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Sunday, 25 May 2014


My sister, Von, and I have just spent a pleasurable hour remembering bits of our childhood.

On Saturdays we would go to the matinee at the Aspley Cinema. It cost the princely sum of tuppence to get in and we would have some pennies for sweets too. I liked (and still do) liquorice, but I never got any. Von would use her money and mine to buy awful honeycomb lumps covered in cheap, waxy chocolate. This was chosen not because she particularly liked it, but because you got plenty for your money. I disliked it and I don't think I ate much of it. I've never been much of a chocolate fan and it was the sort that those horrible Christmas chocolate ornaments were made from. Coated the roof of your mouth for ages.

The cinema would be full of kids and there would be lots of yelling and booing of the baddies, and cheers for the goodies. There were cartoons and cowboy pictures and Flash Gordon, which used to be a serial. Each week it would end in some nail-biting situation for Flash Gordon that meant you had to come back next week to find out what happened. At the end of the session kids would pour out, all being Flash Gordon or Zorro all the way home.

At the interval a young woman would walk backwards down the aisle with a tray of ice creams suspended by a belt around her neck. If you had enough money you could buy an ice cream sandwich or ice lolly. I don't remember ever getting one of those at the kids' sessions.

I remember the first time I went to the pictures in the evening. My dad took me and my younger brother to see The Dam Busters, which I quite enjoyed. For my tenth birthday mum took me to see The King and I, which I really enjoyed as it was in glorious technicolor! One of my favourite films as a kid was Fantasia.

Back then the movies used to play continuously, so if you arrived part way through the movie you just stayed there until you caught up with the bit of the film you'd missed. It made it a bit disjointed but nobody seemed to mind.

I used to enjoy the Christmas Pantomimes too. Pantomimes seem to be a peculiarly British thing. They are based on fairy stories - Aladdin, Cinderella etc. The principal boy is always a woman; the 'dame' is always a man and there is lots of audience participation from the kids including songs and the shouting to let the lead know when the baddies appear. Lots of good fun.


  1. Such a lovely post and it triggered so many of my own childhood memories. Song of the South was the first movie I saw, Bambi .. the second. And from that time in my life I became an enthusiastic fan of cinema!

  2. I remember Saturday Matinees - the National Anthem always playing and because we were all army brats in the cinema we were all standing and some saluting!

    The first film I remember watching was Pinocchio - I was terrified of that whale! The first film I took my kids to see was The Land Before Time.

    I do like going to the cinema but the films are on and off so quickly that I often miss them and end up waiting for them to come out in DVD



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