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Spongebob
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The Saturday Matinee

The Cinema as they say in Britain, the Movies in the USA , and the Pictures or Flicks in NZ.
This was a monthly treat for the kids living at the Electrical substation and on immediately surrounding farms near the rural village of Maungatapere eight miles from the Northland city of Whangarei during the years of 1944 to 1947.
Parents colluded to set the rules hard and fast in those days when it was normal , even essential , for children to contribute toward the household chores when families were larger and when the domestic electrification and automation that we enjoy today was still in the realms of Buck Rogers and futurists minds.
Light the laundry copper, crank the Acme clothes ringer , peg out the washing, clean the bath, do the dishes , burnish the the brass, polish the silver, mow the grass , the list was never ending and those living on dairy farms had a list that went all the way to the end of a rainbow.
A reward for our contributions was that trip to the Saturday afternoon 2 pm flicks.
Transport to and from the event was shared and by various means, farmer Jim Stevens' old but reliable 1929 Plymouth six , a cavernous car with hickory spoked wheels was one means, six kids in the back seat and two in the front was to be enjoyed for the fifteen minute drive .
Then there was the substation line Ford V8 Ute driven by linesman Roy Cavanagh , again six in the well side , a couple in the front , an argument about where we sat depending on the weather, wind in the hair was great but not the cold and rain.
The ultimate journey was via Handley Cliff's magnificent 1939 straight eight Buick limo, a beautifully styled car , dark green paint, white wall tires , hand stitched rich brown leather upholstery and even little fold down tables in the back seatsy . Handley was the local rich guy, he owned a pristine farm , has inherited a cabinet making business from his father and was about to start an agricultural contracting business starting with the Country's first New Holland. Automatic hay baler . His daughter Rona was one of the gang .
One day we were travelling in the Buick and Handley asked "do you like going fast" and in reply to a chorus of 'yes' he briefly sped up to almost Ninety miles an hour on the long Manu strait . The Buick car was an icon around the town but for me to go to school on Monday and relate the story was golden.
Another parental agreement was that each child had a shilling for the outing which meant that the moment we hit the cinema foyer we had a financial decision to make , pay nine pence for a seat in the dress circle and enjoy a single scoop ice cream cone or pay six pence for a down stairs stalls seat and delight in a sixpenny double cone .
Usually the girls used to opt for upstairs 'luxury' while the lads put stomachs first but one Saturday morning while cleaning the brass I 'borrowed' thruppence from my mother's store of coins saved from a mint date that had a higher pure silver content for placing in the Christmas pudding .
This saw me having my cake and eating it too as it were , a seat in the dress circle and a double scoop!
My big sister Mary put paid to that by reporting me on arrival home.
My insistence that I had only borrowed the extra coin cut no ice and chores galore followed!
The matinee was a smorgasbord of film.
First up was Movietown news that gave us an insight to the Second World War's progress , often lots of excitement for small boys like dog fights between Spitfires and Messerschmitts or Centurion Tanks advancing across Europe and Naval Destroyers zig-zagging during their hunt for U-Boats.
Then came the Walt Disney cartoon followed by a serial thriller like Charlie Chan and a nature story such as beavers building dams before the interval and time to get those ice creams .
The maim feature was always a Western featuring Roy Rogers ,or Gene Autry or Hop-along Cassidy , goodies and baddies , quick draws and horses. What more could a ten year old boy want?
The ride home was full of chatter as we analysed every inch of film which would serve to provide all the imagination for tomorrow's play.

Bob
 

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Good memories Bob and an interesting story. You have named a few American vehicles in your tale, I thought that the cars in New Zealand were mainly British.

Incidentally I remember going to the Saturday morning kids cinema in the late 1950's....

Cheers Frank
 

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That is nostalgia "Bob". For me slightly later the mid 50's . Living in a town had a choice of three cinemas. Started with a sing-song the cue-ball bouncing along the words on the screen. Birthday greetings read to those who's friends had put forward their details if memory is correct you also received a free pass for the next show. The programme usually consisted of a cartoon a serial and a feature film, three hours happily sent on a Saturday morning.
The bus ride home was a nightmare for the conductor, sorting out the imitation gun fights on the top deck with a clip to your ear. Through it all again the next Saturday .
 

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And we all stood as the national anthem was played before the movie. Then, at the end of the picture, we all clapped the performance. Surely we didn't think the movie stars in Hollywood could hear our praise. Maybe it was for the projectionist ?
 

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Bank Line ships 1953 to 1968, Apprentice to Master
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My Saturday cinema memory is at the Regal on Prestwick Road Ayr in Scotland. Movie House was owned/managed by the Lang Family whose two twin sons were the same ages as ourselves and were playmates. The 'balcony' seating was a bit of a disappointment in that you climbed a series of stairs from the box office only to find you were at the back of the auditorium in a sort-of 'jury box' built over the main floor and no more than six feet higher at the front than the 'stalls' and subsequent rows towards the back incrementally raised by one foot or so. On Saturday, the balcony was essentially adults leaving the stalls to the riotous kids. And riotous they were. Lots of shouting and loud comments with pieces of folded paper thrown up into the picture light beam to create shadows and phony attack of 'alien winged creatures'. "Look out; we're under attack!"

There was more Hopalong Cassidy that Gene or Roy. One remembers with affection Gabby Hayes and conventional 'straight cowboy' called Lucky or Slim or some such moniker. Didn't know the meaning of 'straight cowboy' in those days!


Thinking about different names for movie houses as mentioned in the New Zealand contribution which was a good read, don't forget the South African 'Bioscope' for the same thing. They actually 'dressed up' to go to the Bioscope in Durban in the evening. Like going to the live theatre but without the black tie.
 

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We paid 6d for the stalls and 9d for the balcony. The advantage of the balcony was you could lob stuff down on the kids in the stalls and they couldn't get to you. Ha ha.

Bob, you might be interested to know that the orange drink that they flogged in UK cinemas was called "Kia Ora". That's why whenever someone says "Kia Ora" to me, I always say: "No thanks, I'll have a beer please."

John T
 

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Good one Bob!
Reminds me of the Rex Theatre in Riccarton Rd, ChCh, back in the 1950's.
Saturday matinee was 3d, and, after the show, a halfpenny worth of fish & chips (or just the scraps off the top of the oil) at the shop next door to the theatre would keep me occupied the whole length of Riccarton Rd on the way home again!

And John, from orange drinks in England to ice creams in Croatia:
When walking through the main street of the old Dubrovnik town a few years back we saw some windows with 'KIWI' frosted into each glass pane. Went past again at the end of the day while heading back to the ship. Stuck my head in and said to the shop girl, while pointing at myself, and said 'Kiwi, Kiwi'. A very loud voice from the back of the shop yelled out "Tenae koe", Kia ora!", and a grinning man appeared. Although Croatian, he was a very keen rugby follower & loved the All Blacks! The ice creams were superb!
681477
 

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Ha ha. Fans everywhere. Did they have Kiwifruit flavours?
The orange drink was crap by today's standards, what they call "lolly water" here in Australia, but we liked it. Dunno where they got the name from or if it's still in use, I think "KiaOra" still hadn't reached general usage in NZ at that stage.
 

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Our Little Movie House was fondly named the Bug Hutch, always remember the gals (Usherettes) would walk between the rows of seats spraying Flit Guns to kill what ever was in the air. The tuppenny Rush was demolished during the Blitz of Avonmouth in April 1941 by German Bombers, thank goodness the bombs hit the place at 9pm after the place had closed.
The place remained a piles of bricks and was never re-built.
 

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We paid 6d for the stalls and 9d for the balcony. The advantage of the balcony was you could lob stuff down on the kids in the stalls and they couldn't get to you. Ha ha.

Bob, you might be interested to know that the orange drink that they flogged in UK cinemas was called "Kia Ora". That's why whenever someone says "Kia Ora" to me, I always say: "No thanks, I'll have a beer please."

John T
Remember the advertising slogan? "Don't forget the Kia Ora, Aurora."
 

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... you might be interested to know that the orange drink that they flogged in UK cinemas was called "Kia Ora". That's why whenever someone says "Kia Ora" to me, I always say: "No thanks, I'll have a beer please."
John T
It was first produced in Sydney in 1903!

For some reason the Saturday morning cinema was unknown to me - Perhaps I was a deprived child.. 😢
 

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Spongebob
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It was first produced in Sydney in 1903!

For some reason the Saturday morning cinema was unknown to me - Perhaps I was a deprived child.. 😢
Malcolm, in the early days they didn't have Saturday morning matinees because the kids were to busy at home doing their chores !

It comes back to me , Abbot and Costello and Laurel and Hardy were pretty popular in those days as well as the cowboys

Bob
 

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We called the Movie a Serial, at the end it always left you hanging to what happened, you would have to go back the following Sat to see what happened. Our show was at 2pm, started with Pathe News or Movietonews, then coming attractions/trailers, then a Cartoon, and then the BIG SHOW.
 

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It was first produced in Sydney in 1903!

For some reason the Saturday morning cinema was unknown to me - Perhaps I was a deprived child.. 😢
Malcolm, In Preston in the 1950's when I was growing up there were probably about ten Cinemas and quite a few of them did the Saturday morning kids program, from what I remember it was six pence, my favourite was the ABC in the town centre, at half time they had various competitions on the stage and you could win prizes..

Frank
 

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It wasn't a matter of the kids cinema shows not being there, it was just that Mum and Dad always seemed to find something else for me to do. Because I never went in the first place it never occurred to me that other kids did and that I might be missing something.
That's what I mean by 'unknown'.
 

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It was first produced in Sydney in 1903!

For some reason the Saturday morning cinema was unknown to me - Perhaps I was a deprived child.. 😢
Fancy that! Wonder how it got to Middlesbrough? Maybe it came in an Empire relief parcel and caught on.
Not many people in Middlesbrough would know that Kia Ora is "How do?" in Maori.

John T
 

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I remember drinking Kia-ora but I also remember drinking/licking a frozen drink in a triangular shaped cardboard carton..

Frank
 
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