0403BlackplOdeon7 (6)

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    Odeon 7 in the newish multiplex Odeon in Blackpool UK

    1. davidstickland10 49 months ago | reply

      One good thing about Odeon multiplexes, they have screen curtains. I visited my local Cineworld the other day. You sit and stare at a dark blank screen. How much would a few coloured floodlights cost ?

    2. releasethemeteorites 45 months ago | reply

      This multiplex must have been build around the same time as the Odeon Leeds/Bradford, the auditoriun design is identical.

    3. Fanatical about Odeon 27 months ago | reply

      David, How right you are - so many multiplexes are miserably functional, just conveyor belts for films with no atmosphere or sense of occasion whatever. Even some Odeon screens now just have blue LEDs around the screen and no tabs in use. Curtains and spotlights may not be essential to screening movies but boy are they conspicuous by their absence to those of us who know how a film should be presented in a decent cinema. I fear it's not the cost of the kit that's behind so many utilitarian auditoriums, more the cost of maintenance and not wanting unnecessary equipment that could break down when there are no longer projectionists to rectify matters. I guess it's not unconnected with knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    4. davidstickland10 27 months ago | reply

      Hello James. Thanks for the reply. Love the setup. Yes, I'm old school. I started work for the Shipman & King circuit in 1965 (Embassy Tenterden) and ended my affair with the cinema as Chief/Manager (State Theatre Grays) in Essex. I was taught the art of presentation at a young age, and carried it throughout my projectionist days. The State had/has a full working stage with three sets of motorised tabs, Compton pipe organ. Sadly, the Grade 11* listed theatre has been left to rot. Cinema presentation has almost disappeared , even more so now with the birth of digital equipment. In recent years, I have been lucky enough to have a decent cinema on my doorstep. Esher Embassy/Odeon and now, the Picturedrome Bognor Regis. Sadly, the Drome is under threat with a new multi planned for the town. The cinema is now council owned, and leased to Electric Theatre Company. Their sister cinema being situated in Dorchester (Plaza) Both these cinemas have a fight on their hands. Dorchester has a new Odeon three screen opening soon. Bognor will fight against the new multi. Wish us luck. Dave Stickland.

    5. Fanatical about Odeon 26 months ago | reply

      ,Hi David, we must be career-contemporaries! I joined Rank in 1966 as management trainee, ran some lovely cinemas, Odeons York, Harrogate, Scarborough and one of the last single screen Odeons to be built, Stockton-on-Tees of 1968, built as a roadshow house with 70mm. and licensed bar. Then I had the misfortune to take over the Havana/Odeon Romford which, in 1971 was a dive - albeit a very busy dive with most films taking a fortune (the ABC in the town was closed for tripling), bingo on Sunday afternoons, wrestling every fourth Saturday night and late night shows every Saturday (at one of which we had a fatal stabbing in the foyer). With no assistant manager and often no days off, that led me to leave the business and go into live theatre management with Moss Empires. Still have good friends I made in the business and a great love of cinema. The pictures are of my little Odeon where friends and neighbours love to watch films projected on a three metre screen with two sets of tabs and three colour circuit pageant lanterns and LED concealed lighting. Kids too are often transfixed when the screen glows and the tabs open in changing and slowly fading colours - just like you and I were! I only got to see the State Theatre, Grays twice but was mightily impressed, one visit was to see "Gandhi" and my companion refused to believe it was not 70mm. The organ was playing on my first visit and the contrasting tabs and batten made the stage look sumptuous with the front tabs with their red panel at the bottom and the other tabs (one set in red and the other silver?). It is a shame and a disgrace that such a wonderful example of a '30s picture palace has been so neglected - the more so when it was so lovingly maintained right up to closure. A ready-made theatre/cinema/concert venue on the doorstep of the Thames gateway and everyone with any influence seems to ignore it.
      Hope the Picturedrome survives against the coming multiplex; Paignton lost its lovely Picture House with the conversion of their seafront theatre to a sanitised and uninspiring Apollo nine screener some years back although the small Picture House might not be too big a job to revive one day. Would like to think Dorchester Plaza and a three screen Odeon could both do well, presumably the town would still have fewer screens than many multiplexes but then it's not Bournemouth is it? I wish the existing cinemas well.

    6. davidstickland10 26 months ago | reply

      Hello again James. Many thanks for the detailed comment. You were lucky to have worked with so many lovely Odeon Theatres, Odeon York being one of them. I knew both ABC & Odeon Romford. Used to catch the BR single track from Grays to Romford. Am I right in saying that the ABC was also a 70mm house. Yes, The State had a large screen, should have been fitted with 70mm equipment. It almost happened under Mecca Leisure management during the late 70s. One of their large cinemas closed down, talks of shipping the 70mm equipment to Grays were mentioned but sadly never happened. I know Paignton, and the little cinema by the station. I did hear they planned to use part of it for a ticket office. Adam Cunard who runs The Picturedrome & The Plaza in Dorchester, may have problems with his Dorset cinema. His seat prices are very low, £2.50-£3.50. The distrubitors may force his prices up in line with the Odeon, or have to settle with programmes at a later date. The same goes for Bognor Regis if the multiplex goes ahead. I love your little Odeon home cinema. I too have a less impressive set up with a digital DLP projector and twelve foot screen (scope) Although I'm retired, you never loose the love of the cinema, it's in your blood for life. Keep in touch David . PS, Thinking of motorised tabs at my home cinema. What do you think the cost might be for say an opening of 14ft X 8FT ?

    7. Fanatical about Odeon 26 months ago | reply

      Hi David, You're right, once you love cinema it stays with you! The York Odeon was always a favourite and one of the first cinemas I ever experienced as a child. Of all the Odeons to come from Harry Weedon's practice, for me, York and Leicester Square are the best and have a lot in common, architecturally and in layout. Leicester Square is larger and has more in the way of stage facilities of course but is otherwise a slightly younger cousin. Less well known is that both theatres had artwork created by Frederick White; at York he painted a frieze around the walls of the circle lounge just below the ceiling, depicting film crews and equipment together with film characters, before heading south later in 1937 to paint the safety curtain at Leicester Square. The frieze at York has been hidden since 1964 above a much lower false ceiling but the Odeon, Leicester Square's safety curtain is unspoilt and working - if not very often seen. York's council planning committee were intransigent and stupid enough to reject every application Odeon Cinemas made to refurbish and re-brand their York cinema in 2005. The Company wanted to spend almost £2 million on new seating, carpets, decor, screens and external restoration (including outlining in blue neon - the original red neon having gone early in WW2 to avoid falling glass). They didn't want to touch a single brick but the sticking point was the untypical original ODEON sign on the facade, which was dilapidated, unusable and a compromise for the historic city in 1937! The Council insisted it was kept, the Company wanted one of their new silver logo signs with blue halo behind (they even offered to let the old sign stay and have a new one mounted on the canopy). Application after application was voted out, sometimes even without councillors looking at the artist's impressions provided and an invitation to view the revitalised Harrogate Odeon nearby was ignored. So York was the only Odeon on the circuit not to be invested in and Odeon closed it in 2006. It was dark for over two years and is now operating as the Reel with two further screens squeezed into a former shop unit and the storeroom above. Screen one - the extended original circle - is not a shadow of its former self, tabs out of use, remaining 2k pageant lanterns all dark now that the last lamp has blown and the carpet between the rows replaced by lino. Just a few ceiling downlighters pierce the gloom of this once handsome cinema. Still, the old sign is still there even if, confusingly, it says Reel on the canopy and down the tower side. Sic transit gloria mundi...
      I honestly don't know about 70 mm at Romford ABC, it was already closed when I arrived and opened, tripled, about the time I left for good. The Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway bought the cinema's lease to give them a presence/ticket office right on Torbay Road and were thinking of using the auditorium for storage but I believe only the former ever happened and it seems even some within the Railway want to return it to cinema use - perhaps showing railway-themed films in the summer months, something I can't see working, personally. What a shame our great independent cinemas have such a hard time at the hands of the industry itself when multiplexes muscle in. My curtain tracks were made by Somfy and are only 3 mtrs wide, although the value is in the motor so a few feet of track wouldn't amount to much, they are radio-controlled and, at my request, they geared the motors to operate more slowly than for domestic curtains and they accelerate and decelerate gradually as they begin to travel and when they come to a stop. I honestly can't remember what the tracks cost and have been unable to put my hands on the invoice. Somfy (sometimes MySomfy) have a website of course but their nearest dealer to you would no doubt happily give you a quote given your dimensions and requirements. One thing that pleases me is that my cinema, whilst not commercial, is officially an Odeon! - Paul Schofield, Odeon's head of sound and projection very kindly let me have one of their glass gobos of the "new" ODEON logo to project using one of the Optikinetics effects projectors used in Odeon foyers. Nigel Wolland, Chief Engineer at the Odeon, Leicester Square from 1982 to retiring a few years ago is a mine of technical information and a very nice man to know - you may well know him, of course.

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