The following extract from the Boyhood Memories of George Henry Allen brings back fond memories of going to the pictures as a boy. My father was the projectionist at the Plaza and also played the organ. I used to go to the pictures on Saturday morning, and my favourite was Rocket Man.
“I would have been about twelve or thirteen when we started going to the Plaza cinema which was in Northam, for the Sunday movies. A group of us went, Bill Lee (Bones), Brian Moody (Chas) Pete Bartlett, Ted Clinton (Clinkers) and Billy Austen. It was a great old cinema, the only one in Southampton that had double seats in the back row called love seats. There was a huge organ in the pits in front of the screen and a guy played all the popular music before the films started. There were always a lot of cartoons first and the song that everyone sang along with, The “ABC” song. The words were up on the screen and a white ball bounced along the words to keep everyone in tune. These are the words to the “ABC” song which I still remember to this day:
We are the boys and girls
Well known as minors of the ABC,
And every Saturday all line up to see the film we like
And shout along with glee.
We love to laugh and have a sing song
Such a happy crowd are we.
We’re all pals together
We’re minors of the ABC
We saw films like Hopalong Cassidy, Flash Gordon and Tarzan.”
I have memories of you taking me to the cinema in Portswood on Saturday mornings. I also remember Rocket Man fondly.
I think I once found some Rocket Man footage on the web, but a quick look now hasn't turned up anything. I seem to recall the Saturday cinema cost 9d, which I think is about 4p. More recently I couldn't bring myself to go to a London film in the evening – £15!