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Sheffield History

THE GAUMONT CINEMA Sheffield

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I would have been operating No 1 spotlight for that concert. Regarding Emile Ford's hits, they were "What do you wanna make those eyes at be for" * and "I'd like to get you on a slow boat to china" Apparently he liked long sone titles!

* This has a false ending and always gets chopped off when played by the younger DJs.

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Oh i loved the gaumont when i was a kid. I remember seeing Ghostbusters there and sitting right on the front row and i loved it when the curtains used to open .You knew the film was going to start it seemed so exciting back then (the 80s). Why such a beautiful place was allowed to be turned into the out of place mess it is now i'll never know :huh:

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I would have been operating No 1 spotlight for that concert. Regarding Emile Ford's hits, they were "What do you wanna make those eyes at be for" * and "I'd like to get you on a slow boat to china" Apparently he liked long sone titles!

* This has a false ending and always gets chopped off when played by the younger DJs.

Emile Ford would normally have been billed as "Emile Ford and the Checkmates" as this is how his name appeared on his records.

"What do you want to make those eyes at me for" was his first hit in October 1959

"I'd like to get you on a slow boat to china" was his second hit in February 1960

He had 6 other Top 50 hits

"Them There Eyes" in September 1960 is the only one in which he was WITHOUT the Checkmates

His last hit was "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" in March 1962

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Here's a photo I took whilst experimenting with my camera on an open shutter

You'll also find a copy here:

http://www.rocknroll.force9.co.uk/cinemas/...o7.html#kingdom

I used to frequent the Gaumont a lot towards it's latter years , mainly to use the video library that they installed at the back of the foyer. The Manager at that time was Paul Archer, a smashing fella who loved the building and would tell you all about it.

He once took me to the little lane around the back (where the mini in the previous posting was) and pointed out a row of windows that could no longer be looked out of since the stairway behind them had been blocked off during the conversion to multi screens.

When the cinema was converted from 1 to 2 screens he pointed out that they had a JCB in the building, digging out to make screen one deeper and that when the 3rd screen was added, an extention was built on the roof which at first wasn't insulated, so in winter the audience froze and in summer it was boiling.

He fought to keep the name Gaumont, because the Rank Organisation called the majority of their cinemas "Odeons" and he told them that Sheffielders associated the name "Odeon" with the cinema in Fitzallan Square (which was by now the Top Rank Bingo).

I also asked why were they pulling it down, was it due to poor attendances? He said "No. If we get the right films the place would still pack out, but when a development company offers the owners a few million pounds for the site and will incorporate 3 moderns screens into the bargain, how could they refuse?"

As I said, a smashing & interesting fella.

The Green Room

I cant believe no one has mentioned the Green Room. Perhaps some of you are not old enough to remember it? If you look on one of George Cunnighams paintings it is the restaurant that is lit up above the cinema overlooking Barkers Pool. My mum used to work there as a waitress and often me and dad would catch a film (Dumbo, Pinocchio,etc) while she was working and then pick her up after. As you have guessed I was a kid at the time so we are talking circa 1960. I am not sure when the restaurant closed. Apparently it was quite "well-to-do" and "the tips were good".

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To the best of my knowledge, the Gaumont never screened "true" Cinerama. Cinerama used three syncronised projectors to produce a huge wrap round image, the only instance of this I remember in Sheffield, was the Cinerama Touring Cinema. This temporary "cinema in a tent" was sited on waste land off Devonshire Street in February of 1965 for a period of three months. Hope this helps.

Cinerama

That brings back a childhood memory. That big blue tent with the screen that went right around your edge of sight. I remember a film they showed there called Cinerama Holiday. It featured a helicopter ride over the mountains, an olympic bob sleigh run taken from the sledge and a roller coaster ride. So big was the screen that you actually felt like you were there and all the film watchers were moving their heads in unison. It was the forerunner of the Disney 3D and Imax stuff. It never really took off because of the size of the screen and I recall that only the ABC had a screen anywhere near as wide. In the ABC I usd to watch how far the curtains opened to see how wide the screen was going to be. Well, it added to the excitement!

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This low resolution picture will give an idea of the decoration. The colour scheme was of plum and gold with powder blue.

The curtains shown here, I came to hate, as they sometimes jammed and only raised at one side. We then had to climb up the proscenium arch and haul it out of the way to start the performance. Not a favorite occupation for one who is afraid of heights!

The screen itself was unique and was rolled sideways into a huge vertical roll to clear the stage for live performances.

Link to auditorium photo on Picture Sheffield site

http://www.picturesheffield.co.uk/cgi-bin/...jpgh/s02725.jpg

What a great picture of the interior of the Gaumont.This was my favourite of the older cinemas of Sheffield and it was criminal when they ripped out all the original interior in 1968 to built two modern cinemas within the old shell.My first visit to the Gaumont was to see 'The Great Escape' in 1964, followed by 'Mary Poppins' in 1965. It was a beautiful plush ornate cinema and I still have fond memories of sitting in that wonderful auditorium.Your picture brings it all back.Thanks for posting it.

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The Green Room

I cant believe no one has mentioned the Green Room. Perhaps some of you are not old enough to remember it? If you look on one of George Cunnighams paintings it is the restaurant that is lit up above the cinema overlooking Barkers Pool. My mum used to work there as a waitress and often me and dad would catch a film (Dumbo, Pinocchio,etc) while she was working and then pick her up after. As you have guessed I was a kid at the time so we are talking circa 1960. I am not sure when the restaurant closed. Apparently it was quite "well-to-do" and "the tips were good".

The Green Room Restaurant was modernised in the mid sixties and renamed The Hallmark.You could get a very good three course lunch there for around 6/6 (32 &1/2p in todays coinage) and then pay 5/- for a front circle seat in the plush cinema auditorium for the main feature film, a supporting film and the latest edition of 'Look At Life', the Rank Organisations ten minute film on recent events etc.Wonderful days. Where did we go wrong?

Here is an early photo of the Gaumont's Green Room Restaurant.

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You didn't dream it Charlie Wag, in fact there were two occasions when the Gaumont's structure failed. Can't remember which came first but think it was when some of the decorative moulding came away from the ceiling under the balcony at the back of the stalls. No one was hurt though it happened during an afternoon performance.

The second one was much more serious but thankfully happened during the early hours of the morning. A large section of the outer dome broke away and crashed into the front of the balcony and stalls. Several dozen seats were smashed to a degree that showed just how fortunate it was, to have happened when the theatre was empty.

The theatre was closed for, I think ten days, for safety checks and repairs.

The dome itself (see picture) was made from moulded plaster secured in place with hessian ties, soaked in plaster and allowed to set. This was the approved method at the time of building in 1927. What hadn't been taken into account was that originally the ceilings around the dome had been lit with concealed lighting in the roof space through heavy plate glass panels. This lighting was removed during the 1950s but the glass left in situ. Several skips of glass were removed during the repairs. During this time, working lights were erected in the roof space which allowed us to see previously unnoticed war damage, where shrapnel (from the bomb which had damaged the front of the City Hall) had left several holes in the roof timbers. Also found over the proscenium arch was a plaster plate bearing the words,

"RIP" (sorry forgotten the two names) "died September 1927. Plasters leave this alone".

Strangely, both events happened while we were showing Walt Disney double feature programmes.......

Yes, the decorative moulding that collapsed during the afternoon was during a showing of the Walt Disney Hayley Mills film of 'The Moon-Spinners' and the support film was called 'Disneyland After Dark'.I remember going to see this programme a few days later and saw where the plaster had fallen off.Thanks for reminding me about this.

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Posting this for member abcman

==========================

C I N E R A M A - GAUMONT CINEMA 1 (In the former Circle)

When the Gaumont was twinned Gaumont 1 was fitted with a deep curve Cinerama screen, but was the revised single strip (70mm) Cinerama system, not the original three strip.It re-opened on 23rd July 1969 with the Cinerama film 'Ice Station Zebra'.The only other films from Cinerama screened were 'Krakatoa-East Of Java' and 'Song Of Norway' although several 70mm films were screened in both Gaumont 1 & Gaumont 2 -'Funny Girl', 'Sound Of Music',(first 70mm run at the Odeon Flat Street 1965-1967)'Ben Hur',(first 70mm run at the ABC in 1961) 'Gone With The Wind' (originally first shown in 70mm at the ABC in 1968),'Far From the Madding Crowd'(First 70mm run at the ABC in 1967),'Mayerling'(first 35mm run at the ABC in 1969) 'Oliver' (after its 70mm run at the Flat Street Odeon in 1968/69).There were other films shown in 70mm there, which I'm sure someone will remember and let us know.

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Posting this for member abcman

==========================

C I N E R A M A - GAUMONT CINEMA 1 (In the former Circle)

When the Gaumont was twinned Gaumont 1 was fitted with a deep curve Cinerama screen, but was the revised single strip (70mm) Cinerama system, not the original three strip.It re-opened on 23rd July 1969 with the Cinerama film 'Ice Station Zebra'.The only other films from Cinerama screened were 'Krakatoa-East Of Java' and 'Song Of Norway' although several 70mm films were screened in both Gaumont 1 & Gaumont 2 -'Funny Girl', 'Sound Of Music',(first 70mm run at the Odeon Flat Street 1965-1967)'Ben Hur',(first 70mm run at the ABC in 1961) 'Gone With The Wind' (originally first shown in 70mm at the ABC in 1968),'Far From the Madding Crowd'(First 70mm run at the ABC in 1967),'Mayerling'(first 35mm run at the ABC in 1969) 'Oliver' (after its 70mm run at the Flat Street Odeon in 1968/69).There were other films shown in 70mm there, which I'm sure someone will remember and let us know.

Gaumont 1 with deep curved Cinerama Screen - tabs closed

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Barkers Pool was one of the original town resevoirs and still runs under the area today. I worked at the Gaumont in the first half of the 1960s and had to check the water levels on a daily basis. During a stage production of the Bruce Forsyth Show the pump controlling the water level failed. The orchestra pit quickly flooded and the band played the first house with their feet in three inchs of muddy water. The show must go on......!

I worked the follow spot on that show, remember it well.

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About the mid 60's I was the assistant manager to Harry Murray at the Gaumont. Not certain of the exact dates but I was posted there from the Gaumont Liverpool soon after a large piece of coving had fallen from under the circle onto the stalls during the showing of "Disneyland After Dark" and which can still be seen on YouTube, I can recall Mr Murray telling me about it and telling the invading Argus reporters how to "go away" which apparently they did. Mr Murray enjoyed his daily quota of bottled beer which a commissionaire would bring to his office from the pub at the back of the theatre, never to my recollection completely sober but on live show nights he invariably shifted the Blue Label Bass's to excess. He was a showman through and through and the Gaumont was a beautiful theatre but like nearly every other Gaumont, Odeon and other theatres within the Rank Organisation empire were irretrievably vandalised or razed, so sad. I recall a publicity visit by Pat Pheonix to a Saturday kids matinee and I still have a photograph of her wearing very sensuous grey kid gloves being escorted by me down the stalls isle onto the front of stage rostrum. Although I otherwise enjoyed my period at the Gaumont, Mr Murray had a secretary called Barbara who was a thoroughly unpleasant and grossly overweight bully and because of her I was very happy to occasionally also do relief duties for Mr Mann who managed the Odeon. I was subsequently posted to the Majestic Leeds during the very long running Sound of Music, Google "Leeds of Yesteryear".

 

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On 18/01/2008 at 23:12, Sheffield History said:

What school did you go to ?

Bolehill

What year did you leave ?

1962

What changes have there been to your school since you left ? Nursery

Know

 

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Always remember Gaumont went to see i think was Dr No and part way through screen went black with a scratched message that President Kennedy had been assassinated 

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John, The film that was playing at the Gaumont during the week of November 17th to 23rd, 1963 was “The Birds”.

JFK was shot on Friday,22nd. November.

“The Birds” was in its second week at the Gaumont, and the Bond you may have seen at that time was “From Russia With Love”, which had finished its original four week run there, two weeks before.

The film I associate with that momentous day is Cliff’s “Summer Holiday”. 

I was taking Mum to see it (on its General Release) at the Manor Cinema.

I always remember Mum was doing her hair when the Newsflash, saying that he’d been shot came on TV. We didn’t find out that he was dead until we came home.

 

Poster - Birds, The_02.jpg

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As a kid, I queued around the block at the Gaumont through an entire performance, to see Mary Poppins in 1964.

Also saw The Beatles play there live. Didn't hear very much though, due to the screaming.

Dave

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Can you spot yourself in the queue, Dave?

This is the queue for "Mary Poppins”, which arrived at the Gaumont in Easter week, 1965. She stayed for four weeks.

I saw the Beatles at the City Hall - twice....and,you’re right.... the screaming was deafening!

ng! 5a24b0365b698_SGAUMONT-EASTER1965-QUEUEFORMARYPOPPINS.jpg.08891d1f69bde8189cf7e5eab6d43c20.jpg

 

ADMARYPOPLIST0001.jpg

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I saw the Rolling Stones at the Gaumont in 1965 (?) with my pals from Hurlfield School, Steve Clarke and Rob Lancaster. After the show we tried to get in the back door up that little alley to meet our heros and were chased off by a PC. Later that year I saw them at the City Hall and did get to meet them back stage because my Dad's pal was Mr Gummer, the City Hall manager. On both occasions there were two shows, with full support acts. Lots of noise so it was impossible to hear anything, Keith once said that Brian and him once played 'Popeye the Sailor' and nobody knew! However I can't remember the date of the Gaumont show, can anybody please help me with this?  Wazzie Worrall

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