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             I recently purchased a copy of CATHS Cinema Index at the Railfan shop., and congratulate your Society for
             saving the history of one of our social institutions. As you are probably aware, many railfans, particularly tramway
             enthusiasts, are also theatre fans, and see these magnificent structures in our social fabric as 'static trams', or
             another form of human conveyance and social interface.

             I have a few more details which might prove of interest to you. Your index seems to omit two theatres, the Dux,
             a silent cinema located at 44 O'Grady Street, Albert Park, now converted to an office block, and the MMBW
             Theatrette, which was built in the seventies, is equipped with 35mm equipment, and has been regularly used
             for commercial exhibition. Your listings for Elstemwick show the Renown in Glenhuntly Road as operating 1935-
             70 (I  am told that the Renown was named after a ship of the same name). Prior to being a 'talkie' house it was
             also owned by Hoyts as a silent cinema, and was previously owned by the LePage family from about 1912. The
             old timers tell me that it was generally called the Phoebe, named after Phoebe LePage, the owners wife. Prior
             to 1922 my grandfather, the late Albert Ford, managed both the Renown and the Elstemwick Theatre for Hoyts.
             He left the Elstemwick in 1922 to manage the Broadway in Elwood. I questioned people as to whether the children
             had shortned the name Orpheum to Phoebe, as some sort of nickname, and was told that this was not the case.
             Mid 60's Hoyts recycled some curtain and brought the curtain in front of ofthe old art deco proscenium, curtain
             and auxilliary silks. This was to remain the format until its closure.

             The Elstemwick Theatre operatred from late last century, and doubled as a large hall, as the wooden seats,
             connected in rows at their bases, could be stacked against the side walls. Hoyts held the lease, in addition to their
             Glenhuntly Road cinema, from circa 1912 to the depression years. The theatre was shut during the depression,
             but Hoyts maintained the lease, probably to keep the competition out. During the war years it became a dance
             hall, operating under the name of the 'Dorchester', (nobody has any recollection of it being known as the Elster,
             as shown in your index).

             The Esquire was a two tier cinema, but in 1955 the theatre was closed for about 3 months to convert it into a one
             tier cinema. This was the first major conversion of a cinema in Melbourne in decades into what is now regarded
             as the  normal style.  The  balcony and  half the  stalls were  converted  into  a sloping  tier.  The 'new'  cinema
             incorporated a coffee lounge and restaurant, innovative for the time. These improvements enabled the Esquire
             to withstand the initial brunt of television and right up to the mid 1960's it was booked out most Saturday nights.
             At the same time the alterations were being undertaken, the building was extended by about 30 feet to permit
             the construction of a new proscenium and screen.

             A fire about 1970/71  shut the cinema, and the damaged walls featuring beautiful scalloped shell lights were
             covered by the recycled plastic fabric lining, which were strangely similar to the Hoyts Paris/Cieopatra.  It is over
             twenty years since I have been inside, but the original features of the theatre are probably still hidden in the wall

             I still possess slides of horse trams ofthe Caulfield Tramway and Land Co. in Glenhuntly Road, which came from
             the theatre around 1889.  Sadly, all of the photos of the Elstemwick and other Hoyts in the 20's, 30's and 40's
             were destroyed by accident only a few years ago.

             The name "Barclay" of the cinema in Russell Street is the former family name of the wife of the late Sir Norman
             Rydge, head of Greater Union (Amalgamated Holdings) for many years. The new name came as a result of the
             extensive refurbishment of the old Kings Theatre. All of the original stage, loft, and machinery was retained in
             the Barclay, and the new screen was built in front of the unused portion of the theatre ..

             The State Theatre , in Flinders Street, also incorporated a forty seat private exhibition and reviewing cinema in
             the basemant. I am told that it was rarely used, since most viewings and decisions were made by Greater Union
             in Sydney. The State also had two ex-submarine engines as auxiliary back-up power (probably still there) as well
             as the lifts for the organs (two I think).

             I hope that this information is of use and can be verified by other scources.

             Russell J.  Nowell
             Malvern  Vic
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