Warbirds & Wheels
It all began on the hard, bottombothering seats at the local Town
Hall. Calum MacLeod and wife
Andrea began screening movies there 20 years ago so the people of Wanaka didn’t face a two-hour return trip to Queenstown every time they wanted celluloid escapism. Two couches and two armchairs were purchased from a garage sale to add a spot of buttock cheer and quirk to the mix. Says Calum: “That first weekend they proved so popular there was almost a fight to secure them. People turned up with old dungers on the backs of utes or brought their own. Eventually we managed to get a selection of about 60 seats.” Calum used to let dogs attend the movies in those early days. His own hound would sit dutifully with him in the projection booth but others caused some havoc, most notably a Jack Russell terrier called Basil. “He was getting on a bit and was losing his eyesight. He did, however, have a passion for cleaning up any ice cream pottles left lying on the floor. We were showing the original Scream to a very terrified audience who were enthralled and in a state of tense fixation. Basil licked some poor woman’s leg, she screamed her head off, jumped out of her seat and ran for the door, infecting the rest of the audience. Pandemonium ensued and we had to stop the film to find out what had caused the commotion. Basil sat on the floor licking his chops and almost grinning.” They eventually found new cinema digs when the Town Hall was bowled. The soft lounge vibe still rules (and there’s the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at interval) and you can now sit in a yellow Morris Minor if you fancy. No leg-licking dogs allowed these days though. Besides, they’d scoff far too much of the cinema’s fish and chip ice cream.
72 Brownston Street, (03) 443 1505, paradiso.net.nz