History Researched & Compiled by Colin Sutton|
Originally for the Laisterdyke Local History Group.
Copyright © 2003/04, Colin Sutton.
Quick links to the cinemas on this page . . .
New Cinemas for the 21st Century . . .
and finally . . .
The first picture halls to appear near Laisterdyke/Barkerend/Thornbury were the Hippodrome and Queen's Hall in 1911 followed by the Tivoli and Kozey in 1912. This was followed in 1913 when the Rev John Higgitt obtained a licence to show films in Prospect Hall (925 seats) in Wakefield Road. At the same time Rev Walter Cherry was similarly granted a licence to show films in Southend Hall (897 seats) in Leeds Road.
Such early films shown in church halls were mostly of the educational type and were carefully vetted by the church with the result that the church hall ventures were rather short lived. The Queen's Hall, although in a church building was independently run as the church had previously ceased to function.
The Tivoli, however, was built in 1912 on church-owned land and the RC church controlled its film choice throughout its existence. The success of the Tivoli prompted the Catholic church to erect another picture hall, the Scala, at the junction of East Parade and Barkerend Road.
The Hippodrome/Roxy, although not in Laisterdyke, did always offer serious competition to the Lyceum and other cinemas around Laisterdyke for those who wanted to make the longer trip to its Barkerend location.
The 1950's and early 1960's brought the impact of television and the demolition of back-to-back houses and bought new developments. All this aided the decline of the local cinemas.
Cinema history in the area has now turned full circle with the erection of the new 13-screen Odeon multiplex on the site of the former English Electric Sports Club on the east side of Thornbury roundabout. By coincidence, the new Odeon faces the still existing building of the old Kozey Picture Hall across the roundabout. The residents of Laisterdyke and surrounding area are once again able to walk to their choice of 21st century cinemas.
The information that follows is based more on researched and recorded facts rather than vague inaccurate reminiscences. Hopefully the information will help revive some happy memories spent on those old picture palaces.
Bradford - Hippodrome/Roxy
Links to Hippodrome/Roxy sections on this page . . .
Building and Location
The huge building fronting onto Barkerend Road and bounded by Henford Drive (formerly Undercliffe Street) and Butler Street was originally a roller skating rink and one of four built in Bradford to meet the demands of that craze in 1909. The others were the Towers Hall in Manchester Road, Coliseum in Toller Lane and the Rolarena in Manningham Lane. All these buildings were converted into cinemas for some period of their respective histories.
Conversion to Theatre
The skating rink was converted into the huge 1700-seater Hippodrome Picture & Variety Theatre in 1911 and was to include a fully equipped stage with lighting and dressing rooms.The proprietor was the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit headed by Frank MacNaghten who also controlled the old Palace Theatre in Manchester Road. The local newspaper described the new theatre as . . .
"A transformation, and a very striking one, of the Hippodrome skating rink into a picture palace - a further testimony to the inexhaustible expertise of Frank MacNaghten. Bradford's premier picture palace with two shows nightly."
The opening films on Monday 20th February 1911 included . . .
"Jim Bridger's Indian Bride" - B/W Silent
"The Telephone" - B/W Silent, and
"The Winning of Miss Longdon" - B/W Silent
(No further details available)
Popular Photo Plays
Amusing, Instructive and an Education
All that is Brightest and Best.
Prices 2d, 4d and 6d.
Plus vaudeville (variety) acts on the stage to the accompaniment of the Hippodrome's own resident orchestra.
Following the opening, the press reported . . .
"The steadiness and clearness of the photographs was very marked in every instance. The magnificent building modernised and handsomely equipped with all the latest and best life motion pictures will be shown in rotation."
Later advertising proclaimed . . .
The World before your eyes
You know one half, we will show you the other.
If anything happens, we've got it.
The brightest,steadiest and finest pictures ever seen.
Front seats 2d, Pit 4d, stalls 6d.
Matinées every Saturday at 2.30pm.
By 1914 prices were reduced to: Stalls 6d, centre stalls 2d and front stalls benches 1d.
There was one name which was very well known in the city - that of Charlie Mozley also spelt Moseley in some sources. Actually his proper name was George Bernard Mozley who was employed by the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit as stage manager at Bradford Palace Theatre but in 1911 he became house manager of the newly opened Hippodrome to promote both pictures (films) and variety. He stayed with the Hippodrome for many years through three different and sometimes controversial ownerships. Mozley was well known for his superb impersonations of Charlie Chaplin which is why he became known as 'Charlie'.
New Owner and Alterations
Major internal structural alterations were made in 1921 by the new owner Joe Holmes resulting in the end of stage shows and the orchestra being replaced by a (less expensive) trio to accompany silent films. The American Western Electric sound system was installed in 1930 and the musical trio made redundant. Seating was reduced to 1460. Charlie Mozley continued as manager right through until the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Local cinema entrepreneur Joe Holmes was also involved with the Ideal at Bankfoot, Baildon Picture House and the Shipley Picture House in the old Queen's Palace Theatre. Later on Bradford Hippodrome (1929) Ltd was formed.
Another Owner then Roxy
Much later the now run-down Hippodrome came under the ownership of Arthur R. Wood who had bought similar old cinemas and refurbished them before selling them on at a profit. The Hippodrome was completely refurbished throughout and redecorated, reseated with a reduced capacity of 1373, recarpeted and a new proscenium with wide sweeping curtains (drapes) and colourfully lit decorative grills at each side emphasizing the great width of the auditorium.
The new cinema was given the very American name of 'Roxy' and advertised itself as "Bradford's New Luxury Cinema". The week before its reopening, the Roxy was open each day for public inspection including the bright new projection room and rewind/store rooms underneath. The very wide entrance foyer was simple and plain in its decoration and led to two sets of steps each dividing to the left and right so giving four entrance doors to the rear stalls. The projection room centrally paced jutted out into the foyer behind the new pay box.
The Roxy was reopened on Monday 28th August 1950 at 7.00pm by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Alderman Alton Ward and the Mayoress. After the short ceremony the Civic party joined the audience to see the film . . .
"The Best Years of our Lives" - 1946 USA B/W 172mins
Starring Myrna Loy, Frederick March and Dana Andrews.
Prices 10d, 1/3d and 1/9d.
Origin of 'Roxy' Name
Samuel L. "Roxy" Rothapfel (1882-1936), the famous American dance/theatre and cinema entrepreneur had the stage name of "Roxy" and gave his name to 'The Roxyettes' later to become 'The Rockettes' at his Radio City Music Hall in New York. In 1927 Sam Roxy Rothapfel was arguably the greatest showman of his time and he built the huge 6000+ seater Roxy Theatre in New York as the largest and flashiest movie theatre in the world that even exceeded his own legend - though later his Radio City Music Hall was even larger. The name Roxy has since popped up in small town movie theatres across the USA to honour this showman.
It's not surprising that soon the name Roxy would be adopted in the UK too. Arthur Wood thought it to be an appropriate name for his latest, largest and flashiest cinema conversion. Even now in 2004 local people refer to the building as "t'old Roxy" even though it has been a mosque for over two decades.
Star Take Control
Two years after Arthur Wood had transformed the Hippodrome into the Roxy, he sold the cinema (at a profit, of course) as a going concern to the up-and-coming Star Cinemas Circuit then of Castleford (and later Leeds) and controlled by Walter Eckhart of Harrogate. The Roxy now advertised as a Star cinema from Monday 24th March 1952 and continued with film programmes much as before.
Early in 1954 a new wide panoramic screen was installed and, following the success three weeks earlier at Star's Elite Cinema in Toller Lane, the new screen came complete with Star Cinemas own . . .
"Ionised reflective Star Colour Tone Surround. One of the latest developments in picture presentation - direct from London's West End!"
The effect was similar to the Ionic "floating" screen having diffused dark blue lighting emerging from the black masking surrounding the picture and supposed to enhance the viewing experience. The new screen was unveiled to the public on Monday 23rd February 1954 with the feature film . . .
"Let's Do It Again" - 1953 USA Technicolor
Starring Jayne Wyman, Ray Milland and Aldo Ray.
However, this floating screen gimmick did not seem to capture the imagination of the public and soon disappeared without trace. The Roxy widescreen was ideally suited to this single storey auditorium which was of exceptionally wide proportions compared with the traditional long narrow halls of the earlier picture houses. Within a year the screen was adapted for CinemaScope with its wide aspect ratio and again ideal in this wide proscenium opening and auditorium.
The End of Films
In 1961 still under Star Cinemas control, the Roxy had been showing films only for the first three days of each week, then running bingo on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings which were proving more popular than films with the result that the last films shown on Wednesday 8th November 1961 were . . .
"The Absent Minded Professor" - USA 1961 B/W and Colorized, 97 mins.
Starring Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson and Keenan Wynn.
"The Horsemasters" - USA /UK 1961 Technicolor 90 mins.
Starring Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk, Tony Britton and Janet Munro.
Bingo then a Mosque
From Thursday 9th November 1961 it was now Silver Dollar Bingo every evening except Tuesday and increased in popularity. Star Cinemas had been very successful in converting a lot of their cinemas building into bingo halls and saw this as the future of their business. Eventually the bingo operation was sold to EMI where it continued under the name of EMI Bingo & Social Club for over a decade.
After a period of remaining empty and disused the former cinema building was sold and converted into a mosque in 1982 and is still operated as such for the benefit of the local Asian community with access in Butler Street at the rear whilst the front entrance in Barkerend Road remains shuttered.
Bradford - Kozey Picture Hall
Kozey Picture Hall
Links to Kozey sections on this page . . .
Leeds Old Road,
Very little is documented about this old picture hall which was converted from the boxing stadium and gymnasium of the Bradford Sporting Club into a 320 seat picture hall. Situated at the junction of Woodhall Road and Leeds Old Road.
It opened on Monday 2nd December 1912 at a time when other such picture halls were springing up all over Bradford. The first film was . . .
"Les Mystères de Paris" (Mysteries of Paris) - France 1911 B/W Silent
Directed by Albert Capellani for Monopol Film Company.
Starring Henry Houry.
One of its early proprietors was John Lush who became similarly involved with Low Moor Picture Palace.
As the larger and more popular Lyceum had been opened in 1919 then the Kozey did not last very long and closed as a cinema in 1920.
Later Uses of Building
The premises were then converted into a weaving shed and later a motor garage. For the last 25 years or so it has been a TV repair shop and TV/Electrical retailer under various names of Tritel Ltd, KG Purchasing, BSmart and currently inStore Electrics Limited under the ownership of Bill Kent.
The Kozey Picture Hall building is one of the oldest in Bradford to be still in existence and in use albeit for a different purpose. Across the giant Thornbury roundabout (Bradford's largest roundabout) is the new 13-screen Odeon multiplex.
Bradford - Lyceum Cinema
Links to Lyceum sections on this page . . .
An auditorium of solid stone construction and purpose designed as a picture hall fronting on to Bradford Lane near its junction with Leeds Road. Ideally located in the midst of a heavily populated area, its commodious hall had a capacity of 1118 seats on a raked (sloping) floor. The now damaged date stone of 1919 can still be seen just below the apex of the front entrance. The auditorium had a wide and lofty feel with a decorative plaster curved ceiling. Internal decoration was by a local man Fred Craven of New Briggate, Laisterdyke. The seating arrangement was in three blocks (centre and two side blocks) with two aisles and a cross aisle half-way down to access the exit doors. Outside the building, a long wooden canopy extended down the left-hand side of the hall for weather protection for the lengthy queues in those early years.
The opening performance on Thursday 18th December 1919 featured . . .
"Daddy-Long-Legs" - USA 1919 B/W silent 85mins
from the novel by Jean Webster.
Starring Mary Pickford, Milla Davenport and Percy Haswell.
Weekdays continuous 6-30pm to 10.30pm.
Saturdays 2.30, 6.30 and 8.30pm.
In those days of silent films, the Lyceum was famed for the quality of its orchestra in the pit beneath the screen. It is recorded that it included five members of the Ambler family and was often supplemented to ten musicians for special epics. Clement Ambler was later in charge of the Carlton Symphony Orchestra at the Carlton Cinema in Manchester Road.
In 1922 a young (18 years) Fred Ambler gained his LRAM whilst engaged in the Lyceum Cinema Orchestra under the direction of his brother Clement Ambler as its Musical Director and also musical advisor to three cinemas in the town.
The drummer was Billy Stean who previously played at the Towers Hall and later at the Carlton cinema.
Owners of the Lyceum cinema over the years have included The Lyceum Picture House Co (Bradford) Ltd run by Leonard Kitchen as resident manager (also involved with Birch Lane, Olympic, Tennyson and Thornton Mechanics cinemas) and later Lyceum Cinema Co Ltd and Hibbert's Pictures who were also heavily involved with the Tennyson, Temperance Hall, Towers Hall and Victoria Palace; Cansfield's with their connections with Birch Lane, Carlton and the Cosy cinema at Wibsey. Originally two shows nightly and two changes per week but changed to continuous performances in the mid-1920's.
The American Western Electric sound system was installed in 1930 eventually making the orchestra redundant. In those early days, the toilets were outside with access via an exit door and it was unusual for streetwise children to sneak into the cinema by this same door.
Prices now 4d to 1/-d in the 1940's and rising to 7d to 1/6 in 1950.
Widescreen then CinemaScope
Much later after a major refurbishment a widescreen was installed in 1953 and its seating capacity reduced due to the larger screen which was housed in a new proscenium of wider proportions and built out in front of the original.
In fact, the very first wide screen to be used in a Bradford cinema was erected at the Lyceum over a weekend and used for the first time on Monday 20th July 1953 with the film . . .
"Top Secret" - 1952 UK B/W 93mins
Starring George Cole, Oskar Homolka and Nadia Gray.
Presented on the New Wide Dimension Panoramic Screen.
The curved screen made of plastic "gives a much more vivid portrayal" said the cinema's press statement. The original screen was 16 feet wide x 12 feet high whilst the new screen would be approximately 24 feet wide x 13 feet high. Although claimed to be the first widescreen in Bradford, it was cetainly not the first in the district as the Glenroyal in Shipley had a similar widescreen installed a month earlier.
The screen was later modified in 1955 for use with CinemaScope. It is believed that Ross projectors were in the upstairs projection room.
The Lyceum closed on Saturday 13th October 1962 with the final double feature . . .
"Escape from Zahrain" - USA 1962 Technicolor 93 mins
Starring: Yul Brynner, Anthony Caruso and Sal Mineo.
"The Durrant Affair" - UK 1962 B/W Drama 73 mins
Starring Richard Caldicot and Francis de Wolff.
Bingo then Cabaret
The building re-opened later in 1962 as the Lyceum Bingo, Cabaret & Social Club after conversions by the Hammond brothers (John Joseph Hammond and Reginald Gerald Hammond), the new owners, who later added Chemin de Fer (baccarat) in converted upstairs rooms which opened on Friday 7th December 1962 after the bingo had finished for the evening. For the record, the first Chemin de Fer in Bradford was at the Silver Birch Club (former Birch Lane cinema) in West Bowling and run by E.G Douglas.
The sloping floor of the cinema was levelled into two flat areas - the higher area at the back and steps down to the lower level at the front for dancing. Later this was transformed in March 1968 into the Lyceum Rainbow Club and in the 1970's it became the Talk of Yorkshire cabaret for which extensive additions were made at the side of the building to accommodate kitchens, bar stock, etc. Many star names including Tom Jones were to appear here. In 1980 yet another change to the Broadway Bar with another form of cabaret and disco.
Nowadays (2004) the main body of the cinema hall is used by the 147 Snooker Bar with the bar area on the rear higher level and snooker tables on the lower front area. The original proscenium housing the screen was stripped out a few years ago to increase the floor area. The two-storey frontage of the old cinema is now called Lyceum House under the ownership of John Townsend and contains a small suite of office accomodation in which parts of the original curved plaster ornamented ceiling of the auditorium can still be seen.
Bradford - Queen's Hall
Links to Queen's Hall sections on this page . . .
The Building and Opening
The Queen's Hall was a conversion of the former St Paul's Church adjacent to the south side of the Bradford-Leeds railway. The old stone building dated from 1857 and its change to a cinema with 500 seats on Monday 23rd October 1911 with the opening films . . .
Twice Nightly 7.00 and 9.00pm.
The most magnificent dramatic film ever shown in Bradford
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" - USA 1910 B/W silent Drama
Starring Frank Hall Crane, Anna Rosemond and Marie Eline.
Plus . . .
"The Chance Shot" - 1912 USA B/W Silent
Starring Florence Lawrence and Owen Moore.
"Trading His Mother" - 1911 USA B/W Silent
Starring Mary Fuller and Yale Boss.
"The Reporter" - 1911 USA B/W Silent
Starring Sam Pickens and Fred Walton.
Plus other humorous short films.
The following day, the Bradford Daily Argus reported . . .
"Hundreds turned away on Monday evening.
Come early and secure your seat - Mr Prosser, Manager.
Later advertisments proclaimed . . .
"The Perfection Pictures
Popular Prices 2d, 4d and 6d."
An elderly lady pianist accompanied some of the silent films. In 1930 the American Western Electric sound system was installed. By comparison with the more up-market Lyceum cinema, the Queen's Hall was considered to be in the "local flea pit" category albeit very popular.
Over the years its owners included Jury's Imperial Pictures then Herbert Butler as proprietor and manager (together with his mother) throughout the 1920's and 1930's; Joe Emmott's Dales Cinemas (Queen's Cinema [Bradford] Ltd) who was also involved with the Clayton (later Rialto) cinema. Little is recorded about this picture hall despite its obvious popularity locally.
Jury's Imperial Pictures was headed by William Jury who went on to become a very big name in the up-and-coming development of picture houses and film hiring. The Queen's Hall was advertised proudly as being "The Home of Jury's Imperial Pictures". Jury was one of the oldest (born 1870) members of the cinema trade with interests in every branch. During the First World War (1914-18) he was responsible for supply of films to the Western front, Italy, Salonica, Mesopotania, Egypt and Palestine. He was knighted in 1918. Sir William Jury became Managing Director of Jury-Metro-Goldwyn Ltd along with Sam Goldwyn in 1924.
On Tuesday 19th November 1912 the Bradford Daily Argus reported that . . .
"The Queen's Hall now in the hands of new proprietors (Herbert Butler) who intend to make it even more popular than it has been. Mr L. Prosser is retained as manager and he is placing before his patrons feature films of star quality. The hall has been decorated and several alterations made for the comfort of the patrons, and at the same time the prices have been reduced.
Popular Prices' now 2d, 3d and 4d."
The owner, Herbert Butler, was always dressed in a natty grey pinstriped suit with a flower in his buttonhole and a homburg hat; he was very strict but well liked.
In the late 1940's after the war, the prices were now 6d to 1/-d and rising to 7d to 1/3d in 1950. By 1956 the Queen's Hall was advertising CinemaScope films being shown but without the stereo sound of the larger city-centre cinemas.
The Queen's Hall eventually closed on Saturday 15th June 1957 with the final films . . .
"Champion" - USA 1949 B/W 99mins
Starring Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Maxwell and Arthur Kennedy.
"Fools Rush In" - UK 1949 B/W
Starring Sally Ann Howes, Guy Rolfe and Thora Hird.
The church/cinema building was subsequently demolished.
Bradford - Tivoli Picture Hall
Tivoli Picture Hall
Links to Tivoli sections on this page . . .
A solid stone building purpose-designed as a picture hall and located on the busy Leeds Road between Upper Nidd Street and Gladstone Street near the old RC Cemetery. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church has been influential in the running of the Tivoli throughout its 44 years as a cinema.
Its proprietors included McFarlanes Tivoli Picture House Co Ltd with Stanley Murphy as manager who also managed the larger Scala cinema in East Parade (adjacent to St Mary's RC Church) followed by J. Griffin as resident manager; Rev B. McAdam and Flanagan's Tivoli (Leeds Road) Ltd. The original policy of the Tivoli was only to show films that the clergy considered suitable for their parishioners to watch.
The bijou interior had some 536 seats (reduced in the 1930's to 500) and a small balcony with projection room above. Indeed it was possible at the back of the balcony to place a hand in front of the projection port and make images on the screen to the annoyance (or amusement) of the audience.
The opening on Monday 23rd September 1912 featured . . .
"Rivals" - 1912 USA B/W Silent
Starring Mabel Normand and Mack Sennett.
"The Governor" - 1912 USA B/W Silent
Starring Mary Fuller and Charles Ogle.
"Two Men and the Law" - 1912 USA B/W Silent
Starring Jack Conway and George Gebhardt.
"Road Agent's Love" - 1912 USA B/W Silent
Starring Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson.
"His Mother-in-Law" - 1912 USA B/W Silent
Starring John Bunney, Lilian Walker and Mary Maurice.
Prices 2d, 4d and 6d. Twice nightly 7.00 and 9.00pm.
The Bradford Daily Argus reported that . . .
"With everything of the very latest type from the hall itself to the pictures thrown upon the newest type of screen, the Tivoli opened its doors to the public for the first time . . . . and scored a merited success".
Adding that 'The Governor' film " . . . did not fail to rouse the enthusiasm of the audience".
Programmes at the Tivoli were run in conjunction with the Scala until the latter closed as a cinema in 1922. By 1923 the prices were 3d to 8d but in 1926 with J. Griffin as manager prices were actually reduced to 2.1/2d to 6d reflecting the difficult times. By the mid-1930's it was 3d to 7d and climbing to 7d to 1/-d in 1950. Records indicate that seating was reduced to 500 in the 1930's.
The Tivoli survived the second world war though a German bomb did drop nearby. Neither widescreen nor CinemaScope were ever installed. Eventually it could not compete with television and the widescreen spectacles of other local cinemas notably the Lyceum and Roxy and closed its doors on Saturday 25th February 1956 with the double feature . . .
"Fighter Attack" - USA 1953 Cinecolor 80 mins
Starring Sterling Hayden, J. Carroll Naish and Joy Page.
"Harassed Hero" - UK 1954 B/W
Starring Guy Middleton, Clive Morton and Simon Lovell.
Later Uses of Building
The old cinema premises were then converted into a motor car showroom - not surprising given its main road location. In 1998 the lower floor was converted into the Papa Cash & Carry mini-market.
1930 - An Important Event
An important event took place in Bradford on Monday 22nd September 1930 which was to give a whole new dimension to the cinemas-going public. It was the opening of the 3318 seater New Victoria cinema/theatre, ballroom, restaurant and tea room. This new luxury super-cinema offered films on the "talking screen" plus the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ and a 30-piece orchestra on stage coupled with wining, dining and dancing all under the same roof.
Such an attraction drew massive publicity and audience support, so how did the humble cinemas of Laisterdyke compete? . . .
The Lyceum was showing . . .
"Footlights and Fools" - USA 1929 B/W with some color 78 mins
Starring Colleen Moore, Raymond Hackett and Fredric March.
Whilst the Queen's Hall advertised its new "Talkies" with . . .
"Parade of the West" - USA 1930 B/W A western
Starring Ken Maynard, Gladys McConnell and Otis Harlan.
The Hippodrome advertised as the place "Where everybody Meets" showed . . .
"The Desert Song" - USA 1929 B/W with some color. 123 mins.
Starring John Boles, Carlotta King and Louise Fazenda.
For the next 25 to 30 years, cinemas of the Laisterdyke area were to compete with city-centre offerings and experienced an audience peak during the war and the later 1940's, but eventually the spread of television and bingo marked the gradual end of local cinemas.
New Cinemas for the 21st Century
Bradford - Odeon 13-Screen Multiplex
Links to Odeon sections on this page . . .
Gallagher Leisure Park
Facing the old Kozey Picture Hall building across the gigantic Thornbury Roundabout (Bradford's largest and a landmark in its own right) is the huge Gallagher Leisure Park complex which includes the 13-screen Odeon Multiplex Cinemas. Opened in July 2000 with Clifford Baillie as General Manager.
Screen seating capacity (including disabled wheelchair spaces) is . . .
| Screen || Seats || || Screen || Seats |
|7||447|| ||Total =||3127|
The Screens have stadium (stepped) seating affording a clear view of the large wide screens. All 13 Screens each have a festoon type stage curtain to rise and fall for that extra theatrical effect.
The new Odeon building also includes a large Esporta health and fitness centre with an indoor swimming pool. The building is surrounded by a landscaped 1,000-space free car park covered by CCTV.
Unlike other multiplex units in the surrounding Leeds, Birstall and Bradford district, the Odeon has Dolby Digital Surround Sound in all 13 Screens whilst the large Screen 7 also has the DTS (Digital Theatre Systems) superior sound system making the Odeon technically superior to its rivals for its sound facilities.
Its projectors are the Italian made CineMeccanica and all the screens are Perlux. During its first year the Odeon successfully achieved the Kodak Gold Screen check for all its screens; this being a measure of the high quality of the colour image.
The official name for the multiplex is Odeon Leeds-Bradford as it is literally on the Leeds and Bradford border and it also replaces the former 5-screen Odeon on the Headrow in Leeds and the 3-screen Odeon in Prince's Way in Bradford.
The new Odeon proudly displays its IIP (Investors in People) accreditation.
The Gala Opening on Thursday 6th July 2000 welcomed guests from the Emmerdale TV series and Bradford Bulls together with a live band performing in the large foyer. The opening film was:
"Stuart Little" - USA/Germany 1999 DeLuxe color 84 mins.
Starring Michael J. Fox (Stuart Little voice), Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie.
The following week the 13-Screens opened to the public with three screens showing the blockbuster film:
"Mission Impossible" - USA/Germany 2000 DeLuxe color 123 mins.
Starring Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott and Thandie Newton.
The Odeon represents the 21st Century approach to mass cinema-going and in January 2004 scooped the OSCARS (Odeon Service to Customer Award and Recognition Scheme) award for the second time in 12 months. The national Company award is presented to the cinema in recognition of the dedication and commitment by staff for outstanding customer service.
Origin of the 'Odeon' Name
Based on the Latin 'Odeium' and Greek 'Odeion' as in the famous Odeion of Herodes Atticus, the huge open air theatre at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens. It had been used earlier as a theatre name, eg. Odeon in Paris. A business friend of Oscar Deutsch (sometimes spelt Deutch) had also seen the name Odeon in Tunis and recommended it particularly as it started with 'OD' the initials of Deutsch.
Thus the name was adopted by Oscar Deutsch (of Birmingham) founder of the Odeon Cinemas circuit. The name Odeon has been jokingly used as an acronym for "Oscar Deutsch Entertains (or Entertaining) Our Nation" and as such is fairly well known. The fact is that the first Odeon at Perry Barr was opened before the chain of cinemas grew and before someone thought of the acronym which actually turned out to be quite appropriate in later years. After the death of Oscar Deutsch in 1941 the Odeon circuit was sold to J. Arthur Rank and later joined with Gaumont to become CMA - Circuit Management Association and the largest circuit in the country. More recently the Odeon Cinemas circuit was taken over by ABC (Associated British Cinemas) group to become the largest UK cinema chain once more.
'Laisterdyke Cinemas' - Now Buy the Book!
A printed version of the all above cinema histories plus an overview of the Scala in East Parade along with reminiscences and anecdotes from members of the Laisterdyke Local History Group (LLHG) are to be found in a new book published by the LLHG in May 2004 . . .
'Laisterdyke Cinemas' by Colin Sutton
in association with Laisterdyke Local History Group.
52 pages, A5 (148 x 210mm)
Price 2.25GBP plus 50p UK post and packing.
Available now from . . .
Laisterdyke Trinity Church. Tele: 01274 664099
or, from the Editor/LLHG Secretary . . .
5 Close Lea,
West Yorkshire. HD6 3AR
Tele: 01484 721845
'Laisterdyke Cinemas' was generously reviewed by Mike Priestley in the Telegraph & Argus on Saturday 12 June 2004 'Weekend' supplement, page 7.
The fascinating reminiscences by LLHG members were recorded on digital mini-disc and cassette tape at two meetings of the group with Colin Sutton as facilitator. The recordings were then carefully transcribed by secretary Gina Bridgeland and edited into the researched histories - pure nostalgia.
Reference Sources & Acknowledgements
Copyright ©2003/04, Colin Sutton.
Bradford Daily Argus
Bradford Daily Telegraph
Telegraph & Argus
Kinematograph Trade sources
Bradford Central Library - Local Studies Dept.
Cliff Baillie (re Odeon Multiplex)
John Townsend (re Lyceum)
Laisterdyke Local History Group
and various Internet archives.
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.
Return to Bradford Cinemas History Index Page.