Huge palaces, dirt cheap.

28 May

FROM Vincent:

People forget that before TV, there was the movies. Which, instead of showing a handful of ads and trails before the feature – then giving the audience the bum’s rush, before carting the next house in – presented an ENTIRE EVENING of entertainment.

TWO features – “A” and “B” – plus a short, newsreel, cartoon, serial – THEN the ads and trails. All bisected with an interval, during which refreshments were sold by sales staff, who visited “…all parts of the cinema” (although I never saw one in the Gents).

Sometimes, you got a MEGA-feature, cut in two halves by the interval – “The Great Escape”, “It’s A Mad, Mad Mad Mad World” and “The Sound Of Music” being just three of many examples.

And every big town had half-a-dozen cinemas – with three or four programme changes each week. And they were huge, stand-alone buildings – not the multiplex, 10-screens-with-200-seat-affairs you get now.

Huge palaces of entertainment – but if you couldn’t be arsed to go out (few were too POOR – seats in those days were dirt cheap) there was always RADIO.

Like in the early days of TV, families would SIT AROUND it (these days, few people even watch TV together) and it would provide a full evening’s entertainment – plays in all genres, concerts, news, features, quiz and panel shows – the works.

Only BBC Radio 4 still gives us any idea of what those days were like. Kudos to ’em!

-Vincent

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