Old ABC (Regal) Cinema, Halifax Mini Documentary

Here we are reporting for Calderdale live
TV we are at the Cuba Bar and Grill in Halifax recently opened new bar within the old regal an ABC
cinema the owners kindly offered to open up the
cinema today lots of guests turning up so we thought
we’d come along and capture that moment Calderdale live TV caught up with one of the
ex employees at the cinema Peter Berry “So I understand that you used
to work in the cinema?” yes it worked in this building started
here in 1956 when it was all one big cinema, and there was
Mountains of staff doing it, because there was mountains of people coming
that was the main thing got lots of people coming. started as
projectionist and there was six of us six of us to show onto one film on one screen. mind you, in them days, there was a lot of showmanship everything out to be spot-on, you
know. Managers in those days we usually from military
you know ex-colonels/ sergeants, they used to set them
on as cinema manages and this particular cinema it was
build by ABC’s chief architect which was William R.
Glen he’s was there chief architect and he built a
lot of ABC’s, he was the architect for a lot of ABC cinemas and a lot are like this, but when they come to split them up, a lot of them they destroy it completely you know they pull the front down, they
destroyed the walls whereas this one, they only destroyed underneath, they only went
under the circle which meant that three quarters it the
auditorium as you can see here is left as it was originally, which has saved it which in 2000 I think it was it listed is a grade two because the
wasn’t all that many architectural relics left from
Glen’s days when he was doing cinema architecture but I think it was the 70’s when they split it up into three because cinema audiences had dropped and
all small cinemas/ out of town cinemas had closed so they thought there was a need to put more
screens in one cinema instead of having 10 cinemas all having one screen you know, it was that particular period.
When I worked here there was three commissioners, the
doorman, you know, with the fancy outfits on there was three of those and there must have been about 10 or 15 usherettes on different shifts, not all at once,
you know, they’re on different shifts. Two managers, two managers, you know, main manager, under manager, cause
through the years, as the patronage went down They started knocking all these types of staff off, and then it got to when one person was doing everything.
like it is today in half of the places but in those days it was precision run, in the fifties and early sixties everything had to be
spot-on. your curtains had to be spot-on When you open the curtains You had to open them so when the record
finished the curtains were open. you know, you
had old records in those days, you know, and then you were playing a tune and you had to work it out that, so many seconds from the end of that tune, the curtains started opening, when it go to the end picture hit the screen, and the record stopped there, you couldn’t just chop it off in the middle plus, all records had to be non-vocal it was all music, so if you had to take it off in the middle, you didn’t chop it of when someone was singing or anything like that, you could fade it out and then you would have time sheets and all sorts. and the usherettes, every Sunday, used to have to line up in the circle foyer and be examined uniform wise, the manager and the under manager used to
walk down them in a line they used to examine the usherettes;
fingernails, everything, you know, they were to look
good it was amazing really and in halifax there were five, six town centre cinemas There was the Odeon, this one, round here there was this one, gourmet, the Victoria across the road
used to show films the electric which is now the bowling
alley, that use to show films the Royal which is it just a street below that showed films and they
were all here all except the Odeon and the Odeon was out on its own at the other end of town
but at this end of town there was all them cinemas, all showing films, getting a lot of people in all got queues round the block at night, you know, it was
amazing, till television came in then in the mid-fifties when television started getting
old that’s when patronage started dropping in cinemas, you know, generally like. Over the years there has been different sorts of equipment up in the projection box as the years have gone on they have updated the projection
equipment which has always run off thirty five-millimeter film and its only recently that’s cinemas has
gone digital you’re only talking about the last five or six
years where they’ve have actually got digital into cinemas because they couldn’t get
that quality on a big screen, I mean, digital has been
around longer but they just could not get the quality
they wanted onto a big screen but within the last 5 or 6 years they have managed to do it, so they are pulling the old thirty five-millimeter projectors out now they’ve been in, the thirty
five-millimeter projector seems film began because thats how film began on 35mm, you know, late eighteen hundreds and it never altered right up till just recently, and then its a whole new world is the projection side of it but then again cinema is a whole new world multiplexes and things like that. you know, so what do you do? thats the only way you can see a film but
it’s nice to see these old places still in one piece more, more or less, you know, its great to see this sort of architecture is nice that a few has been listed so they can’t be destroyed
so the architecture can’t be destroyed because so many has been yeah, its nice to be in here, yeah.


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