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Killed off by the video age

Classic Cinema c1979
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Second run cinema

The Classic was a second-run cinema, so the films had all played somewhere else first. Disney, Bond films and modern classics like Young Winston and many others were played here. I knew a manager, a Mr Abrahams I recall, in the early 1970s. He was a really nice man and he sometimes gave me copies of the posters for the films.

Did you ever go to the all night picture shows? Share your memories by posting below

All night picture shows

What I particularly remember were the double-bill horror movies late on Friday nights and the all-night picture shows on Saturday nights. The all-night shows I saw were The Beatles, James Bond, horror and sci-fi movies. I was under-age, but tall and very responsible. I had a deep love of cinema and I saw some classics at these all-night shows. One was a night of ‘Devil’ movies that included the Hammer great The Devil Rides Out. One all-night sci-fi show featured Westworld, Logan’s Run, Solent Green (an alarming, relevant film even now), The Omega Man (I think) and They Only Kill Their Masters. 

Fantastic movies

About half-way through we would be served sandwiches and tea or coffee. It is such a shame that the video age killed off such places and the spur for a whole night of fantastic movies like that, all in one showing. Nights like that were such a terrific experience for a cinema lover. The walk home to Moulsecoomb over the Seven Dials was great too, but was I tired the next day. 


Comments about this page

  • Great post. Brings back lots of memories. Me and a mate use to go to the odd night show. I remember going to see Clint Eastwood one night. I think there were 4 or 5 films on. I managed to sit through two but that was me done. We walked home to Whitehawk about 3 in the morning. Not a soul about. Must have been 1978.

    I also remember going to the Classic a few times and seeing the queues of people going right back around that corner.

    But my best memory of the Classic was when they showed the film Car Wash. must have been 77/78. I seem to remember our little gang went to watch it every night of the week that it was on. Filled up the back row we did.

    Where have all the years gone?

    By Andy Mountford (23/06/2015)
  • Every time I shop in Waitrose in Western Road I still get a twinge of nostalgia remembering that I am inside a part of the old Classic cinema. Memories of being upstairs watching Clockwork Orange with a mate when, after only twenty minutes, the only two other patrons walk out. We stayed until the end but understood nothing. A very special time was seeing Disney’s Fantasia with my school especially the end with Night on a Bare Mountain followed by Ave Maria which I will never forget. It is great that Night on a Bare Mountain has returned as one of schools and the BBC’s current classical “Ten Pieces”.


    By Mike Hookham (24/06/2015)
  • I remember the first all-night pics at the classic. Horror night. Think I fell asleep. Also saw the classic – no pun intended – Easy Rider there. Great cinema.

    By Barry Eason (27/06/2015)
  • Back in the first half of the 1960’s this was my favourite cinema but, I remember it as the Curzon, famous among young couples for having double seats on the sides (and back?) of the Circle.  

    And, after the film the first Wimpy burger bar in Brighton was only a few doors along Western Road where one could buy a coffee for 9d or a basic burger for 1/3d, which all contributed to a good night out.

    By Mike P (26/06/2016)

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