John Marston mentions the other cinemas in the local area

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 17th February 2012 by Liam Physick

John Marston mentions two other local cinemas, besides the Tunnel Road. He refers to the Picture Playhouse on Smithdown Road, which was in a better condition than the Tunny, and was later turned into a bingo place, and later still the Dallas nightclub. He then mentions the Cameo cinema, on the corner of Bird Street and Webster Road, and the infamous double murder that occurred there, but makes several errors in talking about the case. He says the murder occurred in the 1950s: it was in fact in 1949, and, though aware that there was a second victim besides the manager, is unaware that this second victim was the assistant manager. He also states that both the (wrongly) accused, George Kelly and Charles Connolly, were hanged: in fact, while Kelly was indeed hanged, Connolly escaped the death penalty by pleading guilty to robbery and conspiracy to rob after Kelly’s conviction. John mentions that he himself never entered the Cameo, perhaps because of its sinister reputation, but once he and Jean went on a mystery tour, when they were surprised to discover that the Cameo had been demolished! Next, he, Brenda and Jean mention the films they saw in the Tunny, and the different film ratings system then

Interviewee: John Marston

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 2nd September 2011

Interview Transcript

John: That was that picture house, there was another picture house where we lived on Smithdown Road called the Picture Playhouse, now that was better cinema, there was no . . .

Jean: Yeah, they were dead posh.

John: That was posh . . .

Brenda: Oh, yeah.

John: . . . for us, and then, there was loads of other picture houses in the area, you know, I mean, but we were, we were so near town, that all the picture houses in town, I mean, I was saying to Brenda the other week, we never walked into town, you could, you can literally walk into town from here . . .

Jean: I know, yeah

Jodie: From here.

John: . . . I reckon I can do. . .

Jean: 10, 15 minutes.

John: . . . 10, 15 minutes? I can’t once recall walking into town . . .

Jean: No.

John: . . . we always got the bus. This in an inner-city area, you know, we never, we never walked into town, did we, we always got the bus?

Brenda: No, but with that cinema, turned into a nightclub, didn’t it?

John: Oh, yes, sorry, later on, it was turned in, it went to a bingo, didn’t it . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . first, it went from a cinema to a bingo, then in the 80s, late 70s, 80s, it was turned into a nightclub called the Dallas nightclub (Jodie laughs), and apparently it was quite popular, I’ve got a, I have to bring it in . . .

Jodie: Oh, yeah, definitely bring it in.

John: . . . I’ve got a picture of it, I’ll bring it in for you, it’s a picture of, I’ve actually put it on Facebook, actually, there’s a site on Facebook called the Liverpool History Society, someone’s started something up about local Liverpool history, so I put that picture on, and it’s just as it was in the 80s, before it was demolished.

Jean: What was the cinema . . .

John: That was a, that was another big part of our lives, that picture house.

Brenda: Yeah, that . . .

Jean: What was the one that, the cinema, the, the Cameo was where the murder was?

John: Oh, yeah, there was another one further down, oh yeah, the . . .

Jean: Yeah, yeah, big murder

Brenda: Yeah.

John: There’s a one called, it was a, it was a church that had been made into a cinema and that was, there was a famous murder there in the 50s, the manager. . .

Jodie: Oh, right!

John: . . . the manager was, was murdered. It’s famous, very famous . . .

Jean: Very famous, yeah.

John: . . . it’s . . .

Jean: Kelly, wasn’t it Kelly, Kelly killed, yeah

John: . . . it’s a big story, Kelly, yeah, a guy, name’s Kelly, yeah, and, apparently a bit of an injustice going on, because years later, they found that he, he might have . . . they, they both were, hanged, actually, you know, because we had capital punishment in them days.

Jodie: Oh!

John: And I think there’s a miscarriage of justice over that one . . .

Brenda: Yeah (indecipherable).

John: . . . people think that he was wrongly, it was the wrong person that they got, but two, the manager and someone else was shot dead, they were after the takings, the cinema takings for the night and that, the Cameo was one I never, ever went into.

Jean: No, no.

Brenda: No, I think that shook, didn’t it?

John: Yeah, but all it was was a church that had been turned . . .

Jean: Yeah.

John: . . . into a cinema.

Jean: But didn’t we go on, on a mystery tour, went on a mystery tour . . .

John: Ah, yeah.

Jean: . . . and he was taking us there to the Cameo murders, to this picture house, and we went down the street, and went, “It’s gone!” (laughter all round)

John: Bird Street, yeah, Webster Road.

Jean: We didn’t even know it had gone, did we?

Jodie: Aw!

John: But, the Tunny, as we call it, the Tunny, we call it the Tunny . . .

Unknown man: Yeah.

John: . . . never called it the Avenue would be – or the Bughouse!

Jean: Bughouse, yeah.

Jodie: Bughouse.

Brenda: There were good films, cos they used to have The Marx Brothers on, as well, didn’t they?

John: They did have . . .

Brenda: The Three Stooges, I just . . .

John: They would get, like, the second or third run films after they’d been in town . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . so they would get the films that, if they were on town one week, they would get them about four or five weeks later.

Brenda: Yeah.

John: I mean, I remember sitting through, like, stuff like Mary Poppins, and stuff like that (Jodie laughs) in there and, you know, some of the Disney movies they used to show, you know, Peter Pan . . .

Jean: I always remember Cowboys and Indians, yeah.

Brenda: Yeah, when I looked for Cowboys and Indians . . .

Jean: Cowboys and Indians

John: Cowboys, a lot of horror films, got these, yeah, cos they used to have different cinema certificates in them days, they used to have what you call U, A and X: a U was Universal, for everyone, you know, and anyone could get in, but, similar to now; then you had an A, I think you had to be over, like, 14 or 15; then the Xs where you have to be over 18, but you could always get in, you know what I mean, I mean, they used to look the other way and just let you in, like, you know what I mean (they all laugh), easier not to say anything, but yeah, but that played a big part in our lives, that cinema, it really did.

Brenda: Yeah, every Saturday afternoon, wasn’t it?

Jodie: Yeah, I didn’t know that, that there used to be a cinema there, so thanks a lot, yeah.

John: I’ll bring the picture in for you.

Jean: Yeah, in fact, and that’s right, you know, cos it’s a funny shape. I think it’s trying to make the shape of the old cinema.

Jodie: Probably is, yeah, inspired by that.

Tagged under: demolition, cinemas, tunnel road picture house, smithdown road, webster road, cameo murder case, cameo cinema, bird street, picture playhouse, dallas nightclub

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

Share this page:


Remember my personal information?

Notify me of follow-up comments?