Where Are They Now? 2015 Edition
As the sun sets on another wonderful year of staring longingly back into the past and more often than not wondering “why?”, it’s time to turn our attention to some of the places previously featured on PLOTNF. In the twilight of 2015, this terrible trio (or terrific trio, if you work there :D) are of interest entirely because they’ve all lost reason for being interesting.
Yes, if they’d have made these changes from day one, we might never have known the surprisingly philanthropic tale of Australian Plastic Fabricators…
We were attracted by its charitable red nose, and certainly not by its colour scheme. Perhaps sensing this, the APF crew sent around a collection jar of their own and coughed up for a new coat of paint.
They’re really married to that colour pairing, aren’t they? I wonder how it went down as they rediscovered the red nose during the painting. Did someone recognise it? Was there anyone left from 1995’s management team to say “Oh, that bloody thing’s still up there”? Did anyone make a joke about the boss having a redder nose than the building? Only the building knows for sure, and walls can’t talk – especially when they’re covered in a new coat of paint.
We might never have gone from A to…A with A Helen and her Pavalova Palalice…
Helen bought too many vowels.
For reasons we may never know, although perhaps tied to some kind of customer service trouble, Helen has decided to call it a day. Well, actually, if Helen was calling it, it’d be A A Day, wouldn’t it? Or A Aday. Or Daay. Hee hee, I could milk this all daay.
Props to you for finally showing some restraint, Helen, but alas, it’s too little too laate.
And perhaps saddest of all, we may never have known the story of the suburban movie house that became a…suburban movie house.
Formerly the Padstow Star, a cinema dating back to the early 1950s, Civic Padstow and its team of minimum wage teens serviced the entertainment needs of the area for over 30 years before finally shutting its doors last month.
The closing down sale was so drastic that even the shelves were cleared out.
Seeing this sad, empty lobby makes you wonder about the thousands of people who would have made their way up those steps over the decades, eagerly anticipating a few hours lost in a celluloid world of fun and excitement. And now that feeling will never exist there again.
Put your hand up if you’re the reason they had to add those disclaimers down the bottom. C’mon, you know who you are. Oh yes? You? Congratulations, you’re an idiot.
The light’s off, the plug’s been pulled, the register’s empty and overdue fees will be waived.
Goodbye 2015, hello 2016 and all the wondrous stories of past livin’ ahead of us. Happy new year, folks.
Paramount Theatre/Civic Video – South Hurstville, NSW
In the second such instance, Civic Video has taken up residence in a former cinema. This time, the Paramount Theatre of South Hurstville continues to provide movies to the public through the video chain. Let’s take a closer look.
The Paramount was built in 1934, joining a sister cinema at Mortdale (since demolished) and only four other picture theatres in the Kogarah/Hurstville region: the Odeon at Carlton, the Oatley Radio, the Hurstville Savoy and the Kogarah Victory being the others. It’s a pretty damn big building, with a seating capacity of 1,100 when it was built. In 1950, that old vaudeville villain Hoyts (boo, hiss) bought the theatre and renamed it the Hoyts. Sounds much better too, doesn’t it? Hoyts closed the theatre in 1959 (I’m growing more and more convinced there was some kind of Hoyts conspiracy to buy up the suburban cinemas in order to get people to head into the city). Hoyts made sure that a covenant in the sales contract ensured the building could never again be used as a cinema.
Since 1959 it’s been used as a recreation centre, a supermarket and a giant Civic. In the last ten years as video shops have declined, Civic has cut down on its floorspace, sharing with a Subway, a newsagent, a Curves gym and some kind of computer shop out the back. Cramming more into less space isn’t just a residential thing anymore.
CRUSTY UPDATE: Here’s a look at the Paramount in its heyday courtesy of reader Carmen. Thanks!
Padstow Star Cinema/Civic Video – Padstow, NSW
These days, we know it as Civic Video (or just Civic, if you go by the shopfront sign. I bet they’re dying to be able to remove the word ‘video’ from the rest of their signs, despite how cost ineffective that would be), but prior to 1984 this was the Padstow Star Cinema:
Built in 1952 as the sister cinema to the not-too-distant Panania Star, the Padstow Star was one of many suburban cinemas of old. It’s a concept you can barely imagine now, unless you live in Beverly Hills. In 1985 the cinema closed, with Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure being its last screening. See, Ewoks do ruin everything.
Ever since, it’s been a house of movies in a very different way:
The interior has been refurbished, but it’s still quite easy to see what it originally was. The screen is a dead giveaway:
The projection booth remains as well, and is now the manager’s office judging by the angry, managerial eyes staring out at me when I tried to take a picture of it. Given the impending death of video shops, it’ll be interesting to see if this building gets yet another lease on life in Civic’s wake, or whether the residents of Padstow will have to start drinking for entertainment on a Friday night, like the rest of us.
Civic Video/For Lease – Menai, NSW
Video shops have been in their death throes for longer than the dinosaurs were. It’s not just that better technology came along – VHS fended off advances from Beta and Laserdisc during its prime. Many video shops made the switch to DVD relatively painlessly, although it usually required a company name change. DVD Ezy just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
The death of this Civic in particular seems like it was protracted and painful – first it had to concede half its space to the Japanese before finally giving up the ghost, kinda like the USA’s auto industry in the 80s. Many video shops downsized as a first defence against the inevitable – DVDs take up less room on the shelves.
There weren’t any overdues lying on the floor inside. I’d say a few lucky individuals just scored themselves free scratched copies of The Real Cancun or Ice Age. The real reason video shops died out is because people suddenly realised they were sick of paying too much for DVDs that barely worked, sick of wasting time looking for titles shops didn’t have, and sick of trying to hide their tears as they glanced at the forlorn $1-each ex-rental VHS section. Yes, that collective realisation was Civic’s ice age.