Page 18 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2003 #41
P. 18

How long were you at the Capitol?
            For another 18 months. I seemed to
          have 18-month spells wherever I went -
          and then one day I got this horrible
          letter from Bramley’s office to say I
          was to transfer to the Plaza Collins
          Street and that upset me terribly,
          because I loved it at the Capitol. By
          this time I was about 12 months into
          the projectionist’s course at the Royal
          Melbourne Institute of Technology
          (RMIT). So under sufferance I
          transferred to the Plaza projection
          room, which was off the Regent toilet.
          Who was projectionist at the Plaza?
            I worked with Fred Quick, and Alan
          Watts was the second projectionist.
          Alan was the talker of the two - Fred
          was a family-type always giving advice
          to everybody he spoke to. He was a
          lovely old chap.
            I used to put on this presentation
          with the dimmers. We had two sets of
          tabs in the Plaza and we had a little bit
          of silent title advertising during the
          trailers. I used to put on the last ten
          grooves of The Gay Parisienne by
          starting the record, bolting out of the
          projection room, down the passageway,
          flick the non-sync switch to get it on
          there, just as the title would finish -
          “da-da” - and then click the join and go
          through and we’d be on to our next bit
          of film with sound on it, and Fred
          would say, “If you’re ever on with
          Alan, don’t do that with him, that’s our

          You also had organists at the Plaza
          didn’t you?
                                            Regent organist Geoff Robinson, considered by Brian to be the best of a talented
            Yes, Mervyn Walsh was organist  group. He was organist at the Regent Adelaide, then Capitol Melbourne, moving to the
          there, and Ian Davies, who was also a  Regent from August 1949 to 1952. (Image: Barrie Wraith Collection). Meanwhile, in the
          fireman. When I say a fireman, he  Plaza below Brian had his responsibilities.
          worked for the Fire Brigade but he was
          the relief organist at the Plaza.
            In my mind, upstairs (the Regent)  could finish his last note as the time  So he took my name and I sort of
          had the grand organist of all time -  signal came on. He was famous for his  unofficially applied for the job, and
          Geoff Robinson. “Tuba” they used to  timing. I don’t know how he did it.  went back to the Plaza and kept my
          call him to his face - “Tuba”, a big  Anyway, I was at the Plaza for a  mouth zipped about what I’d done. In
          man. He used to make that organ sing.  few months when I heard that there was  due course I was granted an interview
          He could get through his tunes twice by  a vacancy coming up at the Metro up  with the Metro manager and the chief
          the time it would take some organists to  the hill, and I’d always heard how  projectionist.
          just play them once, but with all the  generous the Metro circuit was with  Next thing, I get a call from Ken
          effects, and it would be great.   equipment, so I popped out of the  Neck, chief projectionist at the Regent
                                            projection room, said I wouldn’t be  and he wanted to see me. “Brian, I don’t
          Did ABC Radio broadcast the organ
                                            long, and went to see the chief    want you to leave - you’re next into the
          from the Regent?
                                            projectionist at the Metro, who was  Regent you know”. And I said, “Yes
            Not only from the Regent, but from
                                            Tom Payne. He didn’t even know there  Ken, I’ve heard all this before”. So I
          all the capital city theatres with organs.
                                            was someone leaving, I got it on the  didn’t alter my thoughts about going to
          Half-past twelve on Sundays it was,
                                            grapevine first.                   the Metro, if they would have me.  ★
          half-past the hour, because Geoff
          Robinson would be the only one who                                   Transcription by Ms. Jo Maxion
                                                                               To Be Continued
          18  2008 CINEMARECORD
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