Pictures perfect down the decades

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THERE is nothing quite like it – a couple of hours of pure escapism from the tedious routine of daily life.

A trip to the cinema – from the smell of freshly baked popcorn to the suspense of the lights being dimmed – never ceases to thrill.

The T-Set pop group at the ABC Ritz cinema with some members of the Ritz Saturday Morning Club in April 1966

The T-Set pop group at the ABC Ritz cinema with some members of the Ritz Saturday Morning Club in April 1966

And then there is the action, the tears, the laughter, as well as the soundtracks which leave spellbound audiences with a spring in their step long after they have returned to the real world.

This week, one of Scotland’s oldest operating picture houses, the Cameo, celebrated its 100th anniversary, offering fans of the Tollcross attraction a chance to reflect on its long-standing place in the hearts of city residents.

The venue first screened “moving pictures” on January 8, 1914 when film-goers arrived to discover a revolutionary mirrored screen – the first of its kind in the country – as well as 673 seats and a live orchestra.

The Cameo finds a place on Edinburgh’s long list of picture houses – many long since bitten the dust – including the former ABC, in Lothian Road, where our picture of projectionist Walter Chapman was taken in January 1969. Deep in concentration, the expert had worked at many of the city’s cinemas since 1938 and was preparing for his 230th screening of Gone With The Wind.

Screaming Beatles fans when the group played the ABC, in Lothian Road, in 1964

Screaming Beatles fans when the group played the ABC, in Lothian Road, in 1964

Some years earlier, we snapped frenzied Beatles fans at the same venue, watching with wonder as the musicians played on the stage.

And in July 1990, we captured the wonder of a trip to the cinema for these youngsters who were being treated to a tub of popcorn at the opening of the 12-screen UCI multiplex in Newcraighall.

Three children share a tub of popcorn at the 12-screen UCI multiplex cinema at Newcraighall in July 1990

Three children share a tub of popcorn at the 12-screen UCI multiplex cinema at Newcraighall in July 1990

Walter Chapman, projectionist at the ABC Cinema in Edinburgh

Walter Chapman, projectionist at the ABC Cinema in Edinburgh

Youngsters Queue for film show in Central Hall

Youngsters Queue for film show in Central Hall