News theatres opened at a time when no one had even a black
and white television and mobile phones were unheard of! So they were really popular, especially with the
screening of special events, like the Coronation in 1953.
The Company was praised for providing what was then considered an important public service; for the presentation (7 days a week) of the world news, local news (such as local sporting events), as well as major National events, like the Derby, Wimbledon, etc., but especially the 1952 Royal Funeral of King George VI, the 1953 Royal Coronation and the Royal wedding of Princess Margaret, all in full colour.
Within the short program (about one hour) were featured short, but interesting travel, scientific discoveries and nature films together with a mix of the news, cartoons and comedy films.
Our News Theatres were the first cinemas to
use the moving scintillating signs on the front of their buildings for
all the latest headlines.
Later more Cartoons and short Comedy films, formed the one hour program that ran from 10:00am till 10:00pm every day of the week. These cinemas were great places for children’s special occasions, or whilst their parents went shopping.
On 7th June 1960 we purchased all six Monseigneur
News Theatres in the West End of
London, these were at;
Piccadilly, Marble Arch, Leicester Square, Baker Street, The Strand
and Charing Cross Road, also included was one at Princes Street, Edinburgh.
adults were regulars too, enjoying an hour of laughter with a mixture
of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, all the Disney and Warner Bros
cartoons plus the Pathe News, to name just a few.
My Father George, having met Kenneth Rive, decided to introduce cinemas devoted to the finest Directors from around Europe (as none of these films were available in the UK). All the other feature film cinemas only showed English speaking films from American, UK, or Australia.
The first was the Cinephone Oxford Street (opposite Selfridges) that was converted from our News Theatre, the second was Cinephone Birmingham a specially built additional property and then gradually our news theatres were also converted as these films proved very successful.
The revolutionary screen surround, introduced by Jacey cinemas, cleverly did away with the usual black masking, surrounding the picture for the different film ratios. Instead the projectors, had an added device that projected a reflected blend of the colours in the film at a reduced intensity, onto the surrounding areas of the screen.
The Gala Royal and The International
Film Theatre in Westbourne Grove,
London, were added (jointly owned with Ken Rive’s Company Gala Films).
eventually a nudist film was shown and the box office takings persuaded
film producers, distributors and exhibitors like us,
that such cheap low budget films
were an amazing money spinner!
However, after a while we were embarrassed and unhappy about this development. So we mounted a large national advertising campaign offering very much cheaper seats, with more screenings a day. Our slogan was “why pay more?” Hoping to kill off the demand, so that we could return to far better good films, with a story worth seeing, to replace all this nudist nonsense. This campaign sadly proved unsuccessful as the takings surprisingly went up!
Marble Arch closed as a Cinema on 28th Dec 1967 and became 'The Jacey Galleries' for antiques and art.
the Jacey Galleries opened (on
1st December 1969) after extensive alterations
in Oxford Street, Marble Arch London, I opened a photographic
gallery. The concept of The Viewfinder Gallery (devoted
to selling photography as an art form, as well as staging photographic
exhibitions) was the first in London and possibly in the UK.
decided to sell out, mainly because our leases were becoming short and
the new rents were far too highly priced, in addition to this, we were
not happy with showing poorly produced nudist films and both my father
and his brother wished to retire.
Should anyone enjoying
this page have any photographs (that are not already included in my
website), or also any interesting anecdotes that could be published
do let me know. Please contact me by email, or messenger to describe
what you have and I will consider adding them. Those that I decide to
add will include a credit back to you. Please do not hesitate to make
contact. Email me from
Yoko Ono - An Extraordinary Protest Film
We showed a film by Yoko Ono that consisted
of 365 nude bottoms! Titled 'Film No. 4' consisting of 365 bare
bottoms, the owner's that commented whilst being filmed were recorded,
as were those that refused. These commentaries were then
re-edited, so that there could be no identification between the image
and the voice. Yoko explained that "these bottoms belong to
people who represent the London scene today. It's a kind of
protest signed by buttocks."
A revue of 'The Naked Hours' at The Jacey, Marble
Arch, London that also refers to the quality film policy at this cinema
before it later became the Jacey Galleries.
Missing From Our Scrapbook
Hungarian film star Eva Bartok visited the Cinephone Theatre in Oxford Street while promoting her movie "Her Crime Was Love" 10th January 1958. See this link: Eva Bartock
Gino Cervi, veteran of sixty Italian films and Italy's most famous screen actor, in London, at the Savoy Hotel, for the premiere of his latest film Maddalena at the Cinephone in Oxford Street. He starred as the Communist mayor in the Don Camillo films. See this link: Gino Cervi
Marlene Dietrich came to a film premiere at the Cinephone Oxford Street. Aisha, as Miss Jacey, was to present her with a bouquet of flowers when she arrived. But she remembers that Marlene told her to take them back and to present them to her when she was on stage, which Aisha did. No press cuttings, or photos have been found!
One of Ken Rive's best films (that
he produced) included Aisha and our cinema in Picadilly, for more
information have a look at the following link: -
The Distributors We Knew Well
Apart from Kenneth Rive's Gala Films that together with my father George pioneered the continental cinemas in the UK. We also later booked continental films with the following distributors: -
Antony Balch We agreed for Antony to run our Piccadilly and Baker Street cinemas. He was both fascinating and amusing, keen to experiment, he succeeded in distributing cheap foreign films, without any stars, that were made popular by his clever titles and catch lines. Antony Balch
Phil Kutner He created and owned Miracle Films that distributed the film that made Brigitte Bardot the ultimate sex symbol 'And God Created Woman' (directed by Roger Vadim 1956).E. J. Fancey A colourful character who handled a huge amount of films and owned several distribution companies apart from New Realm. He was a keen betting man and owned race horses. E. J. Fancey
Adrienne Fancey - She became the
UK's first woman managing director of her own film distribution
company (daughter of E. J. Fancey) and she had a huge success
with the film 'Emmanuelle' in our cinemas, which broke all the
distribution records in the UK at that time!
Michael Chivers Connoisseur Films & Amanda Films
Very good at marketing
and publicity stunts, he claimed the credit for naming Brigitte Bardot
"the sex kitten", whilst head of publicity for Miracle Films.
He later got together with Michael Klinger.
Michael Klinger. Owned several
London strip clubs, but later he together with Tony Tenser, created
Compton Cameo Film Distributors and Cinecenta.
& OUR FAMILY BUSINESS
Cartoons, Comedy, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Nudist Films, Yoko Ono, Antique Gallery, Pathlow Riding School, Jacey Stamps
website has been designed and produced by ACTUALITY PhotoDigital