Escape to the movies
From Harry Foy's Book 'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'
During the hard times of the Thirties, people found a great escape in a visit to the movies. Here you could live in a fantasyland for two hours - ice skating with Sonja Henie or riding the range with Gene Autry. Portadown had three cinemas - Summerson's, the Catch and later, the Regal. I remember the first talking picture to come to Portadown - it was "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolson. In it he sang the immortal "Sonny Boy". I sat on my Aunt Cassie's knee to watch it. As I grew older I went with my chums to see the Saturday serial - "Rin Tin Tin" and "The Last Of The Mohicans" to name but two.
For 2d you got a big picture, some shorts and a serial which ran for about 14 weeks. It always ended at an exciting part - maybe the heroine tied to a moving belt with a saw at the end. The next week, just as she neared the saw Rin Tin Tin came to her rescue pulling at the ropes which bound her. It was wonderful entertainment. We came out into the bright sunlight, rubbing our eyes as we jumped on our "horses" to ride all the way home.
Getting the 2d for the matinee could be tricky, but one of the gang always had the necessary "juice". So if you hadn't any cash you went and sat in the house until the other boys, jingling their money, called for you. So when they asked for you, you could say "Ach ma, all the other boys are going". One rule in the picture house was that you went to the toilet when the actors were kissing.
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