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I was just a brash young fella
          around town who had the picture bug,
          fought with his father over it, decided
          to go into Hoyts and ask for a job. And
          I was given one; shunted out to
          Camberwell as an assistant operator
          when ‘Hollands’ opened as Hoyts
          Camberwell on September 19, 1925.
            The greatest change I have seen in
          the industry was from ‘silent’ to
          ‘sound’. It was a jolt, an upheaval.
          When it happened I had moved to the
          Regent Collins Street, the mighty
          Regent, still the best theatre in
          Australia, possibly. But it opened silent,
          in February 1929 with Ronald Colman
          and Vilma Banky in Two Lovers.    The first talkie at Hoyts De Luxe, 13 July 1929 looked good in the ads: ‘Here’s drama
            Across the road at the Athenaeum  too big for words. Secrets of the Ocean’s Depths! Shoals of a Woman’s Heart!’
          Al Jolson was singing ‘Mammy’ in the
          new-fangled talking pictures. That’s  One Saturday night at the Regent -
                                                                                  An extract from My First Fifty Years
          what people wanted. They didn’t want  a packed house and just before Interval
                                                                               With Hoyts, an interview with the late
          any more ‘silents’.               - reel two of one of the Our Gang
                                                                               Bert Harris, on radio 3MA in 1975.
            Then there was a rush to get    comedy series was on the screen, with  At the time Bert was manager and
          equipment. Some of it wasn’t very  all the kids yelling their heads off. The  projectionist at Hoyts 16th Street
          good. Most of us didn’t know much  sound for this second reel was of  Drive-In, Mildura. The recording was
          about it. They brought out American  course, on record two.
                                                                               kindly supplied by his daughter
          so-called engineers to teach us. They  Interval. Then the feature, a murder
                                                                               Margaret Curnow.
          were a bit dark, very foggy at times.     mystery with Norma Shearer, The Trial
            Many silent pictures were hastily  of Mary Dugan. We had shown part one
          given sound effects. There was one  with the part one disc. Okay. Swung over
          picture we called ‘The One Percent  to part two and yes, there was a part-two
          Talkie’. Jack Holt was the actor,  disc on the turntable. On the screen
          Submarine the film. It was        Prosecutor H. B. Warner was addressing
          synchronised sound - all the crashes  the jury but the sound was kids yelling
          and aeroplane noises were going all the  their heads off! Result: the whole
          time, but it was really a silent picture  projection staff in Hoyts head office on
          with the usual intertitles. Towards the  the carpet Monday morning. ★
          last reel I think, Jack Holt went out into
          the street to buy a paper and he called
          to the paperboy - “Boy!” That was the
          only word in the picture.
            You see, those pictures had labels -
          Ten Percent Talkie, Fifty Percent Talkie
          etc. -  but within a few years silent
          pictures were gone.
            Sound in The Jazz Singer was on
          gramophone records, each a fourteen-
          and-a-half-inch disc, the Vitaphone.
          The needle started in the middle and
          worked out to the edge, the reverse of
          what we are used to.
            You put one frame of film in the
          projector gate at the point marked
          'Start', the record on the turntable
          below, started the projector motor, then
          held your breath and crossed your
                                            A tense Norma Shearer is defended by
          fingers and hoped that the image and
                                            her brother, Raymond Hackett in The Trial
          sound stayed synchronised, which often
                                            Of Mary Dugan. This was MGM's second
          they didn’t. There could also be big
                                            talkie. It opened at the Regent on
                                            Saturday 22 February 1930

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