Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Caversham Heights Society

MEMBERS were taken on a really nostalgic trip down memory lane on February

MEMBERS were taken on a really nostalgic trip down memory lane on February 3 as Tony King gave a talk called “Shadows on the wall”.

This was an exploration of the history of cinema from the early magic lantern shows in the 17th century and through the early days of film, begun by Thomas Edison in America in the 1880s, then the heyday of films in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties, to the challenge of television and the decline and closure of cinemas in the Eighties and Nineties.

Tony rounded off his talk by discussing the resurgence of both cinemas and films in the multiplex venues of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

We were told about the early pioneers of cinematography, the reasons for the growth of the film industry in Hollywood and the characters who sponsored both films and lavish theatres/cinemas, especially in America but quickly followed by similar developments in the UK.

Surprisingly, many Jews from Eastern Europe were involved in funding and developing the industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

We learnt about Movie- tone, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and Twentieth Century Fox in America and J Arthur Rank, Pathe News and Ealing Productions in the UK.

Throughout his talk Tony showed us clips from some of the greatest and most memorable films made during each decade, reminding us of what we had been watching during our more youthful and maturing years!

Not only was the evening entertaining and enthralling but the whole talk was well-researched and presented. Many members commented that this was one of the best evenings that the society had had — no small accolade. The second talk of the month, on February 17, was much more local but none- theless informative.

Martin Butler talked about The League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

He told about how the organisation had come into being, its fund-raising activities, the variety and amount of equipment that it had provided the hospital, much of it quite critical as well as important, and the role of the volunteers who helped to keep patients happy with drinks and newspapers to keep morale high.

Since there were quite a number of League of Friends volunteers in the audience this was an evening that was very much appreciated.

The society holds its meetings on alternate Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm, after coffee and biscuits, in the hall at Caversham Heights Methodist Church in Highmoor Road. New members are always welcome and enquiries should be made to Jill Hodges on 0118 959 5307 or visit www.cav-hts-soc.fsnet.co.uk

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