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Regal Cinema, 1938-1968

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

Regal Cinema

Phil Walton was once chief projectionist at the Regal Cinema and he tells me: The cinema was opened in 1938 with a total seating capacity of 1355 (stalls: 916; circle: 439). In February 1964 it was renamed ABC, then changed to Star on 1st July 1969. The Mini Bowl opened on 14th December 1962, and closed in 1968.

Live entertainment shows were staged at the Regal Theatre in 1955 when Ray Ellington and Eddie Calvert appeared, for a week each on 25th July and 22nd August respectively. In 1956 Ronnie Hilton appeared for a week starting 20th August, while in 1957 Alma Cogan appeared for a week starting 22nd July. She was followed by Lita Rosa for a week from 12th August.

The first organist to play the Compton organ was Florence de Jong, while other players were Reginald Foort, Lewis Gerrard and Felton Rapley. Reginald Porter-Brown was a regular player during summer seasons and was the last person to play the organ before it was sold and went to Nidd Hall.

The cinema won the best projectionist competition three times over a period of five years in the Yorkshire area. This was against 17 cinemas, including the top cinema at Leeds.

In 1961 the Regal's projectionists were: Mr Phil Walton (chief), with Mrs Madge Walton (Phil's wife) as second projectionist. Joint second projectionists were Mr Robin Scotter (cousin of the author) and Mr John Wright.