Harley Johnson is the interviewer
Right. I just want to know your name. Wearing born biographical details.
My name is now Keith. Nunn. Although I was born in 1938 in Woking Surrey and christened Keith John West. Where I grew up and till about 12 when the family broke up and my Father I had hodgkin's disease. Passed away and I was then brought up thank goodness by my mother and her.Partner.We lived in hindhead in Surrey. For a few years in a rented home. And I went to school and hated every minute of it simply because of course I left the school so I went to first and had all my friends. And then out of the blue one weekend I went to visit and stay with father and he said wouldn't you like to come home. Live with me because of all the attractions at home and the fact that I was being encouraged to be a brilliant student by my step father and I was never going to be that. I jumped at the opportunity and went back to live with Father. Who I stayed with until unfortunately as I say had hodgkin's disease and passed away. Anyway now we were moving home from hindhead to Woodroyd as st revellss in Gloucestershire. When I went to school in colford and the family again moved so we now lived in Foundhead? in herefordshire and this was when I was old enough to leave school and had to find a place of work. Influenced by my stepfather to some extent. I applied for a job that started in an old cinema The Ritz hereford the old cinema and was successful in getting a position as a trainee. projectionist And in those days of course the trainee projectionist did more cleaning than projecting but however I seem to take the job and couldn't wait to take my first changeover. And I remember waiting in great anticipation to be allowed to take a changeover which meant going from one projector to another on the same film because they were on 20 minute spools and a feature film would consist of up to five spools of film. However because the progress was so slow I left the ABC hereford and got a job at the Roxy in Roos on Whye where there was only a chief projectionist and me so changeovers were a thing I was very quickly taught to do. And I fell in love with the cinema. I worked there for a number of years. But again because I now had a bit of experience and wanted more. I left and went back to the ABC in hereford funnily enough. Where I stayed for a few more years before moving on again and I worked at the Roxy again leaving them worked at the Campbell theatre in hereford. And then temporarily left the business all together. Still a comfortable life at home with my mother and stepfather. Until one day out of the blue. The manager of the Roxy who was a mr. Tommy telephoned me to ask if I was available to help two ladies in distress in Coldfoot Gloucestershire. Well being a young man my ears pricked up ladies in distress. So I went to see them. And it was a mother and a daughter who had been left running the cinema.The father adds. And Ted. And their projectionist who had been a projectionist I imagine from the start had died and they were absolutely lost. So I have a look at their little cinema. This was absolutely wonderful to me. I could have a cinema out virtually of my own.Anyway they asked me how long can you help us. So I said Well six weeks. All. That would be lovely. We can find someone by then. Well during that six weeks we you.
HJ interjects but inaudible
Oh yeah. Because I find myself looking all over the place. He's a legend. Yeah well I don't know. Well it suits me to look. I find myself looking to all sorts of things straight and then suddenly think of it. Yeah. So this is so cool. So I said six weeks.And they jumped at that opportunity. All that would be lovely Were find someone by then. Well as it happened. The relationship with the stepfather had been getting more and more difficult over the years. I was getting older. And one day we had an amazing bust up and I left home. In my sports car which I had in those days we flew a luxury in those days of course and I parked in the Forest of Dean and slept through the night. Went to work next day and happened to mention to their mother and daughter I'd slept in the forest overnight. Oh how dreadful. They said you must stay with us. And they put a bed in their lounge for me. Which was absolutely amazing and enabled me to continue my wonderful life of operating their small country cinema for them which I loved.
HJ What was the very first job you know.
KN No no no I explained earlier that I'm started that hereford ABC of course. Yes.
HJ Garbled question
KN No I was a cinema projectionist from the day I left school virtually.
Anyway know whether I should cut a long long long story short or not are not sure.
But that six weeks of helping them resulted in 38 years. Now unfortunately it was a very difficult time to run a small country cinema not helped by the fact that four miles down the road is Momber?. And their cinema barred us from having films until they had shown them. Now this was a very difficult and sore point. But it was a fact of the cinema industry at that time. We're talking now about 1960. Because it was in 1960 that I got the telephone call. Anyway they struggled on for a few years. Really it was only the daughter that involved running the cinema and I was strictly a projectionist handy man Snow clear anything at all decorated the front of the cinema painted it a couple of times. We used to make an effort to decorate put Christmas decorations in the long window above for our area every Christmas and I'd start doing those in about September. And I really discovered I had a certain amount of ability that that was totally unaware I possessed until I was given that opportunity. Anyway we worked away at it and then she decided that the time had come and would I like to take it over. Well of course I had really no savings no great amount of money not even a home you realized because they are still in there. By now the mother unfortunately had passed away so I did have a bedroom of my own and I had promised the mother on her deathbed that I would never leave her daughter.Because my life was so complete. I had a wonderful job. I love doing. Anyway to cut another long story short when she decided to sell the cinema it was taken over or at least it was least by Harold Baim some of you might remember that name. Am I allowed to comment on that. He used to do a lot of the travelogue films that accompanied the early Bond films. So Harold Baim was a name I knew and respected and I met him went to his office in London. Curiously he asked if I was going to stay living where I was living. Well that was now my home and I thought that rather curious but possibly he thought that.If I worked for him information would go back to the previous the owners still on the place.He wouldn't want her to know. That's the only reason I can think that. Shortly after starting working for him I was sacked. Anyway that led to another part of my life in cinema because I managed to get a job at the ABC in Gloucester because a manager that was managing that place with someone I met in my early years at hereford. He came to be manager of the ABC in hereford.
HJ what grounds was the sacking for?
KN Didn't do the job. To mind you he wanted me managing it. You see as well. And I wasn't really cut out for that. And I had no interest in that because as I say I could have taken cinema over it if I had. A little more. Knowledge. But members miss. Yes I would have been running it myself. But there again that didn't appeal to me. Had I had some money it might have done. But because of the situation I didn't quite honestly feel that I would be allowed to run it the way I would choose perhaps. Anyway it was no problem with my home life. And I got a job at ABC as I say in hereford in Gloucester sorry.Where I stayed. Until I retired in 2002. Yeah.Having said that of course I had risen through the ranks then became the chief of the three screen which it now was. When I when we moved to the six screen at the Pool? Centre.Some of this will be edited for a moment
HJ What happened?
KN Well I wrote a letter on the behalf of my team of projectionist.Applying for a job at this new six screen which was going to open in Gloucester. At the time. And much to my surprise the company that we were working for seemed to be sympathetic to our cause. And it ended up with us getting a job as a team at the new.I can't remember who being run by. I mean I can look it up.Anyway we moved as a team to the new site before it was opened and help with the lugging up to the projection room of all the equipment. And had the job of making sure it was all nice and clean and tidy for the opening day which I think was delayed. Anyway in the end it opened as a six screen multiplex which is a bit of a shock to us. Projectionist had been used to running first of all one screen then three screens. Now we had six screens and a certain amount of different technology to cope with. So does all the certain amount of automation. Anyway the one wonderful thing about that was I had a team that was second to none. We all worked to do the job to the best of our ability. And at the same time to help each other. If someone had a certain function to go to perhaps a funeral perhaps a wedding just one wanted change a day off. We were always happy to change and
we had to make no mention of this to the office which made it that much easier. The cinema always came first in our minds and we worked hard at putting on the best show. I have some.Pleasure from telling you that I think I made. Virtually all the mistakes that a projectionist could make. Therefore an understanding if one of my crew made a mistake. I was always very understanding but I didn't expect them to make the same mistake ever again.
HJ What was the presenntation like? KN Yes quite right. Yes Is of course
in those days there was a thing called presentation. And those of you of a similar age to me to that might recall it in other words you had a lovely curtains covering the screen remotely controlled of course in the projection room. And these were lit in different colours.
And the projectionist had control of how the lights went up how they came down to them on a dimmer and the curtain colours could change and be intermixed. And really this was quite attractive in fact. We had two sets of curtains originally what we used to call screen tabs which were behind the house curtains so you had those to control before you put the actual picture onto the cinema screen. And depending on the type of film you would put lighting hopefully to compliment the presentation.That sadly is long gone but I remember one little thing from my years at Colford and I took it for a stage too far. We were showing some X certificate film which is for adults only and as most of you will recall were horrid horrid type film stories.And I remember I just bought myself a grundig stereo tape recorder and being enamoured with this piece of equipment I thought how can I use it in our little the cinema in Colford this is of course.So I put the extension speakers over each of the two exits at the back of the cinema and I took the lights down carefully for this well-known horror film which was very scary and started the film and the early credits came up and I think I had a green lighting on the screen just to give it an eerie sort of feel. And yes a black and white film and then quite out of the blue there was no sound at all at this point. There would be a blood curdling scream from the back of the cinema on the left hand side the speaker over the exit box.Which I had a good grin about because I could see people moving their heads down in the cinemas. What was that what was. And they no sooner settled down.Were there's the same blood curdling scream from the right had exit pocks and then the film hit the screen and rather than go gave me a great thrill and a lot of excitement having picked that up and it's rather like an.
And it was rather like another little gimmick that I thought up.In the days when I was trying to bring the cinema to the public's attention and the year that we used to have stills from the films in a still case to display outside the cinema to give people some idea of what the film was about this was quite the norm. And I suddenly thought one day we were showing. I think it was Cliff Richard's summer holiday. I think it was. And to accompany the stills I put a small loudspeaker in the still case. But I had to think of a way of. Playing some music that would repeat itself throughout the day. And I came I bought a gram deck which fitted on top of a record player and I remember a lady whose office joined the projection room had some brass candlesticks. And I had these brass candlesticks on a couple of supports along the entire length of our office recorded some of the music from the tip featured film the trailerer on the tape and had it going continuously through the Gram deck all day long. And one day a neighbour who had a shop opposite said. Did he ever get those dancing shoes on.Because the music I recorded of put on your dancing shoes and this course of repeated itself quite a lot during the day. So on the one hand it was successful on the other it did get me criticized. But I was pleased to be able to do it and hear the tape running around the office with a sight to see.
HJ Were there many businesses advertising there?
KN Not many in Colford I must say. Well they all are advertising at the time was becoming increasingly prominent on cinema screens. But a little town like colford didn't have the businesses that were prepared to spend the money to advertise on the colford screen. And Marjorie was approached to have had advertising course which is somewhat lucrative for the small cinemas but she refused because all the advertisers were from otside Colford.If only we had that sort of loyalty today.
HJ What was Majorie to the cinema?
KN Well marjorie was training to be a sea of Marjorie Blanche Reeves. Was the lady who I owe everything to today. And there she was left the cinema of course quite out of the blue when father died although she was training to be a physiotherapist at Cardiff hospital so she had to give up her career to come home and run the family cinema which presumably she did without any problems until her projectionist who was with father before her passed away and course being a lady.
She was absolutely lost with the technology. So it was wonderful for me to be important in my life. HJ How old were you?
KN I was 20. Bout 20 when I started at the Colford cinema in March.
HJ On your own?
KN Oh absolutely. Oh yes of course. When I started in the cinema I having been used to having three or four other colleagues and possibly a trainee. I was the only projectionist. So you had to do absolutely everything. And remember we were on 20 minute reels. Unlike today when I sometimes go and visit a friend of mine who's now working at the place and the film is all joined together and once he presses the button and gets it going. It'll run for the entire length of the film and then he of course has not rewind it any more. We used to have to rewind it. Although he does have to rewind it because it's a system that uses that. Particular way of showing films. But it's all done automatically. As all electronically controlled so the film is wound back and you just lace it up again and you're ready to go.It's called a non rewind system
HJ What do you use now?
KN Of course the introduction of digital which came in Fortunately for me a year or two after I retired from the business has put a whole new complex.Into the business.
HJ What age were you when you retired?
KN I was 62 when I retired and I retired because the business had changed out of all recognition. I was working again for a large company.And. The interest had gone. The assas the job satisfaction. There was none. Whether you did the job to your best be your ability or just did the job didn't seem to matter to anybody. And I decided I'd had enough and because of my years with the Colford cinema I was in a position to be able to pack up work. Since I retired of course there's been the introduction of digital and projectionist are no longer necessary. In fact the chappie that took over my position as chief at the multiplex in Gloucester. Is now training people to run digital and they will be on a less lesser wage than he is but doing virtually the same job. It's an opportunity for companies although spending a lot of money on the technology to reduce their running costs by not having to pay a technician necessarily to run the projection room. And this is an increasing sadness to me.I don't imagine that the people in control of large companies have any idea. What jobs projectionist did apart from showing the films they were largely practical individuals who would take on all sorts of maintenance jobs around a cinema.
HJ What are the main jobs they did?
KN Well of course when I started as a projectionist we were responsible for all the light fittings within the cinema.When the multiplex in Gloucester first opened there were all sorts of jobs that were supposed to have been done by the builders which weren't such as our lamps stock room. There was a room and that was it. I decided to put all the shelving in. And another interesting fact which absolutely blew my mind was to reach the top shelf. I built a lovely steppes of about three steps out of materials left by the builders. And then we could just walk into the room go to the end where the shelving was then jump up on these three steps which were plenty wide enough without a handrail or anything to feel perfectly safe on get a xenon off the top shelf and get back down.That remained until after I retired. When health and safety chappie connected to the cinema came round and made my crew that were there that time dispose of my step that I made because it didn't meet the safety standards. Now this has been used perfectly safely for a number of years. It was now thrown out. Incidentally my friend had to climb on the shelves to get a lamp down because they didn't think to replace it with anything. And this is why I am so happy to have retired. It seems an incredible story but it's perfectly true. And that is only one of so many changes that have just been unnecessary and undefensible indefensible really.
HJ Any predictions?
KN To your predictions. You know this is not an lazy not one not in these big multiplexes as far as I'm aware how mean they might.Seem. Technology now does a wonderful job but I always thought that when they had those.They shine them on to kids. Got them now in torches and lasers when laser technology came I thought the cinema could be transformed but cause it has a certain danger in days. But I thought that we never hit the cinema our industry never really bothered with presentation. Everything became automated. I mustn't generalize too much because there obviously are still enthusiastic cinema owners. But fewer than there once were because we just can't compete on a level playing field with the big companies. Although you might well find you'll be looked after better in a smaller cinema because certainly people who run. Be very happy to see you.
HJ Talk about your experience with the smaller cinemas in this area.
KN Well then in the forest of dean where I still live. I must say there is a few small cinemas still in operation the Dean? cinema in Colford some time is completely on its own when you consider that they used to be a cinema in . Well Ross on Wye where I worked and the Roxy atRoss was a great sadness to me that that was disposed of.But there were Cinderford? the Roxy to be sold off and the shop converted
into a shop and it had a nice cafe.It was a lovely cinema for Ross on Wye. And funnily enough it had one of the early air cleaning systems.The actual air was washed before it entered the cinema heated and it could so easily be scented. Now I don't think the system was working when I was at the Roxy but it's the only cinema with that system that I'd ever come across and it sounded a really luxurious system.However going back to come I can't honestly remember I would think perhaps three hundred.
HJ What type?
KN Yes it was a stadium type cinema but I really I could look it up because I've got all the books on early cinemas in the country virtually you know.
Yes. Well as I say the Roxy where I worked was a lovely cinema in Ross Colford of course has a special place in my heart. Cinderford? I never new as a cinema but a friend of mine bought and reopened in the club for many years.And a friend bought it and reopened it as a cinema In fact when I retired he was just opening the cinema and I offered to show the films for him on his opening night so that he could mingle with his audience and introduce them and enjoy their comments on a place that he just open. So for about three nights I projected the films in place for him. Not with a wage I hasten to add and I quite enjoyed doing it. The only problem with that was. The night that we were supposed to. Show off film for invited guests. I was running through it in the afternoon to make sure everything worked okay. When all of a sudden the projector stopped and with my limited knowledge I couldn't get it going and the people who had just. Installed the system although the one lived in Cardiff Newport sorry lived in Newport.
And was an engineer cinema engineer failed to come and put the matter right. So that. Evening show had to be abandoned.Fortunately it was corrected the next day.
We opened on time but I was very disappointed again that on the night when the chappie was going to have great pleasure introducing a cinema to his family and friends.We had to cancel the film show we still had the opening night and they had refreshments but no films to be shown. And I was very disappointed with the chappie who at the time whether associate or a friend failed to give us the sort of service that I fully expected from him.
HJ What was the mood in cinemas?
KN There's a revolt in Monmouth Monmouth was a cinema and a half a magnificent building wonderful cinema.I know the people there incidentally you'd like to have a look but that is really something else Monmouth. Recently be taken over and being run by a trust.Who don't really seem too enthusiastic about film which is the bread and butter of cinema. But it's doing very well and it is a magnificent place. The building is absolutely lovely. Real old fashioned cinema with a lovely balcony which they don't use very often I think only for stage performances but a lovely building with a good history.And as I say I shouldn't really be promoting it because the years they stopped us showing films we wanted to show. But that's the industry's fault.
HJ What about the type of ilms in the old days?
Well we have films in the old days they were features second feature you know. Sure.
KN Well in the old days we used to have a second feature which would be chavan first funnily enough.But that was a lesser film. And it accompanied the main feature and often the second feature would perhaps of appeal to the odd customer more than the main film. In them. In between these two there would be a newsreel and a few trailers advertising forthcoming films maybe a cartoon film but of course in the early days even at Colford there would be a live act between the start of the film you would have a comedian or singer or someone or a pianist and of course in the early days you had a pianist accompanying the film before the soundtrack came about. Sound on film came about although there was sound with film from the earliest days even if it was provided by a local musician.
Hj What about the organ?
KN Oh don't get me on to that.No the original the Ritz hereford had a wonderful organ installed in about 1938. And during my time there.The organ was played by a famous organist of the time Harold Lloyd comes to mind because he was an organ the resident organist in Woking Surrey where I was born.So when he visited the cinema it was a special moment for me.Various organist used to come and play the organ because there thing of the past largely. But I'm pleased to say I do have some connection with the hereford organ. Were you a friend and I were able to buy it for a museum project we had in mind and I now own half the pipe organ that was in the ABC cinema in hereford and I shall hopefully live long enough to see it installed somewhere I hope.
HJ Would you like to talkk about your collections?
Happy was with no one to talk about your collection.
KN When I first went to colford cinema and I had thought of the run of the mill if who like and was so tied up and interested in my new new found job. The lady was interested in antiques and I would often drive her to a little local auction room.
At whitchurch between Monmouth and Ross on Wye. Because she was interested as I say in antiques. On one of those trips I discovered a pile of old projector parts lying on a covered snooker table in a back room of the auction room. And I thought that would be an interesting thing to have. I wonder what it is or what it was. Anyway on the day of the actual auction. The a projector came up for sale as I have explained it was in pieces. Four boxes detached all there but in pieces. And as the bidding my bid reached 20 pounds the room went silent totally quiet and I could only imagine people would think What idiot would pay 25 pounds for that pile of scrap metal. Anyway to cut another long story short I ended up buying it. I took it home. I identified it as a nineteen hundred nineteen hundred and twelve Pathe Freres . From the old cinema in Ross on Wye. That name of which escapes me at this moment Coral palace. It was the coral palace in Ross on wye that this projector had come from. Think Deekens? ran the place so I was overjoyed to have found this machine. And it was at the time as I say when I was working up in Gloucester and I took the machine to work.To work on between the reels so that I could restore it and make sure it still worked which it did. And at that time I had the report from the Citizen Newspaper come along because he wanted to photograph and hear about the installation of a new stereophonic system.
In the cinema.And he was quite happy to film my nineteen hundred twelve machine and compared it next to the modern of that time. Thirty five. mil machines.
And I have a article that relates to that and a picture of it still. So that was the start of me getting interested in earlier cinema equipment. This of course became virtually a disease and I then starred in enthusitically collecting cinematographic equipment from as early as I could find it up to what was then current equipment and I have quite a large collection today and would love to find a home for it. I don't know whether the old charitable company. Of the cinema industry. We used to have to pay a little bit of our wages. The fact that we got free tickets to go into the circuits was because we worked there. We used to contribute to more small donation to a Glebelands charity which apparently looked after and did. Did the cuff not apparently did look after old and retired projectionists who were down on their luck.So we all had in mind that we might end up at Glebelands but we used to contribute and one day I found one of their collecting boxes. Oh which you can see right there.And that is quite a trophy for me. I'm so pleased to have that.And if there
was still the company interested in my collection that would be most more more than that would more them please me.
HJ Do you have any other industry knowledge?
KN I have a certain amount but not being. Too well trained ever in anything other than projecting. I'm afraid I'm a bit lapps on filling in. Perhaps a new projector you acquire reinjuring.
HJ What sirt of range do you have?
KN Well the range goes from the early days of the and twelve Pathe Freres machine which was of course hand wound.That is my earliest piece. It didn't have its original lamp house with it but that's something that could easily be provided by modern day technology and it did work. A friend of mine caught his finger in the Gearingring I remember in the early days. He wasn't very happy about that but it goes from that 35 millimetre and it encompasses pretty well all the gauges. Couple of you may not be familiar with a 28 mm. Of which I have quite a bit of film for. And of course seventeen point five millimetre. These were gauges that weren't. Very well known or aren't very well known today but they were popular in their era. But then of course we go in for all the standard 8 Super 8. Nine point five sixteen MIL 35 mil of course which is the cinema Gauge and because of the size of the equipment I possess no 70 mm. eQuipment and because don't have room for the smallest watch in my connection now. It was the but rebuilt a storage space that I possess. Including a container though. I rent each week.
HJ Question inaudible
KN Oh not now. This may not go down well I came across several amusing incidents during my years as a projectionist and I think perhaps one of the I hesitate to relate this story but as an ordinary down to earth citizen it is funny as I've explained. We have to show some pretty nasty horrible films and the stuff at some time or other we'll all get possibly to see parts if not all of the films during their normal working duties. And I'll never forget one day I was going from our top projection room in the ABC ???????????? Gloucester down to the projection room with two projectors in showing
into two separate screens because the cinema and converted into a three screen cinema. And this meant going through the foyer area. And while going through the foyerr area there would be a girl standing tearing tickets of customers going into the twoo lower cinemas. And on the occasion that I was going to say you always have something to say to you. And she was sort of talking to me while they're in the ticket in an automatic way when all of a sudden she turned around a somebody with only half a hand that was hovering over a ticket and she turned to take the ticket from the person and screamed at the sight of it and I could only put this down to the fact that you've seen all these horrible things.And we all felt very embarrased by it when it happened oanf the girl. We were so apologetic to the poor customer but I can't remember think what a funny situation that turned out to be.
HJ what about Using 3-d is very much more?.
KN Ah yes I could.Oh yes I can give you a good story about that. We're still going Oh recently I was looking at televisions in a television shop. And they were very keen to sell me a 3D television set. And I was playing along with the salesman and asking them all the relevant questions and he was giving me the glasses to look at the picture on the screen and it was a big big television screen. And at the end of which he said well what do you think of it. I said Well I'm very very impressed. Except for one thing we said what's that. I said it's a tiny screen. He said Tiny. This is 42 inch whatever it was. I said yes. But when I started in the cinema business we were showing 3D on screens of over 20 feet wide that put in quiet. I must admit. But that's absolutely right. In the early fifties we were showing films and one that comes to mind is the Charge at Feather River. Which is a Western type film. House of Wax was another one of the era and I'm afraid my memory and my age are getting the better of me. I can't give you a whole list. But I remember that the 3-d was quite a thing in those days and we had to have both machines twoo copies of the film and the machines were mechanically locked to run in total synchronization. So if you had a problem with one of the copies of the film and you removed perhaps it Tore and you had to remove a section of the film you had to remove the same number of oh no you didn't remove what you did. You put a piece of film
blank film in the place where way you'd taken the damage section now so that the film remained totally in sync frame for frame. And they are again what a responsibility for the projectionist in those days. But the effect I can remember standing in the back of the ritz cinema hereford in the early days of 3-d and it used to give me as a young projectionist great satisfaction and in fact excitement to stand in the back of the cinema where your particular scene was coming on and see the audience duck as one person would put their heads down a somethingng came flying towards them out of the screen. And this used to really amuse and excite me. And nothing's changed except I didn't dream in those days that we'd have 3D on TV in virtually so many homes. Now we're going to say in every home what TV is in every home. Probably not 3D yet. And again recently I was invited to a film showed a friends cinema home in cinema a keen projectionist again. In fact it's thought I took his position when he left the Regal in Gloucester. That's how we came to mediate a mutual friend but put us in touch with each other and he has a home cinema which is quite incredible. But before Christmas a group of us were invited to his home cinema to see a Christmas Carol and to my total surprise it was shown digitally. I must admit in 3D I never ever dreamt when I was in the cinema industry in the fifties will ever see in a private home cinema 3D film.And that's how things in advance.
HJ What did you do with the 70mil flm?.
KN I never did deal with 70 in my career no. They projected we having Gloucester were the dual gauge but we never showed a 70mm film.In my time. Never even had to lift it. Imagine the weight of it would have been quite tremendous.
HJ Working conditions when you started. What were they like You know in the cinema?
KN The working conditions in this. Oh Pay. Well I'm embarrased to say what the pay was. In fact I honestly don't think I got. Excuse me I've got documentation that would tell me in fact I've got some old payslip pay sheets from Gloucester and it amazed me to find that what the manager earned in a week. A modern projectionist earns in a day. More than what money is used to earn in a week. In those days.
Absolutely unbelievable. But for you that's just the way of the world. And I'm completely baffled by it.
HJ Can you say what the pay was?
KN Do you know Harley I honestly can't remember. And I mean I think I started at Colford I think. I think got about 20 quid a week I think I went first. But there again money didn't matter to me then it mattered who wanted to buy something. But to have a home and a cinema was really.It wasn't you didn't work. Tried to explain that to a friend. Later in life though I didn't work for the money. You wouldn't believe me. Oh you got to work for the money. But I didn't. It was nice to have some money but I didn't work for the money I worked because I so love the job. It gave me such satisfaction gave me a roof over my head of course. And when I left home and it was a job I absolutely love doing and I didn't have set hours. I'd go over in the morning and start something do a painting or something build. I built a room backstage at her house or fridge for the icecream. I've got photographs somewhere of the front of the sun. The actual proscenium in the cinema. And by the side of it is a dovecot house for pidgins because the lady who owns the cinema in Colford had kept white pigeons as a lot of locals will know how many would remember it now but they used to fly all around the town and the dovecot was getting old and rather in need of replacement. And I just volunteered. I will build a new one and look through my slides. Some weeks ago and there in the front of the cinema was this dovecot. I had no workshop and it was of sufficient size to store it somewhere so I kept the death in the windiy in the cinema.
And that's. I did wonder the other day I was having a meal in a cafe in Colford and the wood pigeons flying around and I did see one I thought had some white on it and I wondered if that was a direct descendent of Marjory's pidgins. Because they were a bit of annoyance to some people in the town when she had them although she kept numbers down. Again they were very distinctive because they were plain white. You couldn't mix them up with a while bird.
Hj Can you just say a few words about how you saw on television how it affected audiences?
KN Yes. Well of course with the onset of TV we all feared that the cinema would be badly affected.
Now no doubt in the early days it did affect local small cinermas but I've been again quite amazed as technology has progress cinemas have still remained open. When you think about it perhaps not the numbers that once were but for places like Cinderford? Colford even Monmouth to still have a local cinema. It's quite an achievement for the people that have taken the job of running them. Because with everybody and their homes mind you I often go down the cellar and look at my cinematographic collection and carry out a bit of repair work on something during an evening's television because I get tired of what I see on TV and the soaps really get me down. To go down and spend time with old friends which are my projector's far beats the angry and unpleasant scenes I witness. on All the soaps.
HJ I mean to sum up then
KN To sum up my life I have been tremendously fortunate and words come to mind that I think a largely totally forgotten today. And the more I think of them the more I enjoy my life. And those words were the best things in life are free. Now I can imagine people scoffing at that. But I sit quietly for a few moments and think look out through your window you can see. Stand up and walk to the window. You can walk. You can hear. Hopefully you can converse. None of these things cost you anything. You can breathe hopefully without pain. Now there would be some of you watching this or hearing this but it may be ill and you have my total sympathy. I have had. 73 years oh wonderful existence and even the step father. I had such a terrible time with. I wish I'd buried the hatchet while he was alive. Gone back to see him shaken his hand because it's too late now. And when I think deeply about my early life. I couldn't have had a better stepfather. I have had a charmed existence and to some extent although now I'm approaching an amazing how it comes to your mind the end. I been totally content with my entire life and that gives me great satisfaction.