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Updated:  27 February 2013 

On Saturday December 2nd 1961 the Gaumont Palace in Union Street, Plymouth, closed in preparation for conversion into a Top Rank Entertainment Centre comprising a 1,000-seat cinema and a ballroom. 

Messrs A N Coles Ltd of Plymouth, were the contractors. 

The New Odeon Cinema was opened on Monday September 10th 1962.  It was reached by the original staircase and the old balcony formed the rear of the seating area.  The manager was Mr A M Edwards. 

The entrance foyer, staircase, lounge and most of the auditorium was covered by a carpet of blue, black and mauve.  The proscenium arch was grey complemented with silver grey curtains and drapes while the ceiling was dark blue.  The seats were in crimson and gold.  Separate heating and ventilation plants ensured so that no noise could penetrate from one area to the other.

The New Odeon Cinema, Plymouth, formerly the Gaumont Palace
The New Odeon Cinema, Plymouth.
  Western Morning News Company Ltd.
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The screen frame was 50ft by 24ft.  The projection equipment was the latest 70mm Cinemeccanica plus stereophonic sound.  It was also equipped to show CinemaScope and other wide-screen films.  Mr Maurice Leacey was the house engineer.

"Billy Budd" received its world premiere at the official opening ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor, Alderman H G Mason.  The regular programme on the following day included "Life for Ruth" and "Band of Thieves".

The highest admission price of 5s 6d gained access to the three blocks to the rear of the cross gangway.  The three front blocks were priced at 3s 6d.  Children under the age of fourteen were charged 2s and 1s 6d except on Sundays but their Saturday morning shows cost only 6d.   Old age pensioners could be entertained for 9d on Mondays to Fridays before 4pm.

The New Odeon Cinema closed on Wednesday April 9th 1980 when the film "The Deer Hunter" was shown to an audience of only 200 people.


  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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