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film commented about Pioneer (Walk-In) Open Air Theatre & YHA Movies on Apr 21, 2018 at 7:21 pm

Greg Lynch says : The Pioneer Walk-In (Open Air) Theatre, Alice Springs, was purpose built by Snow Kenna in 1941. Leslie Joseph (Snow) Kenna began showing movies in the old Welfare Hall together with Bill Burton, until well known business identity Ly Underdown recognizing the possibility of this modern entertainment, erected his Capitol Open Air Theatre, into which he installed Snow and his projection plant. Bill Burton moved on to Tennant Creek to open a show there. In 1939 Snow decided to build his own theatre…By now his bank balance had allowed him to purchase a block of land in Parsons Street where he was to fulfill the life long dream of running his own cinema. Snow named it The Pioneer Walk-In (Open- Air) Theatre & Cafe. Previous experience in the area regarding climate conditions had taught Snow a lot, and he was careful to place the screen south to avoid the remnants of the late noon sun & the changing position of the moon. The new Open-Air Theatre opened with much acclaim in 1942. A major highlight for the Kenna family was the world premiere of the movie “A Town like Alice” held on 24th July 1956, with the the stars of the film Peter Finch and Virgina McKenna attending in person. The occasion was also used to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Locals arrived in casual dress, carrying thick rugs and cushions for the open-air screening. The theatre was decorated with bunting and palm leaves for the night. Peter Finch invited Beryl Oliver, the air hostess on his flight, to be his guest on the night. The two sat together, smoking throughout the screening. Nevil Shute and his wife also attended. By 1958 Snow realized that it was time to go Big Screen. With much excitement the screen was doubled in size and Snowy purchased a set of the new anamorphic lens technology that was necessary to screen CinemaScope movies. Once converted he was able to catch up with the Scope blockbusters he had missed, such as “The Robe” & “Three Coins in the Fountain”. Business flourished as the screen got bigger. In 1963 the theatre was refurbished and the facade improved. Come 1965 and with much foresight, Snowy opened the Pioneer Drive-In Theatre, this had the unfortunate result of reducing attendance’s at the Pioneer Walk-In, as picture goers changed their habits in favor of watching movies in the family car. Seven months after the opening of the drive-in Snow Kenna died, leaving his family to carry on. In 1983 the Kenna family sold both theatres to Greater Union Theatres, who ran the walk-in till 1984, and the drive-in until 1987. Later the walk-in was purchased by Big Print P/L and leased out as the Pioneer Market. In 1988 Youth Hostels of Aust purchased the old walk-in theatre and opened two years later as a hostel. Happily the hostel has continued to preserve the legend of The Pioneer Walk-In – Here is an extract from their latest advertising – Quote – “Alice Springs YHA is built within the grounds of an historic outdoor movie theatre, in a great location in the center of this atmospheric outback town. Our hostel has a big outdoor movie screen showing movies nightly under the stars”.– End quote – BRAVO ! – Acknowledgments Pam Hodges: – “Alice Springs Past & Present” by Shirley Brown 1993 / The Film Journal International / The ABC News / Woman’s Weekly / Charlie Poole –

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film commented about Garfield Picture Theatre on Apr 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Greg Lynch says – The Garfield Picture Theatre is a significant Heritage Building – Here is an expert opinion given prior to refurbishment by Graeme Butler & Associates dated 1996 & published on line by the Cardinia Shire – Themes: Railway townships & Picture theatres – The Garfield Picture Theatre, built between 1924 & 1925 for a Mr. Donohue, is significant to the Cardinia Shire as an unusually substantial country cinema dating from the Australia-wide boom in cinema building in that decade. It is significant as one of the few picture theatre buildings remaining in the shire. The Garfield Theatre was of historical significance as the first supplier of electric power to the town. The building has significance as a major element in the Garfield commercial street scape which dates predominantly from the 1920s era. It is significant, too, for its near original exterior with the old name on the facade, although now used as an antique shop. This is a large well-preserved and gabled red brick theatre, with a spartan but close to original interior. The words `Garfield Picture Theatre' are in large raised cement letters on the front of the building. The external form is typically gabled with a piered and parapeted cement and brick (over painted) foyer and office wing at the front; this is composed in a tripartite form, with a raised panel at the centre and capped piers at the sides. A deep cantilever street verandah extends from the front, with an ovolo molded and paneled fascia. The front door and window openings appear to be as original and a red brick chimney is a practical touch to one of the rooms. Behind is the high gabled of the auditorium with its cemented capping and some cemented moldings over a vent in the gable-end. The roof is clad with corrugated iron. Inside the roof is unlined with steel-trusses exposed. Some plaster detailing exists around the proscenium and other parts of the interior. The building is externally near original except for the painted brickwork…This place/object may be included in the Victorian Heritage Register pursuant to the Heritage Act 1995. Check the Victorian Heritage Database, selecting ‘Heritage Victoria’ as the place data owner. For further details about Heritage Overlay places, Heritage Study/Consultant Cardinia – Cardinia Shire Heritage Study 1996, Graeme Butler & Associates, 1996.

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film commented about 1812 Theatre on Apr 7, 2018 at 10:49 pm

Greg Lynch says – Wally Tew (Major Achiever) was an Assistant Projectionist at the Loyalty during the early life of the theatre, working under the guidance of the owner / exhibitor Charlie Spalding. – This involved making up the various program changes, showing the advertising slides and assisting with the projection. Wally went on to serve as a councillor for 23 years, including four terms as mayor. He was the last Shire President of the Shire of Knox. He told this writer that his swan song would be the moving of the Knox War Memorial from (the old school) corner of Dorset Rd & the Burwood Highway to the new Arboretum. This he achieved with much style, which included an impressive fly over and a marching band..A video production exists of the dedication, which can be obtained from the City of Knox council library…

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film commented about Capitol Theatre on Apr 4, 2018 at 10:52 pm

GREG LYNCH SAYS – THE CAPITOL OPEN AIR THEATRE – Leslie Joseph (Snow) Kenna (Picture Show Man) was born in Rockhampton , Queensland in 1897, before moving to Cloncurry, and eventually arriving together with Bill Burton in Alice Springs during 1934. William Cecil (Bill) Burton was born near Winton in Qld, and worked as a projectionist with a traveling picture show. Together they began showing silent movies in the old Welfare Hall. On Thurs, 24 Oct 1935 News Adelaide reported: “Alice Springs is now to have talking pictures. Silent films have been shown here for some months, and now the proprietor’s of the Welfare Hall have made arrangements for a sound installation”. Almost immediately the Underdown family began building “The Capitol Open Air Theatre” on a block of land opposite the already established Alice Springs Hotel, cnr of Hartley St and Gregory Tce, and then looked around for an experienced operator. Snow Kenna took up the challenge, and the lease, and then moved his projection equipment into “The Capitol”, while Bill Burton was to ultimately move on to Tennant Creek with the idea of opening a show there. Neither of them could have been aware of the contribution they were to make over the ensuing decades as they pioneered cinema in Alice Springs & Tennant Creek. Ly Underdown’s “Capitol Theatre” resembled a stockade with four walls. An elevated projection booth was mounted at the rear, along with a motor power generator located strategically on the outside theatre wall to muffle the sound. Rows of canvas seating were installed and poster boards erected at the front entrance. The theatre was finally ready and began screening to excellent crowds. Late 1939 Snow Kenna left the Capitol and decided to build his own theatre. He purchased a block in Parsons street and named it “The Pioneer Walk-In (Open- Air) Theatre & Cafe” with the debut screening in 1942. Now “The Pioneer” and Ly Underdown’s “Capitol Theatre” were facing off as competing cinemas. “The Capitol” became the action house with a predominance of western movies, and then expanded into live sporting events such as boxing and basketball. To quote The Centralian Advocate Fri, 14 Jan 1949 – WIN FOR KUNOTH by Box On – A crowded house watched the boxing at “The Capitol theatre” on Thursday night last. Apart from the cup finals the attraction of the evening was billed as a four two-minute round return bout between Norman George and Ted Kunoth …and then The Centralian Advocate: Fri May 30 1952 reported a riot occurrence at “The Capitol Theatre” of full-blood Aborigines from the Bungalow, under the heading ‘Separate Theatre For Aborigines’ – ‘In the interests of the Aborigines and of the towns people of Alice Springs, a picture theatre should be erected at “The Bungalow”, or some other suitable place specifically for the showing of films to the people from the Bungalow and full-blood Aborigines from other places,’ said Mr. Simon Reiff, well-known Territorian,– this week. He added that he realised that “The trouble was caused because a number of Aborigines had been supplied with liquor. Mr. Reiff says that he believes that films to be screened for the full blood Aborigines should be selected and suitable pictures shown, for example, cowboy pictures and the Walt Disney type of thing seems to be popular among the younger ones and are in no way harmful. The Bungalow” was mentioned in “The Bringing Them Home Report (1997)” as an institution in Alice Springs that housed Indigenous children removed from their families. – The Centralian Advocate Fri 12 Jun 1953, reports “£2,000 CAPITOL THEATRE FIRE” – The projection room at “The Capitol Theatre” was gutted by fire on Wednesday afternoon and the projector and other equipment was ruined. It is estimated that more than £2,000 worth of damage was done before the brigade had the fierce blaze under control. Recently Charlie Poole posted the following … “We went to the Capitol sometimes as they had more Western Movies than “The Pioneer.” It was a shilling for kids and 2 & 6 at “The Pioneer” Ester McGuirk (RIP) and long time barmaid at Underdowns sold the tickets on picture nights, while the late Walter Schnitzer was a projectionist at the Capitol right up to the end. Charlie went on, I can’t remember the exact year, but the final show at “The Capitol” was in 1963/64, after that the whole place was destroyed by fire. The Underdowns operated it to the end. – Fin – This writer is indebted to local Tennant Creek identity & historian, Pam Hodges for her contribution to the history of “The Capitol Theatre”. Acknowledgements:: Charlie Poole – The Centralian Advocate (Alice Springs, NT) – Pam Hodges – Go to Pam Hodges for Tennant Creekers. http://fortennantcreekers.com/places/buildings/picture-theatres/ –

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film commented about 1812 Theatre on Mar 17, 2018 at 10:04 pm

UP DATE – Greg Lynch says – The village of Upper Ferntree Gully nestles in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, During the early 1930’s this was a popular spot for large numbers of holiday-makers and weekend travellers who stayed overnight in local boarding houses and cottages. It was only a matter of time before a purpose built cinema was built. A search of Public Building Files reveals a submission of application for building a theatre in Rose Street, under the name “Loyalty Pictures” dated 25/09/1939. Approval was granted that same year to the applicant C. Spalding..The Loyalty Theatre (clad in A/C sheeting) was built in 1939 with 376 seats, by Charlie Spalding who became the owner / operator until 1950. The theatre’s original screening policy was Mon / Wed / Fri / Sat with a special Sat matinee. It was necessary to book for Saturday nights at least one week in advance. The Australian Film Weekly dated Feb 23, 1950 tells us that Charlie Spalding sold his theatre while on a holiday to the UK to Messers LC, and HW, Peters. The Peters Brothers ran the theatre from 1951 to 1959. – By 1960 the capacity had been increased to 409. In Jan 1960 there was a change of exhibitor as Roy Farmer took over the running of the theatre, while at the same time operating the Electra theatre, located in the adjacent suburb of Boronia. Roy Farmer ran “The Loyalty” until 1971?. During this period there was a sub lease arrangement with the talented Rob (sprockets) Weybury, who installed a theatre organ and personally performed nightly for patrons in the style of the traditional grand picture palace, regretfully it seems to indifferent box office. – NAME CHANGE – The cinema now showing it’s age was re-named “The Festival Theatre” and was run for a short time by hopeful industry identities, Len Harvey & Eric Yeomans – The old cinema after 32 years of entertaining a generation of local film-goers was finally dark, later to emerge after a major re-build as The 1812 Theatre. For the people of the Upper Gully and surrounds (this writer is one) “The Loyalty” was a special place, a meeting place, a place of dreams….

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film commented about Tennant Drive-In on Mar 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm

Greg Lynch Says – THE TENNANT DRIVE IN, THEATRE – William Cecil (Bill) Burton was born near Winton in Qld, working as a projectionist with a traveling picture show. He arrived in Tennant Creek during the middle 40’s and almost immediately began establishing his reputation as the local “ Picture Show Man ”. The long running Pioneer Open Air Theatre in Tennant Creek is his Legacy & Epitaph. Bill ran the theatre until his death in Nov 1968, leaving his family to carry on in the general day by day running of the business. Then with much foresight, Bill’s son, Robert Joseph (Bob) Burton carried forward his fathers considerable endowment, and built The Tennant Drive In Theatre located in Peko Road..The new drive In opened in 1972 with a capacity of 250 cars and a Japanese projection plant. This had the result of reducing attendance’s at the Pioneer Open Air, finally forcing it’s closure in 1974. The Tennant Drive In Theatre flourished and the crowds flocked in. The canteen was a single serve hatch and the ticket box was located between two lanes. Originally it was pay per person, then it changed to admission by car load, due to cheeky patrons being sprung in the car boots. The main feature film was shown first to cater for early risers, while the credits on the 2nd movie were cut short to prevent patrons from driving off with the speaker still attached to the car…. Neil Fairhead recently published that he had helped Bob Burton at the drive in by creating flyers, putting up posters, and doing the adverts for the Tennant Times newspaper, collecting the movie reels from the plane, buying goods for the canteen and working in the projection box. We had seven billboards around the town and every Sunday at midnight we would go around town and paste the posters up. while each week we would also drive the perimeter and fix several holes cut into the chain mail fence. Warrego Drive In 1979 – 1984. – In 1979 Bob Burton purchased an open-air walk-in theatre built by Jim Hunt on the Warrego mine site. Bob developed a 60 car drive-in theatre with individual car window speakers, plus a covered seated area. Costs were saved by switching films between the two theatres. As part of the deal Jim Hunt stayed on as projectionist ( Fred McKinley later replaced him ). The Warrego Drive-In was equipped with Cummings and Wilson projectors, Raycophone (model CP10) soundheads with Westrex carbon-arc lamphouses. Ann Wilson recently published – …“Great picture theatre at Warrego. The speakers were originally on the side of the projection box and you could hear most of the movie throughout Warrego. Great news when we actually got the speakers for the cars installed. Sorry to say I was one of the people that forgot to put the speaker back and ripped it out. The night the projection box caught fire was catastrophic, we were out of movies for a few weeks”. During the early 80’s video stores opened in Tennant Creek, this along with television caused a major drop in the available picture going public. The Tennant & Warrego Drive-In theatres closed in 1984. The Tennant Drive In had been operating for twelve years. Equipment and buildings were left after the final screening, and the property sold to local Frank Martino. Video Tape, Television and a changing Tennant Creek had reduced attendances dramatically … Bob sold up ( the era had finished and the screens were dark ) and eventually moved to Darwin. ..EXTRA : Tennant Creek, Electrician. Mike Nash confirms that when he arrived in Tennant Creek during the middle 80’s, the old drive in theatre in Peko Road was closed and over grown, but with the screen still standing … I am once again indebted to local Tennant Creek identity & historian, Pam Hodges and her web site – “ For Tennant Creekers – Tennant Creek’s Past and Present ” and for her substantial contribution to this history of “ The Tennant & Warrego Drive In Theatre’s.” – Acknowledgment : Pam Hodges : go to http://fortennantcreekers.com/places/buildings/picture-theatres/ – Bob Burton and the memory of Bill Burton – Neil Fairhead – Ann Wilson & Mike Nash …

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film commented about Pioneer Open-Air Theatre on Mar 7, 2018 at 5:29 am

RECOGNITION – A Tennant Creek Park to be named after Theatre Owner, Bill Burton ?. On the 8/10/1982 the Northern Territory Government / Barkly Shire Council announced and gazetted that a park would be named after William Cecil Burton. This was revoked on 06/04/2016 due to the park never being constructed. It is hoped that Northern Territory Government & The Barkly Shire Council will soon find a suitable location for the recognition of Bill’s considerable achievements. …..

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film commented about Pioneer Open-Air Theatre on Mar 7, 2018 at 5:27 am

Greg Lynch says – UPDATE – The Pioneer Open Air Theatre, Paterson Street, Tennant Creek (known as the old picture theatre) operated between 1935 and 1974 – The original owners of the Pioneer Theatre were the Delaware brothers, (whose occupation in 1935 was listed as “Showmen” in Rockhampton, Qld. ) Reuben and Theodore Delaware are described as the picture show owners – responsible for bringing the “Talkies” to Tennant Creek in the pre-war years, and, it is assumed that they also erected the building … The Pioneer Open-Air Picture Theatre measured 100ft x 50ft, and was surrounded by galvanised iron fencing, complete with an earthern floor, canvas seating, and a capacity of 400. The legend of The Pioneer Open Air Theatre, Tennant Creek however is the story and vision of William Cecil (Bill) Burton who was born near Winton in Qld, working as a projectionist with a traveling picture show. He arrived in Tennant Creek during the the middle 40’s – In 1947 he began work on a new open air theatre he was to call “The Star” – Early in the piece he found there was not sufficient power available from the town supply and he had to install his own generator. As advance bookings rolled in it was obvious that the capacity was inadequate, and extra seating was secured to house the additional patrons. The grand opening was on Saturday 30 May 1947 and business was good. There is no doubt that “The Star” was affecting the box office of the Pioneer which was located across town, also in Paterson Street. Early 1949 and Bill Burton ( the prevailer ) takes over the lease of the Pioneer Open Air Theatre from the exhibitor Robert (Shorty) Shortt, and decides to consolidate and close “The Star”. The final screening at The Star Open Air Theatre was in February 1949. The building was sold to the Tennant Creek Co. Operative. Storms and fire during the 1950’s saw the demise of the building, the stage was destroyed in 1954, some years later a fire, and then finally a storm in 1958 razed the building. The Pioneer Open Air flourished under the management of Bill Burton and his family. The theatre’s floor was finally concreted and there was a program change three times a week. The entrance is marked by a string of colored lights, and The Pioneer Theatre sign is painted on a sheet of tin, greeting the patrons as they enter. During the early 50’s the installation of big screen CinemaScope made it necessary to widen the northern side of the building and the entry section. The theatre was now able to seat 600 patrons. Bill Burton remained the proprietor of The Pioneer Open Air until his death in Nov 1968, leaving his family to carry on in the day to day running. Then with much foresight, Bill’s son, Robert Joseph (Bob) Burton carried forward his fathers legacy and built The Tennant Drive In Theatre located in Peko Road..The new drive In opened in 1972 with a capacity of 250 cars. This had the unfortunate result of reducing attendance’s at the Pioneer Open Air, finally forcing it’s closure in 1974.– There was a fire in 1977 – It was found that the rear storeroom and projection room were alight and damage to those areas severe. Cause of the fire was thought to be children smoking in the theatre store. By April that year the Pioneer Theatre was ordered to be demolished…FIN… I am indebted to local Tennant Creek identity & historian, Pam Hodges for her contribution to the history of The Pioneer Theatre. Acknowledgements:: Pam Hodges – Tony Dowling. The Centralian Advocate (Alice Springs, NT) / Tennant Creek “Yesterday & Today” by Hilda Tuxworth / Northern Territory Government website –

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film commented about Ascot Theatre and Gardens on Feb 28, 2018 at 12:16 am

Greg Lynch SAYS – To answer David Coppock’s question regarding the location of the gardens : Some time during 1948 an open air theatre was built on the right hand side of the cinema, thus becoming “The Ascot Theatre & Gardens”. The term gardens were a stretch as there was very little greenery, however on the positive side the sight-lines were excellent and the stepped canvas seating (300 capacity) more than adequate. The standard ratio screen was erected with it’s back to the highway and it was a pleasure to sit under the stars on a hot summers night in the comforting bosom of the new open air gardens…

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film commented about Liberty Theatre on Feb 21, 2018 at 4:38 am

David Coppock asks – What was the building used for before it was converted into the Liberty Theatre?…Greg Lynch says – The Liberty sits dark (metaphorically) on the first floor of 81 Barrack St, Perth. Patrons gained entrance from Barrack street through a narrow walkway and a staircase. We know that Lionel Hart converted the first floor of an office building into a small theatre, seating 450 patrons. The theatre was opened in 1954. My information is that the upstairs space he acquired was general office space. I’m not able to link the space with any business entity. We do know that the Dease Lafayette (Photographic) Studio operated from 81 Barrack Street, for 75 years, closing in 1972, when a fire at the Liberty Theatre destroyed the photographic equipment, and caused the family business to close. The owner Denis Dease 1869 -1959 was an adept businessman, publicist and organiser. In 1900 he established an open air cinema in Perth, projecting short films from a balcony at the Grand Hotel (later the Perth Hotel) across Barrack Street onto a nearby building. Alongside these showings, Denis further illustrated his business savvy by including paid advertisements. This apparently drew the ire of the local police, and he was charged with unlawful obstruction, but the matter was taken to court and he was ultimately acquitted. Denis Dease died on the 16th of April, 1959, at Edgar Reid Hospital three years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He had lived to the age of 90 and had fathered four children. – Acknowledgment – Museum of Perth –

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film commented about THE PICCADILLY THEATRE ( PERTH WA) OPENING NIGHT on Dec 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER reported on Thurs March 10, 1938 on Page 19 … THE PICCADILLY THEATRE. Official Opening Tonight. Tonight Perth’s newest cinema, the Piccadilly Theatre, which is situated above the Hay-street end of the Piccadilly Arcade, will be officially opened by the Lieutenant-Governor Sir James Mitchell. The proceeds will go to the Children’s Hospital…The Piccadilly Theatre, which will be operated by the Grand Theatre Co., Ltd. which also controls the Grand, Royal and Princess (Fremantle) Theatres, will adopt the long-run policy which has proved so successful throughout the world for intimate modern theatres of 1,000 seats. First-class pictures, comfort in seating, the latest in sound and artistic treatment throughout, are points of Importance in any picture theatre; the Piccadilly has all these and many other features such as Carrier air-conditioning and a 25-passenger elevator from the arcade to the stalls and circle foyers. An inspection of the theatre conducted by the managing director of the Grand Theatre Co., Ltd. (Mr. James Stiles) took place on Tuesday afternoon and, although there was still 48 hours' work to be done, it was obvious that Perth picturegoers are going to have for their entertainment the last word in picture theatres in the Piccadilly; in fact it brings to mind the old-time phrase of a “picture palace.” The theatre from the entrance to the roof is at once modern, unusual In many ways, and artistic. The striking stairway, the two foyers, and the rooms leading off them and the theatre auditorium are all worth a visit for themselves, to say nothing of the special opening screen entertainment, “I Met Him in Paris” supported by “Turn off the Moon.” – The theatre itself, which has been acoustically treated throughout is in pastel shades or green with attractive lighting panels in the ceiling and the seating is especially comfortable, with plenty of room between the rows of seats. Even more important is the placing of the seats throughout so every patron will have a perfect view of the screen. The foyers are in cream and gold and are luxuriously carpeted, furnished and decorated.. The mirrored stairway is a feature in itself. Most of the materials in the theatre were locally made one of the few imported items being the old gold Crush Plush curtain which came from New York. Mr. Stiles is certain that this will be appreciated by audiences and had a demonstration given on Tuesday of how it looks when spot lights are playing on it. The curtain seemed to come to life under the lights and it Is likely to be one of the highlights of the opening weeks…Greg Lynch –

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film commented about “ JEDDA ” (G) at the Liberty, 2nd sensational month on Nov 4, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Greg Lynch says – ALL PERTH IS TALKING! – ALL PERTH IS SEEING! “ JEDDA ” (G) at the Liberty, 2nd sensational month – Plus : Nat King Cole & his Trio – Two inch double column as featured in the Mirror Newspaper on Jan, 1956..One of my proudest and most valuable possessions is a vintage promotional book detailing the making of Charles Chauvel’s greatest feature film “ JEDDA ” – Valuable ? because it’s signed by the stars Ngarla Kunoth and Robert Tudawali. “ JEDDA ” got off to a shaky start with Chauvel’s usual investor “Universal Pictures” declining to put money into the production, while “Columbia Pictures” took a different view and picked it up for distribution on the rebound. “ JEDDA ” premiered on 3rd January 1955 at the Star Theatre in Darwin, and then released at the Sydney Lyceum in May that same year. By January 1956 the film had found a home at Lionel Hart’s, Liberty Theatre in Perth and was playing to excellent box office. In my memory the Liberty’s advertising campaign was robust and controversial. A twenty four sheet board was strategically placed on the left hand side to the entrance of the new causeway (Opened in 1952) as you approached the city from Victoria Park. This featured “ JEDDA ” in her natural state with the caption, “It was death for him to look on this girl!” now showing exclusively at The Liberty Theatre. The impact of the advertising was dramatic. Perth had seen nothing like this before, while it was clearly visible from the passing trams, and of course the box office clicked over accordingly. “ JEDDA ” was much more than an image on a poster as it featured two cinematic firsts. It was the first Australian film to be made in colour (The Gevacolor Process) while Ngarla Kunoth and Robert Tudawalia were the first Aboriginal film stars to appear in a major Australian feature film using Australia as a setting. This was Charles Chauvel’s last feature film and a significant milestone for Lionel Hart’s, Liberty Theatre … Greg Lynch –

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film commented about Liberty Theatre on Nov 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Greg Lynch says… I first became aware of Lionel Hart in 1953 when he converted the first floor of a building in Barrack Street, Perth into a 450 seat theatre. He named it “The Liberty” (no doubt inspired by a similar named theatre he had been involved with years before). The Liberty opened Ist March 1954, interestingly with the Ist release? of the 1946 Italian production “Rigoletto”. For those who care Sergio Leone was the assistant director (un-credited) From memory there was a special program screened every Sunday night featuring what was then known as “continental' films”. During the early 50’s Perth cinemas were not allowed to commence screening on Sunday’s until 9.00pm. By 1954 this writer was working in the cinema industry and itching to check out the new venue. Then along came “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T” in Wonderama ? (Columbia Pictures 1953). It appeared that Columbia Pictures were moving their first city release away from The Capitol Theatre to The Liberty. “The 5,000 Fingers” became my introduction to The Liberty. There is no doubt that The Liberty Theatre at the time was the most modern cinema in Perth. The layered indirect ceiling lighting was very pleasing and the sight lines excellent. The seating was exceptional and I loved the atmosphere of the place. Today “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T” is regarded as a masterpiece and for those wondering about Wonderama . (your guess, it certainly wasn’t a wide screen process) On Saturday 8 October 1955 the Mirror Newspaper ran the following double column advert for The Liberty Theatre ( Quote) “Ist Australian screening. James Stewart in a magnificent outdoor CinemaScope production “The Man From Laramie” (G) plus “The Glass Wall” (A) with Gloria Grahame”. (End Quote). Columbia Pictures “The Man from Laramie” was one of the first Westerns to be filmed in CinemaScope and I believe this was the first scope production to screen at The Liberty. I had cause to drop in while they were lacing up the new wide screen, and then sat through a test screening of “The Man from Laramie” trailer. For those who survive this industry the inaugural installation of CinemaScope in any theatre was an exciting occasion. Many years later in the early 60’s I went to work for Universal Pictures in Melbourne and discovered that Lionel Hart had worked as a salesman for Universal some thirteen years earlier under the guidance of industry patriarch, Dan Casey. By then the name Lionel Hart and his achievements were approaching legendary status….Greg Lynch –

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film commented about The original Liberty Theatre, Perth motive on Oct 27, 2017 at 8:11 am

Greg Lynch says: Acknowledging David Coppock’s excellent question, and I quote… “Is the Olympic torch a reference to the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympic games”? end quote …………………….. Note : David is referring to the photo on this page of The Liberty Theatre unique glass divider. …………………….. Answer : I’ve done some research and now believe that what appears to be an Olympic Torch is actually the Statue of Liberty Torch ( It makes sense ) This is the symbol of enlightenment. EG: The Statue of Liberty’s torch lights the way to freedom showing us the path to Liberty. Even the Statue’s official name represents her most important symbol “Liberty Enlightening the World”. It’s the only logical explanation when you put the word liberty together with an image of the torch. I would wager that this was the inspiration behind Lionel Hart’s naming of his theatre…..Greg Lynch –

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film commented about Regent Theatre on Aug 16, 2017 at 7:37 pm

WOW! Great photo – Takes me way back to approx early 1955 when I worked at the Regent Theatre, Guildford as Assistant Projectionist together with Kevin Yelland, Senior Projectionist and real life pioneering RAAF Jet Pilot. (The theatre was run by Bob Yelland of Consolidated Theatres – Kevin was his son.) I started with great excitement on a Sat night. The movie screening was the MGM production “Beau Brummell” starring Stewart Granger & Elizabeth Taylor. In later months we installed CinemaScope, opening with 20th Century Fox’s “Beneath The 12 Mile Reef” ( “More Than Your Eyes Have Ever Seen” – “The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses” ) was the catch cry . The theatre at the time was equipped for wide screen, however the ratio was incorrect for CinemaScope. So to achieve the extra width the screen frame was extended and white cloth material tacked on to each end. The result was pretty average, however this was only a temporary measure until a proper replacement C/Scope screen was obtained. (pioneering days) I recall that we only had one set of C/Scope lenses and one print to service two cinemas, which meant somehow switching both lenses & print with the Renown theatre, Midland Junction located in the next suburb, which was also run by Consolidated. After Guildford I moved to Melbourne, and now after a lifetime of working in the Cinema/Motion Picture Industry this writer looks back with warm appreciation to the Golden Era and know we have lost something very special with the passing of our suburban Picture Palaces. Over the years I never lost contact with Bob Yelland and often represented movies nationally that he had for distribution. Now 62 years has past & I still retain wonderful memories of my time at the Regent Theatre Guildford and of a Master Showman named Bob Yelland…Greg Lynch (revised) – 17 / 8 / 2017 –

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film commented about ASCOT THEATRE & GARDENS, RIVERVALE on Aug 6, 2017 at 8:49 am

Greg Lynch said.. Let me set the scene – If memory serves we moved as a family to Rivervale during the latter part of the 1940’s. The war was not long over & food rationing coupons were still being enforced, which meant clothing, tea, sugar, butter and meat were limited to the number of coupons you had on hand..From an early age I had been interested in movies and cinema, so it wasn’t long before I discovered the local flea house (that’s the Ascot theatre located on the right of the Great Eastern Highway Rivervale, as you proceed towards Belmont) – In my young life a visit to the flicks was always a much looked forward to event. The Ascot during the 40’s was Indeed a flea house, however in retrospect I use the term with much affection. The building had pretensions of Art Deco, but once you walked through the door all bets were off, as it was really only a country hall. (Perth in the 40’s was still a village with approx 250 thousand people and Rivervale a pioneering suburb) The front stalls were equipped with wooden benches without backs, while the ceiling (curiously) was decorated with fading streamers, or bunting. During the winter of 48 my dad took me to a Friday, cartoons & featurette night which included an episode of the Sam Katzman, black-and-white Columbia Pictures serial “Superman” starring Kirk Alyn as Superman – Later I was to learn that this was the first live-action appearance of Superman on film. Some time during 1948 an open air theatre was built along side the cinema, thus becoming “The Ascot Theatre & Gardens”. The term gardens were a stretch as there was very little greenery, however on the positive side the sight-lines were excellent and the stepped canvas seating (300 capacity) more than adequate. The standard ratio screen was erected with it’s back to the highway and it was a pleasure to sit under the stars on a hot summers night in the comforting bosom of the new open air gardens. On one such night Perth were having power problems and electricity was being rationed. In this case the power was on for one hour, then browned out for half an hour. So there we sat like lemmings watching the 1946 Monogram Pictures production “The Shadow Returns” in installments, while the power company played musical chairs with our entertainment. I can’t imagine today’s theatre audience accepting this for a micro second. By 1959 the television juggernaut had began with the launching of TVW-7 Perth, and the resulting cinema audience devastation. The Ascot Theatre & Gardens survived longer than most, however were forced to close in 1966. And now after a lifetime of working in the Cinema/Motion Picture Industry this writer looks back with warm appreciation to the Golden Era and know we have lost something very special with the passing of our suburban Picture Palaces and unique cinemas, such as The Ascot Theatre and Gardens. …Greg Lynch –