THE TUP’NEY RUSH
By Eric Fowler
Having started at the bottom of the cinema business at the Lido, Golders Green progress was swift. After three months I was made foreman, in charge of usherettes and doorman’s duties. I got a badge and the chance to help with publicity stunts. Three months on I landed a trainee manager’s job at the Ionic cinema Golders Green and was soon made assistant manager at an incredible £8 per week. Uniform was changed for dinner jacket.
The Ionic with its Greek style Ionic columns was opened by Pavlova in 1913. The auditorium was horseshoe shaped with the “box” housed between stalls and balcony, with huge gleaming Kalee machines. An enjoyable job was collecting publicity material from Wardour Street.
The company also owned the Streatham hill and Golders Green Hippodrome theatres and it was a great joy to occasionally help out at the latter. But their days were numbered, as were many cinemas. TV was beginning to bite. The industry tried biting back with CinemaScope, Vista Vision, Panavision and Stereophonic sound.
After three happy years my future at the Ionic did not look promising until I found a company that was actually expanding- Essoldo. I was appointed as a London relief manager, touring their venues on a daily basis starting at the Grand Clapham Junction that had just been converted from live theatre to film by means of rear projection and using the new Essoldomatic, an early robot device for running the show – lights, curtains, music,striking carbons and controlling change-overs.
I stood in at Essoldos at Barnet, Hounslow, Penge, Kilburn, Chelsea and notably Tottenham, an exceedingly grotty “bug hutch”. I trailed around for nearly a year before being offered my own residency, the Danilo (Essoldo) Hinckley Leicestershire.