When cowboys, cartoons, cliffhangers and chaos ruled Saturday mornings
Not so long ago, Saturday morning meant one thing for children – going to the pictures. Gangs of kids would hurtle down streets to the local cinema clutching enough pennies to get in and get a Fab lolly or Jubbly in the interlude.
The auditorium heaved with over-excited children high on sugar and anticipation, screaming, bawling and raising merry hell. It was the poor manager’s job to try and control proceedings and entertain the masses, not always successfully!
These very happy times have become cherished memories and kids’ entertainment today couldn’t be more different. Here’s a look back at just what made Saturday morning at the pictures so very special.
1. Being in a club
The Saturday matinee was a club every kid in the area belonged to and was definitely more fun than Sunday school.
2. Singsongs with the bouncing ball
The club song, when the film broke down (a lot!) and the national anthem before going home.
Are you ready Uncle Ernie?
And now Minors, all together…
3. Chaos and noise
Boos, hisses, hoorays and hysterics. Not to mention the odd stink bomb.
4. Entertainment in spades
Cartoons and films were just part of the experience. There were also talent shows, fancy dress parades, yoyo competitions, even dog shows...
5. Birthday line-ups
The manager would venture onto the stage and ask all the birthday boys and girls to line up then everyone sang, well, shouted ‘happy birthday’ at them.
Where to start? There were so many. Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Felix the Cat, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom & Jerry…
7. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy
Old cowboy films were shown all the time but no one ever tired of them. Kids rode home on imaginary horses chasing the bad guys and patting their bums to go faster.
8. The homegrown and wholesome stuff
The Children’s Film Foundation did its best to balance the gun toting thrills of American imports with good clean, very British adventures laced with morals and lessons in life.
9. Ice creams and lollies
In the interlude, usherettes would try and keep order as a mass of unruly kids charged to buy lollies and ice cream in tubs with little wooden spoons.
10. Cliff hangers
Will Zorro find the bomb in time? Can Flash stop the rocket hurtling into Mars meaning certain death for all on board?
You’ll just have to wait until the next week to find out.
Were you lucky enough to spend Saturday morning at the pictures when you were a kid? Were you an ABC Minor or in the Odeon Boys and Girls Club? Did you know a scam to get in? Who was your favourite hero? If you have fond memories of these wonderful times, sadly gone but not forgotten, please do share them with us.