Visiting the cinema in the Fifties - Scottish nostalgia
Isobel Allison recalls the excitement of cinema going in 1950s Glasgow.
In1950s Glasgow in order to see our favourite films, we would have to wait in a never-ending queue. It usually snaked round the entrance of the Lorne Picture House, along Cornwall Street, then round the corner to Milnpark Street. If the queue continued for more than 200 yards we wouldn’t make the first house and would have to either return for the second showing or come back another evening. In our area of Kinning Park, we had several cinemas within ten minutes walking distance: The Lorne, the Capital and the Imperial (imps).
Despite going to the pictures on a regular basis – on Saturday mornings for the ‘Cap club’ (The Capital Cinema) and on a weekday night with either my aunt or one of my older sisters, I never tired of my visits.
The children’s film club started at 10am and finished at noon and I was a member for seven years. Once a year on your birthday a special birthday card dropped through the letterbox. It entitled the member and a friend to attend the ‘Club’ free. This always caused a dilemma as the choice of friend had to be decided. It was sixpence to get into the club, so there was a potential saving of one shilling.
We had our own song which we sang before the films began. ‘’We come along on Saturday mornings, greeting everybody with a smile….’ My favourite sweets to take with me were rhubarb rock and McGowans Highland toffee.
We cheered the’ goodies’ and booed the ‘baddies’. In those days, there were no complex plots. The heroes and heroines were obvious. They showed a variety of films, usually serialised, resulting in a weekly build-up of exciting episodes, culminating in the ‘goodies’ managing to overcome the ‘baddies’. If the audience became too noisy because of over-excitement, there was always the ‘chucker oot’ who issued a warning. If it was ignored the culprits were ushered out and peace returned.
Undoubtedly, my favourite film star was Doris Day. I loved her. She was beautiful, a great dancer and singer and a versatile actress. I’ve read ‘modern’ reviews about Doris and her squeaky-clean image and the ‘not politically correct’ scripts she was given in some of her films. Who cares? They were written in a different era and they haven’t diminished my admiration of her or her undisputable talent.
When I hear that distinctive singing voice, I’m immediately transported into another time when everything seemed straightforward. In most of her films, there were some difficulties to overcome, but everyone eventually lived happily ever after. If only!