At The Movies With Mum

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Today, I said my goodbyes and sent my Mum into the fire at Manchester Crematorium. She died Sunday, October 5. Just four days earlier, inspired by an article over at Verbal Spew (thanks ‘V’), I interviewed her about going to ‘the pictures’ back in the day. I hope you folk get something out of it – myself, I just needed to get something out there as a tribute. I didn’t know what else to do…

The Pyramid/ Odeon - still stands today, empty and unused...

The Pyramid/ Odeon – still stands today, empty and unused…

WOLF: What do you remember about going to the cinema when you were younger?

MUM: Not a lot. We enjoyed it. Me and yer Dad used to go every Saturday night… at the Longford. Sometimes we went to The Pyramid in Sale.

W: The Pyramid? Don’t know that one…

M: It was on the main road…

W: Washway? Do you mean what became the Odeon?

M: Yeah.

W: Right, got yer… Tell you what, here’s a memory tester – what 3 films did us two go and see at the Odeon?

M: Bluddy ‘ell, I don’t know! Give us a clue.

W: Iddy-biddy-biddy…

M: Oh, aye, that daft robot… it was like one of the old serials in space, the fella in space… Oh, was it Buck Rogers? (receives affirmative nod & looks really pleased with herself) Piffle, but enjoyable. Didn’t we go and see Star Wars there as well?

W: Empire, so technically ‘yes’. The third one was The Humanoid – like an Italian version of Star Wars but shit. You sound like Darth Vader when you’ve got yer oxygen on…

M: (laughs) Yes, I do… Darth Mater… ahem (laughs again). The Empire Strikes Back, it was on telly a bit ago, they were showing all of them again. Good films, those. Don’t remember The Humanoid, nah.

W: Nobody does. What’s the first film you remember seeing?

The Picturedrome - gone, now an underpass...

The Picturedrome – gone, now an underpass…

M: The first film I remember seeing was Tom Hanks…

W: You saw a film called Tom Hanks!

M: No! He was in it. Can’t remember what it was… The Graduate.

W: That was Dustin Hoffman!

M: Oh, crumbs, ‘course it was.

W: You must remember seeing a film before the mid-1960’s!

M: Bambi.

W: There you go. Coz in the past you’ve always talked about seeing, like, Bogie, Peter Lorre, people like that…

M: Oh, aye, Peter Lorre. He wasn’t very memorable to me though.

W: Did you go to the pictures to see M?

M: Yes, we did. M was good… the blind man recognising the killer whistling Peer Gynt… and then he gets his coat marked with chalk. And the other murder one… Dial M For Murder, that was another good one.

W: Hitchcock, yeh… Was M the first film you remember or was there something before that?

M: I remember Bambi. I think that was the first animated picture Disney did.

W: Hell, no. I reckon Snow White was before that, and Dumbo… Fantasia…

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M: I liked all of those. I think Disney was my favourite… coz I could draw, y’know, and I appreciated the artists, the way they drew the animals, you could tell they loved their subject…

W: I know you could draw, I’ve seen some of your sketches. You could’ve worked for Disney.

M: Nah! I wasn’t that good.

W: You were… Were movies a big deal in your house?

M: Yeah. I don’t know whether they saw all the ones you’re on about but they all used to go. My brother Ronnie and yer Dad… me, my Mum. She liked a good film.

W: So what was your favourite cinema then?

M: Well, it would have to be the Longford.

W: Didn’t you go to one called ‘the bug hut’?

M: That was where we lived on Church Street… the end of Church Street, there was a little cockeyed cinema there called The Futurist but we all called it ‘the bug hut’. There was a toffee shop on the corner and Scanlans the hair-dressers… Then there was the Picturedrome on King Street. Oh, and there was one here just on the corner of Moss Road – the Corona, but it was a bit far to walk from Church Street. There isn’t a one now is there, rare as hen’s teeth…

The Futurist - gone, for a new road layout...

The Futurist – gone, for a new road layout…

W: Corona – is that the one I’ve heard you and Dad call ‘the flea pit’?

M: Not sure now, I think that might’ve been the Futurist as well – bit of a poky ‘ole, y’know and more often than not they’d have to stop the film coz us kids could get quite rowdy in them days (laughs). But the Longford was ours… the carpet, you’d sink up to yer knees in it. Two shillings and sixpence, the front circle… Yer Dad used to shout ‘Geronimo!’ and flick his peanuts at the crowd downstairs. It was one shilling and six for downstairs so we’d go in there and sneak upstairs. And another lad we knew would bring his pet snake in…

W: A snake! No way! What kind of snake?

M: (laughs) I’m not sure now… think it was an adder. He used to say he wanted to ‘give it a change of scenery’ and he’d walk in with just its head sticking out of his pocket. We’d sit near the fire exit just in case it got obstreperous! If it was a full house when we got there, yer Dad would shout “Snake!” and clear the cinema – then we’d pick out the best seats.

W: You’re pulling my leg…

M: I am not! Another mate of yer Dad’s, he used to bring an air-horn with him and every time a romantic bit came up in the film he’d let it off – ‘whaaaaa!’ (laughs) It’d be all quiet in the cinema and the two stars would be just about to canoodle and then ‘whaaaaa!’ (laughs again) And then we got thrown out! It was just a bit of fun – if the film was rubbish, y’know…

The Longford/ Essoldo - in its pomp...

The Longford/ Essoldo – in its pomp…

W: Juvenile. What was the first film you saw with Dad then?

M: Can’t remember… I know Peter Lorre figured a lot and other folks like that.

W: Did you see stuff like Casablanca?

M: Yeah, Casablanca, with Umphrey Bogg-ert.

W: Umphrey Bogg-ert? As pronounced?

M: Mmm. Yer Dad always called him Umphrey Bogg-ert… (laughs)

The disused Longford today - photo taken from where the Picturedrome once stood...

The disused Longford today – photo taken from where the Picturedrome once stood…

W: What’s your favourite film of all time?

M: I think it’s probably Bambi. Good one, that, full of heart.

W: What about newer films? I see you watch stuff like Bourne Identity and Shaun Of The Dead when they’re on telly…

M: Yes, I like those. I like Shaun with that daft fella in it; his Mum turns into a zombie… Zombie Mum! (laughs)

W: Don’t go getting any ideas…

The side entrance to the Longford also still exists...

The side entrance to the Longford also still exists…

M: (still laughing) I enjoy that other one as well… walking on glass… he’s in a skyscraper and his mate’s stuck in the garage with a cuddly toy…

W: Die Hard?

M: Yes, Die Hard. I like that one. Yer Dad liked that one as well, best film he’s ever seen, he said. The fil-ums you put on from time to time are usually good, entertaining… weird creatures, things like that…

W: Space vampires…

M: Eh? Which one was that?

W: Lifeforce. Naked lady from space goes on a naked rampage through London, naked.

M: (laughs) Oh, God, aye… It was diabolical! I think it was another of yer Dad’s favourites, that.

W: Can’t think why… Is there a film you really hate?

M: No, not really. I wouldn’t go and see it if I couldn’t stand the star in it.

W: Oh, right. Who didn’t you like then, actor-wise?

M: Not keen on Victor Mature; I didn’t like his mouth… (mimics Vic’s apparent mouth shape)

The Corona - gone, replaced by shops...

The Corona – gone, replaced by shops…

W: I see (nonplussed). What about your favourite actor then, who was that?

M: Well, Umphrey Bogg-ert was in those days. I sort of liked Spencer Tracy as well.

W: How do you ‘sort of like’ Spencer Tracy? Either you do or you don’t.

M: Well, not every film he was in was good…

W: Fury – top film, did you see that?

M: Is that the one where he’s only got one arm?

W: No, that was Bad Day At Black Rock – also top.

M: Good ‘un, that. I don’t remember the other one…

W: What about a favourite actress?

M: Well I won’t go as far back as I remember to Myrna Loy (laughs). Good looking wench, but stiff. Yeah, she was one of me favourites. I can’t remember the rest of them… There was a blonde… Veronica Lake, oh my goodness, her with the blonde hair… Umphrey Bogg-ert married her, yeah, he fancied her (laughs).

W: He may have fancied her but he didn’t marry her. Lauren Bacall did.

M: Oh, of course! Lauren Bacall, good actress she was. I thought he married Veronica Lake at some point.

W: Nah. So Lakey was one of your favourites…

M: Didn’t like her much. I took more notice of the fellas really.

W: (laughs) You’re not making this easy… Right. What about John Wayne, did you like him?

M: Oh, he’s all right if you like that sort of thing. Gary Cooper was all right and Cary Grant – all them… Montgomery Clift was okay but I wasn’t that keen on ‘im…

at the movs11

W: Do you remember any movie quotes then, specific lines?

M: “You talkin’ to me? (laughs) You talkin’ to me?”

W: Whoa, I was expecting Disney or Yoda or something! Classic… So, if somebody made a film based on your life, who would play you?

M: God, I don’t know… Some old bat!

W: (laughs) Well, you’d have someone playing you young, then maybe someone playing you old…

M: Erm… who do I look like… (laughs)… I don’t know!

W: Would it be somebody like Marlene Dietrich…?

M: Oh, give over! ‘Come up and see me some time…’ (starts shrugging her shoulder seductively to demonstrate something) oh, dear… Pathetic, it was, their efforts at being passionate – ‘come up and see me some time…’ (laughs and starts shrugging her shoulder again)

W: That was Mae West, you clown! And I don’t know what this is (shrugs shoulder)…

M: I know it was bluddy Mae West! The fellas were all queuing up for her… and she was ‘orrible! Well what did Marlene Dietrich do then, what was it… (thinks)? ‘Ochi Charnye…’ (starts singing in a low octave – it ends tragically in a coughing fit)

W: I know Falling In Love Again; don’t know what o-chee-charnyer’ is.

M: Russian for ‘black eyes’… ‘Fwoor-ling in love aggen – waddam I to-dooo…’ (laughs) She can’t play me. No one can play me.

W: You sounded like John Hurt in Alien then – ‘we must go on, we have to go on.’ Same tone and everyfink.

M: What a way to go (blows raspberry & extends her fist vertically). Alien. Be quicker than what I’ve got…

W: How do you mean no one can play you?

The mighty Bogg-ert!

The mighty Bogg-ert!

M: I’d be too complex for them. A complex character (laughs).

W: How about… Sophia Loren?

M: She couldn’t play me! Doesn’t even look like me.

W: Doesn’t matter – they just CG the shit out of your face now…

M: Eh? And Gina Lollobrigida… Blummin’ ‘eck, I don’t look like them. If I looked like them I wouldn’t be sat here now!

W: What about somebody newer then? Say, Scarlett Johanssen?

M: Never heard of ‘im.

W: (laughs) Fay Wray?

M: Nah.

W: Jodie Foster?

M: No-oooo… No. (phone rings) ‘No’ to that as well. It’ll be an idiot, ringin’ at this time, always is. (phone continues to ring) It’ll be the postman. The Postman Rings Twice.

W: Sharp. Do you like him, then – Jack Nicholson?

Myrna Loy

Myrna Loy

M: Don’t like ‘im. Never did. There’s something weird about that man. Don’t like ‘im. I’m usually right as well, there’s usually something queer about them, somewhere in their life, right.

W: (trying not to laugh) Well, if you say there’s something queer about him it must be true… but they haven’t found anything yet.

M: They might… especially with that Nicholson tripe hound.

W: Do you fancy George Clooney?

M: Nah. Too lumbering.

W: You mean he’s a fat bastard, got yer…

M: Stop talking now and get the kettle on. I’m knackered…


And that was that. I meant to go over a few details, see if she could elaborate a few points and remind her of a few more films… I never got the chance. I hope she’s back at the Longford now with Dad, flicking peanuts…



My Mum: November 7, 1925 – October 5, 2014

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Cheers, folk.

ThereWolf, October 2014

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About ThereWolf

I only come out at night... mostly...

18 responses to “At The Movies With Mum”

  1. tombando says :

    Wow that was something else. I liked the ‘Umphrey Bogart part(s) myself. Nice job there Wolf.

  2. Xiphos0311 says :

    Condolences Wolf.

    Your Mom was an astute woman she realized that Nicholson is a scumbag.

  3. theipc says :

    Best post EVER!!!!!

    LOVE it!

  4. Judge Droid says :

    Sorry to hear about your mum Wolf. This was a really nice piece.

  5. Barfy says :

    Lovely tribute Wolf. That last photo is classic. 🙂 Sense of humor runs in the family I see. Thanks for sharing that little piece of her.

  6. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Sorry about your mom, Wolf. This was a really good write-up, and I love that she talked about M–that’s a great film. Should give it a rewatch soon.

    As for the kid with the snake, probably wasn’t the first time in history some dude sauntered into a movie theater, whipped his adder out of his pocket and said “it needed a change of scenery”.

    Again, lovely stuff. A nice tribute to her.

  7. Jarv says :

    Commiserations Wolf.

    Lovely piece and a great tribute

  8. Continentalop says :

    This was beautiful Wolf. Simply beautiful.

    Your mom sounds like she was a hell of a woman.

  9. kloipy says :

    Wolf- as I told you before, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You know I’m here for you if you need anything my friend.

    This was a beautiful tribute and your mom’s character really shines through this. I’m sure it will be something that you will be able to to look back on fondly. Seeing that your mom was born in 1925 what a wild life she must have experienced, to be able to see so many changes in that time up until now. And I’m sure she knew how much you loved her and your dad. Thank you for posting this and my thoughts are with you.

  10. Toadkillerdog says :

    My deepest condolences on the loss of your lovely Mum.
    She seemed to be a magnificent woman.

    I lost my own Magnificent Mother three years ago.This made me reminisce – in a good way, as well as envy you for capturing something about her that you can refer to anytime you want.

    Thank you for sharing.I am sure you already know that the pain and loss never go away, but it lessens in time and the memories will never fade.

    The life lessons will always stay with you, and you will start to notice that you use her expressions as well – Bloomin eck or Umphery bogg-ert is a given!

    You are a good son. Even the rabbiteses will pay their respects.

    Take care Wolfie


  11. ThereWolf says :

    A heartfelt thank you to everyone…

    It wasn’t easy to transcribe; I recorded it on my phone and obviously I was expecting to record a few talks with her and when I sat down to write everything up she’d still be alive…

    All of a sudden she was gone & I had this thing on my phone. I thought about keeping the recording but I didn’t want to remember her like that – short of breath, coughing, etc… But typed up, I can hear her voice how it used to be so it is easier for me to read.

    Still can’t believe she’s gone. And then I’m sat there at the funeral & the reverand is reading out her ‘life story’ and I’m being reminded that she did a stint at Bletchley during WW2 code breaking…

    My Mum was awesome.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Your mom was at Bletchley? She worked on ULTRA which along with MAGIC and US industrial might won WW2? Wow that is amazing. What did she do?

      • ThereWolf says :

        Don’t know, Xi. As well as this movie stuff, I was planning on getting all her war stories down on paper to do a post on Remembrance Day. Gutted.

        My sister wrote the eulogy and I’d forgotten the Bletchley chapter. When I think back, all I can remember of the conversation (years ago) is Mum saying something like – ‘I was there for a short while and then I moved on to something else…’ – like it was no big deal.

        If I’d done the war stories sooner it would’ve come up, I’d have got the full version… Kicking myself now.

  12. Just Pillow Talk says :

    Wolfie, I apologize for not posting on this earlier. Quite frankly I’ve not clicked on the main page via my phone and only had the rec room up.

    Quite I nice send off to your Mom, one which clearly showed one of the connections you had with her. I lost my father-in-law earlier this year, so my sincere condolences during this time. She seemed quite astute and a nice sense of humor. I hope your family is as well as can be during this time and gain strength from one another.

  13. Bill Sumner -Stretfordian. says :

    Loved this conversation, a slice of local history as well, not many know of the Futurist in Church Street. It was a Paramount Cinema. There was a Globe Cinema on Talbot Rd as well.

    • ThereWolf says :

      Sorry for the late reply, Bill and thank you very much for that comment, fellow Stretfordian. Made my day, that has!

      Can’t remember if my parents ever mentioned the Globe – they probably did and I’ve just forgotten. The Futurist was a popular topic with them over the years. Annoying that I couldn’t track down any decent photos of it…

      Niche subject, old cinemas in Stretford, it’s great to see my post reached out and found another Stretty lad!

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