Ulverston cinematic landmark to celebrate 80 years in style

18 June 2017 5:42PM

A ONCE glittering jewel in the crown of Ulverston entertainment is to sparkle once more as it celebrates its 80th anniversary.

On Wednesday 21 June it will be 80 years since The Roxy Cinema first opened its doors to the public. On that day in 1937 people were entertained by Rose Marie, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

To mark the special occasion The Roxy's owner, Charles Morris, has decided to turn the clock back eight decades, and screen the swashbuckling classic, 'The Adventures of Robin Hood.'

Explaining why he chose this star-studded film, Mr Morris said: "We had a brainstorm and we thought about the Adventures of Robin Hood and we thought it was one that had a wide appeal, wider than 'Rose Marie'."

 Poster of the swashbuckling smash, The Adventures of Robin Hood

Poster of the swashbuckling smash, The Adventures of Robin Hood

The iconic film featured some of the most well-known actors of the 20th century. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains donned their medieval best for the Technicolor flick.

It was a box office smash, almost doubling its budget of $2m. Mr Morris is hoping the anniversary night will be just as popular, although it is unlike it will quite as much money.

Mr Morris and his team are gearing up to host a night that will include the screening, as well as a pre-film reception with canapes, wine, and jazz music.

He said: "We've got some experience with this kind of thing. A lot of the cinemas I have celebrated their anniversaries recently. We've got it all organised, anniversary mugs, a booklet of the history of the cinema which is at the printers at the moment. We've got a jazz band (called The Roxettes) and a display charting the history of the building."

The cinema was declared open by the wife of Furness ironmaster Myles Kennedy at 7.30pm on Monday 21st June 1937. The National Anthem was followed by one of the March of Time film series, then British Movietone

News and finally the feature film 'Rose Marie'.

The building itself was commissioned commissioned by James Brennan, a colourful character who owned cinemas in Barrow, Dalton, Kendal and other locations as far away as Manchester. It was designed in the art-deco style by architects Drury & Gomersall who were responsible for a lot of the super cinemas of the era

including the Pyramid in Sale, and the Plaza in Stockport. Control soon passed to Henry Simpson, a respected Ulverston citizen who was Chairman of the Council on a number of occasions and owned other cinemas in the area, including the Palladium in Ulverston and the Cooperative Hall in Dalton.

The Roxy hosted many live shows, especially during the 1940s when such notable attractions as the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Ballet Rambert and the Old Vic theatre company appeared.

A number of amateur productions and charity performances were also featured.

There are still tickets on sale for the gala night, priced at £12 for the VIP reception, or £5/4 for screening.

All of the profits will be donated to the nearby St Mary's Hospice.

Click here to visit the cinema's Facebook Page.

Visit the box office in Brogden Street for more information.

Read more on our series focusing no the iconic Roxy:

Charles Morris tells about his life as independent owner

Find out what goes on behind the scenes of Ulverston's silver screen

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