Hi – I am not an ex – Cinema Projectionist, but I am the son of a former Cinema Manager, and it was while I was doing a google search as part of a history MA that I am reading for that I came across this site.
I was particularly interested in the posting by Keith Towers, as he and I are almost the same age ( I was born in 1947 ) and my Dad, Len Marsh was a Relief Manager on the South London circuit of ABC Cinemas – the Regal, Streatham, where Keith attended the “minors matinees ” was one of the cinemas that Dad worked in, and one that I remember well.At about the same time that Keith was bawling out the “minors song ” at Streatham, I would have been doing the same thing just a short distance away at the Rex, Norbury ( closed in about 1962 and swiftly demolished )Dad left cinema management in about 1961/2, and ended his career working at ABC Head Office in Golden Square : the last cinema he worked in was the ABC Savoy, West Croydon – but as a Relief Manager he worked at ABC Cinemas all over South London – those that I remember are Brixton, Purley, Balham, Tooting, Camberwell, Forest Hill, Mitcham, Elephant and Castle, Beckenham – although he started his career at the Grange, Kilburn.Dad died in 1997 at the age of 77, and I would be interested to hear from any ex – Projectionists out there who remember him or may have worked with him. I remember one guy ( Ray ? ) who went from one of the South London cinemas that Dad worked in to be Head Projectionist at ABC Head Office and later re – trained as a Manager – at an ABC Cinema in Brighton, as I recall. ABC had a somewhat arcane distinction, as my Dad recounted it, between Trainee Managers and Management Trainees : one term referred to those coming straight into Management from outside ( i.e., as their first job ) the other to those, like Ray, who transferred from other jobs with the Company, such as Projection.If any of this rings any bells with any ex – Projectionists, I would love to hear from them. I can be contacted at either of the following e-mail addresses :
Colin sent some additional information:
During research for my MA, I have been looking at this site again.
Keith Towers must have started at the ABC, Streatham, formerly the Regal, just about the time my Dad, Len Marsh. left Cinema Management to move to an administrative job at Golden Square. The name of Bill Wyatt, Keith’s Manager at Streatham, does not ring any bells with me, but I bet my old man knew him.
Dad also worked at the ABC, Camberwell for a time.
Keith refers to the 10 – pin bowling alley opening in Streatham : I think that was the old Gaumont, on Streatham High Road. As I remember, the ABC, the Odeon, and the Gaumont were fairly close together – and also in the High Road was the Streatham Hill Theatre, one of the old – style variety theatres. During dad’s time at the old Regal, the Manager at the theatre was a bloke called Bailey – I later worked for himn as a Relief Stage Door Keeper at Her Majesty’s Theatre on the Haymarket, in London. Small world, isn’t it ?
Also, I think the chap called Knight – the area engineer – was my Dad’s boss when he moved to Golden Square.
Keith also mentions working as a projectionist at Elstree Studios. One of my Dad’s mates was Head Projectionist at ABC Head Office at Golden Square in the mid – 1960’s ( I think he was called Ray ) and Dad arranged for a friend and myself to spend an afternoon with him. His job was to show films to the Company managers before they decided to release them on circuit – he also showed stuff before the censors got at them ( one of the perks of the job, he said ) and when I was there, he was showing “rushes ” from the screen tests done at Elstree : basically, they consisted of scenes with an actor who was a fairly familiar face on TV at the time chatting to a succession of scantily – clad young ladies, to see how they came across in front of the camera. That was quite an afternoon for an impressionable teenager.
Still like to hear from anyone from the old ABC Company who msay have worked with, or remembers, my Dad.