'What happened at the Saturday Matinee?'
'The Saturday matinee was my big treat and I would never miss it unless
I'd been naughty or I was ill. It was the best way my mom or dad could
find to punish me, by not letting me go to the pictures on Saturday
'We used to gather together and walk to the flicks on the morning and
wait in the long queue, and there was always a queue, until the doors
opened and we could pay our 6d for the matinee.'
'All of us would follow the weekly serial and we'd never miss an
episode unless we couldn't get in one Saturday.'
'My kids always went on a Saturday morning and
would come home and start acting out the latest episode of the serial
You'd hear them rampaging around the streets and shouting out the words
they could remember from the pictures.'
'Every Saturday they'd go off with their sixpence or a shilling and
come back and tell me all about Flash Gordon, Hopalong Cassidy or Roy
Rogers or one of them others.'
'There was always a serial on a Saturday morning and it became almost
a way of life to go and see the next episode. It used to provide us with
our play ideas during the week.'
'Most of the serials I remember were cowboys. We'd come out and start
shooting each other in the street, running down the street hitting our
legs pretending we were riding our horses and being the Lone Ranger,
Hopalong Cassidy or Tom Mix.'
'If the film broke down on a Saturday morning
the kids used to go mad and start throwing rubbish about and chanting. I
was banned once for throwing stuff about.'
'Many's the time the film's broke down on a Saturday morning and the
kids have started chanting 'Why are we waiting'. I used to feel quite
sorry for the poor projectionist because it probably wasn't even his
'The serial always finished with a cliff-hanger to try and make you
come back the next week. I'm sure some of the endings from the one week
were not the same as the beginning of the episode the next week.'
'It cost us 6d to go to the matinee on the
Saturday morning and that was 50 years ago, about 1952ish.'
'My mom would give me the money for the film and my bus fare. I would
usually walk to the cinema and spend the bus money, about 4d, on
'We used to sing a song before the matinee started, I
think it was something like 'Roll Out The Barrell or something else, but
all the kids would sing along with the words which would be on the
screen with a ball going along the words in time with the music.'
'We might get a sing song on
a Saturday if the film broke down and I reckon that must've happened
'Saturday films were pretty old, even then, I think. I remember going
home and telling my mom what had been on and she said I remember seeing
that when I was your age, but it didn't matter because to me the film
was special and Saturday mornings were very special'
'Saturday mornings always meant the flicks to me and we'd go off, my
brother and me and catch the bus and stand in the queue with loads of
kids from school. On the Monday we'd often be playing a war game or
cowboys because of the film we'd seen on the Saturday morning.'
'Saturday matinee was just like a club, it wasn't just a film. It
meant you met your friends, had a good time and you were safe because we
never felt anything was going to happen to us when we were in the
'When the lights went off for the film, all the kids would start
whistling and shouting but once the film started they would all shut up,
except for booing the villain and cheering the hero.'
'I remember a fight starting at the matinee one
Saturday between a friend of mine named Tommy and another kid, I think
his name was Clive. The reason for the fight was because Tommy was
supporting the Indians in the serial and Clive got worked up so much
that he hit Tommy. The both of them were slung out by the manager. After
the flicks we went outside and they'd carried on fighting because when I
got home Tommy had got one of the biggest black eyes I think I'd ever
seen. He never stuck up for the Indians again at the flicks.'
'The whistling and booing at the serial was something I'll always
remember about the matinee. If you didn't boo, hiss, whistle, stamp your
feet or do something to show your feelings your mates thought you were a
cissy. Even the girls used to join in the noise.'
'I loved the serials with Buster
Crabb in them. He used to play Flash Gordon and I don't think there was
ever a hero to match Flash Gordon. The other feeler in those serials was
Emperor Ming and I remember we always used to call him the 'Cardboard
Collar' because that part of his costume looked as though it was made of
'Most Saturdays I'd catch the bus home and we'd all go
upstairs and start playing the morning's episode of the serial out on
the top deck. In those days of course the buses had a conductor or
conductress and they'd always come up and read the riot act out to us.
Many's the time one or other of us would be turfed off the bus and the
rest of us would be cheering and throwing things out of the window to
them. I think I was thrown off about half a dozen times.'
'My dad always worked
on a Saturday but he was so keen on the flicks that he would ask me all
about the matinee when we had our dinner. I think he knew more about Tom
Mix and Flash Gordon than any of my mates.'
'I remember one Christmas my mom and dad bought me a
cowboy suit and the first Saturday after Christmas I went in my new
cowboy suit to the Saturday matinee. The manager of the cinema called me
up on the stage and all the kids gave me a big cheer. These days I
couldn't imagine one of my grand children wearing a cowboy suit and
certainly not appearing in public in one. That manager christened me the
Lone Ranger that morning because the suit had a mask like the Lone
'I went to the Saturday films only about five times when
I was a kid because we moved away from the area to the country and there
was no cinema near enough for me to go. I didn't half miss it. When I
came back to see my aunt and uncle I would ask my cousins what the
latest serial was about.'
'One Saturday my mom came to the matinee with me and I remember I was
ever so scared to get up and start shouting but the funniest thing
happened because my mom got up at one point and she began to boo. I
think I regarded my mom differently from that day on.'
'In the later days of the matinee the whole thing changed because
they started having shows on the stage rather than the films and as a
result we stopped going to the flicks on the morning. It was as though
they were trying to get older kids and even some adults into the cinema
but it didn't work.'
'Once the Saturday matinee ended I think the
end for some of the cinemas came. Remember most of the kids were
beginning to get TV at home so they didn't need to go to the cinema on
Saturday for their thrills. The half hour cowboys came on to the telly
and so you stayed at home and watched children's hour.'
'I used to go to school on a Saturday morning so the only time I
could go to the matinee was in the holidays but it was near the end of
the time of the real matinee and I remember we used to have to watch
some of the old pop stars who had seen much better days rather than
watch serials. I don't think the matinee therefore ever meant as much to
me as to some of my older friends who had seen the good old serials.'
'I went to one of the last matinees and I think I cried when
it ended because it was like losing one of your best friends.'