Rod's Memoirs

PAGE 4 OF 5

Had messed up the reels until we were half way through a B & W film of cops having a shoot out in the bank, when on the reel change it was cowboys having a punch up in the saloon in colour. I quickly took the film off and went to seek the correct reel in the re-wind room. You could hear the audience cat-calling and booing.
On another occasion after my night off, he had forgotton to re-wind one of the reels. Probably hoping I would put it on. Well I didn`t notice it and on the change over the picture was upside down. And to top it all, it was a Norman Wisdom film called “Up In The World”
I quickly turned it off, re-wound it and got it back on in under 3 minutes. Yet again, after my night off, he had mixed up the order of the reels. I did not notice this until during the film “Ten Little Indians” on the reel change I noticed there were 3 candles on the cake when there should have been 8. The film was an Agather Christie about murders in a remote farmhouse. There were ten people in attendance and ten candles on the cake there. Each time a candle disappeared, somebody was killed. So I realised the film was not right. I quickly found the correct reel and with the wrong reel still on, put the correct one on without stopping the film. We were then back to the correct 8 candles then. The weird thing is, there were no complaints from the audience. They probably didn`t realise.
I bet Harry was hoping i`d get the sack so he could have my job. Well hard luck, it didn`t work. Perhaps the manager wasn`t in at the time and I got away with it. Needless to say after that I didn`t trust anything he had done, I double checked everything.
What a sleeze ball he was.
When we had a change of film, we would watch it a couple of times, then lose interest.
Well I was watching one film, when I heard the door at the bottom of the stairs slam. Ron the manager came flying up and started ranting off at me something chronic for several minutes. I wondered what I had dome. I felt like jacking the job in. I was going to give in my notice at the end of the week. Anyway I had to turn up the next morning to spool up the change of programme. I heard the bottom door go again, and I thought oh no, here he comes again. Well he was nice as pie, and said leave that, you can finish it later. We went down into his office and he made us a cup of tea. He then said, “Fancy some fish & chips”
There was a fish & chip shop opposite the bug, run by an ex prisoner of war, German Ferdinand, known as Fred (I often would climb out onto the balcony alongside the projection room, signal over to Fred, and he`d send fish & chips up.) Well Ron treated me to fish & chips. When we had finished he took me into the auditorium and switched on the cleaners lights.  We looked up and saw a small hole in the ceiling. It then transpired what had happened. Some poor chap was sitting in the back row when a piece of plaster hit him on the head. He went to the managers office complaining that the projectionist was throwing things down on him. (hence me getting a rollicking for nothing)
At the next inspection of the cinema by the authorities, it was deemed the right hand wall was bowing, and the cinema had to close.  I went on to the 3 cinemas in Grays The State the Regal and the Ritz.  How infuriating it all was, and look at the place now, still standing, what does that tell you?  Mind you I don`t like what the new owners have done to it. They`ve filled in all the features the facades that made it a palace. It looks so drab now.
I fondly remember looking out of our bedroom window at 12 Railway cottages and seeing Tilbury Fort and the Worlds End Pub across the field. It was across this field that we saw the `53 floods encroaching after being knocked up at about 3.o`clock in the morning by the railway police and given a warning. We quickly got all the furniture upstairs, then observed

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