Sunday, 31 July 2011

Electric Cinemas: the ODEON - Newcastle Upon Tyne.


There are places which during the course of one's life come to mean more than any other. These are places which hold special memories that will always be remembered at the end of days. Growing up during the sixties and seventies, the places I loved the most were cinemas. The excitement, anticipation and awe of going to see a movie on the "big screen" will never be matched in my book. Though I lived in a north eastern town that had two picture houses - the Wallaw and Regal, both much loved in their own way, there was nothing like travelling the 20 miles or so to the big city to see a movie at the biggest cinema in the region. 

This cinema was called the ODEON. It was on its 70mm screen that I first saw STAR WARS at its first showing in late 1977 with a packed cinema. An unforgettable experience somehow enhanced by the fact we had to stand in line for a couple of hours just to be able to get in.  I think I earned my Geek First Class badge that day and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
the ODEON circa 1960ish.

The ODEON was a lovely building with the decor done in art deco, with crystal lighting, and hued in deep rich comforting reds. To enter the auditorium you had to climb two flights of stairs which gave the impression that you were going to see something amazing once you'd reached the top. And you did as you can see in the top image. Sadly, the ODEON is no more. As with most things worthwhile it was closed down when a new multiplex was opened on the other side of town - which, as expected, is nothing more than a souless shell of rampant commercialism and spotlight blandness. The old building is now deserted, a mere derelict with the threat of demolition hanging over it. All very sad but I shall cherish the fantastic times and the pleasures it gave me and countless generations who sat spellbound at the moving images projected within its walls.

1 comment:

  1. Love this ... we have so much in common ... Just sold these to a guy in San Francisco >>