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CINEMA AND               Your
                          THEATRE                      Letters
                          C A   H S                                     (continued)
                                                     he story of how Eric Thacker, the last
                  HISTORICAL       SOCIETY       Tmanager  of  the  South  Yarra  Regent
                        ESTABLISHED 1989         devised Friday night late shows, and breathed
                           Australia             new life into the theatre, ran in CR-73.
                        ABN 37 195 378 179
                         Reg A0020747R           Years  after  the  demise  of  the  theatre,  the
                                                 Thacker influence surfaced again in an odd
                 The aim of CATHS is to record the history of   newspaper story. It was something he would
                cinemas and theatres, and to promote interest in   have relished, even if it was posthumous; a bit
                  theatre heritage, architecture and other    of mystery, with a Hollywood connection.
                          related areas.
                           Patrons:              A 1994 story in the (Melbourne) Herald-Sun
                         Peter Smith OAM         told  an  intriguing  story.  According  to  actor/
                       Frank Van Straten OAM     musician  Austin  James  who  was  tutored  by
                                                 Thacker, his teacher kept an Oscar on the piano!
                          Committee:             Thacker was silent about its provenance, but he
                President   Gerry Kennedy  0432 434 169   did promise to bequeath it to Mr James.
                Vice President      Royce Harris
                Secretary     Mike Trickett 5278 1986   After Thacker died, no will could be found
                Treasurer   Rodney Bendix  9563 2927   and the actor battled for seven years in the
                Editor/Committee   K.Adams 0409 946 066   Supreme  Court  to  claim  his  inheritance.
                Committee           Shane Moore  Eventually a will was found inside the piano,
                                                 which verified his claim to ownership.                Thacker’s Oscar.

                Archivist   Gerry Kennedy 0432 434 169   The story explained that the name plate for
                Events Co-ordinator   Les Auld 9689 2765   this Oscar was missing. The photo of it was
                    Qld.Convenor / Publicity Officer:   only  so-so  quality,  but  it  did  show  small   ere in Tasmania, two more old industry
                Steve Maggs         0413 805 320  holes in the pedestal, which could have been  Hfriends, Gavan Guy and Norm Brown
                                                 the screw holes for securing a name plate.   have sadly left us.

                        Contacting CATHS:        Was this Oscar a fake, another example of   Gavan  gave  the  little  Deloraine  Cinema  a
                                                 Eric Thacker’s humour? That was the initial   new lease of life after Star Theatres ceased
                Post    P.O.Box 476. Bentleigh. Vic. 3205   conclusion of the CATHS Research Group. A   screening  there.  The  plant,  which  was  the
                Caths Website  modern Oscar has a stern visage and this one   same  as  at  the  Longford  Capitol  where  I
                                                 had a Mona Lisa smile. But the Committee   started off – good old P-5 C&Ws with RCA
                                                 are  not  experts  on  this  subject,  especially   sound, was still in the theatre. With the help
                                                 when the evidence is a grainy photo. So let’s   of  Fred  Archer,  Gavin  was  able  to  get  it
                      CinemaRecord Magazine:
                                                 broaden the discussion a bit.      operational and start screenings again. I saw
                Editor      Kevin Adams  0409 946 066                               Gavin’s ad in the local paper, which was the
                Email          The  Academy  of  Motion  Picture  Arts  and   start of a friendship that lasted a long time.
                Postal for magazine content only   K.Adams   Sciences  guards  its  Oscars  closely.  These
                         P.O.Box 535, Carlton North. Vic. 3054  days,  recipients  have  to  agree  not  to  sell   Gavan’s funeral service was held in the theatre,
                                                 them, and if they do want to\dispose of them,   and  there  was  a  full  house!    His  family  had
                                                 the Academy has the right of first refusal.  movie-posters  all  around  the  walls  –  his
                   Memberships & Publication Sales:                                 favourite movie had been The Sound of Music.
                Jim & Maureen Barrand   0418520315   How often do actors or their descendants wish to
                  P.O.Box 476. Bentleigh. Victoria. 3205  sell an Oscar? There was a kerfuffle when Harold   Norm Brown hailed from the small town of
                  Annual membership subscription is $45.   Russell (Best Supporting Actor – The Best Years   Rangarooma. He had the same name as his
                  (overseas $50) and members receive four   of Our Lives) sold his statuette. Perhaps it can   father  and  both  had  put  on  picture-shows
                copies of CinemaRecord, notifications of events,   legally be sold if the plate is removed.    throughout  North-East  Tasmania.  Young
                copies of the agenda and minutes of meetings.                       Norm never had a certificate to operate – so
                       There is no joining fee.  Another  question  is  whether  the  design  of   he simply used his dad’s name!
                                                 the face has changed since Cedric Gibbons
                                                 at MGM designed the statuette for the first   One night his program was Peter Pan, but not
                        CATHS Meetings:          Awards in 1927. Perhaps those early Oscars   a single person came to the show, so Norm
                Are held on the last Sunday of February, April,   did  have  a  smirky  look.  After  all,  every   said “I have paid for it” – so we ran it for
                   June, August, October & November.  film studio has tweaked its logo, sometimes   ourselves! The first show I ever had that no
                                                 drastically, so why not the Academy?    one came! I am told that all these years later,
                         CATHS Archive:                                             the two C&Ws are still in the hall.
                The Archive is located in the Prahran Mechanics   Whatever the truth, it’s a sure bet that Thacker
                Institute, 140 High Street Prahran. 9510 3393.   would have revelled in the mischief caused   Poor Norm had the “Big C” but he kept going
                The archive will be open between 9.30am and   by his little golden figure. And it would have   for many years and ran his own workshop in
                12.30pm on the Saturday before each meeting   been quite in character for him to ‘acquire’ a   the town.
                    and at other times by appointment
                         with the archivist.     real Oscar somewhere along the line.
                                                                                                            Ray Peck.
                                                                        Eric White.                     Underwood. Tas

               4   2012  CINEM AREC ORD
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