Wednesday, March 11, 2015


It`s years since I went to the cinema, probably as long ago as when we used to take our three boys to see James Bond when he was Sean Connery and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bangs of that long ago era.  Those days were not many years after I finished my National Service, during which time I moonlighted as a projectionist in the local AKC Globe Cinema in Paderborn, Germany, to supplement the Army pittance.   

It was a proper cinema with all the trimmings of CinemaScope, excellent sound system, decent seating and curtains and lighting that produced a relaxed air of expectancy for the waiting audience.  Up in the projection room, we did our stuff on carbon arc Bauer Projectors with films that ran up to six reels, which had to be changed (in the right order) without the audience being aware that the changes had happened.   The programme changed about three times each week and included a main feature, a B movie, newsreels, adverts and trailers, so it was challenging but interesting work.

But we were of an age - late teens/early twenties - and given that most of our lives were spent conforming to good order and military discipline, we were always on the lookout for little escapes, little opportunities to shake off the burden of conformity and express our youthful selves.   And we found them in the music of the times.

And we suspected that our captive audiences may have become bored with soothing music from the likes of Mantovani, Joe Loss, Victor Sylvester and his Ballroom Syncopators and we thought we should try some of our own.   My very good friend Alec Craig (RAPC Att. XRH), now sadly passed on, was a devotee of the  Modern Jazz Quartet - the MJQ with Milt Jackson on vibes and he persuaded us to play The Golden Striker as a nightly prelude to the film show starting.  

It seemed to go down well, so we tried some more.   Now this was pre-Beatles and so the music of rebellious youth came from those such as Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and my own personal favourite Ray Conniff.   So I treated the audience to S`Wonderful and especially Smoke Gets in your Eyes whilst at the same time changing the lighting in time with the music.  The cinema management were not as keen as we were on this break from tradition which disturbed the peace of the waiting punters and we were subjected to dire threats descending on us from the AKC hierarchy in their Minden HQ. 

But we weren`t to be put off - we were in rebellious mood - the latter day Jeremy Clarksons and Russell Brands of our time......and this was edgy stuff with the voices being used as instruments.  And despite now being terribly dated, well past its sell by date and seriously out of time, I still enjoy Ray Conniff to this day.   So, for old times sake, here it is:-

1 comment:

Ray Turner said...

Seems perfect as background music for the Cinema during audience changes..

In fact that's exactly how I remember the Cinema in the late sixties. You were trend-setting Snopper...!

Incidentally, my Uncle was also a Projectionist. I remember being shown the Projection room once or twice. You're right, it was a skilled job...!