Thanks to memory lane reader Vic Burton for his memories of ‘Going to the Flicks’.
As a kid you were spoilt for choice going to the cinema in Hartlepool as there were far too many to choose from. Some were good. But others not so good. Let’s mention a few.
Many cinemas became bingo halls when television became popular and numbers diminished leaving then with no alternative but to close their doors.
The Lex cinema and the Gaiety offered cheap wooden seats as did the West End and at the Northern what we did was pay for the cheap seats down in the “dog end”, then when the film started, go to the toilet and come back to the better seats or crawl under the seats to the back, without of course being caught doing so.
One trick we pulled quite often was at the ABC Cinema in Raby Road when one of us would pay to go in then wait to go to the toilet which led to the fire door to the Greyhound Stadium car park at the rear and then let the others in free of charge.
When the door was open we would scamper across the floor, hopefully without being seen and more importantly, without being caught.
Trying to save the demise of the cinema brought in new ideas like 3D.
This meant looking through cardboard glasses with red and blue lenses that quite often stayed on the floor instead of your head. Needless to say it didn’t catch on at the time.
Movies then were great with stars such as “10 feet high” Tyrone Power as Zorro and Burt Lancaster in the Crimson Pirate.
Who remembers Flash Gordon or Johnny Mac Brown or Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger.
Serials often showed chases thet ended with a car plunging over a cliff then it would say “don’t miss next week’s exciting episode”.
I also remember The Odeon had nice seats but not as plush as the Essoldo.
One film that stands out was The Robe starring Victor Mature, my namesake when young. The part I vividly remember was when Christ was crucified, the sky went black and all the speakers came on at once.
Sterephonic sound had arrived with Cinerama vision.
My love for films has never waned and still brings back fond memories of those long halcyon days of movie stars and films with a beginning and an ending.
Finally another favourite actor, the the man who replaced Victor Mature, none other than Charlton Heston, who sadly passed away a few years ago. There could be no-one to replace him.
Well time to sit back in my chair and watch another classic movie right here on the site of the West End cinema, not in the dog end at the bottom of the street but the posh end at the top.
Butterkist popcorn and Kiora drink with straw of course. Heaven!