The Plaza cinema, Southampton (part 3)

“Saturday mornings “Mickey Mouse” film club attracted children plus live organ entertainment provided by the cinema’s Chief Projectionist, Ken Batten. “
“There were the Saturday morning shows…6d downstairs, 9d upstairs. On your birthday you would be given a free ticket and you could take a friend to any priced seat free of charge.”

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The Plaza Cinema, Southampton (part 2)

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.”

The Plaza cinema, Southampton (part 1)

The Plaza cinema in Southampton, with its ornate surroundings, was claimed to be the most luxurious film theatre in the south.

Many local people will remember two distinctive features about the Plaza; the double seats in the back row, much in demand by courting couples, and the illuminated Compton organ that used to rise from the floor.

One of the most popular events held at the Plaza was the children’s Saturday morning club during which the cinema’s chief projectionist, the late Ken Batten would play the organ and screen a serial, cartoon and main feature for the youngsters.

The Plaza closed on Saturday, November 30, 1957.
This is an edited extract from an article in the Southern Evening Echo.