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The Plaza had an inner curtain of  look like a twelve inch drop. Cheap  said to still hang in the fly tower of
          alternating white and pink vertical  and nasty at best, it was very off-  the theatre.
          panels that scalloped up to reveal the  putting to look at. No wonder the Firm  What a disappointment I was to
          screen. My Mother always said that  lost it. The curtain from Hell!   my parents. “I’d rather go the Capitol
          this type of curtaining was a health  The Comedy over the road had an  please; I don’t care about the movie.
          hazard, a black hole for the       unlucky green curtain that was     The red curtain is the most spectacular
          accumulation of dust. I was always a  replaced by the current dark blue (no  red and the standard chandeliers at the
          little wary of it.                 fringe) which was lush and full. There  sides of the stage are magic… and I
             This curtain was retired when   was still a concern here though. If the  must see the roof again...” Dead
          Cinerama was installed, replaced by an  fly-man was not one hundred percent  silence.
          ugly, plain lolly pink curtain which  accurate at the fall of a fast curtain,  The Palais St Kilda (opposite) had
          curved its way over the vast new   the hem chain would hit the stage with  a brown house curtain, very stiff
          screen. This had replaced a richly  an almighty bang and the fly bar  looking, which flew out in a stately,
          draped and fringed brocade curtain -  would descend below the proscenium  but solid cement manner. It had a
          much more in keeping with the      arch, displaying the ties that attached  strange woven section of fringe
          theatre’s Spanish inspired décor. The  the drape to the bar. Exciting! I sat  descending to a row of mixed colour
          old scalloped rag was not thrown away  through endlessly drab plays in the  tassels. There was the odd blue tassel
          – I remember seeing it in the flies of  Comedy just hoping there would be a  that seemed to have found itself
          the Regent many years later when I  bang and a glimpse of the bar above.  attached to the wrong job in the
          was backstage. Like the Carrolls,  Mostly I was not disappointed.     workshop. These blue tassels had
          Hoyts never threw anything out.       The least said the better about the  nothing to do with any architectural
             The Savoy was a sad cinema not  disastrous Glo-mesh pot scrubber rag  feature in the theatre. An irritation.
          helped by the fact that the last slide at  at the Trak Cinema.        The curtain really was stiff too, and
          interval would remain on the screen   The old State had a brightly lit,  heavy to operate.
          until an usherette found time to dash  vivid, crushed gold velvet curtain that  I was having a go taking it out and
          through the auditorium, enter the stage  seemed thin and not quite up to the  in one afternoon when the theatre was
          doorway (prompt side) and manually  full bodied fabric used by rival Hoyts.  dark, and I went over to touch it. Ken
          close the drape with a series of jerks  It didn’t hang heavily either, like  Bromley the general manager said,
          seldom seen anywhere else in the   many other curtains seemed to.     “Don’t touch it Bill, your finger will
          world. This was the only Melbourne  Surprise and rapture! An art deco  probably poke a hole through it. It’s so
          theatre I didn’t want to enter before  curtain was revealed one Sunday  old and brittle… and we can’t afford a
          the end of the previous session.   afternoon at the State at a church rally  new one.” During one of the early
             Elsewhere it was a treat to do so -  advertised as an archaeological slide  Melbourne Film Festivals, the house
          watch the sequence of curtain, house  show – Dead Men Do Tell Tales - a  curtain was down as the audience
          lights up, fading of house lights,  revelation of the mysteries of Egypt.  came in on the final night. The
          curtains opening, advertisements,  There it was, mid stage, concealing  intention was to raise it to reveal
          more lights fading and curtains    the massed choir who sang with verve,  Festival director Erwin Rado for the
          swishing and, in some theatres a giant  if not much finesse. It was magic; a  awards announcements.
          WurliTzer to entertain us. Then the  kaleidoscope of colour and geometric  The planned dramatic moment
          next session would commence with all  design unlike any other in the city. I  gave way to the unscripted when, at
          the trimmings. It irritated my father no  went week after week just to see this  the moment of lift, one of the tassels
          end when I insisted on arriving early  wondrous magical drape and the full  on the fringe hooked on to a stray nail
          so I see the full changeover. That can’t  depth of stage it revealed.   in the stage floor. No amount of
          happen today. Continuous sessions     As part of the makeover for     jerking would release it and the
          were great. I spent my childhood and  Cinemascope the Capitol was given a  upward movement ripped off almost a
          teen years wagging school to watch  stately red, plush house curtain that  meter of fringe. To the crew’s credit it
          those momentous events.            glided smoothly to the proscenium  was sewn back by the next session.
             But back to colours and drapes.  sides with the opening vertical seams  Behind this front tab was a French
          What a brown study His/Her         at 90 degrees to the stage floor; a  action curtain of a dried blood brown,
          Majesty’s was – brown, brown, brown  faultless French-action, discreetly  I recall. It too would stick
          and then to top it off, a brown house  coming to a stop behind the standard  occasionally and was eventually
          curtain. Well, brownish with hints of  chandeliers on either side of the stage.  scrapped by the management as
          greens and copper in an almost     First class! This red drape was a  unreliable. (Some say this was a
          invisible cross weave. No matter how  replacement for the original art deco  lustrous silver satin, fringed at the
          drab, it was superior in every way to  one that was bundled backstage in a  bottom.)
          the ghastly, ill-fitting red replacement  corner. It was green if I remember  I could go on. The stiff, painted,
          of the 1980s. Pulls in the seams, fabric  correctly, with diamond deco vertical  red house curtain of the Victorian Arts
          cut short (or not enough of it) crooked  panels. I never saw it hanging, but the  Centre State Theatre (top, page 6), a
          in the drop and a false addition at the  photos of it are spectacular. (See  replacement for the planned
          bottom running horizontally, with two  CinemaRecord 39 p6). This curtain is  embroidered tapestry which John
          rows of tacky fringe to try to make it

          8   2003 CINEMARECORD
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