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Ah! the Regal I remember the restaurant up at balcony level

By Thomas Hesky
On 29/01/2009

As Thomas Hesky says, "Ah! The Regal" and I remember the more elderly locals referring to it as such, long after it had been taken over by the Bernsteins and renamed "Granada" in 1947.

Of all the cinemas in Kettering, this was my favourite and on many Saturdays I would attend the Children's show in the morning and join with about a thousand other kids watching "Uncle Jack" (the manager) and his assistant drag the grand piano on to the stage and then lead the assembled multitude in bawling out, "We come along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile" (actually written by Con Docherty, an Odeon organist!) and "The Kettering Granadiers" to the tune of "The British Grenadiers". Those who belonged to the Granadiers Club whose birthday had fallen in the previous week would be presented with a piece of birthday cake on the stage and after the piano had been wheeled off, the films began. Always a cartoon to begin with, Tom & Jerry, Heckle and Jeckle or perhaps a Disney cartoon. Then followed a cowboy film, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy or something similar, and for a change, perhaps an Old Mother Riley or George Formby. Finally came The Serial, and the only one I can remember at this distance of time (remember we are going back to the early '50's) was Flash Gordon. Now, was the National Anthem played at the end or not? Memories are a bit hazy here.

The auditorium was presided over by an elderly and particularly bad-tempered commissionaire who we nicknamed "Torchy" due to his habit of flashing his torch on groups of youngsters whom he suspected were either causing, or about to cause, disruption, and telling them to be quiet.

At the conclusion of the performance, the kids streamed out into Meadow Road (we weren't allowed to use the front entrance) and the aforementioned commissionaire would act as lollippop man, hefting aloft a huge sign bearing the legend "STOP! Children Crossing" and seeing everyone safely across the High Street.

By Mike Carr
On 29/04/2013

The main serial in the late 50's was Flash Gordon.I remember a thrilling episode where Flash was in an underground chamber filled with water. Suddenly a mesh door was raised and 4 or 5 sharkmen swam in to kill Flash. There appeared to be no escape. A voice said "How will Flash escape? See next weeks thrilling episode!" Well the next Saturday morning I and I am sure many other kids were excited to see how Flash would overcome the sharkmen and make his escape from a sealed underwater chamber. The serial that was shown that day had nothing to do with sharkmen and was an old serial.How did Flash escape? I will never know. Torchy Ringrose was indeed a formidable warden. One Saturday morning, myself and two friends shot peas out of peashooters into the front rows.Torchy sat behind us and quickly marched us out.The next Saturday we were unsure of being let in to the cinema, but Torchy gave us each a stern look and let us in. He was okay.We didn't use peashooters there again.The National Anthem did in fact play after each session but the kids were out on the streets before the first note was struck. Next stop was International Stores at the top of Meadow Road for 1d. packets of crisps or 1d. of broken biscuits. From there it was to Woolworths to examine the range of cap pistols and boys toys. Life was so exciting on a Saturday morning.

By Raw Hide
On 29/06/2015

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MLA Department for Education and Skills DCMS Learn with museums Kettering Borough Council