Page 9 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2003 #41
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A Cygnet Swansong

                           For Eddie

                                   by Peter Jackson

            Only some 400 metres from the      The Cygnet has been owned by the
          banks of the Swan River stands a  Stiles family, prominent in the Perth
          Cygnet. Not such a young cygnet   entertainment scene for generations.
          though. This very distinctive theatre has  Formerly known as the Como
          graced the higher ground in the Perth  Theatre, there was also an outdoor  It is anticipated that the Cygnet will
          suburb of Como since 1938.        picture gardens serviced by the same  continue much in the current vein, but
            It is the last remaining indoor,  bio box, but the outdoor facility closed  possibly with more double-bills on the
          single-screen suburban cinema in Perth,  some 40 years ago.          weekend. Projection duties are now in
          and survives on the love and hard work  The cinema’s new exhibitor,  the capable hands of Barry Goldman. ★
          of its owners and staff and the loyalty  Graham Kahn, has an association with
          of its customers.                 the Cygnet. He was once a
            Sadly, one of the driving forces  projectionist there, and has spent a
          behind the Cygnet, long-serving   lifetime in the industry, having worked
          operator Eddie Herbert, succumbed to  in cinemas in New Zealand as well.
          cancer recently.
            On 19 July a regular monthly
          Sunday screening of cinema classics
          organised by the Australian Museum of
          Motion Picture Technology (AMMPT)
          became a farewell tribute to Eddie. The
          film, somewhat fittingly, was the 1939
          version of Goodbye Mr Chips, almost
          as old as the Art Deco theatre itself.
            There were few vacant seats in the
          theatre, which has a capacity of just
          under 500.
            The monthly Classics of the Silver
          Screen events are a popular attraction at
          the Cygnet and much effort goes into
          presenting a cinema experience
          reminiscent of the golden era of the
          movies. On this occasion there were
          amusing short features, a cartoon and
          trailer for a coming Buster Keaton
            A ‘new’ twist was some lively organ
          music played by John Fuhrman who
          used to be a regular performer at the
          long-gone Ambassadors and Metro
          theatres in the city. Tunes such as
          Tiptoe Through the Tulips, Keep your
          Sunnyside Up and Nickelodeon put the
          audience in the mood for nostalgia.
            Being so close to the river, it is
          appropriate that this theatre has a
          nautical appearance. Architect William
          Leighton made it reminiscent of an
          ocean liner. It is a wonderful experience
          to sit in the stalls or the circle and take
          in the gracious lines of the auditorium
          and proscenium, painted in a way that  Centre: The nautical theme of the Cygnet.
          accentuates the individual features.  Above: CATHS’ President Gerry Kennedy with projectionist Barry Goldman in August 2009.

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