant on the Pross opening and achieving the biggest picture at a true ratio was the main thing and not ending up with a very small screen..

Johncine on January 10, 2012 at 3:46 am

The Odeon was bizarre, because it played 1:85 films on a bigger screen than the 2.35, bringing the masking down the screen.

Mike_Blakemore on November 9, 2011 at 4:38 am

To Johncine. Yes the films are right for the Cinema. Yje screen was only 28ft scope… at the time Odeon New Street was the next largest in the City The Capitol Ward End was 48ft scope slightly bigger then New street

Johncine on November 9, 2011 at 4:29 am

Some memorable evenings here. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA in SENSURROUND, SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II, FLASH GORDON, HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1 / BLAZING SADDLES. Possibly suffered a bit in light of the fact that it never had children’s prices. Other films notable to play here were the likes of OUTLAND, SHARKY’S MACHINE, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, THE TOWERING INFERNO,DRACULA(1979), BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRAVIXENS, QUADROPHENIA,MAD MAX and PHANTASM. Still memorable as one of the biggest screens at the time alongside the Gaumont.

Mike_Blakemore on August 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

I did a Spell at The ABC New Street as an Assistant Manager 1968 – 1969 moving back to the ABC Walsall. I worked with Johnny Simmons. and Joan Cooks. The Organ was infront of the screen dead centre on a lift. This was removed and a platform placed infront of the screen.. The Cinema was orginally owned by Cinema Properties Ltd., Leon Salberg (Alex Theatre) Sidney Clifft, and J Cohen.. ABC bought the Theatre and William Glenn re styled the building