The Flix, 1960

Everyone would be off their seats riding along with the cowboys or flying along with Rocket Man, screaming and shouting at the bad guys.

One time in North Shields we had no less than five picture houses and they were classed as a cheap night out when you were courting.

The first was the Rex, which was on Billy Mill Lane.  The thing about this was it would show all the Hammer Horror films which were good for their day.  Next, we had the Gaumont which was in Russell Street in North Shields.  The thing there was you could go in at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and not come out until 10 or 11 at night.  If I remember right, downstairs was about 6d and upstairs was around 9d to get in.

Next, we had the Albion, which was on Albion Road.  The thing that springs to mind here was the fact all the seats appeared to be ripped and it would not be the first time that someone cried out “mice!” and started running away.  We also had the Boro which was in Rudyerd Street.  The good thing about this one was that one of us would pay to go in and then make their way to the exit door, which they would push open and the rest of us would come in for free.  Last that comes to mind is the Comedy Picture House, which was like the black hole of Calcutta.  There was also a picture house called the Howard Hall, but nothing springs to mind about that one.

Now just at Tynemouth we had the Carlton Cinema in Hotspur Street, which was spooky at the best of times because of its gas lights.  If you were watching a Hammer Horror and someone opened the door the gas light would start flickering and all sorts of daft things would start to run through your mind.

The thing in these times was that telly was still scarce and when you went to the flix you got your main feature, followed by a ‘B’ picture, then you got your next week’s trailers and the news.  There was no set time to go in, you just pleased yourself and you could stay in as long as you wanted.

Saturday’s were great because us kids got the matinees.  You got to see a film, the serial (which could be Roy Rogers or The Cisco Kid and Pancho his side kick, or even Rocket Man). The thing was, no matter who it was, at the end they always stared death in the face so you had to go back the next week to see how they escaped.  Everyone would be off their seats riding along with the cowboys or flying along with Rocket Man, screaming and shouting at the bad guys.  It was great!

In 2007 all these flix have long gone.  The Rex is demolished with an undertaker’s is on the spot.  The Albion demolished and a block of sheltered flats is on the spot, the Gaumont is now a bingo hall.  The Boro is demolished and another block of sheltered flats is on the spot, the Comedy is now a furniture shop.

I feel sorry for the kids of today because they have never had the fun of Saturday morning matinees, where everyone was pals with the next kid and you had great times shouting and bawling, helping the good guys see off the bad guys.

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