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                                                                   at the

                                                         By Eric White

                                                      oyts Regent South Yarra for many   The session was run quite separately
                                                 Hyears ran a unique ‘Late Supper   from a normal Hoyts program.  The
                                                 Show’ every Friday night at 11.30.  projectionist even had to take separate
                                                                                    electricity readings between the end of
                                                 A  film of above average quality (up-  the normal Friday evening session and
                                                 market, if you like) was screened and   the beginning of the late show, so that its
                                                 a light supper was served before the   costs could be kept separate.
                                                 show.  The supper-show ran from 1959
                                                 until the theatre closed on  Wednesday   It was in 1959 that Ava Gardner made
                                                 1st July 1970, the same night that Hoyts   her reputed comment that Melbourne
                                                 closed the Regent Collins Street.  was an ideal place to make a  film
                                                                                    about the end of the world. Night-life
                                                 Though some people credit the idea   was sparse after 11 pm, so when the
                                                 to Hoyts’ Melbourne supremo George   late show was established that year it
                                                 Griffith, the supper show was the brain   quickly became popular.
                                                 child of theatre manager Eric Thacker, a
                                                 larger-than-life character.        Toorak Road where the  Regent was
                                                                                    located was the heart of Melbourne’s gay
                                                                                    scene and this group formed a large part
                                                                                    of the late show’s clientele. Show-biz
                                                                                    folk and the avant-garde also attended.

                                                                                    The late shows were well-loved by all serious
                                                                                    film-goers. The film society movement was
                                                                                    growing, helped along by the increasingly
                                                                                    popular Melbourne Film Festival.

                                                                                    Current release art-house and foreign
                                                                                    films were really only shown by two
                                                                                    Melbourne CBD cinemas, the Russell
                                                                                    Street  Savoy and the Collins Street
                                                                                    Australia - so it was at South Yarra and
                                                                                    at the  film societies that classics and
                                                                                    revivals could be seen.

                                                                                    Photos: Regent and first Late Show ad.

                                                                                       CINEMAREC ORD  2012       15
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