IT WAS interesting to read in last week’s Journal (June 9) that the ‘Everyman Cinema’ may be coming to Salisbury.

The chain has applied to Wiltshire Council to turn the former bingo hall in Endless Street into a four screen cinema.

Many older citizens of Salisbury will remember the building as ‘The Regal’ and many will also remember going to the ABC minors on a Saturday morning clutching their sixpence to get in!

The building was originally opened as a cinema on February 22, 1937 with Shirley Temple starring in ‘Captain January’. The architect was WR Glen and he produced a worthy layout occupying a corner site, in red brick.

Inside the theatre was decorated in tones of red and two great lighting troughs ran across the theatre – the main ventilating grilles on either side were floodlit.

The grilles gave a hint of Gothic heraldry as a reminder of the cathedral city in which the theatre was built.

In 1956, Robbie the Robot, the mechanical star of “Forbidden Planet” made a personal appearance at the Regal Cinema and The Salisbury Times was there to capture the scene.

Excited children crowded outside the Regal to get their first glimpse of the 8ft tall robot who eventually turned up on the back of a Land Rover!

The Regal cinema gave its last film performance on Saturday, January 25, 1969 when Steve McQueen in Bullet played to packed audiences.

However, there were outbursts of jeering among the audiences as screen notices went up highlighting the decision to close the cinema in favour of Bingo – petitions were organised asking the cinema to re-consider their decision but it all fell on stony ground.

So it would be a real twist of fate if, after 85 years, the old Regal cinema returns to its original use...

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