The many of us grew who up in the heyday of the cinema will still remember the exhilaration of even the walk to the cinema, the sense of expectation as we queued up to buy tickets, sitting in pit and enjoying management’s choice of music, then the hush which descended when the lights went out and the curtains opened. VCRs and DVDs have brought the cinema industry in Guyana to an end but in our memories our cinemas will always live on, along with the colorful names of some of the projectionists like “Bun Sugar”, “Tan-Tone” and “Bruk-Up”.

BERBICE CINEMAS

Apollo Rose Hall; owned by Messrs. Morris & Percy Choong; Morris’ daughter Debra Ann attended CHS, Class of 1971
Cosmopolitan Rose Hall near to Doc Higgins workshop and Kathy’s Bar; owned by Mr. Woo Sam aka Loy; closed in the 1950’s (info provided by Syd Latchana);later used by Brother Dass Church 1960’s
Faaz Strand, New Amsterdam; built 1960’s; owned by Mr. Fazal
Gaiety Main St &Theatre Alley, New Amsterdam; owned by Mr. Ho A Yun who also owned Globe; sold to Mr. Somal Rampersaud
Globe New Amsterdam; owned by Mr. Ho A Yun; burned down
Rivoli Originally called “Khrishna Mahal” after son of owner Sugrim Persaud, businessman from East Coast Demerara; Sheet Anchor; right side approaching Canje Swing Bridge; demolished 1950’s; concrete foundation remained there for a long time and was used by loiterers to gamble and drink illegal spirits; Syd Latchana who was a Customs Officer would sometimes conduct raids.
Lotus Whim; owned by Cyril Patraj Singh; formerly “Chanmahal”
Maya Skeldon; owned by Mr.Vernon Bhairam whose daughter Kamini is a CHS grad Class of 1973.
Metro Skeldon; owned by Maurice Choong
Mohani No. 64 Village; owned by the Mr. Jag Budhram; one of the boys attended CHS for a couple or more years, Class of 1971
Novelty Skeldon; owned by Mr. Narine Dutt who was the father-in-law of Dr. Reginal Latchana CHS ‘56
Odeon Bush Lot, Corentyne; owned by Poonai aka “Guts”; was married to Bheer Jhappan’s daughter; Bheer’s brother was Dhan Jhappan (High Court Judge)
Olympic New Amsterdam
Radio City Skeldon; owned by Mr. Percy Choong; projectionist “Nanah” from No.67 Village; audience could not tell when Nanah cut 15 minutes off a film.
Raj Mahal Canje; owned by Mr. Dennis Boodram
Roopmahal Port Mourant; owned by Mr. Dennis Boodram
Star Scottsburg, Corentyne
Strand New Amstrerdam
yollanda Albion Front; formerly Whitehall; was owned by Mr. Francis who also owned a rum shop inside Albion; sold to Mr. Dose of Guava Bush; sold to Mr. Ng Q Sang (Chun Chun) whose son Stephen attended CHS Class of 1956; Stephen’s brother Sue Hing attended Rudra Nath HS; projectionist was “Tan-tone”

REST OF GUYANA

Astor Church & Waterloo St; opened c1940 by the Correia’s; in 1978 “Saturday Night Fever” ran for 3 months; still operating as a cinema
Atlantis Suddie
Atma D’Edward Village, WCB
Avon Good Fortuin
Crescent Opened 1951; first cinema in Mackenzie
Deluxe Grove, Diamond opened 1952
Duchess Pln. Uitvlugt Pasture; owned by Mr. Sookraj; burned down during riots of 1962; never rebuilt
Earlo
Empire Middle St; formerly Metro; first movie “Prisoner of Zenda”; now a retail mall
Gaiety Camp St. & Brickdam near Roman Catholic Presbytery; BG’s first cinema; showed silent movies; burned down 1926
Gem Enmore
Globe opened 1952;bfirst film “David and Bathsheba”; first cinemascope and stereophonic sound movie “The Robe”
Hollywood Kitty; now a church
Indramahal
Kay Donna Triumph/Betervawagting
Laxhmi
Liberty Newtown, Kitty Vlissengen Rd; formerly Rialto then Doren in 1952; Doren later burned down during unrest of 1963; replaced by Liberty
Melanie Melanie Damishana
Metropole Robb & Wellington Sts; opened c1937, first move “Merry Widow”; burned down 2004
Metropolitan Bartica
Monarch Anna Catherina
Olympic Lombard St, 1940’s, had no roof
Paragon Anna Regina
Palm Tree Burnham Dr . Wismar
Plaza Camp St; originally London built 1930, had “sound” ;renamed Plaza in 1951 and installed “wide screen”
Prince of Wales Pln. Wales Estate; owned by Mr. Kam. Still in business
Rajmahal Peter’s Hall
Regal Vreed-en-Hoop
Rialto Vlissengen Rd.
Rio La Penitence, Albouystown; formerly Capitol, changed name to Rio in 1952; bombed during 1960’s disturbances killing 2 women inside.
Ritz Rosignol
Roxy Leonora
Saraswatie
Star Albuoystown
Starlite Pouderyon
Starlite Drive-In Montrose, ECD; opened in late 1950’s with Elvis Presley “Blue Hawaii”; owned by Andrew James son of Henry James who owned Pawnbrokery on Main St New Amsterdam; Andrew James also owned Auto Supplies in GT; Morris Choong may have been a partner (info provided by Syd Latchana); now a Courts’ furniture warehouse
Strand (or Strand de Luxe) opened 1957;first movie “Sayonara” and “Ten Commandments”; now used for religious meetings; owned by Mr. Leslie Lucky Samaroo
Tiffany Parika
Vijay Good Hope

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Thanks to:

  • Doos Mahadeo
  • Godfrey Chin
  • Syd Latchana
  • Beauty Ramoutar
  • Kamie
  • Oscar Ramjeet
  • Omar Zabar
  • Desmond Woon
  • Peter Halder
  • and many others who want to remain anonymous

* First talking picture in BG was in 1927 “Jazz Singer”

* More than 50 cinemas in the 1960’s

* The operator at Starlite Drive-In once flashed a message on the screen that a man just called to say he was coming to look for his wife. In the next ten minutes half the cars started up and drove out.

>> Film companies: 20th.Century Fox; MGM; Warner Bros; Columbia; United Artists; Universal; Paramount

 

EARLY ORIGINS OF THE CINEMA

Folk, it all started with a guy called “Moti” … read on …

About 2,500 years before the present – Mo-Ti a Chinese philosopher ponders the phenomenology of an upside down image of the outside world beaming through a small hole in the opposite wall in a darkened room. c. 350 BCE – Aristotle tells of watching an image of an eclipse beamed onto the ground through a sieve. c. 1000 – Alhazen experiments with the same optical principle, and writes of the results. 1490 – Leonardo DaVinci describes a structure that would produce this effect. 1544 – Reinerus Gemma-Frisius, a Dutch scientist, illustrates large rooms built for the purpose of viewing eclipses by this means. 1588 – Giovanni Battista Della Porta tips off artists to this trick. c. 1610 – Johannes Kepler refers to a construction that utilises this phenomenon as a camera obscura. 1671 – Athanasius Kircher projected images painted on glass plates with an oil lamp and a lens, his Magic Lantern. 1824 – Thaumatrope 1831 – Faraday’s Law of electromagnetic induction. 1820s – Joseph Plateau: Anorthoscope; Phenakistiscope. Spindle viewers. Flip books. 1834 – The Zoetrope (US), a.k.a., the Daedalum (England).