Page 7 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2003 #41
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Bendigo’s Lyric Theatre: Memories Etched In Stone.

            It’s not often a cinema is
          demolished and earns a ‘memorial
          forecourt’, but such is the case for
          Bendigo’s Lyric theatre. The Lyric’s
          last film was in 1965. A fire in 1967
          forced a trim of the walls to a safe level
          and a rebuild as offices and shops. The
          façade was demolished in 2007 to make
          way for the headquarters of the
          Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
            As construction of the bank
          building advanced towards the remnant,
          an outpouring of sentiment moved the
          bank to agree to a permanent reminder.
          It was a case of absence makes the
          heart grow fonder, for the Lyric was
          the least attractive of Bendigo’s three
          main cinemas.
            The result, finished just in time for
          the Official Opening by the Prime
          Minister in December 2008, is a series
          of smooth stone slabs pointed towards
          the main entrance, with a history of the
          cinema embossed on their sides. This is
          (most of) what is written:
            ‘The Lyric Theatre was opened on
          26th February 1913 under the name of
          ‘The Bendigo Lyric Photoplays
          Limited’… It has a seating capacity of
          close to 3000 people… In the roof there
          are three large openings, fitted with
          sliding roofs, so that even on the hottest
          night the building is quite cool. The  Top: The Bank headquarters edges closer to the facade of the theatre.
          whole of the theatre is brilliantly  Above: The completed forecourt.
          lighted throughout with electricity, and
                                            Their lovely cakes were available, as
          has a most commodious stage, its
                                            well as sweets, ice cream and soft drinks  Many a week’s pocket money was
          dimensions being 40 feet x 60 feet.
                                            which were popular at interval time.  spent in going ‘to the flicks.’ One of the
            The vestibule, which is most                                       most popular features of the matinee
                                               Mr. Oscar Flight’s orchestra provided
          attractive and artistic, is also brilliantly                         program was the serial film, … The
                                            the music every night, skilfully chosen.
          lit with electricity. The theatre showed                             Lyric Theatre was the first in Bendigo
                                               At matinees on Saturday afternoons
          silent pictures from the time it was built                           to modernise its auditorium and
                                            sometimes only a pianist provided the
          in 1913. Patrons had the choice of seats                             upgrade its projection room to show
                                            music. Sixpence (or five cents) was the
          in the stalls, or upstairs in more lavish                            those magical films, the talkies.  ★
                                            charge, and naturally they were
          surroundings and better seats. At the
                                            extremely popular with children and   A full history of the Lyric,by
          entrance was one of Favalaros’ cafes
                                            young people who in those times were  Michael Purden is in CinemaRecord 18.
          where bookings could be made.
                                            not allowed out at night.
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