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28.  Dendy Theatre Complex . Middle Brighton                                     By Brian Miner

            on the 1st of December, 1994 tne Dendy opened their Cinema Three in an area formerly used as office space.
            It seats 88 and is suitable for long-run attractions. Presentation is by means or a single bauer U3 projector and
            a new cinemeccanica plate system.  The first feature shown was the Australian religious film "Mary".

            The Dendy's other screens remain as re-opened in April,  1985.

            Cinema One occupies the original lounge/circle area opened in 1940 and seaRs 521 patrons. Two cinemeccanica
            Victoria 8 projectors installed in the mid-sixties continue to provide 35 and 70mm facilities.

            Cinema Two was buill at right angles to Cinema One above an area previou:sly used as a public swimming pool
            and car park.  Seating is for 279 and It is equipped with a single Simplex projector and plate system.  This bio-
            box is connected to the Cinema Three bio by an internal corridor.

            No history of the Dendy would be complete without mention or Mr. Bert \Nard, one of Melbourne's pioneer
            showmen.  Mr. Ward operated both the  Dendy and Prince George theatn~s and was one of Brighton's pest
            k:novvn Identities.  He died on 9th December, 1985 and the following article will be of interest to our members.

            ll was originally  published in VOX, January 1986, the newsletter of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia
            (Victorian Division) and is f'e-printed with their kind permission.


            The Theatre Organ Society of Australia, Victorian Division lost one of its best friends and strongest supporters
            on December 9, 1985, with the death of Mr Bert Ward after an eight months battle with cancer.  He was 78.

            The Society's association with Bert Ward began in 1963, when some members from the district who already
            knew him suggested The Dendy, Brighton could be a suitable location for a tlheatre pipe organ, as the proprietor
            was a lover of organ music.  This was demonstrated about that time witln  the Installation of a Burge three
            manual electronic organ in the theatre.

            Shortly after the society bought the Capitol Wurlitzer in  November 1963, a preliminary discussion with Bert
            Ward and his son  Robert by two committee members reached agreement on the basis on  which the organ
            could be installed in The Dendy. There was no shilly-shallying, just direct Ye:s or No to the various points raised.
            The resultant lease stood the lest of time.  Once signed,  neither party had any need to  refer to it over the 18
            years the Wurlitzer was in The Dendy before the theatre was demolished.

            The active co-operation of The  Dendy management was a  big  factor in the  rapid  growth  of TOSAVIC.  It
            brought George Blackmore from England for the three weeks opening season of the Wurlitzer in April-May
            1967, followed by Lyn Larsen in January-February 1968 and Vic Hammett in August.  There was also seasons
            by internationally famous entertainers which focussed attention on The Dendy and its organ.  Ail this stimulat-
            ing activity occurred at  a time when big cinema companies were trying to stay afloat by slashing  costs as
            attendances declined.

            When the final decision had been made to re-develop the Dendy and surro'Unding sites as a shopping, theatre
            and residential complex, the  Ward family  insisted the Wurlitzer should go back into the new cinema.  Bert
            Ward's background presence, and that of his sons Robert and Andrew, and the fact his company had formally
            requested the Society to re-install the organ, was important in the Society'S negotiations with the developers
            and the lessees of the new theatres.

            There were manyTOSAVIC members among the large assemblage which fiilled St. Andrew's Anglican Church,
            Brighton  for the funeral  service  on  12 December.  Bert Ward had  reque,sted that Tony  Fenelon  should  be
            organist for the  service,  and  play pleasantly light and entertaining  music., so  the service began with Lara's
            Theme, Over the Sea to Skye, and I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

            The Reverend Harlin Butterley, the vicar of St. Andrew's, said the occasion was a suitable farewell to a person
            who was unique in Brighton and beyond.  Robert Ward had told him his father left instructions he did not want
            any sadness, and wanted the service to be light, entertaining and enjoyable.
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