Comments from Ken Roe

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about O2 Academy Brixton on Jun 26, 2004 at 4:11 pm

The address of the Astoria is Stockwell Road, Brixton, London. SW9.

The opening film in 1929 was “The Singing Fool” starring Al Jolson. In later years of cinema operation it was known as the Odeon Astoria. It closed on 29th July 1972 with “Red Sun” & “The Looking Glass War” For a short while after closing it was converted into a Sundance dance hall, but this was short lived and the building lay empty until 1982 when it was re-opened in its current use today, as a live rock concert venue the Brixton Academy.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Paris Pullman Cinema on Jun 26, 2004 at 3:40 pm

This opened as Bolton’s Picture Playhouse on 24th January 1911. It had 249 seats. In 1914 it was re-named Rendezvous and became the Bolton’s in around 1932. After World War II it bacame a live theatre which opened on 15th January 1947. Known as the Bolton’s Theatre Club, it staged plays which were not passed by the censor of the day and being a theatre club it was not subject to licencing laws. It was reconstructed as the Paris Pullman Cinema, opening on 3rd November 1955. It closed on 8th May 1983 and was demolished.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Adams Theatre on May 26, 2004 at 4:20 pm

The Adams Theatre opened in 1935 and had 626 seats. It closed in 1961 and is currently in retail use as a discount fabrics store.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about El Sereno Theatre on May 21, 2004 at 6:44 pm

There is a brass plaque embedded into the terrazzo floor in the outer lobby which has the logo of the American Legion Lodge. Did this theatre become a lodge after closure? Obviously when renamed Mazatlan in its later operating years it must have played Spanish language films. The building still survives (in 2004) complete with its last name on the marque and is currently used as an electrical contractors storehouse/workshop. It opened pre 1941.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Bryn Mawr Theatre on May 20, 2004 at 6:21 pm

I heard from sources at the Theatre Historical Society of America that the Bryn Mawr Theatre was an early design from the architectual firm of Rapp & Rapp

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Gate Picturehouse on May 20, 2004 at 1:08 pm

The Gate was never known as the Imperial Playhouse, that was a name given in 1932 to the nearby 1910 built, Electric Cinema in Portobello Road. It currently operates again as the Electric.

The Gate building dates from 1861 when the ground floor room (currently the cinema) was known as the North End and Harvey Dining Room. In 1879 it became the Golden Bells Hotel and the ground floor became the Golden Bells Coffee Palace and Restaurant. Upstairs, the hotel operated as a brothel.

The ground floor was converted into a cinema, opening in April 1911 as the Electric Palace, seating was for 450. It was re-named Embassy in April 1931 and was primarly a news theatre with 314 seats. The elaberate domed entrance and facade were damaged by bombs during the war, but the cinema remained open and it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the current facade and office block was built. It was re-named Classic Cinema in 1957 screening classic Hollywood films. In September 1974, it was sold to Cinegate and re-named the Gate Cinema, closing in 1985 and re-opening in 1986 with Oasis Cinemas as the operators, currently under control of the PictureHouse Group

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Coronet Theatre on May 20, 2004 at 12:29 pm

The Cinema Theatre Association here in the UK welcomes the news that the Coronet will now be retained and run as a cinema. We also welcome proposed plans to restore the historic fabric of the building in the near future (suject to consultation with English Heritage, The Theatre’s Trust and the Cinema Theatre Association I hope)

I regularly attend this cinema in preference to going for the multiplex ‘experience’ as it has an exciting atmosphere and feel to it, rather than sitting in a ‘black box’. Ok. the cinema has been a bit run down over many years, but this is now a great oportunitity to make this cinema the centrepoint of the neighborhood again.

Notting Hill has been for many years a cinemagoers paradise as can be vouched for by the now successful restoration of the Electric Cinema, Portobello Road, (one of England’s oldest cinemas, still in operation since 1910, and the Gate Cinema (operating as a cinema from 1911) almost adjacent to the Coronet in Notting Hill which now operates as a succesful ‘art house’ cinema. To have three cinemas operating in one area just shows the enthusiasm of the locals and cinema buffs who attend them. Could it also be that they are all Listed buildings as well, I wonder?

Anyway, long live the Coronet, and I hope the current owners have a long and successful tenure there.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Coronet Theatre on May 18, 2004 at 6:37 pm

Sad news, the Coronet closed on 12 May 2004, one day earlier than announced. The final film in the main auditorium was ‘Van Helsing’. EasyCinemas were hoping to buy the building and continue its cinema use, but were outbid by a church who plan to use the building for their services, but they say they may still occasionally screen ‘family orientated’ films.

The Coronet was built as a drama theatre, opening on 28th November 1898 at 103-111 High Street, Notting Hill, in West London. It seated 1,143, the architect was W.G.R. Sprague. It became a full time cinema from November 1923 and this continued until its recent closure. Only 2 years ago a 2nd small screen was added, located on the stage. It was the last cinema in London that still allowed smoking in the auditorium. It is a Listed Grade II building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Moulin Rouge Theatre on May 18, 2004 at 6:13 pm

The Paramount Opera Theatre address is 2 Boulevard des Capucines, Paris area 9. It opened in 1927 for Adolph Zuker’s Paramount Pictures. Seating was for 1,920 in stalls, mezzanine and balcony. The architect was Frank T. Verity who also designed the Plaza, Lower Regent Street, London, UK for Paramount Pictures in 1926 which closed in 2002 and has been gutted for retail and multiscreen cinema use. The state of the Paris Paramount when I was last there about 7 years ago was that it had been converted into 7 screens during the 1970’s. The largest (screen 3 holds 800) Screen 1 in the basement holds 400, Screens 2 & 4 hold 60 and 400 and screens 5, 6 & 7 range from 90 to 125 seats. The facade of the building was still impressive and there was some original decorative features in the large main entrance foyer.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Palace Cinema on Apr 5, 2004 at 8:05 pm

The Palace was operated by the H.D.Moorehouse circuit from 1931 until 1956. It had 501 seats.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Princess Cinema on Apr 5, 2004 at 7:53 pm

Opened as the Princess Picture Theatre with 700 seats. The proprietor was W.B. Holt. Later it was operated by Ashton New Theatre Ltd and became part of the H.D.Moorehouse circuit. Its final years were under the operation of Orr Enterprises Ltd of Coventry.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Oxford Super Cinema on Apr 5, 2004 at 7:44 pm

Opened as the Oxford Picture House it was built for a company of the same name. Seating is given as 792. It was later called the Oxford Super-cinema. After Cinemascope was installed the proscenium was altered and the seating capacity reduced to 768.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Palladium Cinema on Apr 5, 2004 at 7:36 pm

The Palladium is listed as having 450 seats in 1937. By closure it had 350, possibly due to Cinemascope being installed which would reduce the seating capacity.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe commented about Rainbow Theatre on Jan 6, 2004 at 7:01 pm

The Cinema Theatre Association in the UK is organising a “Films Return to the Astoria” evening on Saturday 28th February 2004 at 8pm.
The classic Billy Wilder film “Sunset Boulevard” will be the first feature film to be screened in this landmark cinema building since it closed as a full time cinema 33 years ago in September 1971. After closing, it became The Rainbow Theatre, famed for its many rock and pop concerts. It lay empty and deserted for almost 15 years until the current occupants the Universal Chuch of the Kingdom of God took control and in recent years have restored the building to its original ‘atmospheric’ splendour. The Astoria is located in North London close by to Finsbury Park tube station (Piccadilly Line/Victoria Line) and Main line rail station.