Odeon Halifax

Broad Street,
Halifax, HX1 1YA

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Showing 51 - 59 of 59 comments

FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Roger, your detailed recollections are of great interest to me as I was an Odeon manager during the late ‘60s and early '70s, though not at Halifax. Your descriptions of the auditorium and its lighting schemes are particularly valuable to me as this is an area in which I have a strong interest. During the '60s, Rank engaged the services of the Trevor and Mavis Stone design partnership to update the interiors of their more “important” cinemas – a scheme of decoration now often referred to in hindsight as the “zing” treatment. The basic idea, as in many '60s architectural designs, was plainness and so any ornate features were either removed or concealed, auditoriums were generally painted in one or two neutral shades (beige and grey were favourites) and indirect lighting from either coves or footlights was usually abandoned in favour of “pageant” lighting housed in long “boxes” mounted on the balcony front. The actual lanterns used were Strand Electric 2k adjustable beam spotlights with Fresnel lenses providing a soft edged pool of light adjustable in spread. Depending on the size of cinema, from six to twelve lanterns were provided and normally all filtered with the same, prescribed, pastel colour (instead of the previous three-colour circuit footlights where colours could blend and change with magical effect). Where existing curtains were considered suitable – presumably sufficiently plain – and in good condition, they were retained and sometimes cleaned, as with Halifax. York Odeon was provided with nine lanterns all filtered with “57 pink” gel, its maroon curtains with copper coloured satin bands were replaced by plain silver satin tabs – the effect was striking, not to say dazzling, but the colour was always the same which was rather bland compared to the colour-changing of the previous scheme. Bradford Odeon was also given nine such lanterns, filtered in “straw” but retained its gold satin curtains. Interesting to learn that Halifax’s colour was orange. In a number of Rank cinemas so updated, once the “dust had settled” the lighting schemes could be modified by the cinema’s projection crew to work on the three colour principle once again and the combination of the powerful, focusable lights and colour-fusion created some wonderful effects. The Odeon, Leicester Square was modernised during 1968 and already had eighteen pageant lanterns as well as footlights, battens and concealed lighting in wall and ceiling coves. Although I believe the Stones were involved and much original d├ęcor did give way to large, plain surfaces, the three colours of the pageant lighting (6 x primary red, 6 x medium amber and 6 x bright blue) survived the modernisation and created virtual firework displays on the reflective silver screen curtains and two-tone red velvet house curtains. The three colour principle at the “flagship” lasted until 1998 when the number of lanterns (by now profile spotlights) was reduced to fourteen, all wired on a single circuit and filtered rose pink. Anyone still awake?!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 10, 2008 at 9:22 pm

The Odeon Halifax opened on 27th June 1938 with Errol Flynn, Joan Blondell in “The Perfect Specimen”. Directed by Michael Curtiz for Warner Brothers.

dmhannah on June 10, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Hi, does any one know what the first film shown was?

dmhannah on April 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Hi Gorden, the stairs do exist, that whole wall is a partition wall put in when the building was converted to a bingo hall. As if you go through the door you can go down the stairs and and banister it still there, which leads to a fire exit.

If you look round the sides of where the screen used to be you can still find old bulbs. The building is fitted with some kind of early ventilation system, attached to plenum although some of the holes are now boarded up due to bad drafts.

I work here, and I find the building amazing, the acoustics are great too.

gordonl on November 25, 2007 at 8:58 pm

As you look up the stairs to the circle the view is of a symetrical staircase splitting both left and right but as you climb the stairs you discover that his is an illusion! The left hand stairs lead into a solid wall, an architectural device to present symetry to the eye. Fascinating!

dmhannah on May 25, 2007 at 9:19 pm

In a couple of years time, this club will be relocated staff have been informed to a new purpose built club. Over the last 15 years nothing has been done to the building.

I will try take some current pix of inside as it is now, and the projector room. Although theres not much left.

dmhannah on April 18, 2007 at 4:29 pm


I would like to know if there are any more photos of this cinema/bingo hall from the past. I currently work for Mecca Bingo at the Halifax club and its not changed too much.

I am interested in shots of the foyer and the stairs and the hallway upstairs.


rroberts on April 11, 2005 at 2:47 pm

any idea who owns the theatre? Who do we contact?

SPIN on October 7, 2004 at 11:33 pm

As a child in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s I recollect going to the Odeon for the Childrens Saturday morning club.It started at 9.30 pm with a 10 to 15 minute cartoon followed by the manager coming on stage to run one or two competitions and have a friendly chat with the kids. This was followed by a weekly serial of about 30 minutes a brief interval for the obligatory ice creams soft drinks etc then on t the main full length feature. All finished by noon. Not bad for sixpence. (21/2 new pence) Refreshments about 1/– (5 new pence)
Early 1960’s took us on to visiting on Saturday afternoons to see my beloved Hayley Mills, first in ‘The Parent Trap’ and then ‘In Search Of The Castaways’ Other films I recollect were Fred McMurray in ‘Flubber’ and ‘Son of Flubber’, Dick Van Dyke and the georgous Ann Margaret in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’. Elvis in ‘Kissing Cousins’ and ‘Kid galahad’, and then on to Sunday evenings in the late ‘60’s sixties where the fabulous 'The Graduate’ featured Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman, A full house for ‘Carry On Up The Kyber’ plus many more. Loved the lighting in Cinemas and marvelled at the way the dimming procedure operated in the Odeon. Ceiling lights, indirect type slowly first, followed by the floods on the cutains from a bank of about a dozen or so lamps rigged acroos the circle front, The colour was nearly always a bright orange, although for a short spell the imagination (or the budget) altered the curtains to be lit with ten of the lamps with a violet and the rest in blue filters replacing the ordinary orange ones. Even as a child i recollect visiting a copuple of Saturdays when the ceiling was shrouded in scaffold whilst the only re-decoration of the sixties took place. The manager explaining why the screen was exposed to the floodlights as the curtains were ‘away being dry-cleaned’
Ah what memories. My elder sister had the pleasure of visiting the Odeon round about 1960 to see one of the many ‘Larry Parnes Pop Shows’ of the day. Cliff Richard, The Vernons Girls, Adam Faith, Marty Wilde etc., etc., Would have loved to have been older to have seen these!
I’ll reminisce about the ABC (Regal) on the respective page.

Roger Allen. Halifax