Going to the pictures
John Lee was back as the speaker at the Old Buckenham Social and Wine Circle’s April meeting in the Church Rooms. This time it was for a nostalgic evening with the title ‘Let’s go to the movies’.
John brought back memories as he described the days when there were two complete programmes each week, each one having a main film, a supporting short film, a newsreel and possibly a cartoon as well. There were the special Saturday morning shows for children with their own club songs and serials like Flash Gordon or Tarzan to keep the audience enthralled.
John described the six cinemas he remembered in Harrogate with the best one having the cinema organist arising from the depths to entertain between films. He also quoted from Alan Bennett’s descriptions of cinema going in Leeds - the regular queues, cigarette smoke rising from the audience and the attempts to get into ‘A’ rated films. Many of the members remembered their days doing National Service and the Astra cinemas that existed on site then.
Twenty-seven of John’s friends had also been persuaded to provide their memories of cinema going in their youth. This brought more nostalgia and tales of unusual happenings. There were the open air cinemas abroad, days when you could gain entry by taking along clean jam jars for recycling, projectors breaking down, bombs dropping and even someone’s mother who took the washing along to dry on the cinema radiators while the film was showing.
Most of John’s audience remembered it all but no doubt a younger audience for this talk would have found it hard to believe at times.