NOSTALGIA BY ROBERT HEAVEN
THERE was a time when the Standard reported the latest film news with reviews about the exciting new releases at the Gaumont and the Regal.
There was a time as many readers of a certain age will recall, when Ciren had two cinemas and going to the “Flix” was an event which people enjoyed once or twice a week.
Back then we had the Gaumont on the corner of Victoria road and London road which had opened in 1924 as “The Picture House” and the Regal just up the road in Lewis Lane which opened in November 1937.
I have wonderful memories of seeing films at the Gaumont in the late 1950’s.
The films were regularly refreshed with most weeks and there were always films for all age groups.
My favourite were the slapstick films starring Richard Hearne in his roles as “Mr Pastry”.
Mr Pastry always wore a black suit or raincoat and a bowler hat, a walrus moustache and black bowler hat. He was a sort of older “Mr Bean” character with a white walrus moustache.
The Regal was bigger than the Gaumont and not only had a wider proscenium and a 12 foot deep stage, but it also had two dressing rooms for visiting entertainers.
The Regal provided a wide range of entertainment and as well as films, there were regular events along the same lines as those at the burgeoning holiday camps.
Butlins-style ‘Glamorous Grandmother’ competitions and pancake tossing were regular well-supported features.
Many readers will also remember with affection, paying sixpence to get in for the ABC minors every Saturday morning (Balcony 9 pence), and who can resist not singing the words of the ABC Minors song whenever they hear the tune ‘Blaze Away’ ? I can’t!
The Gaumont closed around 1963 to make way for the flats that stand in its place now.
The Regal was demolished in 2007.