Going To The Pictures

Derek the cinema manager

“I was interviewed for the position of Assistance Cinema Manager, with the Rank Organisation, at the Odeon, London Road, Liverpool. The interview was on Bonfire Night, 5th November 1957. Guess who the interviewer was? – Regional Controller, Mr A. J. Rockett.


odeon 50's staff from Eric Chappelweb


Odeon Cinema, Waterloo, 1957 and the playing of the National Anthem. Just before the end of the last performance of the evening there was usually a rush to exit the cinema as those still in the audience , when the lights went up, were duty bound to stand and wait until ‘God save the Queen’ had been played. All movement stopped when the ‘National Anthem came on and even those people caught half-way out in the aisles would remain still until the ‘Anthem’ was finished.

While working as Assistant Manager at the Royal Hippodrome in West Derby Road, the Fulham football team came in one Friday evening. At that time (1958) they had a few famous players like Jimmy Hill, Graham Leggett and England captain Johnny Haynes; which the older generation will recall. At the interval I put a ‘slide’ on the screen saying, “Welcome to the Fulham Football Club. We hope you enjoy tonight’s show. We hope you don’t enjoy tomorrow’s match against Liverpool quite so much!” They took it in good part and the following day at Anfield the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Derek also met his wife of over 50 years Eva. She worked as an usherette at the Odeon in Crosby and on his first day on duty was introduced to his wife in an amusing manor.
She came into the cinema scooting her bike through to park it, and wondering what she was doing called out to her ” Excuse me, I didn’t catch your name?” and she replied “That’s because I didn’t throw it”, and continued to go through the cinema to park her bike, unaware that he was the new manager.

Later that day the usherette had to line up in front of the cinema manager who at the time was a man named Sammy Moore, in what was called ‘The Managers Parade’ – whereby the usherette would line up to be inspected upon appearance and smartness of their uniform. The usherettes were then introduced to the new assistant manager, and Derek and Eva were formly introduced. Fell in love and have been married ever since.”

Derek Anderton