Opening Night at the Hurstville Savoy, 1937

Hurstville Savoy, 1938. Image courtesy State Library NSW

Hurstville Savoy, 1937. Image courtesy State Library NSW

In preparation for a pretty major article on the Kogarah Mecca cinema, much of the research conjured up stories of Hurstville’s own Mecca. In their later years, both theatres shared an owner who named them both Mecca for the sake of uniformity, and that’s all I’d care to say about that particular topic. For decades, the Savoy was the jewel of Ormonde Parade, even after they built the Supa Centre in front of it. Nice going, fellas.

Opening night at the Savoy, 1937. Image courtesy State Library NSW

Opening night at the Savoy, 1937. Just think: each person is holding their own copy of this booklet. Image courtesy State Library NSW

In the beginning, however, the Hurstville Savoy was a triumph of Art Deco design, a massive artistic improvement over the rather pedestrian theatres that had entertained the suburb in years prior. The more I learned, the more shocked I was that such a structure ever existed in Hurstville as I know it today. Everything about the place seemed to radiate a sense of silver-screen Hollywood elegance, and nowhere was this more evident than the evening’s handsomely designed souvenir booklet.

Demolished in 1994, nothing remains of the theatre today, so this brochure is as close as we can get to the Savoy experience short of generating 1.21 gigawatts. Be amazed, and just keep telling yourself: it came from that Hurstville.

img026

img004

img007

img009

img010

img014

img015

img016

img017

img019

img020

img021

img023

img024

img025

Advertisements

6 responses

  1. I have memories of being taken here as a child in the 60s. A highlight was the Wurlitzer at the Saturday night session. I seem to recall it came up on a lift from under the stage complete with the organist already playing his heart out. A real showman if ever there was one.

  2. what memories, when I was about 12 as a boy we would go every Saturday arvo to the other cinema,the civic I think and watch the serials like the lone ranger etc and cartoons , and when we felt like been a bit posh we would go over to the savoy..very nice … .. those were the days my friend…….. the organ player was really special as well……. barry…..

    1. @Barry et al, did you swap comics at interval?. If you went to Hurstville Boys High the school would have it’s major meetings there.
      Arrh yes, those were the days. Saturday matinees at the Civic and evening screenings at the beautiful Savoy.

  3. My father-in-law, Len Hyde, was apprenticed to the projection room under Arthur Hewlett, and Stage Manager Alf Welsh, and remembers clearly all the activities needed to keep the cinema (also showing live shows on stage). There was also the great sound of the Wurlitzer organ, which once came off its screw and toppled sideways when being raised. Many other stories available, with a clear mind for his age, now 93, from Len.

  4. Absolute travesty that developers, with Council acquiescence, pulled it down in the name of commercial ‘modernisation’ – up there with Sydney City Council’s demolition of Walter Burly Griffin’s Pyrmont Incinator with its Aztec-inspired motifs. Both vandalising acts carried out as recently as the 1990s!

    BTW the owner of the Mecca & the Savoy at that time, previously owned the old Oatley Cinema which was one of the numerous early victims of picture house closures in Sydney (c. early 60s) due to the commencement of television.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: