Plenty to cheer on a Saturday at the movies

Roy Rogers arriving at Caley Station, Edinburgh, in 1950
Roy Rogers arriving at Caley Station, Edinburgh, in 1950

I never cease to be amazed how simple things or actions can trigger memories of growing up in Dalkeith, writes Murray Lawrie.

I happened to be wandering around a thrift shop and came across a pile of DVDs. On taking a look I came across old movies resurrected into modern form. I was immediately back into the Pavilion and Saturday afternoon with a cinema full of cheering kids.

Johnny Mack Brown on his white horse was a great favourite. Once inside the picture house the lights would dim and Gordie Bates would patrol the aisles shining his torch and demanding silence.

The follow-up episode of last week’s serial in which the hero would be in an aircraft out of control hurtling toward the east would be eagerly awaited and “unbelievably” the hero had managed to escape the aircraft before its descent to earth.

In the pile of CDs I purchased not only was there a Johnny Mack Brown movie, there was Tim McCoy riding the range and taking care of bad guys followed by The Three Mesquiteers with Tom Tyler or John Wayne as Stony Brooke and Ray “Crash” Corrigan with Lullaby (Rufe Davis), the loyal sidekick. Roy Rogers with Gabby Hayes followed and the “East Side Kids” came to the fore.

The movies were all black and white. When we entered “The Piv” and got seated what usually happened was first the serial ending in a cliffhanger and we had to return next week to see the outcome.

A western would follow with many of the aforementioned cowboys, Gene Autry with sidekick Smiley Brunette or Charles Starrette as the “Durango Kid”, who could ride behind a rock dressed ordinary and come charging out the other side dressed in black complete with black mask and white horse to take care of business.

When the movie was over the guys could be seen running down the High Street slapping their behinds as imaginary horses or waving imaginary swords in the air.

In the Pavilion we had many celebrities such as Gordie Bates controlling the movie users or “Killer” Kane threatening us with expulsion. Maisie Davidson offered us ice cream as she walked the aisles and May Bates taking the money.

Outside as we queued up, Sergeant Spalding could be heard yelling, “Keep off the footpath!” followed by a healthy shove.