The Tuppenny Rush
The Good Old Days
Back in those good old days before tele’s, video’s, computers etc our main source of entertainment was the ‘pictures’, cinemas, films, movies call ’em what you like, to us it was ‘the pictures’.
The highlight was Saturday afternoons when it was kids show time, tuppence down stairs – hence the title ‘tuppenny rush’, and threepence upstairs for the more well off kids – try not to sit under the balcony as you never know what might land on your head!
We had a choice of three cinemas, The Rock, on Skerry Hill, The Palace – better known as ‘The bug hut’ and The Ritz, at Clipstone. A lot depended on what was showing, and particularly ‘the serial’. This was always an important decision you had to make – which was the most exciting!
There were the Cowboy and Indians, Tom Mix, Roy Rogers and so on. There were the Bowry Boys, the Dead End Kids with Mugsy McGunnis and his Gang, The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, George Formby. Then the war adventures like Don Winslow of the Navy, The Mask of Zorrow and Flash Gordon, and only at the Palace, Crash Corregon in ‘The Undersea Kingdom’. It could be a difficult choice, but it was always exciting.
It might be Tarzan of the Apes, or Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, the Marx brothers or Danny Kaye, you could do an endless list of memories.
Projectionist at The Rock.
Another point of interest was that Billy Bugg who lived on the Second Avenue, Forest Town, was for a time projectionist at The Rock. One of his jobs was to wind open the curtains before the show started. When we saw him walk down the aisle we knew the show was about to start, so we cheered him all the way with much ribald encouragement.
After the show had finished you could tell what kind of film it had been by the antics of the kids, if it had been a cowboy film we galloped home slapping our breeches and firing pretend guns [fist clenched with fingers pointing in front]. Or if it had been a ‘swash buckler’ we would be sword fencing with coats worn like cloaks all the way home. Of course with a war film we would be firing imaginary rifles, forming ambushes etc, it was all good fun.
Now there was one lad who could outdo us all. He could run faster, jump higher and do all kind of dare devil antics better than any of us. I have seen him walk all round the cricket pitch on the wire rope – tight rope wise! We watched him swarm up lamp posts, climb trees, run along the parapet of the bridge which was at the top of Pecks Hill. We always reckon he missed his vocation by not becoming an actor or at least a stunt man.
Now who was this lad of many talents, why it was ‘Patch’ Woolley of course what a great lad he was. Sadly Patch is no longer with us.
As we grew into young adults then we transferred our custom to the senior film shows but they never generated the excitement of the good old days of the Tuppenny Rush. The dreams, the hopes, the fun and the memories will live for ever.
This article first appeared in the Forest Town Crier Issue 17 – 2003