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Odeon Leicester Square


ptindall
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Westminster Council has given permission for the demolition of the Odeon, Leicester Square, home of 'The Duchess,' one of the largest theatre organs. The Odeon is probably the last really big cinema in use as a cinema in England. Objections from English Heritage and the Ancient Monuments Society were ignored.

 

Not a very good idea.

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DON'T PANIC - it isn't quite what it seems!

 

It's the Odeon West End, not the Odeon Leicester Square:

 

Quote: The Odeon West End, from 1930 to 1988 known as Leicester Square Theatre, is a cinema on the south side of Leicester Square,

 

So the Duchess is safe (I've just consulted Donald Mackenzie, who confirms).

 

David Wyld

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Indeed - and I hope it continues to impress cinema-goers for many years to come.

 

We don't often hear about theater organs on this forum, but our kind hosts Manders are apparently in the middle of restoring what will be the biggest Wurlitzer in the UK, at the Troxy in Stepney:

 

http://www.organfax.co.uk/_store/_files/articles/OFA_P3O4I7Q69TH.pdf

 

There again, if my memory serves me correct it isn't the first time Manders have worked with Wurlitzer pipework (ducks for cover as the St Paul's Cathedral trumpet militaire makes its presence felt......)

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... It's the Odeon West End, not the Odeon Leicester Square:

 

Quote: The Odeon West End, from 1930 to 1988 known as Leicester Square Theatre, is a cinema on the south side of Leicester Square, ...

 

David Wyld

 

So were there originally two Odeon cinemas in Leicester Square?

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So were there originally two Odeon cinemas in Leicester Square?

Correct, the Odeon West End, from 1930 to 1988 known as Leicester Square Theatre, is a two-screen cinema on the south side of Leicester Square, London used for the BFI London Film Festival and occasional premiers. The Odean Leicester Square is the famous one with the Compton and the tall black monolith outside. It is proposed that the new hotel which will replace it will house a smaller two screen cinema in the basement apparently.

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Correct, the Odeon West End, from 1930 to 1988 known as Leicester Square Theatre, is a two-screen cinema on the south side of Leicester Square, London used for the BFI London Film Festival and occasional premiers. The Odean Leicester Square is the famous one with the Compton and the tall black monolith outside. It is proposed that the new hotel which will replace it will house a smaller two screen cinema in the basement apparently.

 

Ah - I see. Thank you for this.

 

I did once go to see a film at the Odeon, Leicester Square (the one which is not being demolished). I am embarrassed to admit that it was Tootsie, featuring Dustin Hoffman. (In my defence, my girlfriend wished to see it; this was not my choice.)

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I guess many of us have had an organ-related Epiphany of some kind which pointed us towards the instrument for life. Mine was at the age of about 14 and it was only one step removed from the organ in the Odeon, Leicester Square.

 

When its then resident organist, the late Gerald Shaw, came to Nottingham to perform on the splendid 4/22 Conacher organ in the Odeon there, my mother wrote to him (unbeknown to me) to ask if he might show me the instrument. Imagine my surprise when she announced that I did not have to go to school one morning, but instead had to get on a bus and present myself at the cinema (she had arranged the time off school as well!).

 

It was, of course, something I have never forgotten. Besides his awesome talents, Mr Shaw was one of the kindest men I have ever met - if he had not been, he would not have gone to so much trouble - and he gave me a lengthy private demonstration of the instrument as well as a complete tour of the 'works' including the blower and the two pipe chambers.

 

I think I ought also to say "thanks Mum" as well!

 

CEP

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I guess many of us have had an organ-related Epiphany of some kind

 

That reminds me of when I was at junior school (must be between 7 and 11 years of age) when, just prior to some sort of musical event at our local church, our teacher warned us that the music would be a little slower than we were used to because "the organ cannot play as quickly as Mr Feather (our deputy head) plays the piano"! :o

 

I remember even then feeling a little put out that someone should suggest that the organ could not 'keep up' with a piano so, presumably, I must have had some interest in the organ even earlier than that.

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