David Fleming in office
Kalee 21 projectors with Vulcan
arc lamps, BTH sound
|The cinema was built by Mickey Burns. Like the Windsor in Carluke,
some of the interior was fitted out with the wood from a ship and
as Mr Burns was the builder of both Cinemas it is most likely that
the wood from the Mauretania ended up in both the Windsor and the
Tinto. (Unless of course he had a more than one ship).
The wood carvings were very impressive and you can just see just a
glimpse of this on the front of the cashbox (photo above). I don't
know when the Cinema opened or what the first film was. After Mr.
Burns the Tinto became a part of the Gourock Picture House Company
and my father had to stand in at other cinema's as required in the
being a regular one.
The projectionist at the Tinto was my fathers brother, Tom (my uncle). The seating capacity was indeed the 400 but in the beginning this was nearly 800 and seating was in place to accommodate this amount. Unfortunately, fire regulations reduced the seating capacity to 400 as there was insufficient exits to allow 800 to evacuate quickly enough in the event of a fire although there was, along with the entrance doors another four double emergency exit doors in the stalls with another two double emergency exit doors in the balcony. It was not sufficient for the fire people to allow the cinema staff to regulate the now 400 capacity and the excess seating had to be removed from the hall altogether. This was done in a way as to make it as decorative as possible with seats removed from row ends or complete rows taken from between the ranges in the seat prices. In the balcony the last two or three rows were removed altogether with the one row that made up the front balcony removed completely.
There was only the one screen size initially but this was upgraded to show CinemaScope later. There was no motors to open or close the curtain ( which opened side ways) or screen, this was done by hand. The boiler house was situated to the rear of the building below the stage area and below ground level. One had to leave the main building to gain access to the boiler room. During the wet weather there was always the occasion when the boiler room would flood if the drains got choked. The boiler used anthracite coal. My father and uncle also had their own printers business which traded under the name of D.& T. Fleming printers, Forth and as such printed their own Tinto programme bills along with others including the Picture House in Paisley. The Films were brought to the cinema by the F.T.S. (Broxburn depot). The Ice cream supplied in the hall was bought from the makers "Eldorado" and this company was eventually taken over by Lyons Maid.
The projection room, or operating box as we called it, was fitted out with Kalee 21 projectors along with the Vulcan arc lamps. B.T.H. Sound system was installed. After the Windsor in Carluke closed and because the equipment in both Cinema's was the same My father, myself and uncle removed from the Windsor some of the electrical equipment and valves as spares for the Tinto.
The weekly film programme was normally shown as the same film for Monday and Tuesday, another for Wednesday and Thursday with a single showing of another on Fridays and another completely different one on a Saturday. A choice of 4 films altogether not including the "wee pictures" or the host of other showings like the news or trailers. There was a ruling that the Tinto had to give the Regal in Lanark 10 days grace, in other words, the Tinto could not show a film for 10 days after the Regal in Lanark showed it.
The photos showing the Usherettes in kilts and tartan was done for the Tinto showing Bonnie Scotland, (they did things like that in those days) you can see from the poster in the photo that this was shown on the 12th. of November but no year was given. Bonnie Scotland was released in 1935. The first Friday 12th. of November after that year does not fall until 1937 with the next one not appearing until 1943. It is reasonable to conclude the Tinto showed Bonnie Scotland in 1937 over two years after its release date. That all being the case the pictures showing the usherettes are 73 years old with the girls looking about 20 years old at the time would put the girls in their 90's now. The photo's showing the Bonnie Scotland theme were taken (according to the back) by Alex M. Bennet, Carstairs Junction.
When the Cinema attendance started to decline the Gourock Picture House Company wanted to close the hall (like so many other cinema's). My Father convinced them to allow him to go it alone and try to introduce Bingo along with the films which they agreed to. After much ado he eventually got permission to start Bingo from the local council and this stopped the closure for a while but as others began to run bingo there was just not the support anymore to keep the Tinto going and closure followed eventually.
It was myself who showed the last film, Donovans Reef with John Wayne. The exact date I don't know but it was during 1965/66, a Saturday night and soon after the Tinto was demolished.
The site is now taken up with a row of pensioners houses and the village chapel.