Shazam! - The Book
 
 

"SHAZAM! is a wonderful personal account of people and a place that deserve to be remembered"
Jenny Agutter


"'SHAZAM!' is a wonderful reminder of what the Regal has meant to the people of Evesham over the years and a loud shout to the present owner as to why it would mean so much to have it back."  
Alistair McGowan


"I loved 'Shazam!' A marvellous account of a cinema so typical of the many thousands now sadly gone."
Alan Sillitoe

SHAZAM! - "The must-have book for all cinema fans"

 

Introduction

Do you recall those times in days of yore? Does that most fickle of mistresses, nostalgia, drag you away to that special building where the chung-ching of the ticket machine heralded your entrance to the poster-paint deco artwork of that beautiful auditorium, where you selected a red velveteen seat and began stripping the awkward paper wrapping from a Mivi ice-lolly? You fumbled for your partner's hand and gently tussled for the finite space of the arm-rest. Finally settled, you prepared to enter another world - one of colour and fantasy, romance and horror, intrigue, laughter and tears, and the problems of the day receded far into the background. The lights dimmed, the packed crowd hushed and the faint whirr of a winding motor could be heard parting those twenty foot high silk curtains. Then wham! The projector beam hit the screen, scything through the drifting smoke, as hundreds of ordinary fans became willing slaves to the whole panoply of Hollywood brilliance. For two hours in the dark, nothing else mattered as you soared and swooped, gasped and guffawed, cheered and chuckled. Because this was your home town and you had paid for that sacred piece of space in your very own Theatre of Dreams.

Every city and town in the entire world had a much-loved cinema. Whether a Byzantine deco-palace or a cosy provincial flea-pit, they provided endless thrills, spills, tears and laughs to anyone with the price of admission. For more than seventy years the flicks was the 'jewel in the crown' of everyone's social life and spread its magic from Chicago to Calcutta, Mombassa to Melbourne. They popped up everywhere and no culture or regime could long halt their advance: in Rangoon, Riyadh, Shanghai and Santiago - young and old alike were beguiled by the endless flickering images which promoted an insatiable desire to be entertained.

'SHAZAM!' is the story of one such cinema. A shire town flicks which achieved legendary status with the four generations of twentieth century dreamers who walked up its marble steps.