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A history of Cinema in Belfast

Belfast's cinematic history, with a special look back on the Curzon Cinema.
By James Gracey .

ML 1030

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Jude Whyte - Mar '08
To P Feeny, please send the photo and I will try to identify the punters in it!
judewhyteatirelanddotcom

Maureen Nicholls (nee Mckee) - Mar '08
In reply to Paul Feeney's posting, did you have a sister called Diane?

I went to Rosario School also around the same time as you although about 3 years behind. Miss Ferran was the headmistress of the girls section and there was a Miss Fannin in the boys section - she taught my two daughters many many years later!

I remember the Curzon very well. I used to have to accompany my great-grandmother regularly. She used to dress up in her best clothes - how times have changed!

B Compston - Jan '08
The Curzon would have survived had the then owners really wanted to keep it.
It was decided to sell it to a developer offering a considerable amount of money.

Money talks.

Jed Atherton - Jan '08
I have just opened my copy of Rewind magazine, I was amazed to see a picure of Billy Wilson circa 1950.
Hence my visit to this site.

I remember the Curzon with great fondness. John, Leslie and the boys Richard and Chris, Billy Wilson and his projection staff.
They always looked after me on my engineering visits from Manchester.
The projection equipment in the booths illustrated was manufactured by Westrex Company Ltd.
I spent many hours installing and servicing equipment at the Curzon from the early eighties through to the close, working with John and Leslie in the numerous projects in that time, they never stood still for long, developing the business with new screens, more choice of product for the customers.

The cinema business has changed dramatically since the early 90's,
It would be interesting just how much longevity the current generation of multiplex cinemas has.

The final act was to remove all the equipment at the close.
We found new homes for most of the equipment and to this day, somewhere, there is a little bit of the Curzon ticking away in a projection room entertaining filmgoers.

David Fairfield - Apr '07
Natalie,

The reason for the closure was blamed on the purpose built muti-plexes. What I believe, as someone who worked there for 18years, is the real reason is that being owed by two brothers, both in their sixties, they probably wanted to retire. Their children with careers of their own and not wanting to hand over to a company that might change it ot something it was not, decided to end the era.

The Curzon was from a by-gone era. As many people will know I didn't really realise what I was apart of till the final few months.

I can honestly say now that I am proud to have been a part of it.

Natalie - Apr '07
What were the reasons for the closure of the Curzon? I am interested to know.

Linda Cotter -Apr '07
Curzon cinema was one of the best cinemas id ever been in, we enjoyed the cinema so much, especially when grease showed, we went every night for weeks on end,the atmosphere was electric, back stalls were fun too, too many usherettes telling us to HUSH and continuous torches shining in your face..........miss you curzon

Matthew - Apr '07
Roy rogers came to belfast in the summer of 1954

Gerry Rutter - Mar '07
In reply to Mary Stewart(Feb. 07) My dad used to tell me about Roy Rogers and Trigger coming to Belfast and he was adamant that Trigger had its own hotel room in a hotel in Royal Avenue. He was a boy at the time so I think it may have been sometime in the forties. My own cinematic experiences were centered on the Majestic on the Lisburn Road in the sixties. I was a minor and had a badge that glowed in the dark. Happy days!

Charlie - Mar '07
Does anyone remember going to the Lido Cinema on the Shore Road at Greencastle back in the 60's ? I can remember my first ever trip to the Cinema to watch "Jungle Book" at the Lido. ...what a thrill that was !

But many years later the Lido closed down I guess it to fell victim to those new fangled TV things ! It was later transformed into St Mary's Catholic Church. The distinctive downward slope remained and many's a person found themselves literally running towards the alter ! (and some of them were in a 'real hurry' to get married !!!)

St Marys has since been rebuilt and the slope has gone but my memories will always remain.....happy days :-)

Liam Byrne Malahide County Dublin - Mar '07
I lived off Donegal Pass and went to school in Sunnyside Street from .oh about 1950 to 1956/7. So the Curzon was my local cinema although I wasn't past going to the Majestic or Regal on the Lisburn Road and on occasions the Ritz in Gt. Victoria Street.

Used to enjoy the Roy Rogers Club at the Curzon on Saturday morning but "defected" to the ABC Boys and Girls Club...was that in the Majestic or Ritz ? instead as it was better value.

The Apollo on the Ormeau Road was the only cinema that had no balcony in it...just the stalls downstairs.....we always looked at it as a bit "down market"..... It was also only 3d into the Apollo but 6d or a shilling everywhere else.

Steven - Mar '07
H i does anyone have any memories from the tonic cinema in bangor?please leave a reply i would love to hear

 

Paul Feeney - Feb '07
Any pupilss from Rosario school Sunnyside Street from the days of the Curzon, 1958 -63, my name is Paul Feeney. I left for Canada in '58 came back in '60 and left around '63. My teacher was Mickey Rafferty and Mr Langley was the Head. Names I remember were Frank Shields , Jimmy White, John King, David Lemeon ? Brian Hallom.

I have a school photo taken in the yard at the back of the shool, would pass it on by e mail for all to identify fellow classmates of that er. Now in Uk since 1969.

Victor Johnston - Feb '07
I lived in Ava Street Ormeau Road. I went to the Curzon twice a week was also a member of the Roy Rodgers club the manager that I remember we called him Uncle Sidney and he would come on the stage every Saturday morning and get the whole audience to shout "hello Uncle Sidney" and if it was not loud enough he would get us to shout again. My memories of the Curzon will never leave me. I certainly think it's a part of the history of the Ballnafiegh area.
By the way uncle sidney lived round the corner from me he lived in ava avenue.

Mary Stewart - Feb '07
I've been trying to find the year Roy Rogers and Trigger came to Belfast. I do believe it was the late 50's when my Aunt took my two brothers to the Operal House where Roy and Trigger appeared. They had a great time. I however was taken by my Mother to see walt Disney's Bambi.

Ciaran Gorman - Feb '07
Don't forget Babs and Terry McCoy who worked at the Curzon for decades in the ticket office and sweet shop. I remember the re opening for Star Wars. I was only 9 years old and Babs let me in for free!!
I grew up accross the road and even sneaked in once or twice when it was particulariy busy. (Apologies)

Mike Bailey - Jan '07
Hi,
I have been looking at your site about the Curzon and while reading the comments by those who sent them in. I was taken back in time to when I was a young lad, although I am originally from Leicester I remember when our local cinema was closed down; what we all took for granted was suddenly taken away from u - something that could never be replaced.
I remember watching Flash Gordon and the old western films with everyone cheering when the calvary came charging over the hill. What a shame the kids of today won't have this chance to experience those great days on a Saturday morning.
If I had one wish granted to me I think it would have to be to seeing those big red curtains opening and closing, what a shame we never had a video camera in those days it would have been great to be able to sit back now in my arm chair and watch them opening and closing on my TV or computer.
Thanks to all those who's memories have given me a journey back into the past.
Mike.

Christopher Peake - Sep '06
I've some information about the film "General John Regan" A friend in Co. Kildare suggested contacting the Irish Film Censor's Office. I phoned them and they told me all their records pre 1960 are in the National Archives in Dublin. That may mean a visit to Dublin although it's possible the "Down Recorder" or the "Mourne Observer" had a write up about the film being made in Hilltown at the time. The Headquarters of the SEELB is round the corner from where I live so I will call with them to see if they can provide a bit more information. The film was directed by Henry Edwards and produced by Herbert Wilcox. The guy at the IFCO felt if we could discover who distributed the film there might be a chance of tracing it.

Christopher Peake - Sep '06
Hiya L. Blackburn, I hope you don't mind me posting your query about the film "General John Regan" made in Hilltown in 1933 on Belfast Forum. Several of our members on the site went to the pictures on a regular basis and may be able to assist you trace the film. Re. the author George A. Birmingham, a pen name for the Rev James Owen Hannay who was born in the Knock area of Belfast - have you any idea where in Knock?

L. blackburn - Aug '06
I wondered if anyone in the Curzon Cinema had heard of the film General John Regan that had been made in Hilltown in 1933? We are trying to trace the film. It was written by George A. Birmingham, a pen name for the Rev James Owen Hannay. He was born in the Knock area of Belfast.

Terry Jay Cooper - Aug '06
Way back in the early 40s, I think, my brother and I went to school with Philip and Michael Curran, the sons of Mr.M.Curran, owner of several cinemas. We were pals. The Curran's lived in a house close to the Capitol (?) cinema, and once we were all playing in the large loft of their house, and came upon some large boxes.
On examination of these boxes, we found they contained loads of packets of Maltesers, I think there were two or three in each pack, and were at some earlier time given as samples to cinema goers.
Naturally, being boys, we filled our pockets, and were for some time very popular with our friends. By this time we never wanted to eat another Malteser again. I have to say that even now, when I am given a Malteser, or on rare occasions, actually buy some, it all comes back to me.
I have been living in England for close on 50 years now.


Noel Mc Mahon - Aug '06
It was with great sadness that I learned of the demise of the wonderful Curson cinema. I have fantastic memories going there in the 50s with all my friends from the Short Strand. We went twice a week throughout this time. It was the highlight of our week. Although we went to the Pop and the other cinemas the Curzon was the best.

Kc - July '06
Its a shame the Curzon has been closed as even on the day before it closed it stilled looked amazing if a little dated. Those great marble steps and dark red carpets were fantastic. Yet another of Belfasts great buildings to be knocked down. As I speak it is a wasteland. What a shame. I'm 30 and will remember it forever.

Kay - June '06
I loved the Curzon! My parents went there all the time when they were growing up and as a couple too. Then when I came along they would take me and my brother - we loved it, it was a real treat to us - an unusual place to a child, especially compared to the other modern cinemas, with its old art deco style and green carpets and walls if I remember correctly (this was not long before it was shut down). My brother and I still talk about the Curzon to this day with fondness - our favourite memory was that it had a proper tuck shop with all the wee cheap 10p mix up type sweeties in it as well as popcorn, whereas cinemas nowadays just do popcorn and rip you off for bags of sweets!!

A real shame that they had to let it go and now the building doesnt even stand there anymore - suppose the nearest thing we have now is the Strand Cinema on the Old Hollywood Road in East Belfast - lets hope we don't lose it too...

Ron Hunter - May '06
My name is Ron Hunter. I lived on Ravensdene Park from 1948 until 1950 when we emigrated to US, California to be specific.
I remember on many occasions coming from school and racing up the Ravenhill Road to catch a movie. Thanks for the article Very interesting to say the least

The Curzon Staff of 1985 - May '06
Projectionists
Billy Wilson - No longer living
David Fairfield
Barry Compston

Shop
Terrie McCoy
Bridie
Mrs Bell

Cashier
Babs Wilson - No longer living

Manager
Dennis Wright

Usherttes
Therese Magennis
Karen Elliott
Lilly Moore - No longer living
C Kavvanagh - No longer living

Security
Max Porter - No longer living

Monica McCann (nee Conlon) - May '06
Does anyone remember the Odion?

Alan Cardwell - April '06
The Curzon was also used for church type services under the auspices of Youth for Christ. My father (Andrew Cardwell) has a good many still photographs of these gatheings which were packed houses- in the early 1950's I think.

Des Walker - Mar 06
I used to go to the "Curzon"with an old girl friend Maybeth who lived on Ravenhill Rd. I was the projectionist at "THE Regal Cinema", Donaghadee when Mr Carr was the manager there. If Barry Compston would like to email me, we just might possibly have some old "yarns" to talk about. The "Tonic" in Bangor was also very nice to visit on a Saturday night. Sadly the old cinemas are there only in memory.

Bill Gwynne - Feb '06
The Curzon was the lifeblood of Ballynafeigh and Belfast in the 40's and early 50's. I can remember going to "the pictures" every week. As I got older I graduated to the circle on a Saturday afternoon for the price of one shilling, that was the the first time I ever put my hand on a girls "boob" --- what a memory !!!.
During the 40's the queues stretched all the way round Raby Street and there would be two lines, depending on the seats you were going to. Of course when TV hit the world it all changed. I had become older and like all my friends the cinema wasn't able to compete with TV --- the start of the the demise. To me the Curzon will always remain an integral part of my life and the thought of it being pulled down fills me with grief. I am now 72 and in another 10 years no person alive today will ever have heard of "THE CURZON" --- what a pity.

Lynn Farrall, O'Neill
- Jan '06
Just found this site great to read these nice comments about the curzon. Nice to hear some familiar names, I was an usherette 1986 1987 had some good laughs but hated the late shows. Returned with my children to see Mighty Joe Young just before the Curzon closed was a really sad day. Now the mother of a 13 year old son would love to think when he was heading out it was just down the road to the Curzon instead of having to go into town. Really do miss the old place.

Wilson John Haire - Dec '05
21st December, 2005

I first went to the Curzon in 1944 from Carryduff for the children's matinees on a Saturday morning. Standing in the queue waiting for it to open many of children would be lighting-up cinnamon sticks and smoking them. I was only allowed to go to the cinema by my mother if I did the shopping at Stewarts and Mckelvey the butcher on the Ormeau Road. The manager of the Curzon usually asked me to leave the shopping in his office as there were constant security alerts. We all had identity cards then, even as children.

The film I remember the most at the Curzon was Man and His Mate. I took my five year old sister with me once. She was absolutely terrified by the rubber prehistoric animals fighting and ripping each other to pieces amongst the cardboard scenery. Love scenes in some of the films had the children stamping their feet in unison, out of boredom. A shooting or a good fist-fight seemed to restore normality. Sometimes the cinema smelt like a spice warehouse with the cinamonn smoke drifting over our heads.

The first time I went to the Curzon I didn't understand that the films repeated themselves. I thought the same film might go on until ten at night so I walked out in the middle of one, just as the gangster, in a dress suit with bow tie, was about to shoot the 'fella' (the lead actor) I was so disorientated, coming from rural Carryduff. Watching a Hollywood film at the Curzon was like being in a different country.

The first time I had been to a cinema was in 1936 at the age of four when my father took me to the Windsor cinema on the Donegall Road. I remember it was a Mickey Mouse cartoon but I fell asleep in the middle of it. Eight years passed before I was back in a cinema.

There was also the Apollo on the Ormeau Road beside the Lagan Bridge which I visited - shopping put in the manager's office as usual. War films about the Japanese did make me hope that they wouldn't invade Carryduff. I even had nighmares about them because of their constant use of the bayonet in these films. Of course we were being constantly bombarded with leaflets telling us what to do in the event of a German invasion. Rumours of U-Boat periscopes being seen in Belfast Lough didn't help much. So our insecurity was reinforced by these films. But I loved them despite the fear they projected.

Later as a teenager I went to the Imperial in Corn Market, the Royal Cinema, The Regent, the Ritz in Great Victoria Street. The Mayfair in Royal Avenue was were I saw my first serious social film - Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. That film changed my whole concept of life. Then there was the Gaumont, and the Alhambra in North Street. The most popular songs at the time being sung by the buskers to the cinema queues were `South of the Border Down Mexico Way' and `Cruising Down the River on a Sunday Afternoon.' When I first saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Imperial with Charles Laughton as the hunchback I thought it had just been released. I later realised it had been made back in 1936 and now I was watching it in 1950. The same with Hitchcock's Sabotage. The Imperial then began to catch up and began showing the first of the Marilyn Monroe films. You could still catch the 1930s films in the Regal on the Lisburn Road. The Lyceum on the Antrim Road, the Broadway up the Falls Road, the Picturedrome at Mountpottinger and the Stadium on the Shankill. I visited them all. You could call me a real film buff.

Cinema tickets were cheap then even for a poorly-paid shipyard apprentice like me. Except for the great period of Italian, Japanese, and French cinema in the 1950s I have never again to be so intrigued by the cinema as it was then in the Belfast of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Gerry Gorman - Oct '05
Some years back, I took some photographs of the Curzon, just before its unfortunate demise. I have many fond memories of the old cinema, way before it became a multi-plex. I, like many others, was a member of the Kids Club in the Seventies and remember well Sidney Spears (Uncle Sidney) on a Saturday morning, on stage in front of the big screen, welcoming us all to the club and with the usual resounding response from the kids, “Good morning uncle Sidney”
Fond memories indeed.

Maeve Rogan - September '05
I along with many Ormeau roaders my sister Paula included went to Gerase every night during a month.

Rex Mercer - Sept '05
To Tom Graham.
I think the name of the cinema you mention was simply The Picture House. Close by was the Imperial and the Classic - later the Gaumont. Now what was the name of the one near the Telegraph Office ?

Billy Blaney - June '05
I enjoyed Geraldine Morgan's comment about Darby O'Gill And The Little People. She and her brother and cousins can be assured they were not the only children to panic during that scene. A currently well-known Belfast journalist recently confessed that it had frightened him so much as a child that it caused him to have a small personal accident!

There were probably a few hundred others who reacted in the same way. The wailing of the banshee and the arrival of the Costa Bower, with its headless driver ushering Darby into the death coach was the spookiest sequence in any film. EVER! All accompanied by very eerie music. All done photographically too. No computer-generated ghosts in those days, they had to use the real thing!

Very few people were ever aware that Darby O'Gill himself came to see the film during its first run at the Curzon in January 1960, and even fewer around today will remember. There were several Irish actors in the leading roles, including Albert Sharpe and J. G. Devlin, both residents of Belfast at the time.

Not many years earlier James Devlin had been well-known to listeners as Granda in the BBC's local radio soap, "The McCooeys". He played the barman in the film, Albert Sharpe had the leading role as Darby.

Quite unannounced, he arrived with his wife for the last showing on the Friday evening, and was in fact queuing to buy tickets when he was recognised by the Curzon's manager, Mr. Spiers. The two were immediately escorted to the best available circle seats, Mr. Sharpe explaining on the way that this would be his first-ever viewing of the completed film.

When the lights came up for the sales interval, I could see the couple seated quietly, unrecognised by those sitting around them. At the end of the show they crossed the Ormeau Road and joined the queue at the bus stop. The star of a major Hollywood film who evidently did not expect star treatment.

Billy Blaney - June '05
To answer K. Bradley's question, slides were in use in cinemas for many years, in the case of the Curzon right up to the late seventies. Not so much for advertising in later years as for making announcements about showing times etc. They were three and one quarter inch square and were usually made up of two pieces of thin glass bound together with passé-partout tape.

One glass would carry the printed details, the other would be tinted with transparent paints to add colour. Some were commercially produced, others hand-made. They were projected by a special lantern. One of their uses was to sometimes summon a patron from the cinema in cases of emergency. The message would be scratched with a pen near the edge of an otherwise opaque slide, e.g. Mr. Smith, Ormeau Road, please go to cash desk. This was projected on top of the picture, only the actual message appearing as white letters at the top edge of the screen. I don't know if Spackman's had a slide, but that rhyme was certainly their advertising slogan.

 

Geraldine Morgan - June '05
Hi i've just been reading your coments on the Curzon and i also have fond memories. I lived behind the gas works in River Terrace and i mind goin up the Ormeau Rd on Sat to see the pictures. One i mind well was Darby OGill and The Little People. We sat in front row....sister brother and cousins..and nearly ended in the back row when the banshee came along and the stage coach.eek Around that time i mind seein a cardboard cutout of an Aztac wether it was the choc bar or a figure i cant mind....just that Aztac was the name...fond memories.......i found this site while going on a trip down memory lane looking old pics of Belfast. Great to read the comments.

Victor Whiteley - May '05
To Jim McKeown
Hello 'young bucko'.
Having lost track of you some years ago I was overjoyed to tap into this site. You must be congratulated for keeping alive, if not the physical building, the must be millions of memories which are out there. I have aquired a copy of 'Queen Of Hearts'. If it is permitted to do so on this site, here is a safe email address - victor.whiteley@ntlworld.co.uk.

Rab McAdams - May 05
for Ron, the picture house on the Woodstock Road was called the Willowfield but everybody just called it the winky. We used to go there for the Saturday matinees. I hope this helps him, if I can be of any more help please fell free to contact me.

Anyone who wants to find out about the old cinemas should go to google.co.uk when it comes up, click on images and type in belfast cinemas. Tthey will get old photos and all the info they want. Hope this has been of some help.. rab.

Roger Kane - May '05
Lovely, I remember going with my big brother to the curzon in the 1960s, it was great; so sad to see the place has been demolished, if anybody has any old photographs of Belfast in general I would love to hear from them; as I am updating a web site all about Belfast.

Brian McKenna - May '05
I grew up in the Clonard area (Falls/Springfield). In the late 50s and all through the 60s I thought nothing of taking two buses over to the Curzon - it and the Ritz/ABC were my favourite cinemas. I liked the fact that the Curzon was independent; very often you'd get a great double-bill: a new film with a good second feature some years old. Indeed, I wrote to the cinema's directors, praising them for this policy; I got a nice letter in reply. Sorry it all had to come to an end. Now in my mid-60s I look back on my bus trips to many enjoyable occasions in the Curzon. ---- Brian McKenna (Co. Wicklow).

Billy Blaney - April '05
I hope it won't be considered pedantic if I point out a small error in James Gracey's article. Three brand new cinemas did indeed open in Belfast on that historic day, December 12th, 1936. But the Ritz was not one of them. It had already opened some weeks earlier, showing "Queen Of Hearts", Gracie Fields also appearing in person.
The Curzon began with the same film, and as stated, the Broadway opened on the same day. The third cinema was in fact the Park, Oldpark Road.

K.Bradley - April '05
i enjoyed the article and i wonder does anyone know of advertising "slides" used in cinemas? perhaps in the 30's, i remember my father telling about one " when i was a lad i went with my dad and always got clad at spackmans , now i'm a dad with many a lad and we all get clad at spackmans" is my memory playing tricks or is there any record of these adverts

Ron - April '05
What about the cinema on the woodstock road. I can't recall the name of it, although I know I spent many a matinee there on a saturday afternoon.

James Mc Dade - April 05
My father was very strict and we were not allowed to go to the cinema. However in 1947 when I was about 5 yrs old I recall going to the Curzon with my elder brother. It was the first film I had seen and I was wide eyed. It was about Wild Bill Hickock and I still remember him being shot in the back. It was the start of a love affair with the cinema all through my teens.

Victor Whiteley - April '05
To Jude Whyte - I'm unable to give you any further info on Harry Skelton as many years have passed. Considering his age when he was employed at the Curzon I would say he has joined the ranks of ex doormen in the big cinema in the sky.

Hilary Drummond - March 05
To Brian Rogan,
I vaguely remember being in the Curzon that time too - you had a habit of making strange noises as I recall! I was home in Belfast two years ago and was sick to my stomach to see the Curzon gone. Suddenly all the memories came flooding back - how nervous I was trying to get into an X-rated film at the age og sixteen, and hoping the doorman wouldn't see through the layers of make-up!

Keith - March 05
It was knocked down to make way for new wasteland in 2003.

YPAM ED - Just a thought : since you guys seem to be regulars and almost chatting to each other on this page, why not use our Message Board to keep the conversation going .. ?

Brendan Muldoon - February '05
I had many enjoyable visits to the Curzon over the years. This is where I first saw Star Wars in 1976. I still regret the closure of this cinema which despite the competition from other 'multi plex cinemas', might still have been a viable cinema financially, with enough thought and imagination.

Maeve - February '05
I don’t normally leave comments on web sites in fact this is only the second web thing I’ve ever replied to. I found your site funny enough on google while looking for something else entirely. I have spent the past three evenings at work reading through the endless stuff you have and I felt I really should just say congratulations.

I have criticised the BBC many times for the way in which it portrays <or doesn’t> this great wee country we live in. So often BBC somehow misses the real character of the place. So now I’m eating my hat. I have to say you are getting it dead right. I love this web site.

Sorry I cant leave my email address because I work in a public body and we’re not allowed to use the mail for personal stuff.

Anyway keep it up.

Maeve.

Jude Whyte - February '05
To Victor
Thanks for the replies to my comments, is Harry Skelton still alive? and if so how can i contact him? Where did he live and how did he get a job like this?

To Bernie
Memory is a strange thing, of course he was called torchy now that I remember, what else could he be called ?

Andrew Allen - February '05
The best local cinema in Northern Ireland! It is trully missed!

Brian Rogan - February '05
Uncle Sydney threw me out of Ben Hur for making cat noises and sitting on the back of the seats as if they were chariots. Michael Vize was with me he now lives in New Zealand....I only saw Ben hur in full for the first time last year...imagine expecting 13 year old boys to sit through a four hour epic!!!

Michael Campbell - February '05
Victor, you may be right. Maybe I remember what I wanted to, but I was convinced I saw the great man in the flesh. Your memory of the year he may or may not have appeared is better than mine. I was certainly a regular in 1958 and in the years before and when it became the Curzon Cinema Childrens Club. I do remember queuing up for a membership badge - but the rest is apparently a figment of my imagination. You've just shattered the memories of a lifelong (well maybe not!) Roy Rogers fan!!

Bernie - January '05
re Jude Whyte you remember the appollo? It was like an ice box. That brought memories flooding back, your man on the doors with the o'wl uniform full of stains - we new him as "torchy", he use to try and catch us sneaking up to the back stalls or coming in the fire exit, i'd forgotten about him.

Victor Whiteley - January '05
Sorry Michael Campbell, Roy Rogers did not appear at the Curzon. He was approached by the Curzon management to make an appearance at the Roy Rogers Club and I think he did intend to do so, but due to a clause in his contract at that time he was unable to appear. The Ormeau Road was lined with people who had hoped for a glimpse of Roy riding his famous horse up to the Cinema. The event was to have taken place on a Saturday morning in the fifties, maybe 1958. I can tell you that shortly after this the Roy Rogers Club changed its name and became the Curzon Cinema Childrens Club in 1959. The club ran until 1970.

To Jude Whyte - The boot camp commander on the door at the Curzon at that time would have been Mr Harry Skelton, he did wear a green uniform and a peak cap, just like a naval officer!

To Tom Graham - I think the cinema you refer to was the Gaumont - Classic, now British Home Stores.

Bernie - January '05
Just another thought about the Curzon [roy rogers club]
I remember Sidney coming on stage, he use to read out some lucky numbers printed on lolly pop sticks and the bottom of ice cream cartons. Many a time I seen Sidney dive for cover behind the big curtains : everyone was slinging everything at him for not reading out their numbers. I can't remember what the prize was maybe free tickets ?

Jude Whyte - January '05
There was a Cinema at the Corner of Agincourt Avenue and the Ormeau Road called the Appollo.It closed very early in my life I think 1964 when i was 7 years of age. I remember going to it with my friend Big Tony Mc Alvenny and getting chased out for not standing for the Queen by a crowd from The bakery.The Building is now a Chinese Wholesale Food Store. The Film we watched was King Kong.

Bernie - January '05
Hi can you help, can anyone remember a cinema at the lagan bridge, ormeau rd.
i think it was the apollo, it would good to hear about it .many thanks great reading about the curzon.

Michael Campbell - January '05
I read the notes on the Roy Rogers Club at the Curzon and a few more memories came back to me. I remember (year?) when Roy Rogers himself turned up one Saturday morning, together with Trigger, and instead of the usual film clip of Roy saying a prayer, the man himself said it there on the stage. Does anyone else remember. Please, someone confirm it as it will win me a small bet. The manager of the Curzon in those days was a Mr. Sidney Spears and we answered in unison to his "Good morning children" with "Good morning Uncle Sidney" Happy Days.

Tom Graham - January '05
Hi from Australia,
Enjoyed your articles on Cinema in Belfast and the Curzon. I occasionally visited the Curson when I stayed with my grandparents in Candahar Steet in the late 1950's.
My home cinemas were the Majestic and Regal on Lisburn Road. I much preferred the Majestic - 1930's modern - thick red carpet and photos of movie stars on the stairs up to the balcony.

I have a memory of going to see the 1st screening of "Davy Crockett" at the Majestic - There was a huge crowd milling around outside, far more than could get in to see the film. I eventually gave up and went home. Other memories of cinema in the 50's are:
1. Mantovani - every cinema seemed to use his music.
2. Tears in my eyes - not because of sad movies, but the cigarette smoke. No worries about passive smoking back then!
3. National Anthem - There was usually a rush for the exits before it started.

I remember a cinema on the corner of Castle Lane and Castle Arcade. I think it was called the Strand. I guess it has long gone. I'd like to know if my memory is correct. Perhaps somebody can help?

Jim Walsh - December '04
I left Belfast for the US in 1959. I have fond memories of attending the Roy Rogers Club on Saturday mornings at the Curzon. My mother used this time to get me and my younger brother out of the house for a few hours while she and my sisters cleaned the house. We rode the bus up the Ormeau Road from the corner of Eliza Street and Cromac Street. Prior to the usual Roy Rogers movie and sometimes Flash Gordon episodes there would be contests where kids would win small gifts etc. The very best part of the Roy Rogers Club was that you received a birthday card from Roy and Dale on your birthday. I remember carrying one around in my pocket until it fell to pieces.

Jude Whyte - December 04
This was a smashing article believe me.I spent all of my days as aprimary school kid at this Cinenma and the memories are flooding back One question who was the very cross man on the door in the funny suit who may have been mistaken for a Boot Camp Commander?

Barry Compston - October 2004
I am a past projectionist from 1985 and have many photos, 35mm ranging from shorts to old adverts and intermission titles. I have many stories and keep in touch with some of the past staff.

Feel free to contact me if you need any help.

paul feeney - Feb 08
any pupes from Rosario school sunnyside street from the days of the curson, 1958 through to say 63, my name Paul Feeney Left for Canada in 58 came back in 60 and left around 63

teacher was Mickey rafferty and Mr Langley was head, names i remember were frank shields , jimmy white, John king, david lemeon ? brian hallom.

I have a school phote taken in the yard at the back of the shool, would pass it on by e mail for all to identify fellow classmates of that era Now in Uk since 1969

Paul Feeney - Feb 08
early 60 the head usher was known as skeleton due to his height and wee took the p... out of him by putting banger in the towlet and running back to our seats , any one around from that periond?
Name P Feeney now 61 years went to rosario school on sunnyside street

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