The Rex Cinema

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The Rex Cinema

Postby Ship called Dignity » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:38 pm

Out today and walking along hall street and remembered that the old Rex Cinema used to be situated down the front:-

I've taken this information from the following page:-

http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinema ... ltown.html

Image

Photo above on morning demolition started, courtesy KR Carroll.
Opened around 1935. Run by the Green's circuit.
Seated 828 in stalls and 391 in the balcony. Closed December 1977, and later demolished.
Archive photo taken in the late 1970s of the demolition here courtesy Frank Watson.


http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinema ... 977_fw.jpg

Actually never realised the cinema was that big. I was just a wee boy :shock: when it was demolished and only real memory I have going to the cinema was with my father and I cried and cried during the film that I wanted to go to Borthwicks for sweets. Of course my father gave in and took me and I wanted to go back to the film. If you left the cinema you weren't allowed back in - so needless to say I cried again! :cry: :lol: The latter bit I don't recall so my father might have had enough and just took me home! :lol:

Anyone, else gt any fond memories of the Rex? (keep'em clean Bubbly etc :lol: ) Just thought I would take a photo to show what the site looks like now. There is some flats and a Nursing Home on the site. Rather nice in comparison to the bit of land that lay there for 20 odd years.

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The Rex Cinema

Postby Guest » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:27 pm

First time replying!
The picture of the old Rex certainly brings back memories. I remember it being the cinema to go to and the other cinema got left out! I also remember going there every christmas for the Round Table Children's party. Am I right in saying it had a beautiful stage?

After it was demolished there was beautiful tiling left where the entrance
was. What happened to the tiling? I seem to remember being told that it was being kept but where?
:D :?:
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The Rex

Postby Frosty » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:31 am

Hi Davie ,

Great post.
The Rex was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon when I was young.
Then on a Friday or Saturday night when we were older.
Lots of memories , trying to convince the cashier that you were old enough to watch 'Enter The Dragon' ( it was an 'X ' in my youth ) but she or he knew your Mum so there was no chance of getting in.
The back row up in the Balcony was a wonderfull place to grow up , I'm sure there were lots of memories that came crashing down with the demolition.
It did have a stage , I remember being taken to see 'The Alexander Brothers '
The best film I saw there must have been 'Tommy ' by The Who
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Postby Pete Reek » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:56 pm

ET
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Postby petewick » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:20 pm

My brother was a projectionist at the Rex from 1973-1977.
I used to get 2 free passes every Saturday for the matinee.
The other projectionist I remember was Tommy Galbraith.
Mattie Gilchrist was the manager, and if you got on the wrong side of her, heaven help you.
Her grand daughter Violet was an usherette and there was a lot of other teenagers on the staff, so there was more shennanigans from them than the young clientele some of the time.
I remember the day they showed the Eagle Has Landed, best game of Japs an British I ever had, this was all staged in the confines of the "fleepit".
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Postby WC1 » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:49 pm

Slight correction to Petewick. Tommy Duff was the manager for most of the Rex's existence. Mattie Gilchrist was the cashier though I think she may have taken over as manager for a time towards the end after Mr Duff retired and before the cinema closed. Ronnie Hamilton was the last 'Chief' (chief operator), with George Harvey as the 2nd.

The Rex was indeed the bigger of the town's two cinemas at 1200 seats against the Picture House's 470 (reduced now to 265). It was opened in 1939 (I have somewhere a Courier containing a report of the opening, whch was performed by Provost Greenlees; I must try and dig it out and see if I can work out how to scan it for posting here) and was owned and operated by the George Green company that had a chain of cinemas stretching from Campbeltown to Dundee abnd including the Scala in Dunoon. The famous Green's Playhouse in Glasgow was the largest cinema in Europe and later became the Apollo.

There was originally a tearoom in the balcony foyer but that had gone by the mid to late 1950s when I first got to know the place. Power came from a diesel generator housed in a wee building at the corner of Shore Street and St John Street, diagonally opposite the Masonic Lodge; later mains power was used but the wee house was used for the rectifiers that converted it from AC to Direct Current (for the carbon arcs that lit the projectors). Though I might be expected to make this claim since I have a long connection with the smaller cinema, it is generally accepted that the Rex always had older, inferior equipment to the Picture House in terms of both sound and projection and the bare plaster walls of the auditorium gave it a very 'echoey' accoustic. When Cinemascope came in around 1955, the Picture House put in the proper curved screen and full Cinemascope installation, while the Rex simply put in a flat screen and stuck some standard anamorphic lenses on to the projectors. It did the job, but the picture quality wasn't ideal. In front of the screen was a very colourful curtain with a desert island and palm trees motif, but it was seldom used as it was hand operated and was a b****r to open and close. There was also a set of gold 'house tabs' at the front of the stage which could be used for concerts and the like (also hand operated and, as I know from bitter personal experience, also a b****r to open and close). The stage itself wasn't very deep though it was certainly wide and didn't have much wing space. When the drama festival went into the Rex every year (until dwindling audiences and the refurbishment of the Victoria Hall made it the venue of choice) they actually built a full procenium stage and lighting rig on top of the existing stage. (How the drama festival has dwindled can be seen from the fact that people used to queue round the block to book for the 1200 seats of the Rex whereas now they're lucky to get 200 into the Grammar School hall for it.)

So far as films go, the Rex used to get pictures before the Picture House because it was part of a chain, at least until Cinemascope, when the Picture House had first claim on any 20th Century-Fox product because they were the originators of Cinemascope and the Picture House had installed their actual system. The programmes changed three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) unless it was a big 'blockbuster' on first run, when it often ran the six days. All the Rex's programmes included Pearl and Dean and the latest Pathe newsreel (the Picture Hoiuse had Movietone, again the 20th Century-Fox connection).

The seating was pretty standard apart from the famous 'Golden Divans' on the first three or four rows of the balcony. They cost extra, but were very comfortable right enough. Known locally as the Golden Dive-ins. Must also mention the carpet which had a pattern that included the legend "It's Green's - It's Good!".
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Postby take_a_pop » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:16 pm

Good reading WC1, amazing how quick we tend to forget stuff. I can remember trying to get into see Emmanuelle with a mate who was nearly 20 years old and he got refused entry. Me being a true mate in every sence of the word, said to him, well W..... if your not getting in, then i... guess i will meet you when i come out.
Cant understand why he never waited for me.
I see from your postings WC1 that your having the same Broadband problems as i am.
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Postby Pete Reek » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:13 pm

et
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Postby WC1 » Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:10 am

Ssssssssssorry! Normally it's the usual problem of big fingers and wee keys but when I pressed the button nothing happened for ages so I thought it hadn't worked and pressed it again. Got a bit carried away with the amount I wrote now that I read it over. Sorry for that too.

Edit by Malky: Fixed it for you WC1 :wink:
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Postby Bobbie En Tejas » Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:06 am

WC1 wrote:Ssssssssssorry! Normally it's the usual problem of big fingers and wee keys but when I pressed the button nothing happened for ages so I thought it hadn't worked and pressed it again. Got a bit carried away with the amount I wrote now that I read it over. Sorry for that too.
Edit by Malky: Fixed it for you WC1 :wink:

WC1, I was wondering why they would tear down what sounded like a perfectly good theater and keep the smaller one. All makes sense now. Sounds like the better one survived. Interesting that the Rex could seat 20% of the town. In looking at the pictures of the inside of the little theater, I was surprised to see how big it seems from the inside. The screen looked smaller than I expected, though.

I love going to a movie theater. I don't care what size the home entertainment center, nothing comes close to the big screen. I lived upstairs of a movie theater at one point as a kid. On Friday my parents would let us go downstairs to the movies. I remember watching Cinderella and going upstairs after it was over, and putting my ear to the back hall wall so I could relisten to the next showing.

Did they ever have drive-ins in Scotland or was that an American thing? I realize that your weather may not have been conducive to outdoor theater, but then, neither are a lot of American cities, but they seemed to do well in their time. We actually still have one in San Antonio that has three screens with two first-run movies shown per screen.
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Postby petewick » Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:25 am

WC1 wrote:Slight correction to Petewick. Tommy Duff was the manager for most of the Rex's existence. Mattie Gilchrist was the cashier though I think she may have taken over as manager for a time towards the end after Mr Duff retired and before the cinema closed.




Tommy Duff had retired by then, but I can remember him still coming round about the cinema.
Mattie was the manager, as I remember at the very last Christmas Singalong, when Mattie was supposed to be getting a presentation at the end of the show, she was nowhere to be found.

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Last film shown

Postby Sweltered » Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:00 pm

I believe the last film shown was Bugsy Malone. I remember the little kiosk for sweeties. I also remember one Xmas seeing the double header of The Wizard of Oz and Tom Thumb and have a funny feeling, the Wee Pictures was showing the same films :?

I always thought the carpet read "It's good its Greens" but I suppose it depends how you were looking at it. If the Rex was still in existance, it would have 5 screens in it !
OOH did they knock down McCaigs folly.....
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Postby dgraves » Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:55 pm

Bobbie En Tejas wrote:Did they ever have drive-ins in Scotland or was that an American thing? I realize that your weather may not have been conducive to outdoor theater, but then, neither are a lot of American cities, but they seemed to do well in their time. We actually still have one in San Antonio that has three screens with two first-run movies shown per screen.


I think it was an American thing. I lived in countries on the Equator and never saw a drive-in, so weather wouldn't have been a factor. My dad couldn't wait to go to the drive-in when we got back to the States every year. I personally hated it as a kid, sitting in the back seat with the tinny speaker blaring out, hooked to the driver's window glass. Couldn't see a thing!! It was pretty much on the way out back then.

I am looking forward to visiting the Picture House in Campbeltown. I know what you mean by the feeling of the old theaters. There is nothing like going to a real theater to see a movie. The multi-plexes in the malls don't have the atmosphere the old houses do.
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Postby WC1 » Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:00 pm

One of my memories of the Rex kiosk was the big Coca Cola cooler they had. It was a thing like a dustbin and you put a bottle of Coke in at the top, pulled a big handle and an ice-cold bottle would come out the bottom. Tommy Duff used to go through quite a pantomime juggling with the bottle that was going in much to the amusement of the customers. When I was about 17 I got a job in the kiosk at the Picture House and discovered they had a similar Coke machine that wasn't being used for some reason. I plugged it in and filled it up with bottles, only to discover when I first served a customer from it that it was running too cold and the bottled were coming out the business end actually frozen solid (which was why it had been taken out of use in the first place). Ah the enthusiasm of youth!
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rex

Postby general jack o'niell » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:58 pm

:lol:
Last edited by general jack o'niell on Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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