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P. 8


             Erwin Rado
              Erwin Rado


                              By Ross King

            Within days of the news that
          Melbourne’s iconic Astor had been
          saved, another much-loved venue
          dimmed its lights for the last time.
            The Erwin Rado Theatre was
          situated on the ground floor at 211
          Johnston Street, Fitzroy, in a formerly
          unused section of the offices for the
          Melbourne International Film Festival
          (MIFF), which relocated there in 1992.
            The immediate area surrounding the
          ‘Rado’ was once home to Fitzroy’s
          earliest cinemas - the Star/Lyric, a few
          doors further along Johnston Street (the
          building is still standing), and the
          Fitzroy Picture Gardens opposite.
            CATHS member Ross Campbell,
          who has had a long association with the
          MIFF, saw possibilities in this ground
          floor area, previously a workroom of                                               Top: With a decor which
          the ADA Swimwear Company.                                                          matched mood and
            The MIFF had earmarked the space                                                 purpose the Rado was
          for a screening room, and some basic                                               sometimes compared to
          work had been done, including                                                      a Parisienne boutique
          construction of a partitioned and raised                                           cinema.
          platform at one end. Built of concrete                                             Left: I am a camera.
          and brick, the acoustics were                                                      Manager/operator Ross
          deplorable.                                                                        Cambell amidst a
            Ross suggested to the Film Festival                                              pictorial record of films,
          Executive Director, Tait Brady, that                                               screen, and Rado
          with volunteer help the area could be                                              identities.
          made into a useful preview cinema. As
                                                                                             Photos: Theatre sign -
          is usually the case, there were no funds
                                                                                             Ross King; Interiors
          available for this. Not to be deterred,
                                                                                             (here and p.9) – Ross
          Ross approached the many friends of
          the Melbourne Film Festival, including
          politicians, film directors and other
          industry luminaries whose careers had
          been stimulated by the Festival, seeking
          a donation of $100 each.
            The response was good, which
          allowed for the purchase of building
          materials. With volunteer labour and
          the expertise of a builder friend, the
          theatre began to take shape. Mattresses
          affixed to the hard brick walls and
          placed out of sight behind heavy red
          drapes, made a good acoustical

          8   2008 CINEMARECORD
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