Scotland’s Cinema History

A post on the Guardian Film blog on Friday, itself linking off to another site that looks at 8 Aesthetically Awesome Abandoned Movie Theatres in America, reminded me of a website I stumbled across a year or two back that did something similar for Scotland’s cinemas of yesteryear.

The Scottish Cinemas and Theatres Project is “dedicated to recording and archiving our historic cinema architectural heritage, and to act as a information resource for people interested in that often overlooked part of our social history.”, and it does it in fine style.

My first visit led to me spending an hour or more sifting through the photos of long gone cinemas, some of which are today pubs, theatres or simply gone, to be replaced by new houses or shops. There’s something quite sad about the fact that these places, the centrepoint of so many nights out and long awaited weekend trips to the pictures to see the latest movie from the Hollywood dream factory, are now just another part of history.

If you have a few minutes spare, please take a trip over to the site to see if there’s anywhere you remember visiting. Personally I remember well the ABC (at one time the 123) on Lothian Road, now the rather soulless Odeon, and the old Odeon on South Clerk Street.

I particularly remember going to the old Odeon on the evening of the premiere of the Sean Connery thriller, Entrapment. The street was cordoned off outside to allow the crowds to gather, and as each limo pulled up with celebrities for the red carpet, the students living in the flat next door to the cinema kept playing the James Bond theme on their hi-fi, waiting for Connery to arrive.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas pulled up, waved at the audience and promptly vanished inside the cinema. A few moments later Connery arrived – to the strains of the Bond theme from those neighbours – and took a few minutes to greet the crowds. He then went inside the Odeon, grabbed Zeta-Jones and took her back outside for more photos. Good lad.

If anyone has any other memories, please leave them in the comments section below, otherwise head over to the Cinemas and Theatre Project site for a look-see.


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