18 thoughts on “The Odeon, Stockton High Street c1968

  1. Wow remember going here in the 70s to see Saturday Morning matinees. My parents also took us to see The Jungle Book and Lady and The Tramp. They seemed to rerun lots of older movies I remember and I recall around 1975 going to see the Dad’s Army movie there (I often wonder if that was on to tie in with the stage show at Billingham Forum which I knew nothing about at the time). My sister spilt a packet of dolly mixtures on the floor and my Dad spent most of the film trying to pick them up.

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  2. A Mr Malcolm Hardyon posted on this www-site August 11, 2014, “I am the same person, who owned 12 cinemas in Los Angeles, California, and I am looking for any of the former employees at the Odeon Cinema, Stockton, does anyone know John Spilsberry or Doreen Instone? Message: If Mr Hardyon, is a former Stockton on Tees born man, would he explain how it came about that he owned cinemas in Los Angeles. California? and his connection with Stockton. Any other anecdotes would be welcome.

    The Odeon cinemas group was established in 1928 by Oscar Deutsch, Brierley Hill, West Midlands. The first cinema to use the Odeon brand name was Deutsch’s cinema at Perry Barr, Birmingham, ten years later the Odeon group was part of The Rank Organisation. The Odeon name had been used for cinemas in France and Italy in the 1920s, and the word is derived from “Nickelodeon” (a peepshow viewing device revolving often lewd photographs on a spindle machine) used in the United States during that era. By the time of Oscar Deutsch’s death in 1941, 258 Odeons had opened throughout Britain. They also ran their own cinema advertising company in conjunction with Pearl & Dean. In March 2012, the Odeon Cinemas Group owners reported a £70 million loss for the year 2011. ,most of us will recall the Man with the Gong Rank Cinemas logo.

    * Hull Museum Quotes > : J. Arthur Rank was born in Hull in 1888 into a devoutly Methodist family. His father, Joseph, had founded a flour milling business in 1875, which had started with a rented windmill on Holderness Road, Hull. The company prospered and was a substantial business by the time of his death in 1943, leaving his three sons and four daughters as millionaires. J. Arthur himself was considered a ‘dunce’ by his father, who claimed he would never succeed in life beyond working his way up in the family flour mill. He attempted to establish his own business, ‘Peterkins Self-Raising Flour’, but this venture failed and he returned to his father’s company. The Rank flour business eventually acquired the Hovis McDougall Company in 1962 to become Ranks Hovis McDougall Ltd. J. Arthur inherited his father’s Methodism, and he was a life long Sunday School teacher and President of the National Sunday School Union.
    A concern expressed by the Methodist community concerned the detrimental influence of the film industry on Britain family values and this gave him the idea of producing films for religious and moral instruction. He established his own film company with the intention of doing just that. J. Arthur went on to produce many films at his purpose built Pinewood Studios which have become legendary in film history. Famous early Rank and Pinewood creations include Brief Encounter, Red Shoes, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Henry V.

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    • I am Malcolm Hardy and it was not Pearl and Dean it was ” Rank Screen Services” I left the Odeon at 25 years old, I became the manager of the Odeon Haymarket in London (after being as assistant at the Odeon Hamersmith). I went to Los Angeles when Rank closed the Odeon Haymarket, I met the big boss of Pacific Theatres and he was leased three movie theatres, I built a company over the next 15 years, all but 4 cinemas were single screens, after the building of multiplexes I sold the company, which was called Century Cinema Corporation.

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  3. I can remember the Odeon opening – the floor at the entrance around the box office was still being worked on the day before it was due to open.
    Then there was Reginald? King? and the Mighty Compton?? Organ which rose up from the depths in front of the stalls
    What year did it open? I THINK I was still at Holy Trinity School so my guess would be 1936-38.

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    • The organist was Reginald Condocity based at what was the Odeon Newcastle, I was a projectionist but not till 1955, the theatre closed and was partly rebuilt and re opened I think 1968? am I wrong with the date?

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  4. My wifes uncle had an accident at the Malleable works where he broke his leg. He was going for check ups at the Stockton and Thornaby Hospital. On one of these occasions after leaving hospital and getting the bus from Bowsfield Lane to the Town he changed over to the ‘0’ bus stop at the Odeon for Norton. Whilst in the queue and at the time the Odeon was being demolished a brick fell down the outside of the scaffold hitting him on the head. He was laid there on the floor blooding flowing from his head and he also had the plaster on his leg. The lucky bit was that at the time it happened an Ambulance was passing and took back up to the hospital.

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  5. As a child I visited the Odeon childrens cinema club on a Saturday morning. The organ in those days would rise to play the cinema song which we would sing to.

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    • We come along on Saturday morning greeting everybody with a smile, we come along on Saturday morning knowing its well worthwhile etc

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      • I loved going to the Odeon on a Saturday morning… Will the Lone Ranger and Trigger manage to jump across that ravine?! I think it cost 6d to go on a Saturday morning…. I remember singing the song above! Lynda House, nee Brown.

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  6. You sure it was 1968? The movie showing is Thoroughly Modern Millie, starring Julie Andrews. It was released 21st March 1967. It may be the photo was taken in the April of 1967…

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    • I worked as a projectionist at the Odeon from 1956, it closed for a redecoration, then some years latter it was demolished all but the stage, it was rebuilt and reopened with Thoroughly Modern Millie. I wonder if anyone knows any of the projection staff, lost all contact, this was a great and very professional run cinema. but Rank were slow in getting into the multiplex operations, Stockton Odeon closed along with Hartlepool, and Darlington and later Middlesbrough, any one have pictures of the Empire, the Plaza, the Cinema, the Globe.

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      • Hello Malcolm,
        I’m Doreen Instones son, please get in touch as I’d love to know more about my mams time at the Odeon. She always loved her time working there with her mam Emily. Any info or pictures would be greatly appreciated.

        Mark.

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