Tuesday, 15 May 2018

For the Friends of Oxford Road .......... part 2 ...... Studios One to a Million

Now, this is one of the pictures I took of a demonstration in the 1980s.

We are on Oxford heading towards the railway station, and bits of what you see have gone forever.

Ahead of us, the cream tiled building is now a 21st century hotel, while Studios One to a Million is a Dance Studio.

I say Studios One to a Million, but that does slightly over do the number of cinema screens but it  was a nick name we came to use for the place.

There will be many who remember the cinema as Studios 1 & 2, before its makeover and expansion into five screens.

It hosted late night movies, which began after the pubs closed and which therefore had an atmosphere a little different from matinees.

We saw Easy Rider there and more memorably, the cult horror film ..... Scream, Scream and Scream Again, which involved the harvesting of body parts from an  unwilling donor, and which every so often showed the said man minus another limb.

I doubt that today I would find it as riveting as I did back in 1971, but then I had had a large number of pints in the Red Lion before we paid our money over.

All of which just leaves me to point out that today opposite the former cinema is a building site, just as there had been when we fell into Studios One to a Million on a Saturday night.

In between those two points, the site had become the BBC Building but that is a tale for another time.

Manchester Guardian, September 12 1930
At which point I have to confess to making a mistake which was pointed out by Gordon Howe.  I wrongly assumed the cinema had started with just one screen.  But Gordon commented, "I always believed that the cinema was originally built with two screens, because my Mum (who lived in Manchester from the 1920s to the late 1940s) always referred to it as the Regal Twins".

And a quick look at the wonderful site cinema Treasures revealed that it was "originally opened as the Twin Regal Kinemas on 20th September 1930. The cinemas, which had separate entrances and foyers, were on the second floor and shared a single projection room. Neither had a balcony and each seated 800.

Although it’s common place now, these two cinemas often presented the same film albeit at different times. Each had a barrel vaulted ceiling and elaborate Art Deco plasterwork down the side walls depicting folds of cloth.

In 1960, they were bought by the Star Cinemas group and renamed Romulus and Remus which lasted just two years before they became known as Studios 1 & 2.*

Never let a mistake get in the way of accuracy, so thank you Gordon and keep checking my stories!

Location; Oxford Road, sometime in the 1980s

Picture; Oxford Road, sometime in the 1980s, from the collection of Andrew Simpson.

*cinema Treasures, http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/2679

1 comment:

  1. I saw Star Wars there in 1978, and yes quite a few of those late Saturday night cult films like 'Performance' starring Mick Jagger.

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