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Remembering Saturday morning cinema club in the swinging '60s

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Martin Talbot (left) admires the ABC Minors anniversary cake at the ABC Carters Green,1965

  • ABC Minors badge

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THESE pictures come to us from Pete Hill of West Bromwich and his old pal Martin Talbot, who now lives in Telford. They are a reminder of the special Saturday morning clubs for children that were once run by cinemas across the country.

Pete and Martin were old school friends and both attended the Manor High School in Wednesbury but they had not seen each other for 42 years until they were reunited thanks to a popular website.

When they met up Martin gave Pete this photograph and that prompted him to dig out his old ABC Minors membership badge.

This picture was taken at the ABC cinema in Carters Green, West Bromwich in around 1965 when Martin would have been about 10 years old.

Martin writes, "The story is, Victor Johnson and I used to sit upstairs on the back row so when the flicks finished we could run down the stairs and be the first out.

"Victor's mom worked in the Clock Tower restaurant in Carters Green and we would have a plate of chips after the ABC.

"One day at the ABC I got a tap on the shoulder and was taken to the manager's office where we had this picture taken. I don't know who the girl was and I didn't get any cake.

"I then returned a week late and was given the photograph."

The ABC cinema at Carters Green opened in 1935 as the Tower and its first feature was Alfred Hitchcock'sThe 39 Steps, starring West Bromwich-born Madeleine Carroll. The ABC chain bought the cinema the following year but it did not change name until 1961.

The ABC Minors began in the 1940s and was the first major Saturday morning cinema club for children. You may remember the ABC Minors song that began every session, with the lyrics on screen with a bouncing red ball for the audience to sing along to, to the tune of Blaze Away by Abe Holzmann.

The ABC Carters Green closed on December 28, 1968, reopening a few weeks later as a bingo club. This closed in the late 1970s and the building was demolished in the mid '90s.

Do you remember the Saturday morning club at your local cinema? Were you an ABC Minor? Send in any pictures or memories you have to editor@blackcountrybugle .co.uk or write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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