Monday, 23 July 2012

Memories of the Projection Room

A local resident who used to work in the Regal as a projectionist brought this fantastic picture in to us and we wanted to share it with you.

It's a photograph of the projection room at the Regal in its early years. The two projectors in the picture are the original Kalee 11s which were in place at the cinema's opening in July 1937.

Some of those original features are still in the projection room today, most notably the fire shutters on the far wall. We've even still got one of those tall chairs, especially tall so that the projectionist could see down into the auditorium through the high portal you can see next to where the projectionist is standing in the photograph.

We've been recording the memories of people who have worked in and visited the Regal over the years. These audio recordings will be available on our interactive website soon at and we're also in the process of transcribing some of them as well. A few of the people we've interviewed so far have been those who used to work as projectionists, and we thought this blog post would be a great place to share some of those little snippets about life in the projection room.
Once the films arrived, usually Monday or Tuesday, you'd go down to the cinema, and you had to take the films out of the transport cans and put them onto the spools, the projection spools, and what you were doing was to check them over to make sure that they were alright. Because the distributor would send a running sheet down with the films telling you that they'd checked them and they were all satisfactory... but you never took their word for it.
- David Griffiths
The projectors in the photograph were 'carbon arc' projectors, which meant that instead of having a bulb in them to generator light as more modern projectors do, they actually burnt carbon inside them which gave off a bright light. This is one of the reasons that projection was such a dangerous occupation - that, and the very flammable nitrate film that was used, which has been known to spontaneously combust from only the friction of moving through the projector!

Tom Dallow tells us a little about the carbon arc projectors that he worked with at the Regal;

The thing with carbons... if you let them burn too far apart, they'd go out. But if they burn too close together, the picture would go brown! So, then there used to be some fun and games if you hadn't put enough carbon in there because you'd got to get your hands in the archouse, open it up, tap them up a little bit more with something so that it'd last... they've been out many a night.
- Tom Dallow

We hope you've enjoyed this brief journey into the projection room of years gone by! We'll share some more memories of the Regal over the summer. If you've got any photographs of the Regal that we could feature here, please do let us know!

Mystery Film 32

A well-a well-a well-a-congratulations to Lainey on Facebook and Steve on Twitter for knowing last week's film was of course Grease!

Danny, the T-bird lead of the film, was famously played by John Travolta opposite Olivia Newton-John as Sandy. An earlier choice for the role was Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz in Happy Days. Winkler turned the role down though, for fear of being typecast. Scenes within the film contain blurred-out images of Coca-Cola logos, as the film's producer had made a product placement deal with Pepsi during filming and the scenes were deemed to expensive to re-shoot.

What do you make of this week's film?

Answers by the usual form; facebook, twitter or blog!

Friday, 13 July 2012

It's all about CineMonkeys!

You've probably already heard about CineMonkeys, our family film club, featuring an hour of things to make and do before a classic family film, but just in case you haven't... here's the low-down for you!

We're very pleased with our new logo and hope you like it too - it was designed by Katy from Lacon Childe School as part of a partnership project between the school and the cinema. We love the smiling monkey - look out for him at our summer events!

So, what's on? Well, we've got four great family films for you in August, each with an hour of themed craft and games beforehand;

Wednesday August 1st - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Wednesday August 8th - Happy Feet
Wednesday August 15th - The Lion King
Wednesday August 22nd - Pirates of the Caribbean

Tickets are £6 for adults and £4 for children. Some craft activities may incur an additional £1 charge.

Film fans of all ages are welcome, and you don't have to come to the craft and games session to see the film. During August, we're also showing a classic Tom and Jerry cartoon before the main feature, included in your film admission ticket. Craft sessions start at 11.30am, and the cartoon begins at 12.30pm, followed immediately by the film.

Win your way in!

We're so excited about CineMonkeys that we're giving away a family ticket (for up to five people) to each one of our CineMonkeys films. To enter the competition, just design us a poster for the film you'd like to come and see for free out of the four we're showing this August. We'll judge each week on the Monday before the film and let you know that day if you've won. There will be some prizes for highly commended entries too, so get designing!

CineMonkeys is aimed at families with children aged 7 - 12, though children of any age are very welcome. We're also running additional sessions on Tuesdays between 10am and noon for MiniCineMonkeys who are under 7, with two hours of craft and games and a short cartoon showing at 11.30am in the auditorium. MiniCineMonkeys sessions are completely free, and will feature similar craft activities and games to the following day's CineMonkeys session, but with the focus on our younger film fans.

If you've got questions about any of the CineMonkeys sessions, or if you'd like to let us know that you're coming, you can email us on Booking for the pre-film sessions isn't essential, but it is preferred. You can buy tickets for the films in advance or pre-order them and pay on the day - contact the Pump Rooms in Tenbury on 01584 810118 or email us.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mystery Film 31

Congratulations to Stephen on facebook who correctly identified last week's film as Hugo.

Based on Brian Selznick's novel 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret', Hugo is a film about a young boy who lives in a train station in Paris where he tends to the clocks and tries to solve a mystery about a broken automaton, his last and most precious possession from his now-dead father. Along the way, he starts an adventure to uncover past secrets about a famous early film-maker and pioneer of special effects, Georges Méliès.

What do you make of this week's film?

Guesses the usual ways please; comments here on the blog, guesses on twitter or facebook.

Happy guessing!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mystery Film 30

Congratulations to Steve on twitter and David on facebook who correctly indentified last week's film as the Dreamwork's animation film Shrek.

Featuring the unlikely hero, the ogre Shrek, the film was a family favourite when it was released back in 2001. Eleven years and four films later, the popularity of the unconvential protagonist still continues, with a Tony Award winning musical and spin-off films and shorts speaking to the franchise's success. Mike Myers, who voices Shrek, recorded all the dialogue for the film twice; after completing the entire script he asked to re-record it in a Scottish accent. The studio liked the change so much that they modified $4million worth of animation to accomodate the re-recording.

What do you make of this week's film?

Answers in the usual form; on the blog, on facebook or twitter. Happy guessing!