I’M prone to occasionally coming over all nostalgic and after hearing a story on radio about a cinema ‘usherette’ I transported myself to a time long ago...
It’s Saturday, October 5, 1963 and I’m with my dad outside the ABC on Palatine Road in Northenden.
It’s my 10th birthday and instead of having a party I’m allowed to treat my pals to a trip to the pictures.
The main film is The Great Escape but before Steve McQueen fires up his motorbike, we will take part in the Saturday morning ritual enjoyed by youngsters in every ABC picture house around the country because we are the minors of the ABC.
Officially called ABC Minors Children’s Matinee, this was in the days when going to the pictures was more than just watching a film.
It was about trying to sneak in through the back doors, banging the seats to create a huge fog of dust and risking teeth and gums on a frozen jubbly. But most of all it was about participation and when the red curtains magically pulled themselves open to reveal the silver screen, it all got started.
The music (the famous circus march Blaze Away) began to blare, the lyrics appeared and the bouncing ball was ready to hop across the words to keep us all together.
You’ll have to use your memory or imagination for the music (although it went like this ‘De dee de dee dee dee dee deeeeeeeeeee de dee dee dee dee dee dee deeeee....’) and the famous words were:
All that fun, plus a fantastic war film – and still change from a shilling.
Incidentally, that cinema opened on November 22, 1934 and had a Wurlitzer theatre organ which they’d shipped in from America.
The final film to be shown before it closed was Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury on February 23, 1974. The Grade II listed building is now an Assembly Hall for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.