Saturday, 20 May 2017

So were you in the Eltham Hill Gaumont on Sunday September 12 1965?

Now you pretty much know it’s time to get a life when you go looking for the date for a film listing for the Eltham Hill Gaumont.

Eltham Hill Gaumont, 1998
The listing was posted recently by Kath May and advertised the four films showing for the week beginning September 12.

For those with time on their hands on that Sunday the cinema was showing for just the one day The Unknown with Dean Jagger and Teenage Frankenstein with Whit Bissell, Phyllis Coates and Gary Conway.

With titles like that they were of course X rated under the old Board of Censorship classification and if there was anyone still unsure the listing carried the warning Adults only.

Now I have never really given it much thought but I suppose Sunday in the cinema in the 1950s and 60s would be a slow day.

The cinema , circa 1938
Most people would have gone on a Friday or Saturday night and the week would be given over to a more discerning audience, leaving Sunday for those just over 18 with money left in their pockets and with a taste for the macabre.

For the rest of the week starting on the Monday and running for a full six days there was Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn in Last Train from Gun Hill which was an A and Yul Brynner in Escape from Zahrain.

I went looking for the plots of the four films and wish I hadn’t bothered.  Suffice to say that today I doubt that even the most desperate of TV executives would look to showing them on even the graveyard slot.

So as a reward and in answer to Kath’s musings of when this week was I went off and roamed the records.  

Film poster, 1957
Now the films themselves were no clue.  The Unknown dated from 1956, Teenage Frankenstein from the following year and Last Train from 1959 which left Escape from Zahrain which was made in 1962.

But given that you can on the internet find a day if you have the month and the year with just a little bit of fiddling it was possible to place Sunday September 12 in 1965.

Which just leaves me to record that the Gaumont had opened on April 14 1938 showing Queen Victoria with Anna Neagle and closed on June 19 1967 with David Niven in Happy Go Lovely and Dana Andrews in Duel in the Jungle.*

It reopened as a Mecca Bingo Club and the rest as they say is a down to two fat ladies and a joyful shout of Bingo.

But I wouldn't have done the job properly if I didn't also try to date the second picture of the cinema.

It was showing Will Hay's film Oh Mr Porter which was released in 1937 and so I am guessing it will be the late 1930s.

And that's all I am going to say except to thank Kath for finding and posting the film listing leaving me to go off and watch the paint dry on the back door.

Picture; the old cinema November 1998 courtesy of David Simpson and sometime before 1952, cousinadnab taken from Gaumont Eltham Hill, Cinema Treasures, and film poster for Teenage Frankenstein, 1957 which is in the public domain

* Gaumont Eltham Hill, Cinema Treasures,

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