Romance returns at reopening of Blackpool cinema
The Drifters sang Kissing in the Back Row of the Movies in 1974 '“ and now fans of the flicks will get the chance to relive a bygone age as a cinema closed in the same year prepares for its grand re-opening.
The Regent Cinema will open its doors tomorrow night having been refurbished by owner Richard Taylor.
And true to the era it will feature double “snogging” seats on the back row for couples to get up close and personal.
The Preesall businessman has spent two years restoring the building which also features and emporium on its ground floor.
He said: “We are just putting in the finishing touches now, it will be right down to the wire but we are really excited about bringing this piece of Blackpool’s entertainment history back to life.
“I have to say all the couple seats have sold out quickly for the first show!”
To choose the film to open the cinema, he held a public vote and the film that came out on top was Quentin Tarrantino’s classic Pulp Fiction.
Richard said: “I was a little surprised, I thought one of the old classics such as Casablanca might have won but Pulp Fiction is a great film and it got 50 per cent more votes than any of the others.
“We have had a great response so far to the idea, people are always asking about it when they come shopping at the emporium.”
He bought the derelict building in 2013 after it was put up for sale with a guide price of just £70,000. It had been derelict since it was the Riley’s American Pool and Snooker Club which closed in 2010. Before that it had been a bingo hall and according to The Gazette’s historian Barry Band had last shown a film (Cromwell with Richard Harris) in 1971.
It was designed by Blackpool-based architects Lumb and Watson and opened in 1921. It has a distinctive dome in the baroque style and a white tiled facade.
It was given Grade II Listed status on February 23 this year. Saturday’s film will be Back to the Future and Sunday’s Carry on Camping.
Plans are afoot to stage a special showing of a Charlie Chaplin classic silent movie complete with a piano accompaniment just like they used to in the early days of the cinema before “talkies” supplanted the silent movies. Richard added: “It is very exciting and I think it will be a great asset for the town.
“It is something different to add to the visitor offer.”
The cinema operation will create four jobs at the Regent and details can be found at the Facebook site regentcinemabp.