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Your                                                                  Sydney’s Regent cost 250,000 pounds, while
                    Letters          (continued)                                    Melbourne’s was 360,000! Union responded
                                                                                    with  the  Capitol  (Sydney),  State  (Sydney
                                                                                    & Melbourne), Ambassadors Perth and the
                                                                                    total reconstruction of the Brisbane Tivoli.
                  egarding the question over use of the
              RMemorial  Hall  at  Canterbury  (Vic)                                Arguably Doyle’s State Theatres outclassed the
              as  a  cinema  (“Almost  a  Theatre”  CR-74),                         Regents in scale and he spent over one million
              Ross  King  has  unearthed  some  interesting                         pounds on cinema construction in the two years
              information from the old Argus Newspaper.                             from 1927. By 1921 Union Theatres controlled
                                                                                    80% of the Sydney cinemas.
              Burgoyne and Casey was an accounting firm
              which also had connections with film shows in   Frank Thring Snr.     On 1 September 1930 Fox Film Corporation
              Dandenong, Mentone, Chelsea and Essendon.In                           purchased  a  controlling  interest  in  Hoyts
              June 1925, they are reported to have signed with                      Theatres. Amongst those who sold to Fox was
              the hall trustees to show films on Wednesday   n his article on the Regent Theatre in   Frank Thring who also resigned as Managing
              and Saturday nights. The trustees retained the   IThornbury (Vic), Ian Smith describes it   Director.  He  had  decided  to  become  an
              right  to  vet  every  film  prior  to  screening,  in   as the sole survivor of Thring’s surburban   independent producer and Fox had promised
              keeping with the solemn purpose of the hall.  dream. I beg to differ – while not renamed   to distribute and exhibit his films.
                                                 as  a  “Regent”,  The  Victory  in  St.Kilda
              Their  picture  enterprises  seemed  to  have   was  certainly  part  of  Thring’s  dream   He established Efftee Films in September 1930
              been  fairly  short-lived  as  the  partnership   and  certainly  remodelled  seriously  by   and  leased  the  partly  burnt  Her  Majesty’s  in
              was dissolved in much acrimony following   architect, Cedric Ballantyne.  Melbourne as a Studio. He collaborated with C
              a court case in 1935.                                                 J Dennis in 1932 to make the “talkie” version
                                                                                    of The Sentimental Bloke (generally considered
                                                 Frank Thring Snr was intimately involved in
              Whether  the  Canterbury  arrangement  even   the early Australian cinema business, both in   inferior to Raymond Longford’s silent version in
              lasted  two  years  is  still  to  be  determined.    terms of making films and building the actual   1919) which was released by Universal Pictures.
                                                 cinemas. He entered the industry in 1910 and
                                      Ian Smith,  moved  from  being  a  projectionist  to  part-  Thring also purchased a dance hall in St.Kilda in
                            CATHS Research Team.                                    1933 (cnr Alfred Square & Upper Esplanade –
                                                 owner  of  Electric  Theatres  which  owned,   formerly the site of an “open air” cinema) to use
                                                 amongst others, the Victory in St. Kilda.  as a studio – in fact it became Australia’s largest
                                                                                    at the time. After the Studio closed it stayed open
                                                 In 1918 he became Managing Director of J C   as the St.Moritz Ice Rink and Frank Thring Jnr.
                                                 Williamson Films (distribution company) and   held the site until 1955.
                                                 in 1926 his interests merged with Hoyts to
                                                 form Hoyt’s Theatres. Thring now controlled   From 1933 Thring extended his activities into
                                                 Australia’s  second  largest  film  exhibition   radio and live theatre. Getting his films released
                                                 chain, rivalled only by Union Theatres.   outside of Victoria was always difficult due to
                                                                                    the American control of the industry in all other
                                                 Union launched a massive modernisation   states.  He  then  became  very  involved  in  the
                                                 of  all  their  sites  in  1921  under  Stuart   quota  disputes  of  the  1930s.  Ironically  NSW
                                                 Doyle  and  Thring  responded  from  1923   introduced  quotas  before  Victoria,  and  Thring
                                                 with  a  string  of  new  Regent  Theatres   was in the process of moving Eftee to Sydney
                                                 and  upgrades  of  existing  theatres  such   when he died aged 53 in 1936.
                                                 as  St  Kilda’s  Victory  (  reopened  1928             Robert Taylor.
                                                 after  being  “Regentised”  at  a  cost  of           National Theatre,
                                                 40,000 pounds).                                          St.Kilda.Vic.

                                                   NEWSREEL                                      THEATRE NEWS
                                                                                                    CINEMA AND


                                                 WATSON: As the sole survivor of the 1957   BUNBURY: Bunbury Council are interested
                                                 Starlight Drive-In Theatre, the significance   in purchasing the heritage-listed former Lyric
                                                 of the original neon entrance sign has been   Theatre for use as a museum. Currently in
                                                 recognised  for  Heritage  significance  and   use as a furniture store, the property is on the
                                                 possible  listing.  Closed  in  1993,  the  sign   market for $1.7 million.
                                                 remains in situ despite the site having been
                                                 redeveloped for housing in 2003.

                                                 WESTERN AUSTRALIA:
                                                 PERTH:  Replaced  by  the  new  State
                                                 Theatre,  the  (1956)  Playhouse  Theatre
                                                 was recently demolished.

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