CECIL OPENING CEREMONY (1955) film no: 3835
This is a short film which captures the celebrations of the opening of Cecil Cinema in Hull, 1955.
Commentary - Once again the good citizens of Kingston-upon-Hull are able to go for an evening's entertainment to the Cecil Theatre. This magnificent building has come to take the place of the old Cecil, which was destroyed by enemy action on that terrible night of May 1941.
An exterior of the Cecil Theatre shows advertisements for: Marilyn Monroe The Seven Year Itch & Tom Ewell, Cafe open to the public on Monday 28th November from 4:30pm to 9pm Daily from 10am to 9pm, Grand Opening Picture Monday Nov 28th & all the week Marilyn Monroe & Tom Ewell in 'The Seven Year Itch', This theatre will be open to the public on Monday 28th November Doors open 5:30pm.
Commentary - The foundation stone for the new building was laid in April 1955, and in the new building many patrons will recognise these features from the old one. On the promised date of opening, 28th November, the Lord Mayor Alderman Fox arrived with the Lady Mayoress to be welcomed by a director of the company Mr Wallace Rocket. Another celebrity to be welcomed on this gala evening was the Sheriff Counsellor Good. Mr John Davis, the managing director of the J Arthur Rank organisation, had been invited to perform the opening ceremony. And on arrival with Mrs Davis, he was welcomed by Mr Brinley Evans the chairman and managing director of the company responsible for this splendid new addition to the entertainment world in Hull. Before her marriage of course, Mrs Davis was Dinah Sheridan the lovely star of British films and particularly of that outstanding comedy Genevieve.
Plaque - This foundation stone was laid by the Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull councillor H.W. Jackson J.P. on Thursday the 28th day of April 1955. This building replaces the Cecil theatre destroyed by enemy action on the night of 7th May 1941. Hull Cinemas Ltd, Architects Gelder & Kitchen, Chairman & Managing Director Brinley Evans, General Contractors Spooners Hull Ltd. Three gold lion heads hang on the wall with plaque. These lion heads were part of the original Cecil cinema which was destroyed by enemy action on May 8th 1941.
The Lord Mayor and Mayoress are welcomed by Mr Rocket. Mr and Mrs Davis welcomed by Mr Brinley. All the visitors enter the theatre foyer and enter the lift.
Commentary - To mark the occasion, the host gave a cocktail party. Catering is part of their business because, like all modern well equipped film theatres, the Cecil has a luxurious cafe. It's good to see audiences going into the Cecil once again. On their way to the stage, Mr and Mrs Davis stop to inspect a crush passage. The Cecil's auditorium is built to hold over two thousand people, and no expense or thought had been spared to deal with the problems of getting them easily in and out of the theatre and of tending to their comfort while they are there.
Crowds of people are gathered together in one room where tables are laid out with food. Women in aprons serve those attending the opening ceremony. The guests of honour sit at a long table at the front of the room. Members of the public queuing outside the theatre go into the foyer through the entrance doors which are held open by staff. Upstairs in corridor, Mr Evans shows Mr and Mrs Davis the way in which the theatre is designed to hold many patrons.
Commentary - Now for the official opening, Mr Davis cuts the tape. As a memento, he was presented with a silver key by the architect. And in reciprocation, the kitten for good luck was presented by Mrs Davis to Mr Brinley Evans. But the purpose of a picture theatre is to show films, so let's have a look back stage, so to speak, where the projectionists are getting the film loaded up in the most modern film projectors in the world - those mechanical marvels that bring the romance of entertainment into the round of worker day life. The curtains draw slowly aside to reveal the new silver screen fifth largest in the whole country. The house lights dim, and from its magic window come the bright light which is the cinemas way of telling its story. The story of relaxation, of entertainment, and enjoyment unparalleled. One of the greatest contributions to social life that the 20th century has to offer.
Crowds of people are seated in the auditorium. Mr Davis cuts the ribbon on stage to open the theatre. Mr Davis shows Mrs Davis the Key given to him by the architect. Mrs Davis presents the good luck kitten to Mr Evans. The kitten has a bow tied around its neck. Inside the projection room, the technician loads up the projector with film. Through the hatch, the auditorium is seen, and the curtains are pulled back to revel the screen. The projectionist runs the projector, and the light from the projector fills the darkened auditorium. Two technicians monitor the projectors during the screening. The film closes with an exterior shot of the newly opened Cecil Theatre.