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Birmingham Cinemas

Banjo

master brummie
When I lived in Leamington Road, Sparkbrook in the mid 50s I was spoilt for choice for cinemas (provided it was two "U" pictures) Nearest was the "Olympia" (fleapit) in Ladypool Rd or "Carlton" in Taunton Road. "Waldorf" or "Picadilly" down on Stratford Road. There was the "Imperial" or "Picture House" (fleapit) or "Alhambra" on Mosely Road.
 

Speedy23

master brummie
When we look at the multiplexes today we realise what a long way we've come.

We may have come a long way but have not necessarily ended up where we would want to be....personally, I look back at the old cinemas of the time - the Kingsway, the Piccadilly, the Tudor, the Alhambrah, the Robin Hood etc. - all lost forever. Going to see a film was a true experience - the modern multiplexes with the small screens just cannot match the sense of occsaion that the old cinemas used to inspire....Can anyone remember when they demolished the Maypole Cinema - I think i can remember it but can't be sure - was it post 1956?
 

carolina

master brummie
Speedy23 I think we remember it so fondly because it was an occasion to go the 'flicks'. It was also a place where you could go on a date as well. Now we have TV and within in such a short time of a film being released you can buy the DVD. Also, pirating is very prominent.
 

paul stacey

master brummie
I think what I remember about the cinema, was its "opulence", deep carpets, central heating, and the sense of occasion, coming from a poor working class home with only a coal fire and lino, it really was an adventure to go, not to mention the ice cream at the interval, pure luxury. Paul
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
I think you hit it on the head there, Paul. Escapism in the widest sense of the word.

Carolina, I remember that Pearl & Dean frequently featured Peggy Lee before she had made a name for herself outside of America.

Maurice
 

maypolebaz

master brummie
We may have come a long way but have not necessarily ended up where we would want to be....personally, I look back at the old cinemas of the time - the Kingsway, the Piccadilly, the Tudor, the Alhambrah, the Robin Hood etc. - all lost forever. Going to see a film was a true experience - the modern multiplexes with the small screens just cannot match the sense of occsaion that the old cinemas used to inspire....Can anyone remember when they demolished the Maypole Cinema - I think i can remember it but can't be sure - was it post 1956?

I remember going to see "Blackboard Jungle" at the Pavilion, Stirchley. For some reason it was an "X" certificate, so our mate had to lie about his age to take us in. We were all 15 at the time.

I think the Maypole cinema was still standing, post 1956 Speedy but it was certainly on borrowed time.

Can you remind me, where was the Robin Hood ?
 

Jayell

master brummie
Dont forget the organ in the interval!! At the Regal in Handsworth that came up and played in between the A and B pictures. And the newsreel was only seen on screen at the cinema as there was no television in those days.
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
maypolebaz


The Robin Hood was on Stratford Rd at the junction of Ingestre Rd and it closed in 1970 it was demolished and replaced by a Waitrose Supermarket.
 

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Rupert

master brummie
Yeah, I suppose it started with going to see Alan Ladd beat up on Jack Pallance in Shane; with my toy pistol strapped in its holster and belt around my waist. The Rock...gone now. Later there were probably fine British 'kitchen sink dramas'...but we did not want to see them. We wanted the lavish American production that took us away from the walk there and back through drab surroundings and smoggy streets. Yeah, escapism...that's the word. We wanted the big cars and wide country and big camera pans...and kitchens that your whole house would be lost in. Of course we now know that Al. Ladd would have had to jump to hit Jack on the jaw but we did not then and it didn't matter anyway. Strange; it seems to me that Ladd died years ago but Jack was doing one armed push-ups at the Oscar's just recently.
The Rock and the Capital (for Saturday cartoons) The Beaufort occasionally. I suspect that we needed to escape and in so doing got a glimpse of better things to aim for which may have improved our lot in life...who knows.
It's the large screen telly now and guess what... the British production reigns now...kitchen sink or not. Lots of great product from the UK. Done 'ever so nicely' has hit the spot.
 

Banjo

master brummie
I think that the opulence and the sense of occasion was indeed the key feature of a "night at the pictures". The Orient at six ways, Aston even had a tearoom on the first floor directly over the entrance. It had a large window at the front where you could look out while drinking your tea ( little finger straight? ).
 
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maypolebaz

master brummie
maypolebaz


The Robin Hood was on Stratford Rd at the junction of Ingestre Rd and it closed in 1970 it was demolished and replaced by a Waitrose Supermarket.

Cheers mate, I don't recall that one. I must've been thinking of somewhere else.

Funny thing about the pictures. Our little gang would sit through a movie, being complete oafs, then as the film was ending we would make a rush for the exit to get out before the National Anthem was played. As soon as that drum roll started, indicating we weren't going to get out in time, we would skid to a halt and stand facing the screen 'til "God Save The Queen" was finished.
 

wam

master brummie
I don't think the idea of cinema as an event is entirely dead. There's still IMAX - not that I've ever been to one. I got used to the smaller screens for some movies over time. That was mostly from going to the more art-house cinemas like the MAC or Triangle and part of that was that they were cheaper. On the other hand the big event pictures didn't come with a supporting programme. They'd never fit the extras around something that had a 3 hour feature. You do get double features occasionally or complete screenings of trilogies or even series. I seem to remember an advert for a run of "Lord of the Rings" somewhere local which couldn't have been more than a few years back.
 

wam

master brummie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53DMdn6HRBA (one of the old Pathe reels) shows the opening of the Cinephone by the Mayor. There are a couple of items of interest in there. It's part of the same group (Jacey) as the news theatre on Station Street and the Tatler (which I don't remember). The Jacey group was owned by Joseph Cohen so I suppose that explains where the name comes from. The Cinephone was always intended to show foreign films which explains a lot about it's reputation.
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
Flash Gordon, Lots of good memories Pathe News, Cowboys and Indians, all at the Tivoli (Remember that one Dave?) by the Swan on Coventry Rd in Yardley. Snogging with my 'Bird' in the back row. There was a movie house in Sheldon at one time, also, one on the way to Brum on the Coventry Rd after the OldBill Pub on the other side of Cov Rd? Use to go one on the #11 after Stetchford and the RR bridge that I use to train spot on. John Crump OldBrit, Parker, Colorado USA
 

Jayell

master brummie
Wan - Interesting clip about the opening of The Cinephone. I went there a few times and I think there was a restaurant upstairs if I remember correctly. The Tatler was in Station Street, and the News Theatre in High Street. Been to them both many times as a child.

Old Brit - My uncle, Percy Thompson, was the manager of the Tivoli Cinema in Yardley. I think it would be in the 1930s/1940s.

Judy
 

mossg

master brummie
Hi oldbrit, I am not sure if this picture of the Sheldon has been posted before.
 

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handlebar

master brummie
The Tatler is still operating in Station Street. I think it's a two screen luxury cinema. When I went once it was rather small so I'd love to know what it looks like now! Perhaps one day. Does anyone remember the film 'House on Haunted Hill' presented in EMERGO with Dennis Price. I so much wanted to see it but couldn't. I've read descriptions of how a plastic skeleton was trundled on a wire above the audiences head and that it often got stuck. Three years ago we went to the states and visited Loew's Theatre in New Jersey. What was playing? 'House on Haunted Hill' Massive 50ft wide screen in a fantastic building seating over 3000. The skeleton came out in the last five minutes right on que. It was an absolute hoot. The Royalty, Harborne couldn't have done it better. William Castle's gimmics couldn't be bettered. They brought fun to the Cinema. I think there's still an audience for such.
 

Eddie 14

master brummie
I remember all the picture houses along the Cov Road. Starting at Sheldon on the corner of Lindon road, then the tivoli at the Swan then the Adelphi on the hill towards town. up to Smallheath was the Coronet then the Grange on the corner of little green lane. then the Kingston just past the Blues ground. these and many more I used to go to, maybe twice a week in the Winter. I suppose you did the same John. Happy days. I think there were 26 cinemas in B'Han in those days, I stand correcting.


Dave
 

Eddie 14

master brummie
I think you are talking about The Beaufort there ,John or was it the Atlas which was just at the back of the stove manufacturers on the right hand side at the bottom of the hill from the station (Cannot think of the stove manufacturers).

Dave
 
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