Page 22 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2003 #41
P. 22

Balwyn (and surrounding suburbs)
          were becoming the new growth area of
          Melbourne, and the Time immediately
          established itself as a worthy asset to
          the Hoyts chain. The office of Hoyts’
          Eastern Suburbs Circuit Manager was
          relocated to the building, perhaps
          demonstrating the prominent role that
          Hoyts envisaged for their new theatre.
            As a state-of-the art design, it begs
          the question as to why this cinema was
          relegated to the third week of the Hoyts
          suburban release pattern. In the 1940s
          and early 1950s it was a week four
          theatre, along with the Broadway
            Regarded as a prestige house after
          becoming one of the first theatres to get
          CinemaScope, the Broadway assumed
          first-week status (and simultaneous
          release with the City). The reason why
          the Time had to wait, even though
          upgraded to week three, was probably
          because the release pattern was based
          on distance from the city, and once
          established, it took a lot to change it.
          Architectural merit did not override the
          distance rule. (See CR 51, page 26).
            The Time was four km. from the
          Broadway, and required two trams to
          get there, perhaps a sufficient hurdle to
          keep most patrons in Balwyn.
             CinemaScope at the Time required
          little structural alteration, because of its
          wide proscenium. It continued to trade
          well throughout the 1950s and early
          1960s, when many other theatres
            The Time and its cousin the Maling,
          were Hoyts last single-screen push into
          the eastern suburbs. The attractive
          Maling, less than two km. south in a
          direct line, was not a rival because it was  Foyer walk to the stalls (top), the conservatory in the distance. Above: The shrubs display.
          a week five theatre, later upgraded to
          week four. Also, public transport  The government held firm, and Hoyts,  References
          between the two was a bit awkward.   true to their word, began the drastic  Public Records Office: Health
            It’s not unreasonable to claim that  sell-off.                     Department File, Time Theatre
          within its short life, the Time captured                             Building 1941
                                               Like so many Hoyts theatres in
          the heart of the local population. The
                                            Victoria, the Time was sold to an oil
          building brought something notable to
                                            company, which rapidly had the
          the streetscape, which could not be said
                                            wreckers demolishing what today
          of the business that replaced it.
                                            would be a hard-fought battle for
            In 1962, relationships between the  preservation on the grounds of heritage
          entertainment industry and the then  value. The cleared site hastily became
          Victorian Government were at boiling  yet another petrol station. ★
          point. Victorians were paying a high
          ‘entertainment tax’ on every cinema
          ticket purchased. Hoyts were one of the
          leading opponents of this tax, and as
          such, threatened closure of many of
          their theatres unless it was repealed.

          22  2008 CINEMARECORD
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