Rex Cinema

14 West Street,
Wareham, BH20 4JX

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james2003 on July 14, 2023 at 4:30 am

In addition to what I wrote yesterday, I also remember that the tabs were electric, but the cinemascope masking was not. It was opened manually by a handle on the left hand side of the stage next to the ice cream freezer. It was the job of whoever was selling the ice creams to open it when we had a cinemascope film showing. As the tabs were closed when it was done it wasn’t noticeable to the audience. But, when the tabs weren’t working that was a different matter entirely. Sometimes the ice cream lady would forget to open the masking and, when we started the show, the tabs opened to reveal the screen still on widescreen. I remember once running out of the box, down the isle and opening the masking when this happened and there were loud cheers and handclaps from the audience!

james2003 on July 13, 2023 at 10:08 am

The job I had at the Rex was actually my first taste of paid work. I did two nights a week whilst I was at college. I found some old photographs the other day of me as a young teenager (taken in 2001) at work in the projection room. The machines in the photos are the Kalee-18s. On one of them there is an excellent view of all the controls and, despite not having been near a projector for more than 20 years, I could remember what they all did! Referring to the comments I posted back in 2009, with the Kalee’s the reels were taken downstairs to the rewind room and rewound by hand on the bench after each changeover. I would then replace them in the rack and lace up the next one onto the machine. It was a fast paced job and you were literally on the go from the minute you started the show until the end. When the Ernemann’s came, it made life easier but the job became boring since you had very little to do for an hour until the changeover had to be done. I also remember that at the end of the night, the projectionist would leave the second reel for whoever was on duty the following night to rewind to give that person something extra to do.

james2003 on February 23, 2009 at 7:18 am

I was formerly employed as a Projectionist at this cinema. When I started it was equipped with a pair of Gaumont Kalee-18 projectors with the old carbon-arc lamps but these were subsequently replaced by Xenon-arcs, which allowed for a better picture quality. In March 2002 the Kalee’s were replaced by two Ernemann 12’s. The Kalee’s held 2,000 ft reels that meant reel-to-reel changeovers every twenty minutes but the Ernemann projectors held 6,000 ft spools and this reduced the number of changeovers to one an hour.

james2003 on September 17, 2008 at 7:59 am

The group of nine volunteer directors who have been running the Rex since the original owner retired in 1987 have put this historic cinema up for sale. However, a covenant has been placed on the site stating that whoever buys it will have to keep it operating as a cinema.