An interview with a Sheila Mandy

420298-old-cinema-signMy cinema experience is of large sizes of popcorn surround sound relatively comfy seats, the movie is a blockbuster, the crowd is huge the actors are legendary and the price can reach deep into ones pockets

Everyone’s experience is completely different, you’ll get your ;

Walkie talkies; the ones that don’t turn off, constantly talkingbetween friends,

The commentators; the ones that analyze the movie retelling each obvious part to the rest of the audience and there are the

All aloners; the ones here for the movie, quite comfortable the sit in silence and get what they paid for

And of course lets not forget the Shushers, constantly shushing the noise makers, when ironically they become one themselves

However when I thought about the different experiences

it mainly was related to what kind of person you are, where about you go to the movies and who with.

cine lorca 2



So I changed my view a different time.




My grandmother was the perfect candidate. Always telling us stories of how she was an outdoor girl. She hated shoes and rode her bike everywhere, tiring veryhard not to step indoors.

I thought if something could show me her young indoor behavior, cinema would.
When I initially asked her about her first cinema experience she paused for a long while, saying
“Oh wow I’ll need to think back a while for that one”

She said back then she went to boarding school. So her experience was delayed for a few years more than her local friends. But at the age of maybe 11 or 12 she left boarding school.

The stories went on until finally she detailed her first memorable experience of the flicks
It cost a tickey bicycle. Or rather a tickey.
The money in those days was close to the English and a tickey was the equivalent to 3 pennies.
Her pocket money at the time was a shilling. She had enough to see a movie and maybe get a coke and sweets.




Everyone would sit silent for the as the news reports unfolded before every movie. She said it was much more entertaining than the black and white papers and they didn’t have T.V. then. This was the first form of visual news.



A Saturday afternoon was the usually time for the cinema with friends; it was cheaper and after a long day riding bikes and swimming, the cinema was a quiet relaxing luxury.

The family didn’t go to the movies too often. They were expensive and on the rare occasion the whole family would attend it would have to be at night –the pricier session-

The themes was mainly revolved around western or cowboy movies. Full of action and recurring actors.  But her most memorable movie was Lassie. She remembered when al her friends used to go watch the sad movies the boys would sit directly behind the girls waiting to give them a hanky when they cried and to pant the on the shoulder.

When the family did go together they watch the really popular movies and sometimes the opera movies. My gran remembered the Italian opera singer Caruso. The cinema was always crowded; on saturday afternoons because it was cheap and all the kids would go, at night all the families would go and watch the blockbusters.
You had to queue out the front of the ticket box, before you could even go in. she said it was usually a long wait, but worth it.




She remembered how popular athletes were always turned into famous movie stars such as Tarzan, similarly to our popular singers now, who later find a career in acting.





She said she idolised this swimmer Esther Williams who did the same switch. She looked uo to her activeness and love of swimming. She’d go and see all her movies and even at fancy dress parties she would dress as her.My gran loved the movies as much as she loved the outdoors, i think because of the socialising and the ritual in the event.

Her cinema experience is much like mine is apart from the price, and the ability to leave my bike outside.

her experience was minimal compared to the children in the bigger cities. she hadn’t been to a drive in or a garden movie until much later in life, and still her first experiences at the movies were a highly influential part of her life.


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