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rose up to eye-level, dressed as a pirate-
                                                                               girl brandishing a sword. Behind me
                                                                               was a huge block of Old Jamaica
                                                                               chocolate (mock, of course) which took
                                                                               up all the stage. The wrapper was an
                                                                               imitation of the real thing and I was the
                                                                               three-dimensional focus of it. I was
                                                                               paid five pounds ($10) for standing for
                                                                               ten minutes for three nights. I had
                                                                               asked for the night off but the manager
                                                                               said “No, you’re it!” Well, it was a
                                                                               special night, literally in the spotlight.
                                                                                  Horace Weber is the organist most
                                                                               people associate with the Capitol,but
                                                                               in my time I think he was at the
                                                                               Regent. Stanfield Holliday was on our
                                                                               Wurlitzer. He didn’t really mix with us
                                                                               but was always polite if he saw one of
                                                                               us on his way to his dressing room, or
                                                                               up the small stairway to the organ.
                                                                               Sometimes after a night show he would
                                                                               practice, opening up the pipes and
                                                                               letting rip! Magnificent music filled the
                                                                               great theatre.
                                                                                  Anyone who deals with the public
                                                                               knows some funny stories. After the
                                                                               show had started one Saturday
                                                                               afternoon and the place was rather full
                                                                               (it was not a block ticket session), a
                                                                               patron came in to the back stalls and I
                                                                               thought “Oh where can I put him?” So
                                                                               we went down the aisle together, me
                                                                               scanning each row for an empty seat.
                                                                               It’s usually easy to find an empty one
                                                                               in a crowd because faces show up in
                                                                               the dark. Well, I saw a seat in the
          Top: November 1950. Capitol manager Mr. Noel Keil (centre) receives a shield from
                                                                               middle of a row, told him to go in and
          the head of 20th Century Fox Melbourne, presented for achieving record all-time takings
                                                                               watched as he pushed past those
          for Broken Arrow. Loraine Wood, with collar wings out, is third from right.
                                                                               already seated. Just back at my post, I
          Above: The void into the back stalls, seen from the lounge foyer.    saw him running up the aisle. He had
                                                                               sat down on the knee of a black man!
          with the auditorium entrance at the  sick. We weren’t snobby about ‘lesser’
                                                                               Of course the community wasn’t so
          level of the highest rows of seats. This  theatres, (the Esquire and Lyceum
                                                                               racially diverse in those days. I don’t
          spacious innovation was lost in the  weren't exactly plum assignments), but
                                                                               know who got the bigger shock.
          carve-up to a smaller theatre.    it was nice working in a prestige one.
                                                                                  We had a pageboy dressed in a
            I don’t know how we managed to  There was no Christmas staff party,  smaller version of the Commissionaire’s
          lift our skirts on those stairs while  although there was a Show Business  uniform. He stood at the top of the
          holding torch and tickets and walk  Ball each year, usually held at the St  stairs selling Screen News, the
          straight at the same time. “No stooping  Kilda Town Hall.
                                                                               magazine that told stories about the
          girls”, as June Dally Watkins (a     We had picnics to Healsville, but
                                                                               stars and their forthcoming films. He
          deportment identity) would say.   these were private outings arranged
                                                                               was about 14 and that uniform made
            The void or ‘well’ from the lounge  amongst the staff. One Sunday we were  him look cute. He was also precocious.
          foyer into the stalls was the bane of our  marooned at Healeville when the road  When not at his post selling he would
          shift. Kids were always tossing lolly  flooded. We had to stay the night and  follow us around asking questions
          wrappers into it and down they floated  there was a bit of a panic, as some of  about sex. I think he knew more than
          on to the patrons below. We dreaded the  us, including assistant manager Bob  we did.
          possibility of a curious child leaning in  Callaway were rostered on for the next  Naturally enough, after seeing big
          and falling.                      day.
                                                                               stars on our big screen, some of the
            Our staff were a self-contained unit,  My 2lst birthday was memorable  girls would get a crush on a particular
          as was the case at all Hoyts theatres.  for more than one reason. I was asked  actor and write to them. After watching
          We did not have contact with other  to take part in a promotion for  Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope many times, I
          usherettes and were never asked to help  concessionaire sales. At Interval, I  wrote to Farley Grainger asking him to
          out at another location if someone was  stood at the front of the band pit as it

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