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THE ABC CINEMA Sheffield


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Another nice little Pathe news clip here.

2 questions, -

Did the ABC play this Pathe news film of their own opening?

After all the cinema would have to be already open (if only by a few days) when Pathe released this one.

Does Tsavo know who the projectionist is who appears in this clip?

Or indeed, is it Tsavo himself?

I think the projectionist in the Pathe News clip was Don Sykes who was the Chief Projectionist when the ABC opened in 1961.By 1968 when I joined as a projectionist Pete Morley was the Chief who remained there till the ABC closed in 1988.I myself became a trainee manager there in 1971 (promoted from 3rd projectionist) and was trained by the Manager Les Allen.I left in 1972 to become assistant manager at the ABC Barnsley, returning in 1975 as senior assistant manager (during the run of 'Jaws') and left again in 1976 returning again as Manager when Les Allen retired in 1985.(Richard Roper)

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Went to the ABC MINORS every Saturday morning for Flash Gordon (still have nightmares about the 'clay men') and cartoons and if it was your birthday you took your birthday card up on stage (can't reme

It certainly is. The three windows on the left were sometimes decorated to illustrate a film. I heard that at the time of "Where Eagles Dare" there were models of cable cars there. Further down y

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I think the projectionist in the Pathe News clip was Don Sykes who was the Chief Projectionist when the ABC opened in 1961.By 1968 when I joined as a projectionist Pete Morley was the Chief who remained there till the ABC closed in 1988.I myself became a trainee manager there in 1971 (promoted from 3rd projectionist) and was trained by the Manager Les Allen.I left in 1972 to become assistant manager at the ABC Barnsley, returning in 1975 as senior assistant manager (during the run of 'Jaws') and left again in 1976 returning again as Manager when Les Allen retired in 1985.(Richard Roper)

Thanks abcman,

We seem to have several members who are ex projectionists in Sheffield cinemas so have managed to gather a wealth of posts on the subject of our lost cinemas. Many thanks for your contributions.

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Talking of Don Sykes:-

ABC Sheffield, England with Don Sykes operating the DP70 in 1964.

The Todd-A.O. system requires a very large optical system. The size of this system determines that of the lens holder. The lens is focused by means of the knob underneath the carriage (Photo I) over which the entire lens holder slides during focusing; this adjustment is free of any play.

Special attention has been paid to the precision of this adjustment, since either a too fine or a too coarse adjustment may render focusing difficult.

Sleeves with different inner diameter can be mounted into the lens holder to fit the lenses necessary for the different projection systems. For the projection of 35mm films the optical axis is shifted over the required distance by pushing the little knob in the slit of the lens holder over the whole length backwards through this slit.

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Talking of Don Sykes:-

ABC Sheffield, England with Don Sykes operating the DP70 in 1964.

The Todd-A.O. system requires a very large optical system. The size of this system determines that of the lens holder. The lens is focused by means of the knob underneath the carriage (Photo I) over which the entire lens holder slides during focusing; this adjustment is free of any play.

Special attention has been paid to the precision of this adjustment, since either a too fine or a too coarse adjustment may render focusing difficult.

Sleeves with different inner diameter can be mounted into the lens holder to fit the lenses necessary for the different projection systems. For the projection of 35mm films the optical axis is shifted over the required distance by pushing the little knob in the slit of the lens holder over the whole length backwards through this slit.

Sounds like you could be an ex projectionist as well mickjj

I'm not, Tsavo is and we have discussed the TODD A-O (stands for Anamorphical Optics) system somewhere previously in another thread. Many thanks for the additional info on the technicalities of projecting the TODD A-O pictures using the special A-O lenses.

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Photo of the ABC in 1968 when I first started working there.

Interior of the stadium auditorium when first opened in 1961 showing the spectacular 70mm screen.There were two sets of tabs (curtains). The yellow house tabs continued up half the side walls and the silver screen tabs were illuminated from the wings by different coloured fluorescents.Of course, this was in the days when presentation was the name of the game.

Another view showing the floating ceiling and both sets of tabs opening.

The ABC on opening day May 17th 1961.

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Photo of the ABC in 1968 when I first started working there.

Grear picture of Angel street as it was, with cockaynes to the left.

Taken in 1968 but still showing a film made around 30 years earlier, - "Gone With The Wind", what a classic!

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Sounds like you could be an ex projectionist as well mickjj

I'm not, Tsavo is and we have discussed the TODD A-O (stands for Anamorphical Optics) system somewhere previously in another thread. Many thanks for the additional info on the technicalities of projecting the TODD A-O pictures using the special A-O lenses.

No I am not I found the article in an old magazine.

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  • 1 month later...

If it's of any use to anybody - In the early eighties she (like a ship - always a she) still had her carbon arc projectors (in ABC1). Reel to reel stuff, none of your modern 'cake-stand' and Xenon gas type. Most films were supplied as 35mm prints on 40 minute reels. The big fun was 70mm. 20 minute reels, magnetic soundtrack and one of the biggest screens in the UK ( I kid you not). To watch the tabs (curtains) and the masking (those black blind things) run out after the Pearl and Dean adverts was worth the ticket money on it's own. Darn shame it's all gone. The modern multiplex can't hold a candle to it. It's just a shame that the kids won't see it.

I worked abc from 1961 to 1971 enjoyed all of it finished as chief projectionist, happy days.cheers barry

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The first film to be shown at the ABC was 'Don't Bother To Knock'(a world premier), starring Richard Todd, I was there the first night when he made a personal appearance. I think that Elke Sommer, the female lead also appeared. I can also remember going to the first showing in Sheffield of 'Ben Hur', when the actor Finlay Currey made a personal appearance.

do you remember having to get a new print as 1st one badly scratched I do. cheers barry

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Grear picture of Angel street as it was, with cockaynes to the left.

Taken in 1968 but still showing a film made around 30 years earlier, - "Gone With The Wind", what a classic!

nice one richerd, you,ll remember me .cheers barry,ps pete still around

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Sounds like you could be an ex projectionist as well mickjj

I'm not, Tsavo is and we have discussed the TODD A-O (stands for Anamorphical Optics) system somewhere previously in another thread. Many thanks for the additional info on the technicalities of projecting the TODD A-O pictures using the special A-O lenses.

mike todd produced around the world in 80 days Todd A.O american optical company.cheers, barry

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nice one richerd, you,ll remember me .cheers barry,ps pete still around

Still remember my first day at the ABC as trainee projectionist and my first shift was with you Barry.Happy days.

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mike todd produced around the world in 80 days Todd A.O american optical company.cheers, barry

Was always lead to believe that A-O stood for Anamorphic Optics, a reference to the special lenses required to make this system work. They were used on the cameras to "squeeze" the picture into a standard sized frame and then on the projector, rotated 90 degrees, to "stretch" the picture back out to its correct aspect ratio.

However, being well aware of American arrogance about how good they are, they make the best films, best this, best that etc..etc..best lenses then I can well believe that the film format A-O is actually named after a company with the word AMERICA in its title, American Optical Company.

Did I say best lenses?

Sorry America, for me the Swiss and German lenses have always been the best, - but that's another story!

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Still remember my first day at the ABC as trainee projectionist and my first shift was with you Barry.Happy days.

Thanks for that, I was trying to think why anyone would know me. lol

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Box Office card for the film 'CAMELOT' which opened at the ABC Sheffield on 17th December 1967 running for six weeks - shown in 'BREATHTAKING 70mm' as the poster said. (And it was breathtaking!)

And the Box office card for 'The Wild Bunch' (All those shootings on the 70mm screen)

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Dinno_Paul

Wow,the pictures of the pictures ;-) are just blowing me away.

It's funny how your old memories just lay dormant until you see an image that rekindles everything.

I am up early in the morning but can't tear myself away from this wonderful forum.

I remember the ABC very well,has nobody else seen Star Wars(1977) or The Empire Strikes Back(1980) at this great venue? The anticipation and queues were remarkable and have remained etched in my mind ever since.

They are the absolute stand out films for me but also remember going to see Escape From Alcatraz there when i was 14,not sure how i got in as i'm sure the cetrificate was older than that?Being with my Mum probably helped :rolleyes:

In the late 70's she also used to drop me and my mate off on a Saturday morning,do her shoppingwhile we watched Saturday morning Matinee then pick us up and we'd head back to Dinnington on the 215 bus or the Wigmores(Wiggies) single decker.

Watched many a thing at the Matinees but cant remember exactly what but two big memories never leave me.One film was with kids sailing in a boat they had made to look like a dinosaur and the other film contained a Windmill that burned down with 2 dog ornaments on the mantlepiece?

Vague i know but,kids eh! ;-)

Would love to see these again......

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I am up early in the morning but can't tear myself away from this wonderful forum.

You sleep sometime huh ? Some of us ... etc etc lol

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I have enjoyed viewing the fantastic pictures and memories of the ABC.

I could not believe it when returning to Sheffield in 1991 after living away for about 15 years the ABC had gone. What a travesty.

I seem to remember I to was at the opening night with my girlfriend. One of the managers was lodging near to us and we used to meet him at Church and go for coffee after in Norfolk Park on Sunday mornings.

He gave me the tickets for the opening night, also I went back after and was shown round the projection room and had a try at loading the 70 mm film, not and easy job.

I think the Newsreel was a shown on a 35mm unit.

Many years later I had to maintain the 70 mm cameras on medical X-ray equipment and had trouble getting 12 frames per second so the cameras the film makers used must had been quite a hand full running at 25fps.

As has been said a night out at the pictures was an event, no talking during the film, no crunching of popcorn or mobile phones ringing, a great night out to relax and enjoy.

jiginc

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  • 1 month later...
Guest alan_taylor63

Wasn't the saturday matinee called the "ABC Minors"?

I seem to remember a song that went something along the line of "We are the ABC minors"?

Didn't they show a series of Flash Gordon episodic films?

The above memories are dubious due to the passing of time, but I do definately remember seeing Earthquake at the ABC and being terrified the whole building would collapse due to the "Sensaround" effect vibrating the seats. I believe we sat and had a coffee across the road in a coffee shop above what used to be Burtons, I think.

I also have a vivid and horrid memory of seeing The Stud at the ABC when I was 15 (but looked older) with Joan Collins' legs in the air in the elevator with Oliver Tobias, and much extended grunting and gasping. For the life of me I truly do not know or remember why I was there with my mother!! Who sat very quiet through the whole film and never mentioned it again!! :unsure:

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Guest transit

Wasn't the saturday matinee called the "ABC Minors"?

I seem to remember a song that went something along the line of "We are the ABC minors"?

Didn't they show a series of Flash Gordon episodic films?

The above memories are dubious due to the passing of time, but I do definately remember seeing Earthquake at the ABC and being terrified the whole building would collapse due to the "Sensaround" effect vibrating the seats. I believe we sat and had a coffee across the road in a coffee shop above what used to be Burtons, I think.

I also have a vivid and horrid memory of seeing The Stud at the ABC when I was 15 (but looked older) with Joan Collins' legs in the air in the elevator with Oliver Tobias, and much extended grunting and gasping. For the life of me I truly do not know or remember why I was there with my mother!! Who sat very quiet through the whole film and never mentioned it again!! :unsure:

....The Stud was in '78 - followed by The ***** '79 .........i only know cos i bought the brilliant soundtrack LP's .....honest !

....which i have still got !!!!

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Guest transit

Wasn't the saturday matinee called the "ABC Minors"?

I seem to remember a song that went something along the line of "We are the ABC minors"?

Didn't they show a series of Flash Gordon episodic films?

...here you go ....and welcome to the site ! - i have a couple of years on you , so i'll help if needed - like now !.....

We are the boys and girls well known as

Minors of the ABC

And every Saturday we'll Line up

To watch the films we like and shout aloud with glee

We like to laugh and have our sing siong

'Cause a happy crowd are weeeeee

We're all pals together.

We're Minors of the ABC!

Dont forget to sing along with Uncle Les ! - post 1 for pic - ...with free entry next week if you bring along your Birthday Cards !

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These are the slides that were projected onto the screen while the ABC Minors sang along to the record with Uncle Les and many more uncles throughout the country at their local ABC.

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  • Sheffield History changed the title to THE ABC CINEMA Sheffield

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