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Film Weekly article, 13th June 1931

0. Golf at the Cinema
1. Filmgoing by Air
2. Same Seat for Ten Years
3. At Bargain Prices

Same Seat for Ten Years

This cinema on a warm summer afternoon was nearly three-quarters full. That is, in proportion to its size, there were more people here than in the Playhouse.
"They come here like they go to church," Mr Sowerby told me, "regularly, once or twice a week. Some of them have their own particular seats, and if they can't get them very often come in later. I know one or two who have been coming here for ten years to exactly the same seat - the same day and practically at the same time."
This is, I believe, the only cinema in Glasgow which gives a performance at ten in the morning. This is to suit the night-shift men.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all about the Black Cat is that it is owned by an Oxford undergraduate, Angus Pickard, whose pride it is, and who goes to infinite pains to secure the best of the old silents - "Way Down East," "Seventh Heaven," "What Price Glory" and other old classics.
The intimate atmosphere, its very strong individuality, I feel, is the reason for the persistence of the Black Cat Picture House in the face of big sound-equipped rivals in the same neighbourhood.



La Scala

Picture House

How strong was this feeling of individuality I only realised when I came back down again to the main streets of Glasgow. Down Renfield Street and Sauchiehall Street, Cranston's, the Regent, La Scala, the Picture House seemed to possess not one grain of originality among them. They all seemed pale imitations of Green's Playhouse, and in other ways seemed to make it a point of resembling one another as far as possible.

It was at the New Savoy and the Picture House that I first ran up against the problem of British films. "Canaries Sometimes Sing" was showing at the New Savoy, and "Bed and Breakfast" at the Picture House. The fact that these were British pictures was not advertised, nor were the displays advertising these pictures exactly glaring. I found poor houses in both cinemas.
"Nobody liking your pictures?" I asked an attendant.
"It's a sair thing," said Mac, "but they wullna' tak' to British pictures. if the obsairve the wee word 'British' on yon door they're awa'."
A Very High Circuit Official (I can't give his name, but he gets ten thousand a year) told me that I should find British pictures popular in the Provinces, because the American accent was practically unintelligible to some English audiences. But in Scotland, where the Sassenach twang is as offensive to the Scot as American, American pictures are far more popular. The reason being, if we've got the listen to anything but Gaelic let it be in American pictures where the story at least has punch.

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