Page 12 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2003 #41
P. 12

One Projectionist’s Life:

          From A Regent To The Regent

                                         Brian Quigley interviewd by Jim White

                              Part 1: It’s A Great Feeling

          JW: What was the first cinema that you  “You know, whoever got this job  remember it as the first film I ever ran,
          worked in - how did you get that job?  wouldn’t be able to take any films  or saw, from the projection room.
            Well, I’d finished school, be in 1946  home.” I said I understand that fully,  Actually, I didn’t see it, I was too
          I think.                          yes. As I left the inner office I noticed  fascinated with what was going on.
                                            two other candidates waiting in line.  The incredible thing about the
          What school?
                                            Myrtle Gale said, “Come back in an  Regent South Yarra was that they
            Richmond Technical - I’d done three  hour and we’ll give you an answer.”  forgot to build a projection room - and
          years of turning and fitting practice and I
                                               So I went down to the Albany    there was a mighty panic to attach it to
          was working part-time on a fruit stall up
                                            where they showed the newsreels, sat  the back wall on steel struts - and on
          in Bridge Road at the time. I’d had that
                                            that out uncomfortably for an hour,  windy nights the whole place would
          job while I was at school on Saturday
                                            then made my way back to the office.  shake. The projectors were Simplex on
          mornings delivering fruit orders to
                                               But there was one thing wrong - I  Western Electric sound heads. The
          people with my little hand truck and I
                                            was only 15 years of age and you had  rewind bench was down a couple of
          was always looking in The Age - I was
                                            to be 16 by law. So Myrtle Gale said,  steps one end of the projection room,
          always fascinated by those little black
                                            “You’ve got the job - we’ll put your age  and there was a door opening out on to
          windows at the back of the cinemas and
                                            up 12 months. Take this form up to the  a landing where you went down a
          the magic light that came out of them.
                                            Health Department and have Mr. Vine  vertical ladder to an escape hatch. And
          And so one Saturday morning I got The
                                            give you a trainee ticket.”        film had a tendency to wobble off the
          Age and there it was: ‘Trainee
                                               So I made my way up to Queen    neutral end of the re-winder and skid
          projectionist required. Apply Hoyts
                                            Street to see Mr. Vine, an old public  on the bench and fall out the door and
          Theatres Ltd, 191 Collins Street
                                            servant from way back, and he signed  drop down. It happened a couple of
          Melbourne’, so I got pen and paper out
                                            the application, and I was shivering in  times, but not to me fortunately.
          like a flash and my letter was in the mail
                                            my boots wondering whether he was     I spent nine months at the Regent. I
          within an hour, and so then the next
                                            going to ask me how old I was, but it  think they forgot they’d put a second
          fortnight just dragged, looking in the
                                            never did come up.                 assistant out there. I was living in
          letterbox each day for the return mail.
                                               And so the following Saturday I  Richmond at the time and it was a
            Eventually it came. I was granted an
                                            went armed with a letter from Myrtle  three-penny tram fare along Chapel
          interview with Mr. Mick Bramley at
                                            Gale to the manager of the Regent  Street to get home. I remember at the
          Hoyts head office. But actually
                                            South Yarra, where I was introduced to  end of the show making my way down
          (secretary) Myrtle Gale was the
                                            projectionist Frank Krautel. I was to be  to the tram and finding people waiting
          instigator of the whole affair, I think.
                                            second assistant projectionist. First thing  at the stop who’d been to the pictures
          She would take over before you even
                                            I was taught was how to sweep the floor,  and I’d stand there proudly thinking ‘I
          got shown into the inner sanctum.
                                            and that’s when my career began.      helped entertain you.’ It was a great
            And my interview went along the                                    feeling - it’s a feeling I think a lot of
                                               My first show, a two o’clock
          lines of, “Hello son, sit down, I see you                            good projectionists must have, that
                                            Saturday matinee, was Edward G.
          have a movie projector, what size is it?”                            they’ve entertained a lot of people with
                                            Robinson in Destroyer. I’m not sure
          “Thirty-five mm Mr. Bramley.”                                        their skills.
                                            what exchange it came from, but I still
          12  2008 CINEMARECORD
   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17