Roy Dart

Once again sorry it’s taken so long:

The State Leytonstone, still in existence but as a function room. This was owned by the same people that owned the Academy Leytonstone, but was much smaller and a flea pit. It was originally the Premier Leytonstone and I was told that in the early days when their were many studios in the Walthamstow area they used to show the rushes there. Several big names would have been there to see the rushes and I am sure that Alfred Hitchcock must have seen some of his there as he used to live just down the road. I went there in the mid 50’s at the same time as working at the Academy. They used to share the newsreel and my main job was to shuttle the news between the 2 cinema’s. We used to have a Sunday programme, a Monday to Wednesday programme and a Thursday to Saturday. We used to show 2 feature films, a serial and a short as well as the newsreel and the programmes ran continually. We had Ross projectors and premier arcs (I thinks that’s right. As I said in my last correspondence my memory is not as good as it used to be.) We were the first cinema in Leytonstone to have Zenon lamps and Cinemascope. We showed so few cinemascope films so that when we eventually did and opened the masking we had a dark middle (due to the smoking) and 2 nice white sides. The rewind room was beside the box and you had to go out of the box to get to it so if it was raining we had to shield the reel of film when taking it out. Because of the short runs we often showed the films in the 10min reels they came in and would often miss the change overs because their were so many cues.

There was a seat right down the front that had a broken spring and one of our patrons. Arthur, always used to sit on that seat. No matter that we offered him a better one, he liked that one. He only used to come for the serial and the “cowboys” as he used to say.

Many a time some poor chap in the back row would have his face slapped as the cinema cat would go along the row with it’s tail up and brush the underside of the girls legs. I’m sure the writers of the film “The Smallest Show on Earth” must have visited the State because if we were showing a film that featured a desert scene, especially in the summer, the manager would ask us to go and stoke the boiler up prior to the ice cream sales.

In later times they tried to make it more up market and used to show continental films but it was not a great success even though many of the films were X rated. I think most of the patrons were too lazy to read the sub titles.

If you go into Google and type in State cinema Leytonstone and then open cinema treasures/State cinema there is more information.

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