Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Odeon Cinema And Stage Shows, Pat Boone Movies

The Odeon Cinema was part of Cathay Organization and showed movies like April Love (image) or Bernardine, two of his starter flicks that made him a pop star. The building was near the junction of North Bridge Road and Bras Basah Road and was another hot spot for movie goers in the 50s and 60s.  

Movies like these have many songs that live in the memory of many Singaporeans and influenced the 60s music scene. Although the accompanying bands in the 50s were not guitar groups, they were smaller bands that consisted of a piano, a guitar, a double bass and drums. Some groups include a blowing instrument like the saxophone. This standard quartet would provide the accompaniment for the singer who would usually croon his songs like Pat Boone. 

I remember watching movies at this cinema with a friend but usually alone and paying a dollar for the front seats.  Access to this cheap ticket area was through the back part of the cinema as patrons had to pass a car park (one of the first of its kind) with a long ramp to its entrance.  It was also the place where band boys gathered with their instruments, prepared for their debut, since it was near the back of the stage.
The Odeon Cinema @ North Bridge Road with a car park behind.
Local bands will have their trios and quartets too. Most of them are professionals and entertain at the hotels, night spots and the 3 Worlds, namely at Great World, New World and Happy World. These muscisians can play on the spot because they read notes and also accompany dancers like strip artistes, acrobats, jugglers, etc who perform on stage. Tape recordings are few and far between then so music is 'live'.

Shops near the cinema include eateries, smaller restaurants, shirt shops like the famous CYC and others selling electronic goods like Sharp Calculators, stationary, etc. The coffee shops, usually at the corners of shop houses would have local food favourites like char kway teow, beefball noodles and fish ball soup.  

Life was so relaxed and easier then as cinema patrons come earlier before a show to either have an earlier dinner or walk around the area before plunging into the Odeon and immersing themselves in a movie. 

Image: Google images
Original article: Andy Young Collection.


Anonymous said...

Pak, lagu-lagu Pat Boone saya gemari termasuk bapa saya. Hebat lah penyanyi tersebut. (Bambang)

Anonymous said...

Terima kaseh, Banyak perminat2 di Singapura kagum dengan suara Pat Boone dan banyak membeli rekod2-nya.

Andy Young* said...

Pat Boone's songs will live on. My grandson can sing Bernardine. Strange song for a 3 year old boy to appreciate.