Stan Fishman

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11 Jan 2012
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Stanley Fishman CBE

In 1945 on leaving school at 15 my first job was as an apprentice with De Havilland Aircraft. I didn’t like the job so in 1946 I left them and joined Gaumont British Cinemas as a trainee projectionist at the Super Stamford Hill. I didn’t get on with the chief projectionist so I left in 1947and joined Odeon as assistant (lamp boy!) to 2 house engineers at the Astoria Finsbury Park.

Following two years National Service in the army in 1950 I returned to Gaumont/Odeon - now (CMA). From that date I worked in a variety of roles, including Assistant House Engineer at the Regal Edmonton, House engineer at the Astoria Charing X Road which also included the Astoria Ballroom. The man running the ballrooms for Rank — Len Fancourt - was also the live show booking controller. As a result he offered me a job as a stage manager based with the live show department at the Astoria Brixton. From there I toured Odeon’s and Gaumonts all over the country stage managing live shows. These ranged from Bill Haley and the Comets through to the Beatles, Judy Garland, Cliff Richard, Frank Sinatra , Festival Ballet, to name but a few. In 1963 I was promoted to CMAs head office booking department in Victoria as Production Director booking all live shows playing Ranks’ cinema chain. It was here that I worked under George Pinches the then Film Booking Controller who, with the retirement of Len Fancourt had taken over the live show operation.

Occasionally George would ask me to view films with his film booking panel and let him have my views in a written report. Following an offer from another competitive company I was asked to stay with Rank/Odeon and as a result promoted to George’s Executive Assistant for both film and live shows.

Following his retirement in 1981 I was made Booking Controller and subsequently Film Booking and Marketing Director a position I held until retirement in 1995. Since then I have continued to serve the cinema and related industries in a number of roles. A founder member of the All Industry Marketing Committee (AIM), as President of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, President the British Cinema and Television Veterans, President of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, and Chairman of the Film Complaints Panel. In 1997 I was awarded a CBE for services to the film industry.

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