Page 4 - CinemaRecord #11R.pdf
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HAPPENINGS                                                                      by Fred Page

             In spite of an awful weather forecast and insufficient support to hire a coach, twenty-three stalwarts pooled their
            vehicles and headed for the Frankston Village Cinema complex. Merilyn gave our group a warm welcome and
            we were invited to partake of coffee and biscuits. She then conducted us through the twenty years old beachside
            twin  that we noted  to  be  in very good condition,  and  which featured  Bauer projection equipment in the  "L"
            shaped bio box. The cinemas are set at right angles to each other (and are now for sale).
                        After collecting our stragglers we proceeded across the highway to the  17 year old twin  in  the
            Peninsula Centre and Merilyn drew our attention to the offset projection angle, as a structural pillar was located
            in  the  centre of the  building  some distance from the bio box wall.  This resulted in  a smaller than  expected
            screen. The last inspection, cinema 4, was quite shabby and  the lack of curtains for the screen didn't help.
            Gerry Kennedy presented our certificate at the conclusion, and  complimented the management on the high
            standard of maintenance of Cinemas 1 and 2 and their efforts to at least keep Cinemas 3 and 4 in fair condition.

            It was then off to Sorrento in  improving sunny weather to view the splendidly renovated Athenaeum at which
            another warm welcome awaited us. The restoration work is a credit to all involved with it. The carpet is most
            eyecatching, based on a marine theme, and we were told the design has been patented. New wide chairs in a
            complimentary aqua colour blended beautifully with both the carpet and the wall curtains. The wall curtaining
            is broken up at intervals by the original half pillars on which is now mounted the theatre lighting. The foyer is
            decorated in rich mauves and gold and looks stunning with the complimentary pale pink light fittings.
                        The manager,  David Croad, then  led us  to the integrated flat in which  was  stored the  obsolete
            equipment. Offers for it soon pervaded the space and numerous items were spirited  into the car boots - the
            purchasers remain  anonymous.  Before  leaving, the  official presentation was made and  David  invited  us  to
            return when the two smaller cinemas are built beside the present one later this year.

            It was  now  lunch  time  and,  thanks to  Ivan  Maquire's  initiative  we  adjourned  to  the  Rye  R.S.L.  where  an
            enjoyable lunch was soon disposed of. Then, thanks to late arrangements made by Peter O'Reilly, we traveled
            to Rosebud to inspect the former Broadway Theatre, now a variety store, which was opened especially for us.
            The proscenium and curtains are still in situ and the basic infrastructure still in place but in a very tatty state.

            Once more into the cars to return  to  Frankston, this time to the  Cultural Centre which is celebrating its' first
            birthday.  Our host, Craig, conducted us back stage, into the orchestra pit and the two levels of the auditorium.
            In welcoming us he spoke of the technical facilities with special mention of the huge 67ft high fly tower and the
            well placed dressing rooms and performers facilities. Once more the certificate of appreciation was presented
            after which  the  group  moved  on  for afternoon tea  before  heading  home  after an  excellent outing  in  good
            autumn weather.  A special thanks to the drivers who so willingly pooled their cars.

            Our next outing was in response to the surprise announcement that the Valhalla lease of the Westgarth Theatre
            was ending  on  10 June,  exactly twenty  years since they opened  at the  old  Victoria  Theatre  in  Richmond.
            Although a little tired,  the old theatre is looking remarkably good for its eighty years.  The stalls seating has
            been replaced with chairs from the Adelaide Mid-City Cinemas and were part of the $250,000 the management
            has spent on the premises since taking over. It is understood that the theatre will continue to screen under the
            management of the owners of the building.
                        Then on to Lanis' Reception Centre -the old Northcote Theatre. Like similar venues such as the
            former Regent Thornbury and the Western West Brunswick, the conversion has been carried out tastefully with
            full  effect  being  made  of the  architectural  features.  The  colour scheme  is maroon  and  white,  with  special
            features picked out in gold. The proscenium is original with what looks like an external window set back a little.
            Behind that, occupying the stage house, is the kitchen. The former dress circle is blocked off and is used for
            storage but baffled us, as we were unable to find a staircase leading to it. The morning's outing was a super
            bonus for the more than forty people who attended.

            Following the 23 June meeting, the audience was enchanted as it watched the 1963 GTV9 production of its
            Christmas Special "Marianne or The Toymaker of Trifencastle" which was presented by  Denzil Howson who
            produced the show.  It would be wonderful to see shows like this revived as live pantomimes. Then we finally
            saw episode  1 0  of Spysmaster our serial.  The  Swap meet  held  on  7  July was  more  noteable for the film
            entertainment than for the trading which was a little quieter than previous events. On screen we were entertained
            by a super Bugs Bunny cartoon, a fascinating  documentary of the evolution of film  projectors, some historic
            advertising film and a medley of Australian shorts, including a performance by George Wallace.

            Events  still  to  come  in  August are  a cabaret night at 'The Piano-men"  to celebrate the  re-opening  of the
            Forum's Old State Cabaret Room and the "Cinematograph Chicken & Champagne" celebration at the Progress
            Theatre to commemorate the centenary of the first films shown in an Australian theatre to a paying audience.
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