Nostlagia: Lights, cameras and years of action

IT was once one of the city’s grandest movie theatres, so it was encouraging this week to hear that plans are being drawn up to restore the old Odeon building in Clerk Street to its former glory.

Businessman Gerry Boyle – brother of singing sensation Susan Boyle – is hoping to turn the venue into a Las Vegas-inspired cabaret and entertainment complex, and is looking to hold the grand opening in time for next year’s Fringe festival, a date which would mark almost a decade to the day since the A-listed historic building was shut down.

In its glory days the building, originally the New Victoria Cinema, was a worthy venue for hosting the glitz and glamour of the film world, and in 1955 its impressive foyer was packed with young fans eager to see stars Bill Travis and Virginia McKenna as they turned out for the world premiere of their latest picture, Bridal Path.

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The cinema was always fascinating for cinephiles, featuring the kind of design seen in the movie houses of the 1920s – and in 1968 Elizabeth Dick, Moira Bell and Sandra Robba made the picture complete when they appeared as trio of “Modern Millies” for a fancy dress party.

The venue was used for more than just film, however – as well as hosting satellite broadcasts of the Indianapolis 500 from the US in 1966 and squeezing in a an authentic racing car to make the experience complete, the impressive auditorium was often used for live music performances.

In 1975, more than 3000 fans queued for tickets to see the Bay City Rollers, some waiting for more than 36 hours. The crowds were so large 50 police officers had to be drafted in to keep control, and ultimately led to organisers starting the ticket sale 30 minutes early in a bid to disperse the crowd.