9:22am Tuesday 14th July 2009 in Budock
“I think I remember some of your faces from when I used to peep through the window of the projection room in the cinema in the 1950’s to see what was “going on” in the back row. “ Were words from Ken Paynter’s talk to members at the July meeting.
When the laughter died down Mr Paynter told the fascinating story of the Odeon Cinemas in Cornwall.
There were just two Odeons, one at Falmouth and one at St Austell.
He started work at the age of 15 in 1945, rewinding the film after the show for the sum of £1.50 per week. There were six operators employed and you had to work your way up to be one.
A Mr Deutsch, a scrap metal dealer, owned the cinemas until he sold out to J Arther Rank in 1930. The Odeon empire grew from 20 to 50 cinemas in 1937. The flagship one being in Leicester Square, London.
J Arther Rank was a strong Methodist and he made many religious films and when Sunday opening started the shows were for charity and the timing had to fit in with church and chapel service times.
Mr Paynter went on to tell how the old Pathe newsreels, etc, were made and how the starlets of the day, eg Diana Dors and Joan Collins, were groomed. He remembers Diana Dors well for he was given the task of looking after her at one time. He reminisced about many of the old time stars who visited the area, a few being, Cyril Fletcher, Rob Wilton, Peter Brough and Terry Scott.
He helped with the rushes of the films made in Cornwall at the time, Jonny Frenchman, filmed in Mevagissey and his favourite, My Cousin Rachel, filmed around Par, with Patricia Roc, Richard Burton and Olivia De-Haviland.
Mr Paynter still likes to go to Charlestown when they are filming there to see how times have changed.
He completed his talk telling how the buildings were arranged and about the gadgets working the curtains etc.
After he had been thanked, the president brought us up to date with events.
The Strawberry Fayre was well attended and made a nice profit. For the picnic on July 17 at Durgan do bring food and a chair. On August 5 an outing to Trelowarren and Roskilly.
There are many outings and luncheons advertised in the County News and members will attend several of these.
After a tasty supper the meeting ended at 9.45pm.