In the late Nineteen Forties and throughout the Fifties following on from the horrors of World War 11, going to 'The Pictures' was the main form of escapism and entertainment for people of all classes.
From Monday to Wednesday the latest films were usually shown and then from Thursday to Saturday another film or a 'Double Bill' was advertised.Sometimes the 'B' movies were better than the main feature. On Sundays, a different film 'For One Night Only' was used to tempt the cinema going public into the theatres of dreams. There was also a Saturday Matinee for the local children featuring cartoons, an adventure serial and usually a comedy with The Bowery Boys or a Western film.
My local cinema was The Coliseum in City Road, just a stone's throw from Everton Football Club in Goodison Road. The oldest of the children going to the matinee would collect the money from the others and they would mill around the box office and ask for 'Ten Kids Tickets please!' and proffer the money to the cashier. Of course there were always a dozen or more of us!
The spare cash was used to buy some sweets that would be shared out in the darkness with much rustling of wrappers and searching around for those sweets that dropped and rolled forwards on the sloping cinema floor. The usherette would shine her torch on us in a sweeping motion. We'd all sit up straight and pretend to be enraptured by the film onscreen.

My dad would treat my sister and myself once a week to the best seats in The Coliseum. These were priced at two shillings and three pence for adults and nine pence each for children if memory serves me well. It was a magical experience as we could also choose to have sweets and ice cream during the interval when local shops advertised their goods for sale, often to derision and catcalling from the audience. My sister and I always sat on the back row of the 'two and threes' with my dad because we could tip the seats up to sit on them if an adult sat in the row in front of us. In those innocent days if we wanted to go to see a film in midweek then we would stand outside and ask any adult cinemagoer to 'take two in, please?' We'd give them the money to pay for our tickets. Once inside we would go and sit together, away from the person who had helped us to gain admittance.
There were several other cinemas in the area that we went to on a regular basis including The Queens, The Victory and The Astoria, all on Walton Road.
Then there were The Bedford, The Garrick (notable for its wooden seats), The Atlas and The Princess etc. My pal and I loved the science fiction cheapo-cheapo double bills of the era with their laughable special effects. These films often ended with the visitors from outer space leaving Earth while a voice-over told us that they would return when we became civilised. The jury is still out on that one!
Nothing today for me quite compares with sitting in a darkened cinema back then and seeing the screen light up with the opening credits:Warner Brothers/ First National Presents: Humphrey Bogart in 'The Maltese Falcon', or 'The Big Sleep', and of course you must remember this-'Casablanca.'



By Briant Briant

This story was added on 9th May 2011

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