Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in 1995 and concerns memories of 1930slife; as such there may be opinions expressed or words used that do not meet today's norms and expectations.
* Transcript ID: GG-95-221AT002
* CCINTB Transcript ID: 95-221-19a-x, 95-221-20a-x
* Tapes: GG-95-221OT003, GG-95-221OT004
* CCINTB Tapes ID: T95-141, T95-142
* Length: 1:46:16
* Bradwell, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, 16 November 1995: Valentina Bold interviewsGloria Gooch
* Transcribed by Joan Simpson/Standardised by Annette Kuhn
* GG=Gloria Gooch, BG: Bernard Gooch, VB=Valentina Bold
* Notes: Second interview of two with Gloria Gooch; Sound Quality: Fair.
[Start of Tape One]
[Start of Side A]
[VB tape introduction]
VB: I wish it was for commercial purposes... [laughs] Unfortunately--
GG: [laughs] I see on the wireless, erm or television or something, I heard thaterm it's the centenary next year.
VB: That's right. Yeah.
GG: Of the coming of the cinemas. Isn't it? And erm-- [pause 3 seconds] when Icome to think of it, my father was a-- [pause 2 seconds] They married 1910.
GG: [That was near?] King's Lynn. And started, Dad started in that for charityand this would've been 1896 so [laughs] he's nearly in at the start! 00:01:00
VB: That's amazing!
GG: Really. Yes they, it would be 1910. When he was in King's Lynn. When theywere married and they moved to King's Lynn. And this is where he started, which it says in that book that he, he erm went to help with some charity. In King's Lynn. Showing films or something.
VB: That's wonderful.
GG: And that's where he got-- the fact that he was in the electricity works yousee. That's where he got the idea [amused voice] really.
VB: That's amazing.
GG: It was something new.
VB: So he was in right from the start. Goodness me.
GG: I'll just let the tea draw.
VB: So I mean, when you think about your brother as well, [amused voice] it'slike your whole family of eh--
GG: Oh yes, yes. Yes, Douglas, eh Douglas, see Douglas was born in 1910. Theywere married 11 April 1910, he was born the 31 December so, they sort of just... 00:02:00[laughs; coughs]
GG: And erm, eh as I say, Douglas went into it, into this business at Lowestoftwould be his first thing. And he was in the operating thing, in that part of it. Yet he played the drums. They had a little orchestra there. My father was one to make, everyone had to work for their living.
GG: And I know Douglas was in it all the time. Although he sometimes thinks ifhe had his time again, he'd have done something different because Douglas hadn't got the drive, the personality my father had.
GG: He had the flair for it. But, nevertheless, he eh... [pause 2 seconds] AndDouglas was in right at the end really.
VB: I was going to ask you how you felt when you were involved in that sort of00:03:00thing. When you were dressed up as Jackie Coogan and--
GG: Oh, d'you know I can just barely remember that, Jackie Coogan. I'd only befive you know. But I can remember when we were eh, I can remember the things at Lowestoft. No, I enjoyed joining in with things. The same as when we came to Gorleston when we were involved in carnivals. More, it was done for charity more than for the business. See in Lowestoft it was more for one. I mean competition was very great. I mean, they, they used to have bands out at the Palace and my father'd have his people out in the Grand. It was, you know, a way of... [pause 1 second] You see you hadn't television and wireless so much to put these things over, you see. And this is the way you advertised it.
VB: Ah I see.00:04:00
GG: Really. That is the way. I mean you can see. I brought those in again, butyou've seen those, haven't you? But that was, that was the way of advertising the films.
VB: It was more a question of charity you say, later.
GG: When we moved to Gorleston. Yes.
GG: I don't, eh, you know, apart from advertising in front of cinema. My fatherwas more in carnivals for the hospital. He did a tremendous amount for the little cottage hospital. 'Cause hospitals then were maintained by charities. There's was no National Health then you see. We forget that. I mean I can remember the National Health coming in when my son was born, was the only time you got paid for anything you know. And erm, then Dad was very much involved in Gorleston. With charities and everything like that. 00:05:00
GG: But people joined in a certain amount. [laughs] You see, my husband, hewasn't one to join in that sort of thing. But it used to be lovely to go to the carnival, some carnival parades. Different to what they're like now. Bit more rougher affairs now. Everyone joined in and helped, you know. And as I said, there was egg matinees, and erm, the Christmas tree presents for the Children's Home. You see there wasn't much done under the National Health or Social Security that there is now.
GG: I mean children at those homes, if you didn't give, if people didn't give tothem they didn't get anything. Really. And of course perhaps there was more in those homes than there was eh--
GG: Nowadays they can get an allowance for everything can't they?00:06:00
VB: It certainly looked like a lot of fun when you were showing me the picturesof yourself and your sister.
GG: Oh yes.
VB: In your lovely gowns and everything.
GG: That's what I said. [inaudible]. My sister used to join in as well becauseshe, she as I said, she used to be carnival queen. Or 'Miss Gorleston' they called it. But you see, they weren't elected. They really... [pause 3 seconds] [comes back with tea]. There you are.
VB: Thanks very much.
GG: They weren't erm-- do you want a biscuit? [pause 2 seconds] What I'm sayingis, it's not like now where they have competitions for 'Miss Gorleston'.
GG: They were just chosen to do it. I mean I was on the retinue but I didn't goin for any competition for it. You just got people volunteer to do it. You see. 00:07:00But erm, yes, there was not the same, the stunts as there, at Gorleston, as there was at Lowestoft. It seemed to change you see. And talkies were coming in, too. And eh, and then 'course, eventually you got to the war. And then, I mean you didn't get anything at all then. But carnivals were very good. Had some good times there. I've had a very jolly life. [laughs]
GG: Even at, even at Lowestoft, I can remember them. I can remember when theyhad a... [pause 1 second] See, this would be in 1920s, wouldn't it? Erm, mannequin parade. Tuttles of Lowestoft. The Mannequin Parade. Down the centre gangway. See that was all on one floor. And I did have a picture of that. But, 00:08:00do you know I can't find it anywhere.
GG: These things sort of vanish. Of a mannequin parade down there. And erm-- Ican picture now some of those mannequins. They were, I did sort of see them about sometime. But they're all dead and gone now I think. But erm, no, it came much more, I suppose business became more competitive. Different way of thinking it. Now, coming to, coming to erm... [pause 2 seconds] I put down here one thing I thought of. Eh, Rookery Nook. Do you remember that as a picture? Well that broke all records here, at the Coliseum. And my father named his house after that.
GG: Our house up in the south end of Gorleston. And it's still called 'Rookery00:09:00Nook'. But eh, I was thinking of all those [pause 2 seconds] good films, really. Different to the, hadn't so much fighting and shooting and banging now, that it's really not quite so [inaudible]. Tom Walls. And erm-- [pause 10 seconds] Can't-- [pause 3 seconds] Can't read that. Cicely Courtneidge. Can't read my own writing there. Eh, Rookery Nook and all those-- what classes were they? There was a whole series of them. There was--
VB: Was that, was it Ralph Lynn who was in--
GG: Ralph Lynn. Yes.
GG: Cicely Courtneidge.00:10:00
VB: Right. Why do you think that was so popular? What was it about--
GG: Well they were very good. I mean I really, have a biscuit.
GG: They had that sort of, I don't know the humour. They want different humournow. I mean they were really very good. And I'm sure [inaudible] they don't repeat those on television. Or redo them. I'm just trying to think of the farces they were. There was, erm, I'm thinking of the name of another one, here. [pause 3 seconds; looks through notes] Eh, several of them. [pause 5 seconds] Ooh. I'd writ-, wrote another of them down here I thought of, but it was eh Rookery Nook which were excellent really. But they used to, they brought some of them back on 00:11:00the London stage didn't they? But, I don't know, I haven't seen that done at all.
GG: Erm, A Cuckoo in the Nest I think the other one was. Other one I can think.But they were these farces, and they were really good. But, I don't know, perhaps our ideas, being older. They're not quick enough perhaps for the generations now. And erm, all the people like Cicely Courtneidge, Ginger Rogers.
GG: Fred Astaire. Gene Kelly. Broadway Melody. Those films, they would be in the1930s. They were really, really excellent. Of course, they spent an awful lot of money on them. Metro-Goldwyn. Spent thousands on them. But, you see, there was a 00:12:00boom in the cinema then. So they could afford it. Now they can't afford to spend that much. You don't get so many spectacular films do you?
VB: I mean how do you think that affected these films? The fact that they didhave so much money to spend on them.
GG: Well, they were more elaborate. The spent a lot more on them. I mean, erm,Broadway Melody, the sets and all that sort of thing. And then, 'course, I suppose they'd eh, the stars. Erm, Broadway Melody. [pause 3 seconds] They were really spectacular those things. And they did do very well. I put down here The Hound of the Baskervilles.
VB: Oh yes.
GG: That was in black and white. Eh, you know you'd think it was a bit primitivenow, in black and white.
GG: But nevertheless, I've seen it since 'cause they've made it again. But it00:13:00didn't seem so... [pause 2 seconds] I don't know, whether our ideas change. And that sort of thing.
VB: Was that the one with Basil Rathbone?
GG: That's right. That's right.
GG: Yes and, 'course that was in black and white. You got the mist on the moors.I mean they were dull-looking, really, at that time you see. When those were done.
VB: Quite frightening though, that--
VB: Wasn't it? The way it was done.
GG: Yes. Yes. Yes. A Cuckoo in the Nest. I said that. James Cagney. Now he was,he was in a... [pause 1 second] He was more of a gangster sort of thing. But then he was in a musical. I was trying to think of the name of it.
VB: Was that the one where he was a song writer?
GG: Yes. Yes.
VB: Yankee Doodle Dandy.
GG: Yes! [sings] "I'm a Yankee doodle"--
GG: Oh! That was very good. Yes, that was very good. And Mario Lanza in, eh,'Caruso' [referring to The Great Caruso]. I don't know whether it was called 00:14:00[quiet reflective voice] 'Caruso' or whether it was called 'Waltz' something or other. And going back to Mario Lanza, my name is Gloria and people think, ah, Gloria Swanson. Named after Gloria Swanson. But I wasn't. When I was born, 1917, Mario Lanza had my, had a baby and it came into that film, and he called it Gloria. And that's why. [laughs]
VB: A-ah! That's lovely.
GG: I was going to say, because people immediately think it's connected with thecinema business that I'm Gloria Swanson.
VB: You would think that, yeah.
GG: But it was Gloria Lanza. But I can't sing anyway.
VB: Ah. [laughs]
GG: And then, course you get Popeyes and Olive Oyls [possibly referring toPopeye the Sailor]. You don't get those now, do you? At all. They were good. But they were mostly in black and white. Eh, Walt Disney and the Snow White [referring to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs]. Well I know that was on the early part of the war, wasn't it?
VB: I think so, yes.
GG: Yes it would come out about then. That was lovely. You see they, I dare say00:15:00they made them better as time went on. They must've done. But we thought they were wonderful then. Judy Garland. And now, when did, when did she, when she was a youngster. What time would that be?
VB: That must've been late thirties.
GG: Yes. Must've been.
VB: Early forties.
GG: And Deanna Durbin.
GG: She was a nice, lovely singer. Edward G. Robinson, you mentioned him.Gangster. I didn't... [laughs]
GG: Those sort of roles didn't appeal to me, not the gangster films. We didn'tget so much of that-- bullying in films that we do now. Least I don't think so. Eh, the organist at the Regal was Neville Turner. You know, when they opened it they had this organ, and during the interval he came up with, well that went out, didn't it, they used to have these big Wurlitzers didn't they? 00:16:00
GG: But that died. Too costly I should think.
GG: You had to pay and all. You must just pay something. And the Pathe andMovietone News, they were good things really. Yeah. Buster Keaton. Well that'd be the 1920s wouldn't it? Harold [pause 4 seconds] Lloyd. Harold Lloyd.
GG: That's what Dad used to have the big heads. But they were all silent weren'tthey? Laurel and Hardy. They were really all silent, weren't they? Because, were they or? Not all of them, no.
VB: No I think they made one or two in sound.
GG: Ah, funnily enough, eh, they made so much fuss about them but I thought theywere a bit silly.
VB: I remember you saying that. They were really--
GG: Yeah. Same with Charlie Chaplin. I suppose it was his actions that reallymade... Greta Garbo I remember in Queen Christina. Ooh! That was marvellous, oh, 00:17:00I thought that, I remember that picture. Quite well. Well you know how impressed I was. Bette Davis. Merle Oberon. Barbara Stanwyck.
VB: Ah. [laughs]
GG: Rin Tin Tin! We used to have these dog pictures. Rin Tin Tin. And there is apicture in there of Dad with Rin Tin Tin.
VB: Oh, I remember that one.
GG: [inaudible] Alsatian. Rin Tin Tin, yes.
GG: And eh-- [pause 3 seconds] Roy Rogers. He had a white horse. I remember.[laughs] Cowboys were quite good then. But I wouldn't bother to watch a cowboy now. They weren't so much the shooting and banging. That's the trouble. They were really good. You know, not so much shooting, more with the lasso and things like that.
GG: Than they were then. They seem to--
VB: I see what you mean actually. 'Cause even people like James Stewart I00:18:00suppose, there's more sort of, it's the tension between them and the baddie. You know, rather than the sort of modern ones where it's like Clint Eastwood shooting everything.
GG: Well I mean nowadays, everything-- they're either jumping in and out of bedor they've got a gun.
GG: I mean I don't know why they have to make them like that now because erm[pause 2 seconds] I suppose that's a sign of the times really but eh... [pause 2 seconds] Tom Mix and Roy Rogers, they were nice cowboys. They perhaps raced around after each other but there weren't all the killing and all that. Then King Kong. I remember, oh, that was marvellous, King Kong. You see that was how they happened to make, make that really. That was photography coming into its own, wasn't it?
GG: Really. Trick photography. Because, I suppose, I don't know how they do it.I don't know. Have they made another one of that? 00:19:00
VB: There is a, yes, a more recent one. Forget the name of the actress but she'squite like Fay Wray. She's got the same sort of blonde hair.
GG: But it's not so primitive as it was.
GG: You know.
VB: Did it impress you at the time? Seeing that, with the--
GG: Oh it seemed terrifying. This thing coming up, sort of over a mountain. Wellit was only trick photography but I suppose you believed anything at that time.
VB: Mhm. I suppose when you were quite young as well, it wouldn't seem--
GG: Yes. Yes. I think children are more... [pause 2 seconds] Well they're moreup to it now. They say, oh that's silly or that's not real. You know. We believed things a lot more. Like we believed in Father Christmas a lot later than my [laughs] family did, you know.
GG: Claude Rains in The Invisible Man. Do you remember? Would that be 19--00:20:00
VB: It must be late thirties anyway.
GG: Yes. It must be.
VB: Yeah. Do you like Claude Rains as an actor?
GG: Oh I don't no. No, not particularly. Not particularly. Perhaps it was theparts he played. You didn't see him much only when he was-- [laughs]
GG: Wrapped up in bandages. And the 3D, I remember that. That would be when wewere at Lowestoft, where you got a, [pause 2 seconds] eh, were given glasses. But there weren't many films. It didn't seem to make much of an impact. You know, they had to be special films that you looked through these glasses. Paper, cardboard things you were given as you went in. Erm, Claudette Colbert.
VB: Did you like her?
GG: She had very high cheekbones. [laughs]
GG: I put on 'God Save The Queen'. We used to have, I remember at Lowestoft eh,00:21:00at Gorleston, you had 'God Save The Queen' at the end. But you know everybody who came to the end, everyone, used to say "Get out! Get out!" before the Queen. Didn't used to stand up like they would in the olden days. Began to [inaudible] so they could get out the exit doors, so they didn't have to, before it struck up, you see. But now they don't do it, do they? Not till long. Erm, and I did say about the teas at Gorleston, teas in the best seats in the afternoon matinees. Eh, Masseys had them. A little cafe opposite the [big beach?]. And that used to be brought over, on trays and given to them. And they only paid about a shilling or something. [laughs]
VB: Oh! [laughs]
GG: Afternoon matinees. In the better seats.
VB: Mhm. Oh I can't think of anything much nicer [laughs] actually.
GG: Well! I say, rather nice. Funny enough erm, I think we were at Eastbourne in00:22:00the fifties, sixties, where you ordered a tray and they'd bring it. But this was all given free. You didn't have to pay for it. You used to order for a tray. I think that was at the Devonshire Theatre, Eastbourne.
GG: Where you ordered a tray and it'd be brought to you. During the performance.I'm not sure whether it was a stage show or the cinema.
GG: Could've been the stage. And the performances were continuous. You know, youdidn't have-- [pause 1 second] I suppose they're continuous now, aren't they?
VB: Erm, more or less but they do make you go out. [laughs]
GG: Do they?
GG: Oh well some people could sit round twice--
VB: I was wondering about that.
GG: Twice round. Specially those who were warmer sitting in there. [laughs] Yes.I mean that was continuous you see. 00:23:00
GG: And eh, I do remember, I do remember the Coliseum, busy, people would comein and they'd stand and wait in the corridor, waiting for the change of performance.
GG: So people'd go out so they could go in and get seats. Didn't all clear outand the next performance in. I don't know quite whether they would allow that now.
VB: I doubt it.
GG: You know. To stand in the corridor and wait for the, some people didn't wantto go in at the end of a film. They wanted it to be over and then go in afterwards you see.
GG: And eh, I can see that if that was a mystery or something like that.
VB: Of course.
GG: But some people would go in. [laughs] Get twice round. [laughs]
GG: Mind you, pardon me, they were long performances then. I mean you'd reckon athree-hour performance. You know you'd get a picture film, a small one. A news. 00:24:00And all that. Now you'd get one film and they'd close the curtain, you got to come out haven't you?
GG: I should imagine that's what it's like. It's a long time since I've been tothe cinema. [pause 3 seconds] I have been [inaudible; or not?], I think the family have been but, I don't know. With the coming of television you didn't always need it, did you? Really. Eh, I can remember seeing, this would be during the war when Bernard was stationed up eh, Newcastle. Was it towards the end they had The Sound of Music on? That was the end, just at the end of the war. Was it just as soon after that when they had The Sound of Music up there? And course that was a... When was that produced, do you know? 00:25:00
VB: Oh! I couldn't say offhand.
GG: Would the war be over then? I should imagine so.
VB: Probably. Yeah.
GG: Yes. It might've been. We were up there, went up to look over the place. Buteh, I mean that was a lovely picture. And yet they sometimes bring it out at Christmas. It's a picture that suits all family but and erm, you know, make you feel ... [pause 3 seconds] And when all the cinemas closed on the day war, war was declared on the Sunday. I feel sure, because I remember sitting up at Mum and Dad's, at 'Rookery Nook'. Sitting on the stairs. I'm sure it was Sunday when war was declared. And all, everything closed down. It wasn't closed long. I suppose it was closed till they just [pause 2 seconds] gave all the orders out you see. I think it was probably one day perhaps it was closed. 'Cause cinemas 00:26:00didn't open on a Sunday. Eh, that would be when we were at Gorleston. My father was never in favour of it. But when everyone else do it, you've got to follow suit.
GG: And then, during the war it came a usual thing because it was somewhere forpeople to go. I mean troops. I mean troops on a Sunday, they'd perhaps be let off. [pause 2 seconds] Hedy Lamarr. Remember her. Shirley Temple. Now, Shirley Temple. 'On The Good Ship Lollipop' [referring to Bright Eyes]. I remember, I can imagine it now. When would that be? That would be 1930s?
VB: Oh, easily, yes.
VB: Definitely. I couldn't say the exact date but--
GG: Yes. She, she was lovely. She really was. 'Course she's Mrs Black now. She'sa senator.
GG: Oh she was lovely. And you could sit and look through those pictures. Now I00:27:00mean I wouldn't be a youngster. I'd be [pause 1 second] What? I was twenty-one when the war broke out. So, in my twenties. But that was nice anyway. Mickey Rooney. Jackie Coogan. Freddie Bartholomew. He was a child actor and he was in erm [pause 2 seconds] the erm... [pause 3 seconds] Oh the Little Lord Fauntleroy type of pictures.
GG: He was a little boy dressed with an Eton collar. [pause 3 seconds] Could beLittle Lord Fauntleroy or one of those type of pictures. [pause 2 seconds] I don't think it was one of the Dickens. Would it? What's a Dickens one?
VB: Ah. Erm, not, was it David Copperfield, or something like that?
GG: It could be. It could be. One of those.
GG: But eh... [pause 2 seconds] Clara Bow. Clara Bow. She had red hair didn'tshe? [laughs] That would be in my, very much my younger time.
GG: That would be silent days wouldn't it? But I don't know whether, what elseyou'd like to know.
VB: Well, I mean one thing that crossed my mind when you were telling me aboutall these stars just now. Do you think there were particular qualities that appealed to you in a film star? Or types that you particularly liked.
GG: Yes. I didn't, for instance, I suppose it's related to the films. Edward G.Robinson, I thought he was horrible man and you didn't like-- I suppose you went for the kinder sort. But, see, Tom Walls and Cicely Courtneidge, they were all, they were really very good. You could laugh at that humour and that. Erm, [pause 00:29:003 seconds] what's her name? Freda, Greta Garbo. You wouldn't be over the world with her. She never smiles. She took that part of Queen Christina all right but she's not an actress you would be overwhelmed with. Now Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, they were jolly. And Gene Kelly was singing, they've got Singin' in the Rain at Norwich next week, haven't they?
GG: They were jolly things. And I think a lot of those things cheered you up alot. You know, I think they... [pause 3 seconds] I mean things weren't... [tape cuts out; end of recording]
[End of Side A]
[Start of Side B]
GG: I think so. They were big morale booster. Yes. And you see, particularlyduring the war, you didn't really want a lot of war films. 00:30:00
GG: You wanted something that would cheer you up. Didn't you? Really. And erm,no, I, myself I think that the films that made you feel happy eh, were the things. This is why I think these farces, I'm just trying to think of the man that wrote them. Travers? Tavers. Travers. [pause 2 seconds] Ben Travers.
VB: I'm not sure.
GG: Yeah, Ben Travers. I think he, was he in it or was it--? But they werereally good humour. Really good. And I can't understand why more of them are... [pause 1 second] And Tom Walls and Cicely Courtneidge. Oh they, they were really very good. I mean you'd go the pictures and you'd come home laughing. But to go with Edward G. Robinson. Lot of shooting and killing and horrible.... Oh! 00:31:00
GG: That didn't put me on at all.
GG: But eh, Broadway Melody and those erm, they were cheerful things. Eh, likeSingin' in the Rain you might say. They're all big musicals. But, 'course it got so that the companies couldn't afford the tremendous cost of them. I mean, erm, [pause 2 seconds] I mean there was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer did most of those, didn't they? And there was Columbia. United Artists, I can remember. 'Cause I used to pay the films.
VB: Ah of course.
GG: See I used to pay the Columbia, United Artists and eh, MGM. Eh, what was theother one? 20th Century-Fox. But erm, I tell you one thing that sort of came in, 00:32:00which came in after the television and that. And to the latter part of us, in the cinema. The fact that a small place like Gorleston, [pause 2 seconds] they had to be showed at Yarmouth first, or Yarmouth couldn't have them before Norwich. So in the end you were classed as the second best.
GG: So people, you know a big picture come, you'd go up to Yarmouth and see it.You'd get it second showing, because you were lesser--
VB: So that was sort of hard and fast was it?
GG: Yes. I dare say London got them before Norwich.
GG: Norwich got them before Yarmouth. Yarmouth before Gorleston. And eh, I don'tknow whether that, that was [fought against?] a lot in that CEA, Cinema Exhibitors' Association. You know, that was not fair. Not fair. 00:33:00
VB: Seems a bit silly really.
GG: And eh, in the latter time the films were on a percentage basis you see. Andthen you'd have to-- [pause 2 seconds] On the percentage, the standard was a film, what percentage of takings.
GG: And that sort of thing. But erm, it was the coming of television that reallystarted to kill it off. But now, I suppose people are getting fed up with too much television, they like to go out now, you see.
GG: But that was really the kill of it. And erm, I know when the cinema closed,1971, '70 erm, people, my father was dead then. My father died just after the war. 1945 he died, only fifty-six when he died. Eh, and it was really quite a tragedy for the town, because he'd done so much for it. But erm, [pause 4 00:34:00seconds] it was a gradual working down of it and this was what happened. People [said?] fancy clothes and that cinema. "We'll have nowhere to go to when you close the cinema. We'll have nowhere to go to. Fancy clothes and..." [pause 1 second] But they never think, yes, they want it there for their convenience.
GG: That's like the village shop now. They want the village shop up there, butthey go and get all the groceries elsewhere.
GG: And the poor village shop, it's all right to be there when they want erm, apound of sugar or a pint of milk, you see. And that is, is the same thing, till it's gone. But you see, there's only one cinema in Yarmouth, isn't it? The Royalty?
GG: And they don' sow, show all the films, do they?00:35:00
VB: 'Cause I mean it sounds like your father was very much involved in thecommunity as well as running the cinema.
GG: Well you were. Yes, we were. We were at Lowestoft. And we were here. And seeDad died, as I say, 1945. Just after the war. He went to hospital, into the hospital, the cottage hospital here, for an operation. He could have gone to London. He had a specialist in Norwich to perform the operation. But it's how the faith was. Dad said, "I've been working for that hospital all these years. I'm not going to lose faith in them." And he had the operation there, but he only lived a week afterward. 'Cause he was chesty and he got bronchial, bronchitis. Then pneumonia and no penicillin and that then. You know. And that's how he, if he'd only a waited a year or two longer-- [laughs]
GG: Or gone to London. I don't know whether London did it. But it was his faith00:36:00he had in the Gorleston hospital.
GG: And erm, you know, so many people remember him, even the younger ones now.You know, but erm-- It was the, erm-- we, everyone joined a lot more in the community then. But then, you see, the Palace opened, up the road. That was built after the war wasn't it? Was it built after the war? Not sure.
VB: I think, probably. Yeah.
GG: But that was not the same. The personality wasn't there. You see. And erm--[That's been the war?] finished. It's a shame really because erm, people, everyone, at that time of day people did things for charity and everything for nothing. You know. Would raise money for charity. I suppose they do now. But you 00:37:00know, I've worked a lot with the WRVS [Women's Royal Voluntary Service]. And I know, I ran this luncheon club for old people here. Fair enough. I did it. It was all voluntary and all of my helpers were all older people. But, now, I was in hospital shop for the new James Paget. Seven years I was in that. Well now we had to, we had to give it up when we were seventy. The hospital authorities. Not the WRVS. And, and you know, I'm only just saying what I think. They have more difficulty getting them a bit younger.
GG: And everyone wants paid and expenses and that. There isn't quite so much thecharity about it. You know. Eh, I know people do things for charity now. For the scanners and competitions and that. But hard work. So many people want to be 00:38:00paid for everything they do. But at that time of the day you didn't. You just all joined in really. Erm, 'course people didn't get eh, didn't get the benefits and all that sort of thing you know. People were much poorer I suppose. But erm, I think perhaps the government, too much greed. Everyone would help everyone a lot more. I think. You know. But eh, at Lowestoft, you know, the little one that's opened at Hollywood.
GG: Now that has been doing quite well. And I think that person also runs theRoyalty at Yarmouth, doesn't he?
GG: He has a lease--
VB: I think that's right. Yes.
GG: Jay, Peter Jay. I suppose. He's the lessee of it. Runs it. He's not theowner, if you know what I mean. And he runs the sort of Hollywood at Lowestoft. 00:39:00That was a little, called Playhouse. But that was a little tiny thing.
GG: More or less closed but I think it does quite well now, doesn't it?
VB: Yeah. I've been past it but I haven't had a chance to go in.
GG: Yes. It's on the side. Have you been past the Grand? It's a poor old place.
VB: Eh, I think I have. Yes, yeah.
GG: To my mind, I should've thought they'd pulled it down. All the tiles arecoming off.
VB: Yeah. It looked a bit kind of--
GG: I don't know why nothing has been done about it really. And I don't have the'Journal'. Perhaps I'd hear more about it if it was locally but eh--
GG: It looks a poor-looking place now. They can't do anything with the building,might as well pull it down. But I suppose [inaudible] anyway, but erm, yes-- They were happy days there. And they were happy days with all, everyone joined in everything else. And see, as I say, same when we came here. The carnivals. 00:40:00But that was with the carnivals, not eh, not with, not advertising films the same.
GG: [pause 2 seconds] But erm, what other things do you think you would like toknow about? Anything.
VB: Well, erm, one of the other things I wanted to ask was really, how thecinema made you feel when you were watching it. 'Cause you mentioned going out and, you know, you were happier. Did you--
GG: Well, it was, depend on the film. I think if it hadn't been for thepictures, cinema then, during the war people would've been mighty depressed in this place. Because it was evacuated. That's you're going in the 1940s then. You're going out of your time. I think, I think people like cheerful things. And they, they liked the atmosphere of the place. You know. It made a lot of difference, the atmosphere. Dad had plenty of personality. He was on the front 00:41:00door to welcome them in. People felt they were, you know, it was one way of getting out. The busiest times were Thursdays, and Fridays and Saturdays. Monday, beginning of the week wasn't so much. Whether they wait to be paid, [laughs] I don't know!
VB: Ah. Probably.
GG: I suppose, sometimes now the supermarkets do open later on Thursday andFriday, don't they?
VB: That's right. Yes.
GG: And Saturday night used to be a very big night you know. Maybe they used to,I'm not sure if they used to book seats. No, I don't think so. May have been booked, ones at the back. No, I don't think there was much done in booking. No, I'm sure it wasn't. But, it was a happy, happy, cheerful thing. Shall I say that we enjoyed smaller things than now. You see, you had no television. Till the 00:42:00television come then not everyone had television. I mean I, I remember we never had television. Married with children. I suppose my children would be, be young. Eh, [pause 3 seconds] eh, my children now, one was born '44, '46 and '49. I remember their birthdays. And I suppose we didn't have a television till the, till the late 1950s. So I mean, you didn't have the entertainment then. I mean, not to sit and watch it.
GG: The children were, were school age, you know.
GG: So eh, that was the one thing to go out to. It was company. To go from home,out to the cinemas. And course they weren't so expensive. Although, you can't 00:43:00compare money so I mean, threeppence for a matinee. And erm, shilling and one and six. I mean, the cost, wages were different.
VB: Yeah, of course.
GG: I mean you can't, you can't compare them. When we got married we only had apound a week but the rent was a shilling a week! [laughs]
GG: You know. Things were so much different then.
GG: I think people were, I think people didn't expect so much. I think, I don'tknow, that's like children nowadays. They expect so much, out of things. I don't know they're any happier for it. You know. I think that eh, you know, if they had to work more for things.
VB: Mhm. I mean that was another thing that occurred to me. I mean, seeing allthese films like Broadway erm, pictures. Did it ever make you want to go and see 00:44:00America or see that way of life?
GG: No. Not really. America was awful long eh, you couldn't get to America. Nowyou can go down the road, get on the plane and go over there for next to nothing really. But you see, that time has erm, you know. [pause 1 second] People can travel more. I mean that, I mean that was one way of seeing the outside world was to see a film. You didn't have television did you? And you used to go to the pictures. Even to see the news on the television was marvellous. I mean, some people went to just see the news particularly. Well you didn't get, during the war it was restricted.
GG: But I mean, at least on the news, you did get eh, you saw outside of yourtown. I mean people didn't travel the same. Dad always had the car. But we 00:45:00didn't go that far. My parents, first time they went abroad was just at the start, coming up the war. 1937, '38. They were just sort of starting to enjoy. That was the first time I went. I went to Switzerland when I was [pause 1 second] eighteen. So that would be 1935, thirty-six, seven. Now, you see, that was a sort of unknown thing. Like an event to do that now. But it's so commonplace now isn't it? That's why, I think, I certainly think that the cinemas made a lot of difference to the happiness of people. It must've done, because it did cheer people up to go. I mean, to have queues, eh, even before the war at the Coliseum, right up Palmer Road, waiting to get in. Queues of 00:46:00people. A Saturday. I'm talking about Saturday night. Or Thursday night. But Saturday night was a Saturday night out. You know. I don't know it is so much now. They go out for meals now, don't they? Go out. [laughs] Erm, yes, you really want to know how people felt then. Well, eh, as I say, to go and see some of these films. You'd come out of Broadway Melody. Well, it would cheer you up so much. And same with Rookery Nook and those erm. What were the others? Gingers Rogers, Fred Astaire.
VB: Things like Top Hat.
GG: Top Hat. Yes. Now I'm trying to think of the star who did the tap more than,as much as erm, Ginger Rogers and I can't think of her name. She was very good 00:47:00tap dancer. I mean, they cheered you up, didn't they? I mean, I don't know whether so many, I mean like, say, The Invisible Man. I don't imagine that, and that was such a cheerful picture but nevertheless it held people really. Erm--
VB: I mean how did you feel when you were watching the sort of mysteries like,you mentioned Hound of the Baskervilles. How did a film like that make you feel?
GG: Well, I suppose you didn't, it didn't make you feel miserable. It would justhold you. But I mean, they were dreary sorts. Hound of the Baskervilles, black and white. On the moors and all that sort of thing. I suppose that thrilled you really.
GG: But I can't say that people went, would go to those so well as the more00:48:00cheerful pictures.
GG: You know. It was something they watched 'cause it was Sherlock Holmes and,you know, going on the name for that. James Cagney. I never liked his pictures till he did that musical.
GG: 'I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy' [referring to Yankee Doodle Dandy]. That wasvery good. And that's perhaps the only thing, other thing that he eh, gangster things, I wouldn't step over the doorstep to see them. Perhaps some people did. But I don't know that they did so well as the, the cheerful ones. But, as I say, 'Rookery Nook', eh, we moved here from Lowestoft when I was fourteen. We rented a house on Victoria Road. And then as we got established, Dad-- we had to sell the house at Lowestoft and bought this new, up near the [Green?; inaudible] house. Up there. And eh, we went into it new when I was seventeen. And we called 00:49:00it 'Rookery Nook' because Dad named it that because he broke all records with Rookery Nook. So it shows how cheerful it was--
GG: For people to go and see it, you see.
VB: It's a nice sort of ring to it. A house's name as well.
GG: Yes. And funnily enough, Dad died, mum moved. The name is still on there Ithink. You know when you come on the by-, perhaps you don't know that bypass where they, cut off the corner.
GG: I think now it's got a high wall in front of it. But, progress you know. [laughs]
VB: Yes. [laughs]
GG: I think it's still on. I'm meaning to go up there one of these days and justcheck but it was on last time I looked. And erm, [pause 2 seconds] A Cuckoo in the Nest, you see, was another. Eh, 'course they had done that on the stage. Had they? Did they do? I don't remember Rookery Nook on the stage but I suppose. But really they were good those films. Really good. [pause 3 seconds] Mario Lanza. 00:50:00That'd be a newer one. He's dead now, isn't he?
VB: What about horror films. Did you enjoy that sort of film?
GG: Well, erm, you might say King Kong.
GG: There weren't so many eh, you might say Frankenstein. Yes. They were quitepopular. I think of course they were so far-fetched. I mean after all who would think that a jolly great ghoul would get up--
GG: In the mountains. Same as someone drinks something and turn. I mean, they'refar-fetched aren't they? And I suppose they're not eh, a gangster picture can be a real-life thing but a horror thing... [pause 1 second] Same as The Invisible Man. I mean, when he took his bandages off he was... [laughs]
GG: You couldn't fully believe [laughs] in all that. And erm...
VB: I mean were you ever really frightened by a film? Were there any films that00:51:00you really disliked?
GG: No. I don't say that Frankenstein really. When would that be? I can't say, Iwas not a little girl.
GG: But that would terrify some. Perhaps children now. I don't know. Theywouldn't be terrified by it now would they? They'd think it was something funny. But I mean that was, that was marvellous to think how it was done. You couldn't think how anyone... [laughs]
GG: But, however, yes erm, I think generally perhaps they'd go for those sort.They weren't horror films with a lot of blood.
GG: They were trick photography really. Weren't they? Really. So I don't eh, Idon't eh... [pause 2 seconds] As I say that eh, what's his name? [pause 3 00:52:00seconds] Edward G. Robinson.
GG: I never liked him. Those sort of films, no. Make you feel miserable. I don'tknow whether they were so popular really. But the money spinners were Broadway Melody and those things that made people cheerful. I mean the things that erm, what's her name, Judy Garland was in, were cheerful.
GG: Cheerful things. And she was such a cheerful person, in her mind. It seemsextraordinary that she came to such a poor end, with someone who, so happy in her films. But eh, you might say erm, what's her name? Shirley Temple. Now she was lovely. I don't think that anyone, I can't think anyone, they thought it was so wonderful. And she'd got such a lovely way. It made you feel better. It made 00:53:00you feel better. And I think that really, then, who want to go out to see, they want people cheered up. A certain amount. Eh, I mean, I don't know, [pause 2 seconds] I don't know. Nowadays they, well, you have so much, don't you? Switch on and you've got it. But, erm, no. And eh, I think the war, the cinema was a boon during the war. And Dad was eh, he was in the Home Guard for entertainment. And that was most important, to keep the troops happy. To keep people happy too. Because, I mean we could be miserable. You can imagine, being here and I mean these places weren't here or anything. And being, I can remember when it was evacuated. My father sent my mother off to Penzance, out of the way of the 00:54:00invasion. Invasion was coming up the beaches. How we, how we thought things up. I mean, when I look back, how stupid we were to think that the oil drums on the beach was going to stop Germans coming up the beach! It seems silly to me that we ever thought that. But people evacuated. My mother went down to Penzance, Dad sent her down there to Penzance. Out of the way of the bombing. And Mum said, "Come down, Gloria. Come down, Gloria." I said, "No. I'm not leaving here." I was in the office at Yarmouth. And eh, you know, I didn't want to leave. I didn't feel it was right to leave. But I went down, eh, one day. Down to Penzance. Left here at eight o'clock in the morning. Got there at midnight. And, tired out. Bombs all the way. And I thought, well, how on earth did Dad think it 00:55:00was any better there than here. And brought my mother back.
GG: Brought her back. And Dad met us at the station. "Mum isn't staying here!"And course, she went off to erm, Hethersett. And eh, I worked half the week at the Yarmouth office and half at Norwich. But we needed a lot of cheering up.
GG: I mean I look now on these things they said--this is going away from thefilms but the Churchill speeches on the wireless. Not television. On the wireless. I used to look forward to those. How it cheered you up. But, you know, I never thought we were going to lose. I never thought. And I used to believe every word he said. [laughs]
GG: Same as you go to the pictures, you see it and it cheers you up!
GG: You see. So people perhaps wouldn't believe it now. Like you see all the00:56:00arguing in Parliament there and that. You perhaps wouldn't believe it. But people believed a lot more of what they saw. This made them go home happy.
GG: You know what I mean?
GG: And I'm sure that did make a great deal of difference. But eh... [pause 2seconds] It was a sad thing though that the cinemas went down. But people've got other things. Television will go off one day, when there's something else come in its place. Won't it?
GG: Really. But it's a hundred years next year isn't it?
GG: And eh, I, I, it's marvellous really. [laughs]
VB: [laughs] It's amazing, yeah. I mean did your parents enjoy watching films aswell as putting them on?
GG: Well my mother used to go, matinees. She used to go the matinees. Erm, I00:57:00don't know that they watched. [pause 1 second] Too busy. My father, my brother'd be up in the operating box.
GG: And eh, Dad would be running the place. I don't say that he ever [laughs]watched films very much!
GG: You know. Unless he found something he wanted to watch to find out about it.
GG: I think of my father at the Regent watching erm, Al Jolson, you know,singing. He'd want to see what it was like. If you saw that film now you'd think how, how antique it is.
VB: Mhm. It must've seemed the newest thing to you.
GG: Oh it was marvellous. I've remember sitting there and I'd only be a teenagerbut, erm, tears coming down my face. How that moved me. And 'course Al Jolson was not a black man was he? He was dressed up as it. Black people, you see, you 00:58:00didn't get black people. They were more or less, painted up like the erm, the minstrels, you know, black-and-white minstrels, wasn't it? Really. But erm, no I can't say Dad went much. I couldn't go every night. I was at school. You had to do your homework and everything like that. Eh, so, we were restricted. But I always used to go to the Carnival Nights at eh, at the Grand at Lowestoft. So that'd probably be a Friday night. And eh, they were really, really packed out. It was a marvellous thing. How it cheered people up. That was the main, what else could they go to in the town. Really. I mean then before the war here, like these carnivals. They have a carnival here now. Erm, in the eh, erm, summer. But 00:59:00it is nothing, nothing like the same as... [pause 1 second] It was a local, it was local people in it. Whereas now you get all the firms and factories and firms. Put something in. Like, you might say, the Lord Mayor's Show, put it in for advertising what they do.
GG: But then people went in it to enjoy. To put their heart and soul into it.
GG: And that was, I suppose, if you look again, people had less, less toentertain them then. Less to do. And that was one way of entertaining. [tape cuts out
[End of Side B]
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[Start of Tape Two]
[Start of Side A]
GG: WRVS. WI [Women's Institute]. And all those things take time. Mind you WIhas been in for about seventy-five years.
GG: But erm, people didn't have those things to eh, distractions did they?01:00:00
GG: Because I don't remember many. Townswomen's Guild started here. I used tojoin my mother here. And that'd be during, after the war.
GG: You see, all these things are post-war, these clubs. You never had those really.
VB: That's interesting. So I mean really there was--
GG: Nothing else.
VB: The cinema and the carnivals and--
GG: I mean you'd have Mothers' Union.
GG: I suppose they'd be going. That was connected with the church. Eh, WI'sabout seventy years old. Seventy, seventy-five years old. So, you see, they're, they're not, they were just sort of beginning to come up you see.
GG: So people didn't have the things to go to. And you had nothing at home towatch. Only the wireless. I can remember that coming in. The little [Two Arrow?] [possibly referring to radio produced by Arrow Electronics]. My brother 01:01:00had a little [Two Arrow?] set. That was when we were at Lowestoft. You had to listen to crackling and everything.
GG: And what pleasure was there, [laughs] really? But we thought it wasmarvellous then. So, I mean it is the distractions--
GG: With everything now. They're all in competition with one another I think. Imean no end. If you look in the ['Mercury'?] you get clubs. News from the clubs. There's piles of them. But, see, they weren't in our day.
GG: You see. And this is why the cinema was the getting out of the house for allthe family.
GG: You see, see the Regent at Lowestoft eh, Yarmouth. Dad went there, assistantmanager in nineteen... [pause 2 seconds] I was, oh, I was born 1917, I was... [pause 1 second] Twenty-one, Dad went to Lowestoft. And he went back, and he went from this 01:02:00place at King's Lynn. He went to Filmland. And I only remember that as a derelict place. And then he went assistant manager to the Regent at Yarmouth. And Mr Allen, I can remember him now. Glass eye.
GG: You know. You know like the magician.
VB: Oh yes!
GG: Wax moustache and a glass eye. Really dark brown glass eye that really stoodout. [laughs]
VB: Aw. [laughs]
GG: And eh, then Dad came back, see then he went to the Army. He was in thetrenches. And he came, came back there. I was two before he saw me and I was born in 1917, so he couldn't have come back till 1919, could he?
GG: And then he went over to Lowestoft, you see. And that's where it startedmore. But the Regent. [pause 2 seconds] I mean that was the main place. The 01:03:00Aquarium, that was a huge... Have you been in the Aquarium?
VB: I haven't. No.
GG: It's eh, we had some of the Gilbert and Sullivan things in there. 'Cause myhusband was in that but, it was a long, dreary. Mr Nightingale kept the Queen's Hotel at Yarmouth and that. And erm, the Regal was built [pause 2 seconds] 1936, five, six. And course Dad eh, was one of the [pleaders?] of that. And people huh! They never, I can't say that went off so well.
GG: I suppose the war coming in. And you see, it had a very tall balcony.01:04:00Everyone, in the papers. Oh, it was a fire hazard up there. You couldn't get out and all. And I must admit, it was very steep. And eh, then there was the ground floor. But, you see, they built them to hold so many people. You see, and eh, the same as the Regent. Huge place. Beautiful. I don't know what it's like inside now but, it was a really, like an opera house inside. With the balconies and, I don't know if they've chopped all that down or what now. But, it was lovely. And they build them so big. And then they built the Odeon. Oscar Deutsch built the Odeon. And they had one at Lowestoft where that Britten centre [shopping centre] is.
VB: Oh right. Yes.
GG: Yes. And eh, see the Marina. Now you know the Marina, that's now a theatre.
GG: Well, that was a theatre when I was a child at Lowestoft. And I used to go01:05:00to the theatres there. Now they, they used to, I remember a lot of amateur productions that went on there. But then they built this Odeon. A huge place. We-ell, I mean, the thing is the war came and eh, people wouldn't, well, I dare say the troops went. Because during the war you didn't hear what the others. Too far away, Lowestoft. Everything was hush-hush you see. But erm, huge place and it never paid after the war. It was far too big. And they pulled it down. And it was really not an old place. Couldn't have been. And then there was the Palace. That's pulled down now. Hippodrome is still there. And that's a bingo hall. Eh, Palace. And there was the Grand. And there's that little Playhouse one. That was 01:06:00eh, and then there's a little Regent up the top of the street at Lowestoft. And that's now a Texas. Well my father helped, eh, went in that to try and stimulate it.
GG: Not to run it. He was still running the Grand. But that was a tiny place.But they couldn't make it do. So, you know, they just gave up in the end. So that is sort of the decline of the cinema then. But I'd put a lot of it down to the, they can't, you see, they fill them up well now. But they're all little ones aren't they?
VB: Mhm. Yes, that's right.
GG: Yes. Individual ones. But erm, people have, you've got to have them where'sthere's big population. Because there's so much other attraction now that you couldn't possibly fill them. They had one at [B?] isn't it? Just, has that closed? Or is it eh,
VB: I'm not sure.
GG: No. I think that's either closing or they're trying to drag on and keep it going.01:07:00
GG: But, you see, they can't get the money. People are not... [pause 1 second]And my niece came. She was down here last summer. They went to the Royalty.
GG: They said we thought we'd go to the pictures. And they were the only peoplein there. I mean it's--
GG: Extraordinary. Well you can't carry on like that can you? But, eh, however,I can see small cinemas. See, they've got one or two in Norwich haven't they?
GG: Is it the Electric [Norwich Electric Theatre]? And the--
VB: That's right.
GG: The Carlton?
VB: Yes. I think that's right.
GG: Ca, that's a bingo. Surely.
GG: Haymarket was turned into a bingo hall.
GG: There's some ones down Regent Road, eh, not Regent Road. Prince Wales Road[probably referring to the Regent].
GG: They're about the only ones aren't they?
VB: Yeah. I think that's right. Erm, I mean, 'cause there's one quite near thestation as well. Forget what that's called. 01:08:00
GG: Yes. That's the Electric I think.
VB: That's the Electric, yeah.
GG: And then there's the erm, Electric and-- [pause 2 seconds] Oh, another onethere. Forgot the name. Yes.
VB: I've walked past them but I'm not sure--
GG: Yes, eh, the Haymarket. Right in the centre of [inaudible].
GG: Pulled down. I can remember that as a cinema.
GG: Eh, I mean Theatre Royal. Well it was a city theatre anyway. But erm, andthere was a big one on All Saints Green. Is it? Is it the Carl--is it still there [referring to the Carlton aka Gaumont]?
VB: I'm not sure of that.
GG: No, you're not sure about that. But they're bingo halls, anyway. And whatwill happen? Bingo halls are going down are they?
GG: Yes. They're going down you see. So everything has its time, really. But thecinema, I think, you know, up and including the war, did a lot for broadening people out. They hadn't got the wireless. They hadn't got the television. You know. 01:09:00
VB: Do think it erm, I mean I'm sure you're right about it giving peopledifferent experiences. Do you think, erm, it affected the way people behaved?
[pause 3 seconds]
GG: You mean they were influenced by films?
VB: Yeah. Do think they were?
GG: I can't really see that.
GG: I can't really see that. I think eh, I mean if they saw a horror film, youwouldn't, that wouldn't turn them at all. I don't think so. I think [inaudible]. I can't see that. I can see that it was a big boost in, in making people cheerful and eh, giving them something. I mean I think again eh, family life was perhaps enhanced by the people being able to go out to the pictures. Instead 01:10:00of... same as the television in that way has done it. Because erm, I remember a doctor friend of mine saying that he'd been to Baliol Road and they'd been sitting watching television all day. He said, "Well it's far better watching television all day than keep rowing at each other."
GG: You see. And I think that, in a way, the cinema did give a boost that way.'Cause it wasn't extortionate in price, but it took people out of the... [pause 2 seconds] You know. If they were gloomy at home it was, it was nice to go there to... [pause 1 second] And this is why I think that the erm, 'Broadway Melodies', the 'Rookery Nooks' and that, cheered people up.
VB: I suppose it must've given people something to talk about as well.
GG: Well yes. Ye-es. Yes.
VB: Cheerful as you say.
GG: Yes. Yes. I mean I can't say that they ever thought, "Ooh, well I want toerm, go to America and on Broadway," or anything like that. But it just cheered 01:11:00them up. Eh, and eh, I think generally the erm, see more cheerful things, were better. I can't say there were so many horror films. Frankenstein. Eh, Jekyll and Mr Hyde [referring to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde].
GG: But I mean they were so far-fetched, they were just good stories, that's all.
VB: Mhm. 'Cause that's Fredric March that was in that, wasn't he?
GG: That's right. Yes.
GG: Yes. Oh yes. He, he was, it's unusual. Well he was supposed to be the nicedoctor who turned into Mr Hyde wasn't it?
GG: Really. But erm, yes, I think people found to go out to cheerful things wasa big help. And as I say, it cheered up homes. I mean eh, erm, well 'course this 01:12:00be after the war. When I had the children. My mother used to come and sit them and I used to go down to the pictures. That time, that was the early 1940s you see. But it did cheer you up really, to go out.
GG: But I think that'd be the same. I mean, people had, didn't have centralheating. Perhaps sitting in a cold home. They could lock the door, go down to the cinema. Perhaps feel, they had radiators I know. 'Cause they had boiler rooms and all that sort of thing. So, I mean, they could go down there in the warmth, couldn't they? Keep warm. Save electricity. Everything. And also get out of themselves. Eh, you know, as I say, there weren't many clubs. Only pubs and pubs were not for women. Were they? They were only for men. I mean my father never, never. We went out for a ride, my mother had to sit, we had to sit out in 01:13:00the car. My father'd bring a drink out to us. We weren't allowed to go in there. But I mean now, that's something, I'd never go up to a bar and get a drink. I don't suppose I've ever been used to it. But, you see, that's eh, that was the attitude of that time, so I mean. Now, I think, quite honestly, looking back it was a big boost for families, to get them out of the house more or less.
GG: And to see something different. Which they didn't see at home. I mean youdidn't have television. Where else would you see anything what went on in other parts of the world? That's the only thing wasn't it? Really, so. Yes. Apart from-- it brought community. You'd meet people there. You'd meet people at the cinema. Or you'd go and meet your friends there and have it there. There was 01:14:00nice big [boiler?]. You could meet people, the Regal had bars and all that sort of thing. Eh, and so did the Regent. You know. You could go into the coffee room and bar and that sort of thing. The Regal had a very nice bar on the first floor you know. Big, big lounge place. They were all places for people to get out and mix.
GG: Really. And cheer people up. I think so. I can't imagine what it would'vebeen like without the cinema. What would they have done? Nothing, would they? Didn't have even night schools then, did you? I mean. [laughs]
GG: I mean. [pause 3 seconds] As I say, it just, I suppose what you never hadyou never missed. But nevertheless it made it more cheerful didn't it? I mean 01:15:00people must have argued in their time, mustn't they? And surely it was better for them to get out? In an evening. I mean your husband come home from work, sitting, say, "Well let's go out to the pictures." It was a moral, morale booster really. And I think, to see the more cheerful things, to see something dreary would be horrible.
GG: And I say the news. The news. Do you want another cup a tea?
VB: That would be lovely actually. Yes. Thanks very much. I wonder actually if Icould use your bathroom?
VB: Switch this off.
[tape recorder switched off]
VB: [starts mid-conversation] -- the stars that you mentioned. When we weretalking before and just now as well you mentioned people like erm, Merle Oberon.
VB: What was it about her that you found interesting?
GG: Well, I don't say that she is, 'cause she was really quite nice. She tookthat part in Henry the Eighth, Henry the Eighth [referring to The Private Life 01:16:00of Henry VIII].
GG: Eh, and that's why. 'Cause I wouldn't eh, put, I think perhaps eh, CicelyCourtneidge, Tom Walls and those people attracted me. I wouldn't eh, say Merle Oberon, oh, I can't forget her.
GG: I've remembered Shirley Temple more.
GG: You know. And erm, eh, [pause 2 seconds] she was just no different toClaudette Colbert and any of those really.
VB: Ah, I see.
GG: She was a--
GG: You know. I mean, not standing out.
GG: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers. I mean they were lively. She was a straightactress wasn't she? Cicely Courtneidge was marvellous. Make you laugh and eh that sort of thing. Who else would you like?
VB: Well, you mentioned last time, Ronald Colman.
GG: Oh yes. Well that'd be the real old-- [pause 1 second] I remember him in erm01:17:00[pause 1 second] The Lost Horizon was it? Where they had the Shangri-la.
GG: Well that was a most amazing thing really. You know. Shangri-la. How theywent to this place. Well, I mean that's imagination isn't it? [bursts out laughing] I don't know whether we sort of took it more seriously at that time. Really. [laughs] But he was, it was the silent films he was in. The silent films.
VB: Ah I see. So you remember him more from--
GG: Yes. Those silent films.
GG: Ramon Novarro. He was, 'cause he was good-looking that's all. [laughs]
VB: Ah. [laughs]
GG: And he was in 'Ben-Hur' [referring to Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ]. Thatwas a good, see they've made that several times but that first one, with imaginary effects was, it overwhelmed me. I would only be teenager. To sit in 01:18:00that place and chains and bottles. I didn't really, I mean Dad didn't say, "Oh, I'm breaking bottle in..." But when I knew about it I thought, what the, what a marvellous thing that was. But, 'course that was the way of the talkies so to speak. And I told you about the time when the, eh, the old talkies... [pause 1 second] Have another biscuit. Eh the old talkies where they erm had these discs and used to... [pause 2 seconds] Then they changed all that. They saw the fault of that and the sound was put on the soundtrack at the side.
GG: Which other ones would you like to know?
VB: Well, one other thing I brought with me actually. I enjoyed seeing yourphotographs so much--
VB: That you were showing me before. That I brought along a book of films fromthe thirties that I thought you might like to see--
VB: Erm which we had in Glasgow. I think that's from about 1934, or something01:19:00like that. And of course a lot of the stars that you mentioned are featured in there.
GG: Charles Laughton. Clive Brook. Clive Brook, yes. Diana Wynyard. [pause 2seconds] Oh, oh. Leslie Howard. 'Course he died in an air crash. Aeroplane didn't he?
VB: Was he someone that particularly appealed to you?
GG: Yes. He took part in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Oh yes. That says it here. Eh hewas so gentle and nice really. You know, gentle and nice. It was the, I suppose, being a woman I didn't like the, Gary Cooper. I suppose he'd be all right. Aubrey Smith. He was good. [pause 5 seconds] Claude Rains. Miserable-looking sort, wasn't he, really. 01:20:00
GG: Charlie Chaplin.
VB: Mhm. Oh I wouldn't have recognised him from that.
GG: He looks nice there because you never saw him. He was good. He was good. ButI can't say all that slip-slop appealed to me so much. Even as a young lady. But Bernard thinks he was marvellous. His action.
VB: Mhm. Did you think that different films appealed to men and women?
GG: I dare say there was a lot of difference. I mean a woman would like onewith, [pause 2 seconds] I suppose ones called weepies. [laughs]
GG: Really. Wouldn't they? I think, my husband, see he liked cowboys. He stilldoes. But you see I, I, it was all right then but a woman wouldn't go so much for cowboys. They'd go for Deanna Durbin more and eh, you know those little 01:21:00[pause 3 seconds] war pictures. War, things to come. War pictures, Ralph Richardson. He was a later one wasn't he?
GG: Erm, who wants to go to the pictures to see war? You've got that on the newsreally. [pause 4 seconds] [inaudible] Jack Buchanan. Now they were good.
GG: He was good. You see 'cause they were cheerful things. They weren't eh...[pause 2 seconds] I think generally, myself, I would go for more cheerful things. I wouldn't mind a good, like The Hound of the Baskervilles, really. But that was 'cause you perhaps knew the books.
VB: Ah, of course.
GG: You see.
GG: And that got eh [pause 1 second] John Mills. Well he's still alive isn't he?
VB: So were you reading a lot as a girl as well?01:22:00
GG: No more than the usual sorts I suppose. [laughs]
GG: I suppose. John Mills. He's about ninety now isn't he?
VB: Mhm. Yeah he must be.
GG: I can remember a picture eh, Cavalcade. That was a lovely picture. That wassort of to do with [pause 2 seconds] people going away to war. Now which war was it? [laughs] I can't remember.
GG: That was a nice picture. Or was it... Cavalcade. Erm Noel Coward's--
GG: Cavalcade. That was made into a very... Conrad Veidt. 'Cause, you see thatwouldn't have gone down [laughs] in wartime. 'Cause he was a German.
VB: 'Course. Yes.
GG: You see. But eh--
VB: Were there certain stars like that that weren't popular for--
GG: Well I dare say, now Conrad Veidt. Veidt. I don't know how you pronounce it.
GG: Erm, eh people would perhaps be a bit prejudiced during wartime.01:23:00
GG: Yes. I certainly think so. [pause 4 seconds] But erm-- I pronounced thatwrong, well my daughter's a graduate in German but-- [laughs]
VB: Ah! [laughs] Oh well.
GG: "Mum, why didn't you learn German?" Every time I speak it.
GG: Walt Disney. Now you see he was clever. All his things were very goodweren't they? Well I mean-- He's dead isn't he?
GG: But they were good, really. [pause 4 seconds] Don't know those.
VB: I've a feeling some of those that are in there are more to encourage peopleto go to their films than because they're-- well known.
GG: Robert Montgomery. I remember him. Not stand out so much, but I should saythat when the war came, people didn't like watching Germans. I suppose people, 01:24:00eh, you know, it had that feel.
GG: You can't go on with that forever, can you?
GG: Ah. Tom Walls. That's Tom Walls. And Ralph, Ralph Lynn. [pause 5 seconds]Ginger Rogers. Fred Astaire. She's still alive isn't she? Or has she just died?
VB: She just died not long ago, yes.
GG: Yes. Well I suppose now I perhaps wouldn't go over the doorstep to see amusical thing. I mean, it depends a lot on your age really. [inaudible] family-- Norma Shearer. She was nice. Very nice indeed. She lasted a long time. She was in nice sort of films.
GG: You know. They were nice erm, I think this is what we lack nowadays. Eh,01:25:00films that eh, got a cheery nature. I mean and they never seem to, they never seem to get anywhere. If you know what I mean. They haven't got the, you can't fathom out what they're going to... [pause 1 second] I'm talking [about] all the ones on television.
GG: But I dare say they're more or less the same. Yeah.
VB: 'Cause I-- One of the things you said there raised an interesting point. Imean do you think that your own tastes changed from the beginning of the thirties to the end of the thirties as you were growing up really?
GG: Well I, I suppose so. Eh, you'd like, you might say Broadway Melody and thatwhen you were young and that sort of thing. I don't think, I still would like a nice homely story. Whether I liked it then, same as now. But I don't really like 01:26:00a lot of the shooting and banging and jumping in. And I had a questionnaire from the BBC. I told them, I said, [laughs] I said, too many films jumping in and out of bed, I said, and killing and murders and, you know. Everything's so horrible like that.
GG: I don't think people want it really. I think people are happier to havesomething that's going to cheer them up. Would you want to go and see anything like, do you really?
VB: No. I mean I absolutely agree. I mean I like erm films with a bit of romancein it. And a bit of humour.
GG: Yes. Yes. You see--
VB: Gives you a lift.
GG: Where these eh, Tom Walls.
GG: Those farces. They were funny. They were good. They were slick. And theywere really very good.
GG: But some young people would call them tame now, you see. But I wouldn't still. Ifthey were made probably. I think if you saw the Rookery Nook as it was made then, 01:27:00you'd think how primitive it was.
GG: But if it was made properly, without bringing in the killing and the jumpingin and out of bed and all that sort of thing. They'd be very good. But there you are. They've got to make films according to how people like them, really. Really. But I wouldn't go over the doorstep to see anything like that. I'd want something that cheers me up. Even as I said, the cowboys then, good cowboys. Now, they're oh, they're really rough. Too, too horrible to want to see. But erm, if there's anything else you want to know, get in touch with me.
GG: You'll not be down any more?
VB: Erm, it's possible I might be coming down next year. But we're not sure atthe moment.
VB: It depends on the budget really.
GG: No. Well give me a call.
VB: That would be great. Yes.
GG: If I'm still here!01:28:00
VB: Oh, of course.
GG: As you get older, you've got to... [laughs]
GG: I hope so, anyway.
GG: And was the other, the other one all right?
VB: Erm, very interesting, yes.
VB: I mean I've just listened through to it myself. I haven't had a chance toerm, type it up yet.
VB: But I mean if that's something eh, it probably won't be done for a few months.
VB: We've got a bit of a backlog.
VB: But if you'd like a copy of that--
GG: I would. Yes, that would be very nice.
VB: I'll take a note of that.
VB: I mean that's no problem at all. [takes note] Just to make sure I remember.
GG: 'Course you've covering all of England, aren't you?
VB: Erm, more or less. I mean we've eh, as I think I said, we've got these fourstudy areas. So, in terms of England it's mainly Greater Manchester, Bolton and 01:29:00North London.
VB: But, we have been doing this questionnaire which helps to fill in some ofthe gaps--
VB: From places we don't have the money to go to, to visit.
GG: No you don't. Have you done many more in Yarmouth?
VB: I haven't actually spoken to anyone else in Yarmouth. But I spoke erm to achap who used to live in Yarmouth but now lives in Norwich. [tape cuts out]
[End of Side A]
[Start of Side B]
GG: [tape starts mid-conversation] -- comes with age. But I still would say thatI liked the, you might say Norma Shearer and those nice sort of people. But as you get older perhaps younger people think you're got out of date!
GG: If you don't start... [laughs] I don't know!
VB: I don't know. [laughs]
GG: Well, I mean, which would you rather see? A lot of shooting and banging? Orwould you like a nice story?
VB: Well, I think there'd be no contest. [laughs] I'd go for the story.
GG: Yes. Yes.
GG: That's what I mean.01:30:00
GG: The stories seemed to be good then. Eh, I'm talking on television. Storiesof things are so disjointed.
GG: You watch a mystery, a murder, really, when you get the end you're not surewhether it's been solved. That's how I feel. And I know whether it's the producing, people that write them or what. You know.
VB: I think you're right. 'Cause I mean thinking of, of the more modern ones, Ilike things like 'Colombo'--
GG: Yes. Yes.
VB: Where you've got a good story.
GG: That's not bad.
VB: But that's pretty unusual. [laughs]
GG: Yes. You see, you don't get them where they're really resolved.
GG: You got the answer to his, before you start.
VB: That's right. You don't have to... [laughs]
GG: But I do. When I get to the end I say to Bernard, who did it? In the end.You know, you can't quite remember.
GG: But eh--01:31:00
VB: And I must say, I tried to watch erm, recently that eh 'Cracker'. It'ssupposed to be very good.
GG: Oh I hate that thing.
VB: But I had to turn it off! It was much too violent! [laughs]
GG: That's what I mean. It's too violent.
GG: I don't care. I don't want to watch these things.
GG: I'm sure I'm not out of date by that.
VB: No, I don't think so. Because it just seemed so unnecessary. The story wasgoing along quite nicely and then they had to throw in the, the really--
GG: They have to put it in don't they? Do they think that the general peoplenowadays want that?
GG: I can't see it.
VB: I don't know why they, why it has to be done.
GG: I just wonder if it makes a difference to the violence we do get at the moment.
GG: You know. It doesn't help does it?
VB: I wouldn't think so.
GG: Well I think, quite honestly, that television, the violence you get on theremakes a lot of difference. Specially with the youngsters.
GG: They watch those and think that that's the usual run of things. I'm sureit's something to do with it. But they don't seem to comment on that. To say 01:32:00that, in Parliament, that is so. Bring in legislation you see. Don't you think so? Youngsters watching them.
VB: It must have some effect I'm sure.
GG: I mean you're young yourself.
GG: But I mean, eh, I'm talking about seventeen, eighteen, nineteen-year-olds.They think it's the done thing to go round and... [pause 1 second] Mind you, the news is, tell you. Because you take eh, yesterday. Seeing erm the [pause 2 seconds] Home Secretary. No, the Chairman of the [Conservatives?] being sprayed with all paint.
VB: Oh yes.
GG: Don't you think the youngsters see that, think, oh, that must be the donething? Really. I mean I don't know. I think that's awful. I'd hate to think my children or grandchildren did that. But it seems to me, to put it in front... [pause 1 second] Why they want to make highlight on those things I don't know.
GG: You know. Perhaps they think it sells. I don't know. [laughs]01:33:00
VB: I don't know.
GG: But I mean, if there's anything else you want to know. Like, if you want tosend me a questionnaire about anything-- [laughs]
GG: Then do. Or if you're down in this way again.
VB: That would be lovely. I mean it's been tremendously helpful really.
VB: Talking to you.
GG: Those are interesting.
VB: Ah, wonderful.
GG: They are wonderful.
VB: Yeah. They really are.
GG: My brother wanted to destroy them and I wouldn't. I think it's nice to keep them.
VB: I've never seen anything like that.
VB: They're just amazing really.
GG: Yes. I think Dad was a real showman.
GG: My brother's not. He was a good enough fellow but he hasn't got the flair.
GG: You know, to do, to do that. But Dad did have real flair and it's a shamethat he died so young really--
GG: After working so hard. At the cinema. During the war and all the charitablework. And sometimes you wonder, that erm, why doing all that good, he should die 01:34:00so young. I often wonder that. You'd get someone who's a dreadful person lives to a hundred. [bursts out laughing]
VB: [laughs] It's not fair.
GG: Not fair. No, no. But erm... [pause 3 seconds] But, you know, but I stillthink, I can't change my attitude that I don't like a lot of shooting. And I'm pretty certain, if people got more of that sort of thing, I mean even those in middle age--
GG: Watched it. It must seep down to the children. I mean you have a young childkeep watching that. Television is on, so. I wouldn't have let my children watch those. But they do watch them. And I'm sure they get pattern of life from it. And this is why, I think some of these things on television are really dreadful. 01:35:00
GG: Specially a Saturday night. Late on a Saturday night. They're all, that'sone night I go to bed early. [laughs]
GG: I'm afraid I like more discussions thing. But, I wouldn't watch thosethings. But you see, that is, time when children perhaps done their homework and when they watch more.
GG: And I wonder that isn't eh commented on. You know. 'Cause, erm, I'm sure ifthey saw better, cheerier things on they would get the model from it. But eh, when do you go back to Glasgow?
VB: Erm, I'm going, I'm actually going to London on Wednesday and I'll betalking to some people there. So I go back to Glasgow erm a week on Tuesday.
VB: So it's eh--
VB: [laughs] Well yeah.
GG: Yes. Are you looking forward to going back?
VB: I am. Yes.01:36:00
GG: [looks at book] Maureen O'Sullivan. Charles Boyer. Oh, all these names.Harold Lloyd. Dolores del Rio. Yes, I had some playing cards--
GG: With her name on them. Broadway Melody, 1936. [pause 3 seconds] I can stillremember some of those films. [pause 3 seconds] When you start looking, 'cause you know what they say, when you get older, you remember things [laughs] in the past. My husband had a dream the other night. He said, "I was dreaming I was with my music master." He's very musical.
GG: "And having music lessons. I imagined sitting in that room." He said, "Whyis that?" I said, "Well you know what it is. When you get older, you remember the old things, the things back." I heard an old chappie at Luncheon Club. Eh, 01:37:00Mr Godfrey. He was on the stage. He was, he used to do the, on the beach at Yarmouth when they did entertainment on the beach. I'm going perhaps eighties. Late eighties. And eh, he used to be in a concert party, down there. But do you know, when he got older if he could remember the difference between Saturday and Sunday, he used to go down to the shops on Sunday.
BG: Have you come all the way from Glasgow, just for this?
GG: You're in Norwich.
VB: I'm based in Norwich at the moment. Yes. I've been here for about eh, thisis almost the end of the second week.
VB: I was in Ipswich for a few days.
BG: You're coming to the end of this now?
VB: Erm, I've got about another week and two days.
GG: Yes, you're going down to London.
GG: And may be down next year, to give me--
VB: That would be lovely.
GG: I say, [laughs] if I'm still here! Next year.01:38:00
GG: And you're going to send me the eh, when the transcript of the other tape is ready.
BG: I don't like to hurry you but we had enough of this last time.
VB: Yes, I know. I know.
GG: You're not too bad.
BG: Not too bad at the moment.
GG: But erm, and this old chappie, he couldn't remember what we were doing. Butyou could ask him about what he did on the sea front at Yarmouth. Musicals and that sort of thing. It was as clear as a bell. And I think that's 'cause you regulate it.
GG: That's when your mind is better.
GG: And then you perhaps, you know, you sat about and... Although he was alively little fellow. Nice little fellow. Died at ninety-eight. And I used to look after him a lot at this Luncheon Club. And he was such a sociable sort. And I used to try and get them to mix. 01:39:00
GG: Go to each other's house. But you know there's a lot of distrust in them.
GG: You know. They meet them there. I say, "Why don't you go to so-an-so's andthey can come back to you?" But no, they don't want to do that. Funny isn't it, really? But erm, that really would be a good thing.
GG: But they do want to be entertained a lot. But eh, I'd be interested to see a transcript.
GG: And if there's anything else you want.
VB: It's very kind.
GG: Send me a questionnaire. [laughs]
VB: Yes. [laughs]
GG: And eh, if you're coming down next year, pleased to see you.
VB: Yeah, I hope I manage to do that. As I say, it really depends on how ourfunding goes. I hope I do. That would be nice.
GG: How is it funded by?
VB: We're funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
VB: So, basically we got a sum of money at the beginning.01:40:00
VB: Erm, so that has to last over the two years.
GG: Last. Yes.
VB: And obviously things have cropped up that we never expected having to pay for.
GG: You want to put an application in to the Lottery.
VB: Yes! [laughs]
VB: We certainly do! [laughs]
GG: Do that.
GG: I don't see why, I don't see why you and... [pause 1 second] Because I thinkthese things, they want to be checked up while the people are still alive.
VB: Yeah. That's right. Yes.
GG: I mean you take me. I'm seventy-eight. They're all dying off--
GG: In that eh, that time really. Since, I mean since the war. When the cinemasclosed. They're all quite elderly aren't they?
VB: I think people who were raised on cinema in the thirties are, are eh, Ithink it's given you an extra lease of life or something.
GG: Well I think so. I think so. Erm, yes. I think so. There was a lot more, eh,people, you know, helping each other.
GG: You can help things now by doing... [pause 1 second] I've known that with01:41:00doing my charitable work with the WRVS. It's the older people that you can get the help from. The young ones, they always want to be paid for everything.
GG: They do. I suppose they've got to live but there's always some moneyattached to it.
GG: And erm, they're not, even when they reduce the age at the hospital, whichis silly. It was only something to do with Trade Unions, something. There's some people that are still about who could've still carried on.
GG: Don't get paid for it. But course they want to. Eh, this is a nice book tokeep isn't it?
[End of interview]01:42:00