Fun At The Roxy
Ken Macdonald remembers his introduction to the wonders of the cinema
My first visit to the cinema was in 1959 when I was four. My mum took me to see Tom Thumb, a musical version of the Grimm Brothers‚ Fairy Tale. To be honest, I can‚t remember a thing about it, but my mum tells me that I was completely entranced by the movie, which won an Oscar for best special effects. I don‚t even recall the two baddies played by actors who were later to become firm favourites, Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas.
Back then, the little Scottish Borders town of Kelso, (pop. 4,000), had two cinemas. It was the Playhouse where my mother took me to see Tom Thumb, but that closed not long after. The cinema I remember going to most Saturdays for the matinée was the Roxy, then run by the Pinder family and still showing movies to Kelsonians today.

The big Saturday dilemma was always whether to pay 9d (about four of your new English pence) to sit in the stalls or 1/3d (6p or so) to sit up in the balcony. It was a cruel and difficult choice to make; pay the lesser amount and have more for sweets, or splash out but have the unrivalled pleasure of being able to chuck stuff on the children below. Well-chewed gum was a particular favourite.
Truthfully, I can only vaguely remember the many films that I must have seen at the Roxy in the sixties. Swiss Family Robinson sticks out as a favourite and we were all big Norman Wisdom fans, which my wife finds utterly inexplicable. But the film was only part of the pleasure; just as much fun was to be rowdy enough to get old Mr Pinder or his son Michael in with a torch shouting at us to shut up and
sit down. Not many Saturdays passed without that happening.

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