the Regal's early characters such as Frank Ridge, the genial manager who loved
marching music and would inflict it upon his audience before the film programme
began in order to 'stir the blood'; until the day that eight hundred wildly
stamping feet came close to bringing the balcony down while keeping time to one
of his favourite pieces.
Read about 'Rubberman' who unquestioningly supplied contraceptives to the cinema
- going studs of the Vale and 'Spiderman' the projectionist who won the DSM for
sinking a U-boat.
Theatre of Dreams' legendary 'floral' sisters Iris and Violet who, between them,
worked in the Port Street picture palace for almost eighty years: and read about
Regal's first lady manager, the glamorous Eileen as she battled with the
post-war scurge of television.
Highland: The Brummie With The Magic Touch
And then, of
course, comes the larger-than-life Ernie
Highland from Birmingham, who took the Regal to
new heights of popularity with his energy and
innovation. He was only an average-sized guy who
resembled a kind of antediluvian 'Milky-bar Kid'
but his strength to weight ratio actually defied
the laws of physics and when it came to the
pinch he was just about the toughest hombre in
Dodge. Under no circumstances would he tolerate
bad behaviour in his picture house:
beyond comprehension, with compass shot,
thereby unable to locate the gents, the
fellow had no choice but to unzip himself
and let fly in the aisle, much to the
chagrin of the surrounding family audience.
Highland happened to be nearby and descended
upon the hapless soak like an avenging
angel, his face resembling something which,
legend tells us, only appears at full