'The cinema lights went out and it was like a riot!'
A recent Saturday Flashback story about former Hull cinemas held special memories for Michael Baxter, of Colville Avenue, Hull, who tells of Saturday mornings at the ABC Minors Matinee.
He said: "It was the treat of the week and one of the thrills of growing up.
"We would patiently wait in a long queue, pay 6d to gain entrance and once inside meet friends along with another couple of hundred kids all shouting and bawling.
"The lights went out and it was like a riot for a while. We would throw things around a lot in the hope we would hit a complete stranger in the dark and we would climb over seats, run around and generally cause mayhem. We were without parental control and misbehaved badly."
Come and discover the wildlife at Blacktoft Sands nature reserve for just £6. Offer includes entry for 2 adults and up to 3 children, binocular hire and activities for children. Normal value £12.
Terms: Redeem voucher at visitor reception during opening hours, 9am to 5pm. Only, one pair of binoculars per voucher, customers will need to leave car keys as a deposit for binoculars.
Contact: 01405 800024
Valid until: Saturday, June 15 2013
Many readers will recall the pre-show sing-song.
The ABC Minors Song was sung to the tune of Blaze Away:
We are the boys and girls well known as
Minors of the ABC
And every Saturday we line up
To see the films we like
And shout aloud with glee
We love to laugh and have a sing-song
Such a happy crowd are we
We're all pals together
The Minors of the ABC
A variety of films followed, such as Laurel And Hardy, The Three Stooges, Pathe News, a western with the likes of Lash LaRue, the Lone Ranger, Johnny Mack Brown and the Cisco Kid, cartoons featured Felix the Cat, Woody Woodpecker and Popeye and a cliff-hanger serial with Flash Gordon, Zorro and King Of The Rocket Men.
Mr Baxter also recalls happy times at the Regis in Gipsyville where he says there was an usher resplendent in a maroon uniform who tried to keep some kind of order but he was always doomed to fight a losing battle week in, week out.
He said: "The ice cream ladies were besieged the moment they appeared by hordes of kids who had no appreciation of the concept of queuing.
"We would shout at the screen to tell the good guy there was someone behind them with a gun. It was pure pantomime.
"Many was the time the film broke down and we would start booing and stamping our feet until it got back up and running again.
"At the end we were let loose and would emerge into the daylight and start shooting at each other and at total strangers in the street.
"And many was the time I changed into Zorro with my duffel coat fastened only at the neck and trailing behind me like a cape. You slapped your sides as if on horseback and the strange thing was that you did seem to get home faster.
"What a great time it was and it was a sad day when the Regis closed in the late Fifties.
"It was the beginning of the end for many cinemas with the advent of television.
"We would stay at home and watch Children's Hour and the half hour westerns.
"It just wasn't the same but at least I had shared the experience of the Saturday morning matinee and it was an experience that you looked forward to and cherished as a memory for even longer.
FOR many people, those big nights out at major Hull venues such as the Skyline, Bailey's and the Mecca still hold special memories.
But there was another popular city centre spot which also attracted big interest way back in the Sixties, tucked away down Little Queen Street and a venue which attracted some of the up and coming names in the pop world.
This was the Gondola, a rendezvous that did not offer alcoholic drinks.
It was owned by John Science and as many as 300 teenagers would pack the place to listen to national and local groups.
On the door was Sammy Evans and visitors passed him to part with one and sixpence in old money for a disco night, 3s 6d for a local group and up to five shillings for a "name" group.
In a Hull Daily Mail interview in 1981, Mr Science said many of the acts were booked well in advance, appearing at the Gondola when they had a record in the charts, having been engaged at a fee which did not reflect their success.
These included names like Freddie and the Dreamers – booked for £22.10s – and Dave Berry and the Cruisers, booked at just £25.
Mr Science said he negotiated for the Johnny Dankworth Quintette to play for only £40, while Johnny Kidd and the Pirates appeared for £70.
But perhaps the greatest Gondola scoop was booking a West Riding act for a fee of £1 per man plus a meal. The name of the lead singer was Vance Arnold. He is better known as Joe Cocker.