Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Cinema Talk at Scraptoft

I gave a talk to members of the Scraptoft 50 Club recently at Scraptoft Village Hall.

It was "Adventures of the Bearded Cinema Manager", which is probably the most popular of all the talks that I am asked to deliver from time to time.

It usually appeals to people of a certain age, as I start by talking about my own days as a teenage cinemagoer in Southend in the 1950s and early 1960s.

I speak about working as a clerk in the City of London, and my thorough dislike of the job, which galvanised me into finding something rather more interesting.

I joined the Rank Organisation as a Trainee Manager at the Odeon Gants Hill just ten days short of my 21st birthday in 1963, and had to learn all the staff jobs quickly.

It was easy to form the impression that cinemas were always busy, as during my first few weeks in the business we showed some very popular films indeed.

These included "The Longest Day", "The Great Escape", "From Russia With Love", "West Side Story", "Tom Jones" and "The Birds".

On my first day as Assistant Manager at the Odeon Barking, having been promoted, I had to spend the evening at the Odeon Southend and work on two concerts by four young chaps collectively known as the Beatles - now there was an experience.

I'm glad to say that everybody seemed to enjoy hearing the talk as much as I enjoyed giving it.