An eye-catching exterior
As I remember, queues “a mile long” could be regularly seen outside The Gaiety in Lewes Road when it first opened. The deliberately tall exterior with its several separate squared pillar-like columns bearing neon gas lit tubes of various hues, presented a glorious blaze of colour in the night sky. In fact it could easily be seen from where I lived at the Falmer end of Moulsecoomb, some miles away. When it first appeared, it was such an innovation that we cycled or walked to it to witness its splendour. The odd richer ones caught a 31b Southdown bus from its waiting stop by the island adjacent to the main road round the corner from our house at 34 Newick Road. Things were looking up for some!
Do you remember this cinema? What films did you see? Please post a comment below
About the first dozen front seats cost 4d. The rest were 6d whereas The Arcadia (Scratch) was 3d and 4d. Snobbery was on the way, and kids felt good to say they’d been to the Gaiety. I can remember the first warning signs of an air raid at Brighton whilst in the Gaiety. The screen would suddenly go black and we would all be told that the sirens had sounded. At the beginning, members of the audience were invited to leave if they so wished. Normally nobody did.
It was an education
There was a mighty organ that rose up from the bowels of the stage area with a man playing it as it came up. In those days, kids easily joined each other on the buses in a “sing song” and the same applied to the rising of the organ. It was at that stage that I learned new words for some of the old songs and when we heartily rendered them at home my parents pretended to disapprove. In keeping with almost everyone I knew in those days, Mum and Dad used the odd swear word in front of us so they were more or less stymied. Yes, The Gaiety was part of our education with its Lone Ranger and Laurel and Hardy type stuff. Happy days.