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In The Can

By tylersmayhem - 11 November 2008 14

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.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
In The Can
jakez 4:31 pm 14 Nov 08

I just might go see the exhibition because even though I don’t feel like hanging myself because the Manuka Greater Union (and yes I even know that wasn’t its original name) is no longer the peak of Canberra Cinema, I still find the history of cinema very interesting. That is the difference between you and I. I can appreciate the past while accepting the true opportunity and greatness of our present and future (and it is great).

I don’t know what flavcol is and I haven’t popped corn in 6 months, but I imagine those who work at Candy Bar at Dendy do it regularly, which basically makes this barb a completely irrelevant piece of crap. I didn’t know Electric Shadows and cinemas of the past didn’t sell popcorn (or did they just do it with tylersmayhem approved ingredients).

Don’t call me immature mate, you started this not me. I merely gave my opinion I never attacked you personally until you had a go at me. There is a difference between discussing different opinions and besmirching a persons character.

I do pass judgment on the coworkers of mine who are douches and I have many coworkers who agree with me; coworkers who along with myself, love independent and arthouse film. To suggest that I need to go back to Hoyts because I can love non mainstream film without being a complete wanker about it is patently absurd. As I said earlier, you yourself apparently worked at Hoyts so maybe you should worry about your own street cred.

“Luddite: one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest ; broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change.”

Yep that’s exactly what I thought it meant and it seems that is exactly what you are. I would suggest you didn’t use the term for me because I am not one.

tylersmayhem 11:27 am 13 Nov 08

If we had less opportunity to see different film in Canberra than we did 50 years ago, I might have some sympathy with your position.

Maybe drop in and take a look at the exhibition. Take a quick look at the program posters and the films they were showing up until the day they closed – then come back on here and substantiate your claim.

As your your immature comments of “luddite pretentious douche”, I’m not sure where you are drawing your conclusions from. If you are basing this on all the angst you have aginst your current co-workers at Dendy, perhaps YOU should go jump, go and get a different job and stop winging about those you work with. Poor form, poor display of character, and I suspect you’d be better placed back at Hoyts…you pretentious douche.

(Note, I did not use the term “luddite” as I think your use of it is misplaced and you may not actually understand the meaning. Stick to popping corn and getting your measurements of Flavcol perfected you genius).

jakez 8:20 pm 12 Nov 08

tylersmayhem said :

I’d say Jakez that based on these and previous comments from other posts on similar topics, that you never quite “got”, or “get” the independent cinema deal. I know you used to work at Hoyts, and the comments you have made are very “multiplex” and with no care for the real cinema industry which has now sadly past. I suspect it is a little before your time for you “to care”.

According to your previous posts, you also used to work at Hoyts, so I’m not sure what that is supposed to prove.

However you are largely correct. I value film in all of its forms, not the places that show it. As far as I am concerned, the rise of Dendy has meant the rise of indie/arthouse options in Canberra. If someone can’t handle the fact that Body of Lies is playing in the cinema next to theirs (true story), well they can go jump.

If staff can’t handle that their are four flavours of choc top at Dendy and their was only one at Electric Shadows, they can go jump.

However I absolutely support your right to be a luddite pretentious douche.

If we had less opportunity to see different film in Canberra than we did 50 years ago, I might have some sympathy with your position.

deye 4:34 pm 12 Nov 08

to the original cinema in Canberra which was the Greater Union cinema in Civic

Not quite, it was the one in Manuka

AngryHenry 4:28 pm 12 Nov 08

Independent Cinemas??? Sounding very multiplex??? How bout sounding very wanky!?!?!

I miss the TERRACE BAR more than bloody Electric Shadows!

tylersmayhem 2:43 pm 11 Nov 08

I’d say Jakez that based on these and previous comments from other posts on similar topics, that you never quite “got”, or “get” the independent cinema deal. I know you used to work at Hoyts, and the comments you have made are very “multiplex” and with no care for the real cinema industry which has now sadly past. I suspect it is a little before your time for you “to care”.

jakez 12:07 pm 11 Nov 08

I used to look in the Sun Herald and note with annoyance all the independent and arthouse films that Sydney got but we didn’t. I don’t have that problem anymore.

In the last year I’ve seen more independent films at Dendy than I had seen in my previous years put together.

Creative destruction my friends, it’s a good thing.

Electric Shadows was fun except for the seats. I also liked Centre Cinema, it had a very groovy oldschool atmosphere. I don’t really miss them though. The fact that half of your work colleagues came from Electric Shadows are ridiculously pretentious and cliquey about it and still can’t get over the fact that it is gone, sort of saps your ability to care.

Jim Jones 11:18 am 11 Nov 08

seekay said :

So it is spelt “indi” to distinguish itself from “indie” music?

This is what happens when smartass comments on poor spelling are taken too far.

Hugo 11:06 am 11 Nov 08

I saw my first movie at the Civic Theatre. It was a Saturday matinee and my sister was more than annoyed because she had to take her terrified little brother home during the show. The entrance to the theatre was covered with a huge blackout screen during the war and there was considerable celebration when it came down and we could see the original entrance. On saturday matinees, the front stalls were 6d and the back stalls were 9d. The mezanine area was not open. I had to sit in the ninepennies, the front stalls were considered pretty rough. The best game game before the pictures started was to look for chewing gum stuck under the seats.

There was a cinema club for the kids and sometimes special events on Saturday mornings. Serials and cartoons were favourites and we sang along to the bouncing ball. The “Candy Bar” was called the Buffet which I couldn’t pronounce and which was never open anyway.

Ah, nostalgia for a past when Canberra ended at Haig park and we didn’t have the vote.

seekay 10:46 am 11 Nov 08

So it is spelt “indi” to distinguish itself from “indie” music?

neanderthalsis 10:24 am 11 Nov 08

seekay said :

What’s “indi” cinema? I know “Indi” is an Aboriginal name for the Murray River, but I was unaware of a 10 Canoes set down south.

Independant Cinema, i.e. a film without the backing of big producers, big budgets, big stars etc.

Indi cinema is responsible for many of the gems that occasionally grace the small cinemas (like the old electric shadows or the Globe in Bris) and the occasional chain such as Dendy.

tylersmayhem 10:00 am 11 Nov 08

Some how the post that went up didn’t have updated edits in there. The projectionist’s name was actually Keith, not Bill. A part that was also missed out for some reason was that the exhibition opening was hosted and arranged by Andrew Pike from Ronin films. His stories and views on Canberra cinema were great and a rare insite into the history of cinema in this great town.

seekay 9:50 am 11 Nov 08

What’s “indi” cinema? I know “Indi” is an Aboriginal name for the Murray River, but I was unaware of a 10 Canoes set down south.

Duke 9:47 am 11 Nov 08

Nice post Tyler. I too miss the old Electric Shadows twin cinemas, though towards the end the seats became almost unbearable.

For my indi-fix I now frequent ARC Cinema over at the National Film and Sound Archives. They have arguably the most sublime beer garden in all of Canberra for your pre-movie drinks, tix are cheap and they give speeches before each film is played dishing our all kinds of obscure trivia.

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