Sunday, 22 September 2013
Cinematic Memories (Part One)
Cinemas these days, eh? We've never had it so good. Multiple screens showing all different films from morning to night, 3D, IMAX, crystal-clear surround sound.
At the risk of getting a bit Four Yorkshiremen on you, we don't know we're born nowadays. When I were a lad, it was a very different story. Most cinemas only had one screen which showed one film (two if you were lucky) and 3D was just a pipe dream. Your feet used to stick to the floors and the seats were uncomfortable. A world away from the multiplex gloss and shine.
Truth be told, there were slim pickings for cinemas in Pembrokeshire when I was growing up. You basically had three choices: the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven (which had a cinema screen that was lowered across the main house stage like a safety curtain), the Palace Cinema in Haverfordwest, and the Tenby Playhouse Cinema.
Most of the time (because it was easier to get to and you didn't have to pay to cross the Cleddau Bridge), we would go to Tenby to watch a film.
And that's where it happened.
That's where I first fell in love with the cinema.
I can't actually remember the first film I ever saw in Tenby. I've a feeling it was probably something slightly embarrassing like Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves or (more likely) a childrens' film. But that was where we went to see our films. Being a smalll local place, it wasn't exactly red-hot on getting the latest movies on the weekend they were released but we'd get them eventually. It also had a balcony as well as stalls and your tickets were the proper old-fashioned 'Admit One' tickets.
Some of the more memorable cinematic experiences I had at Tenby include:
- Going on a date (with my girlfriend at the time) to see Mrs. Doubtfire- it might have been our first proper date actually.
- sneaking in to my first film when I was underage - I went to Se7en on its release in 1995 and I wasn't 18 (naughty me, eh?)
- a trip with a group of friends (which included fellow Watcher Rhys) in the summer of 1997 to go and see Batman & Robin, which ended with Rhys exiting the cinema and saying the following words to the assembled group: 'I am so sorry'.
Of the three cinemas I mentioned earlier, the Palace in Haverfordwest is still going, as is the Torch Theatre who now have two cinema venues (showing in the Main House and the Studio). However, the Tenby Playhouse Cinema is sadly no more. It closed for good in January 2011 and was finally demolished earlier in 2013. A small chunk of my childhood and adolescence has gone with it.