Page 14 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2003 #41
P. 14

Padua management wasn’t
          accommodating, because there was a
          lot more work involved at the Padua.
          So he asked me would I swap, and
          there was an uproar from my manager,
          “Don’t take it, don’t take it,” but in my
          heart I did want it, so I did a swap, and
          went to the Padua. Up-to-date, a lovely
          projection room, everything you could
          want in a projection room. Hoyts kept
          the whole theatre up to scratch, looked
          after it like one of their babies.
            I arrived there in 1947, I think.
          These are approximate dates - I haven’t
          logged them in years, so can’t quite
                                                             The Grand Coburg was a pre-1920 cinema
          remember. It was the time of The Best
                                                             given a new front at street level, but the
          Years of Our Lives, one of the big
                                                             interior was indifferent.
          movies that came in. And of course
          every night of the week they had a live
          stage show on a revolving stage. The
          normal theatre screen took most of it,
          with a setting for the stage and then
          another little portion of it, not quite a
          third, was taken up with a round slide
          screen. The slide presentation was still
          done with rectangular slides - the
          normal glass slides for advertising - but
          the screen was round.
            The day cleaner used to come in of
          a night and make sure the screen was in
          the right position, that is, start with the
          round screen for the slides, and as soon
          as we closed the electric curtains
          (which by the way the Grand didn’t
          have, someone had to go down and pull
          them by hand), the cleaner would turn
          the stage around to accommodate the
          standard screen.
            There was only one thing wrong
          with what he used to do - he used to
          revolve the stage the same way all the
          time and every few months we had to
          go down and check the speaker lines
          that ran down from overhead.
          Sometimes you could play them like a
          harp - twang, twang, twang, they were
          stretched so tight - and I would spend
          the next half hour unwinding them, by
          turning the stage via the winch in the
          opposite direction, to get some slack in
          them for the next three months. But
          they were good times.

                                                       The Padua Brunswick (centre), possibly the best of the
                                                       Hoyts’ ‘new look’ cinemas, and its revolving stage (above).

          14  2008 CINEMARECORD
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