The week before last I had the privilege of being invited to the opening of an exhibition at the Canberra Museum titled “In The Can”. The exhibition covers the bygone era of independent cinema in Canberra. There are artifacts, film and photo’s from the Starlight Drive-in, to the much missed Centre Cinema & Electric Shadows, to the original cinema in Canberra which was the Greater Union cinema in Civic. These cinema’s were as much a part of Canberra’s social history as Gus’s cafe among others (I can only imaging the outrage if Gus’s cafe was run out of town like these indi cinema’s were.
The event was something very special to me. After walking through the front door and grabbing a cursory bag of freshly popped corn, it was great running into my old boss of the Cosmopolitain Cinema who tought me everything I know about projection, using his 50+ years of experience – and chatting to the likes of Bill *********** who was the projectionist for the first ever show ran at Electric Shadows, as well as it’s last.
While munching on choctops and sharing memories with so many indi cinema figures from Canberra, it’s sobering to realise what we once had, have lost, and will never likely have back again. Even looking at the classic rolled film lisitng posters from Shadow’s & Centre reminded me of the amazing lineup of classic films they used to show late at night, on the weekends and sometimes the marathons that ran overnight. Man those were the days.
I recommend for everyone to drop by and have a look. For those who have been here for a while can reminise, or the newer and younger Canberran’s can have a look (probably with surprise) at the history on Canberra Cinema and perhaps even pay honamge to valuable era that’s now sadly lost forever.