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There was no shortage of suitable product.   The shows ran to a strict formula.
              Thacker used smaller distributors such   Only the dress circle was utilised.
              as Robert Kapferer and Blake Films,   The auditorium lighting was kept to
              both with large libraries of appropriate   a bare minimum. Only the very back
              titles - The Seventh Seal, Rocco and His   cove was used, partly to cut costs and
              Brothers - and the like. There were also   partly to suggest a Bohemian ambience.
              plenty of suitable titles from mainstream   There was full stage lighting of course.
              distributors – East of Eden, The Leopard,   Together with the waterfall curtain it was
                                                 South Yarra’s best feature.outh Yarra’s best feature.
              The Reluctant Debutante and Victim.   S
              Thacker constantly had new material
              at his disposal, though favourites were
              repeated from time to time. He knew his
              market and rarely made a poor choice.

              The supper was catered for by
              Rumplemayers, a popular Toorak Road
              coffee lounge, and was prepared on the
              Regent premises with the assistance of
              front-of-house staff during the second
              half of the normal evening session.                            The    This also got the audience moving and
                                                                                    enabled Thacker to keep an ear on what
                                                                     program        e
              It consisted of  filled savoury biscuits,   began with God Save the Queen   was going on.
              and of course, coffee. It was not at all   played from a very scratchy 78rpm
              bad - the assistant projectionist always   record. It was apparently some sort of   At one stage  Thacker ran the original
              hoped for leftovers for his own supper!  ‘in-joke’. Only the first few bars made   Batman serial, which was very popular, and
                                                 the distance, then it was on with the   sometimes an item from New Faces (1952),
                                                 newsreel. Nobody was interested in the   a print of which was kept permanently at
                                                 newsreel as such, but it let the audience   the theatre for a period. After the newsreel
                                                 in the foyer know that something   the special Late Show coming attraction
                                                 was happening, and got them into the   slide was shown, then off with the cove
                                                 auditorium.                        lighting and on with the feature.

                                                 At the late show the movie sound was piped   The Coming Attraction slide was Thacker’s
                                                 into the foyer, not a usual Hoyts practice.   pride and joy and was screened at every
                                                                                    opportunity. It was professionally done and
                                                                                    must have cost a fair amount of money.
                                                                                    Every assistant projectionist was told that
                                                                                    if anything happened to that slide, it would
                                                                                    be more than his life was worth. It was
                                                                                    pink (Thacker loved pink) and had a little
                                                                                    box into which the type-written title of the
                                                                                    next attraction could be inserted written on
                                                                                    a piece of gelatine.

                                                                                    Thacker was the only theatre manager I
                                                                                    knew who used a typewriter. He typed at
                                                                                    high speed and low accuracy. If he made a
                                                                                    mistake he simply covered it with XXXs
                                                                                    and kept on going.

              16   2012  CINEMAREC ORD
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