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The Pictures ?


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Seems to have been an almost common evening out for some boaters according to the books I read about the last of the working boatmen. Catching the latest cinema film. Also visting the municipal baths.

Edited by mark99
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I think Tom Foxon described the location of "The Pictures" in one of his two books on boating as a No1.  I don't  have them handy now, but IIRC it was somewhere between Saltley Junction and Minworth.

N

 

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1 hour ago, BEngo said:

I think Tom Foxon described the location of "The Pictures" in one of his two books on boating as a No1.  I don't  have them handy now, but IIRC it was somewhere between Saltley Junction and Minworth.

N

 

Thank you .

I've managed to find a ref in Maidens trip, putting it on the Bottom road which confirms the same, I'll go look in Tom foxon's

Tim 

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Found the reference above:

 

 Pearson Edition,  Tom Foxon: No1 p67.

"Between Butlers and Holly Lane bridges.........Grand Union boatmen used to refer to this place as 'The Pictures'."  It appears to have been a deep length adjacent to Constructors Ltd.

 

N

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12 minutes ago, BEngo said:

Found the reference above:

 

 Pearson Edition,  Tom Foxon: No1 p67.

"Between Butlers and Holly Lane bridges.........Grand Union boatmen used to refer to this place as 'The Pictures'."  It appears to have been a deep length adjacent to Constructors Ltd.

 

N

Found it ! , goes on to say when tied up there he visited the local ' Flea pit ' . I heard that expression a few times as a boy..

THANKS AGAIN Tim.

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I'd never heard of this reference before and I've been puzzling why boatmen should stop there instead of going to the pictures in the centre of Birmingham.

But of course the cinemas in the city centre were quite a walk from Sampson Road or Camp Hill top. 

I've done a bit of googling and there was a cinema literally just across the road from the canal  on Kingsbury Road- so possibly the closest to the boatmens' route anywhere in the area.

It was called the Apollo and it opened in 1930 and closed in 1960, being demolished shortly afterwards. OS map and photos attached (all from the net).

Boaters could have moored on the wharf, walked out of the wharf gates, crossed the road and they were there.1536657547_aerialview1930.JPG.9fe4437804a2c152e5a4947f06506a04.JPG1566778457_Apollo1937.JPG.75a65a1aa222d6017e2c9bd60bb4b7ff.JPGphoto.JPG.54f68d6ed36ce3403bb1f0e0eae03b1c.JPG

 

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The Pictures is an interesting phrase.  In my experience it is reasonbly common in some circles - but rather derided in others where it is viewed as baby-talk for cinema.

 

I wonder if the term arose from a distinction with alternative forms of entertainment, such as the music hall.  And whether it pre- or post-dates "the talkies"?

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If that cinema was built in 1930 then it was probably equipped for 'talkies' from the start, and if not it would soon have been so.  According to Wikipedia over 60% of British cinemas were fitted for sound by the end of 1930.

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It was always "The Pictures" in my part of East London in the 1950's, when referrng to picture palaces in general, never "The Cinema" or "The Flicks".  

Edited by Ronaldo47
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'The Flicks', most likely due to the flickering images of early cinema. And who as a child didn't draw a series of matchstick men in different stances on numerous pieces of paper, then flick them with one finger whilst holding them in the other hand to see the drawn image move!

 

The Movies. Motion pictures projected on a screen - the 'pictures'.

 

Saturday morning 'pictures' was always a favourite. Sixpence was the entrance fee, cowboys & Indians, science fiction with bean can space ships with sparklers for 'propulsion', and if you were 'rich' and didn't mind queuing, a tiny tub of ice cream (with the bottom very near the top!) from the girl at the front during the 'intermission'. Red velvet covered fold-up sprung seats on cast iron frames - watch your fingers! Being guided by a torch to your seat after lights down - always a thrill.

 

Gaumont, Odeon, The Ritz, The Palace, Apollo, The Empire, The Rex. Our local Rex was always called the Flea Pit. Lots were former theatres come music halls that installed the big screen and the management began installing 'sound'. Our Odeon still had the organist playing upon entry, to sink down out of sight upon the beginning of the show, always preceded by a Pathé News clip.

 

Then came television. No queuing, and a jam sandwich & tea while watching. So few years ago. The Gaumont became a Bingo hall and later an ethnic Church, stripped of former glory, but the memories remain. Everything passes eventually.

Edited by Derek R.
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On 18/05/2021 at 12:48, John Brightley said:

I'd never heard of this reference before and I've been puzzling why boatmen should stop there instead of going to the pictures in the centre of Birmingham.

But of course the cinemas in the city centre were quite a walk from Sampson Road or Camp Hill top. 

I've done a bit of googling and there was a cinema literally just across the road from the canal  on Kingsbury Road- so possibly the closest to the boatmens' route anywhere in the area.

It was called the Apollo and it opened in 1930 and closed in 1960, being demolished shortly afterwards. OS map and photos attached (all from the net).

Boaters could have moored on the wharf, walked out of the wharf gates, crossed the road and they were there.1536657547_aerialview1930.JPG.9fe4437804a2c152e5a4947f06506a04.JPG1566778457_Apollo1937.JPG.75a65a1aa222d6017e2c9bd60bb4b7ff.JPGphoto.JPG.54f68d6ed36ce3403bb1f0e0eae03b1c.JPG

 

Absolutely superb, nice one.

Tim

 

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20 hours ago, Tacet said:

The Pictures is an interesting phrase.  In my experience it is reasonbly common in some circles - but rather derided in others where it is viewed as baby-talk for cinema.

 

I wonder if the term arose from a distinction with alternative forms of entertainment, such as the music hall.  And whether it pre- or post-dates "the talkies"?

Certainly when I was a boy in Sheffield in the early '60s people spoke of "Going to the pictures". "Talkies" was an outmoded word by then, because nearly all fiulms had been talkies for the last 30 years.

   I do remember "flicks" being used. When I was at university the Students' Union always showed a "Sunday Flick". But that word too became outmoded - until revived big-time in recent years by Netflix.

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The image did flicker noticeably  in the very early days of cinema, when projectors were effectively cameras in reverse, with a single shutter that obscured the film gate when the film was being transported to show the next frame at around 16 frames per second. The problem was solved well before the First World War by the invention of the multi-blade shutter with 3 (sometimes 4) blades to produce 48 (or 64) flicks per second with a 16 frames per second silent film film.  When the talkies came in, they upped the frame rate to 24, not to reduce flicker, but to increase the linear speed of the film in order to achieve an acceptable frequency response with the optical sound track.  A two-bladed shutter was used rather than a three-bladed one in order to obtain the 48 flicks per second of silent films while producing as bright an image as possible.

 

A silent film projected using a silent film projector shouldn't exhibit flicker, and I suspect that the special effects that many TV programs use in a misguided attempt to simulate silent film, have never seen one projected properly. Showing a silent film at its correct speed with the 2 - bladed shutter of a standard sound projector does however produce a noticeable 32 flicks per second, and Bell & Howell for one, used to offer a three-bladed shutter option for their 16mm sound projectors for flicker-free projection of silent films.

 

 

 

Edited by Ronaldo47
typos
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I'm nearly 75, and I went to the Pictures regularly in my teens - the 1950s-1960s.  I lived in a Thames-side town in Buckinghamshire, and going to the cinema was universally known as "going to the Pictures".  The Flicks was hardly used, and was a slang term.

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2 hours ago, Hastings said:

I'm nearly 75, and I went to the Pictures regularly in my teens - the 1950s-1960s.  I lived in a Thames-side town in Buckinghamshire, and going to the cinema was universally known as "going to the Pictures".  The Flicks was hardly used, and was a slang term.

And we referred to the film itself as a picture, as in "That was a  good picture".  The use of "pictures" to describe cinemas and the films they showed has quite an exalted pedigree.  The 'Oscars' are award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

 

Edited by Tom Morgan
correct my grammar!
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On 19/05/2021 at 23:43, Ronaldo47 said:

The image did flicker noticeably  in the very early days of cinema, when projectors were effectively cameras in reverse, with a single shutter that obscured the film gate when the film was being transported to show the next frame at around 16 frames per second. The problem was solved well before the First World War by the invention of the multi-blade shutter with 3 (sometimes 4) blades to produce 48 (or 64) flicks per second with a 16 frames per second silent film film.  When the talkies came in, they upped the frame rate to 24, not to reduce flicker, but to increase the linear speed of the film in order to achieve an acceptable frequency response with the optical sound track.  A two-bladed shutter was used rather than a three-bladed one in order to obtain the 48 flicks per second of silent films while producing as bright an image as possible.

 

A silent film projected using a silent film projector shouldn't exhibit flicker, and I suspect that the special effects that many TV programs use in a misguided attempt to simulate silent film, have never seen one projected properly. Showing a silent film at its correct speed with the 2 - bladed shutter of a standard sound projector does however produce a noticeable 32 flicks per second, and Bell & Howell for one, used to offer a three-bladed shutter option for their 16mm sound projectors for flicker-free projection of silent films.

 

 

 

Excellent, all of that was completely new to me, thanks for that

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Heres some of my source material,  from 1923 and 1949. I guess once a satisfactory standard had been developed, there wasn't much need for  further research, or interest in how the estabished systems had been derived. The 1923 article (from a 5-volume edition that I found in the library at work) is the only place I have seen any mention of the early research into flicker elimination. 

 

I have seen several assertions in the popular press that the 24fps speed was introduced to reduce flicker.  If flicker had been a problem, then the three-bladed silent film shutter would have continued to be used. The more blades, the greater the  loss of illumination, and as only two blades were needed for flicker-free projection of sound films, once silent films were no longer being distributed to theatres, two bladed shutters could be adopted to provide as bright a picture as possible.

 

Kinematograph 1923.pdf Ilford Cine 1949.pdf

 

Edited by Ronaldo47
typos
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