Recalling your favourite first films

The Dam Busters film showing at The Savoy in 1955
The Dam Busters film showing at The Savoy in 1955

Everyone has a favourite film, and many of us still remember the first movie we went to see at the pictures.

So when we posted a photo of the Focus Cinema, in South Shields, taken in May 1980, on Facebook, asking you to recall films from the past, you were quick to go on-line in response.

Glynis Scott said: “I can’t remember the first time because I was very young, but I’m told it was Lady and the Tramp. We were asked to leave because my sister who was still a baby wouldn’t stop crying.

“My mam took me back next day and we got in for free. The first film I can actually remember was Pollyanna, starring Hayley Mills, it was on at the Regent.”

Susan Smith recalls going to see: “The Sound of Music with my Dad at The Odeon, in Newcastle.

“I was only five or six at the time but remember feeling proper spoiled. We got the train (before the Metro existed) to Newcastle, went for ice-cream first, in Fenwicks, which was served in a silver dish on a saucer with a proper little silver spoon. Happy days.”

There were fond memories from Karen Ellis who remembers: “Saturday morning at the ABC with my badges on watching the Children’s Film Foundation films banging our seats screaming “ hurry up” at the giant screen, Ahhhhh happy days!”

Cheryl Gascoigne took to Facebook to say the first film she went to see was Herbie Goes Bananas “with Margaret Tighe”.

Alison Bell Stafford reminded Doreen Coates that “you took me to see my first film at the pictures with your Craig. It was at the ABC on Ocean Road, we watched The Water Babies”.

Karen Ratcliffe said: “The first one I remember was Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead with Lynsey”, while Lee Chow told us his was “Superman at the ABC, the queue was massive, loved the place, good times”.

Blayne O’Brien recalls: “Going to the see The Lion King and Independence Day at the Warner Brothers. Happy memories.” And Catherine Harrison remembers watching “Snow White with uncle Martin Smith, he took all the kids in the street”.

Glenys Bainbridge also went to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs “with my dad and brother Alan”.

Although there were sweets and snacks to be had at the pictures – who can resist hot dogs and popcorn? – one reader took her own food when she went to see a movie blockbuster.

“I remember seeing Star Wars, with a saveloy dip, then Grease, about a thousand times,” said Tracy Scurfield.

Grease also brought back memories for Christine Lauder, while Lesley Matthews remembers seeing The King and I “with my mum”, and Kathleen Osguthorpe recalls seeing The Sound Of Music at the Regent.

As you would imagine, Disney films played a big part in your early cinema-going experiences.

Lynsey Freestone said: “I went there to see Sleeping Beauty, with my dad either in 1979 or 1980.”

Lianne Douglas’ memories involved The Slipper and the Rose while Lynn Wilson Dodds remembers seeing “Bambi in Ocean Road.”

Neil C Nilsson took to Facebook to say that she went to see “The Cat From Outer Space. It was and still is a brilliant film”, while Stephanie Fulcher said: “My nana took my sister and me to Newcastle cinema when it came out.”

Away from the animated classics, many of you also have fond memories of Hollywood’s big-budget action films.

Sheila Tebble went to the ABC “to see Jaws with my mam and dad”, while Nigel Banks also “enjoyed” Jaws “which has kept me out of seawater to this day”.

Nikki Pattinson-Petterson went to see Star Wars and Planet of the Apes, while Linda Collier speaks of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Lisa Ridley went to the Focus “with my dad and brother to see Superman”, while Wend Price saw The Towering Inferno at the Focus.