Susan Morrison: Arnie’s talents spelled trouble at cinema

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Back in the 1980s, when I had permed hair, I was the assistant manager of the ABC Cinema in Lothian Road. We used to do press showings for upcoming releases. They started at 11 in the morning, and we invited all the battle-hardened film critics from the local press.

This was in the days when the local press core for even a D-rated movie could number about 20.

ABC Edinburgh boasted a bar. Despite the fact that I worked there for nigh on two years, my only abiding memory of the interior was truly appalling silver foil wallpaper, which reflected a sort of sickly yellow light over people and made everyone look like a zombie. What can I say? On a Friday night, you weren’t far wrong.

We would open the bar for the press showings.

One wet miserable Wednesday morning the forthcoming attraction was Red Sonja.

At one important part of the action, we thought the set was moving, until we realised it was the lead actor, a chap whose name we couldn’t 

The press pack made it to about 15 minutes when, one by one, they rose and, to the sound of the seats thunking back, made their way to the bar.

The general consensus over beer – and remember, gentle reader, this was a time in our history when downing at least three pints over lunchtime was not the sort of thing that worried a Tory government used to a sea of gin before dinner – was that this was the last we would see of Arnie Thingie.

Of course, his name was Arnold Schwarzenegger and within a year I watched as we misspelled his name at least six times on the canopy before we could get it right.

In our little cupboard of letters for the signage, we had only three letter Gs and just two Zs.

We lived in terror of a film involving Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rutger Hauer hunting Godzilla in the company of Zsa Zsa Gabor.

It would have wiped us out faster than a good hand on a Scrabble board.