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The opening night souvenir programme for the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, 20th of December 1937

The opening night souvenir programme for the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, 20th of December 1937

The Story of the Gaumont State

A sketch of the site of the Gaumont State, kilburn shortly before it was erected

Above - A sketch of the site of the Gaumont State, kilburn shortly before it was erected

The Story of the Gaumont StateTHE site on which the " Gaumont State," another epic of British brain, labour and capital, has been constructed, is in a spot around which the history of the district has always revolved, and much detailed negotiation was necessary before the Gaumont Super Cinemas Ltd. acquired this magnificent position for their dream project, Europe's Greatest Theatre.

The property included shops, houses and factories, covering a total space of 75,000 square feet, and the actual work was begun over two years ago, and it is a matter of interest to note that 1,000 men have been continuously employed during this period.

The interior of this mammoth building is luxuriously decorated and fitted, containing many features not previously introduced to cinemas in this country. A detailed description of this remarkable theatre would appear unnecessary, as the building is here for all to see. It is therefore the object of the following few remarks to call your attention to the matters of interest.

The entrance front in the High Road is dominated by an enormous and stately tower, which is over 100 feet high, and its neon lighting is visible for miles around. From this tower Van Dam and his State Broadcasting Orchestra will regularly broadcast. It is the first time in the history of the cinema that a special broadcasting studio, approved by the B.B.C., has been incorporated.

The Gaumont StateOn entering the theatre through the large vestibule, one is immediately impressed by the beautiful marble hall, with its gold leaf decoration, pink mirrors, glittering candelabra and magnificent marble staircase.

Passing into the auditorium, one is awed by its vastness, but comforted by the feeling of intimacy conveyed by its subtle decoration.

It is to be noted that sufficient waiting room has been provided to accommodate the exact amount of people the theatre seats, and therefore it is possible to have inside the building all the patrons waiting for the next performance. We have a delightfully decorated and tastefully furnished circle lounge where patrons may rest or wait to meet their friends, and for the ladies there is at hand a Cosmetic Parlour which we know will meet with feminine approval.

It would be impossible to adequately describe the many technical wonders in the theatre, but it is sufficient to say that nothing has been forgotten, and all units are of the very latest design, and in some cases being used for the first time in any theatre.

Progress marches onward, inspired and urged by the changing need of new times. And so to-day we are proud to welcome you to this, the latest and most sumptuous palace of entertainment.

The Foyer of the Gaumont State, Kilburn

Above - The Foyer of the Gaumont State, Kilburn

The Directors

The Directors of the Gaumont State

PHILIP HYAMS - MARK OSTRER - SID HYAMS - MAURICE OSTRER - MAJOR A. J. GALE - ARTHUR W. JARRATT. The Directors extend to you their best wishes, and trust that you will enjoy the show.

The Construction

THE patron viewing the theatre for the first time sees before him a finished and furnished building, complete with every con- ceivable mechanical device and equipment for his comfort and entertainment. He may not appreciate, as I do, the years of labour and thought which have been given to accomplish this end.

Before a brick could be laid, some hundreds of drawings had to be prepared, reams of calculations had to be made and months of negotiations with public authorities, contractors and sub-contractors were necessary. Once these were complete and the Contractor engaged, the great venture of building started. Then came the task of controlling and co-ordinating the thousands of men engaged both on the site and on work in connection with the building and equipping of the theatre.

I would like to place on record my appreciation of the whole-hearted co-operation I have received from everybody concerned, the County and Local Authorities, my Consultants, Contractor and sub-Contractors, and especially Mr. Charles Saunders, the Clerk of Works, for his untiring efforts and tact.

Last week the public inspection of the theatre took place, which was in a simile like the launching of a great liner. To-night it sets out on its maiden trip. I wish it bon voyage and feel certain that a theatre built in such harmonious conditions cannot fail to give pleasure and entertainment to all who enter its doors.

The Theatre Controller of Gaumont Super Cinemas Ltd. introduces our General Manager

The Theatre Controller of Gaumont Super Cinemas Ltd. introduces our General Manager - MICK HYAMS - LESLIE M. POSNER

MICK HYAMS - LESLIE M. POSNER

Mick Hyams, Theatre Controller of Gaumont Super Cinemas Ltd., has for the past twelve years trained what is considered to be the most efficient and capable staff in the cinema world. They are now all gathered under this roof in a suite of offices built to control the rapidly growing super cinema circuit. Mr. Mick, as he is known to some 1,200 of his employees, is proud of his achievement and takes pleasure in introducing to you the man chosen as General Manager of this palatial house.

Leslie M. Posner, whose wide and varied experience both in America with the world-renowned Fox Theatre Corporation and in this country, will stand him in good stead in managing Europe's largest and most luxurious theatre. Few people realize the significance of the vast responsibility vested in him, the numerous departments under his direct control, and the large staff necessary to man this colossal venture.

He comes to the State after several years as General Manager of the Trocadero and Troxy.

Our Guests of Honour

Henry Hall, Larry Adler, Gracie Fields, George Formby, Carroll Levis, Vic Oliver, and Stone & Lee

Above - Guests of Honour at the opening of the Gaumont State, Kilburn - Henry Hall, Larry Adler, Gracie Fields, George Formby, Carroll Levis, Vic Oliver, and Stone & Lee

His Worship the Mayor of Willesden

His Worship the Mayor of Wilsdon

On the occasion of the opening of the Gaumont State Cinema, may I take the opportunity of wishing you every success in your most ambitious new venture.

As Mayor of the Borough of Willesden, I am proud to be associated with this splendid new home of entertainment, and trust your enterprise will be attended with the success it so richly deserves.

Yours very truly.

Mayor.

Gaumont State Restaurant

The Gaumont State Restaurant

Above - The Gaumont State Restaurant

OUR RESTAURANT will become one of the most popular rendezvous where you can arrange to meet your friends and partake of excellent food in luxurious and comfortable surroundings. Extensive kitchens equipped with the latest culinary devices for quick and efficient service and capable of catering for 300 people are provided.

The management of the Restaurant will be under our personal control, thereby assuring patrons of personal care and attention to all details for their comfort.

All refreshments served in the Restaurant will be prepared on the premises by a qualified and competent staff, no mass production methods will be used in the preparation of meals — every order will be specially prepared. You may be absolutely certain that whatever you choose from the menu will be positively fresh and pure; all perishable foods will be kept free from contamination in a spacious refrigerator.

Make the Restaurant your rendezvous, entertain your friends here, you will find the menu attractive and the charges extremely moderate.

The Story of the Site

By VICTOR J. KEMPNER, F.C.I.A.

The Story of the SiteIn September of 1933, I had an idea that Kilburn, in which district I was born, was in great need of a Super Cinema offering modern comforts which would satisfy the demands of its rapidly increasing population. Until this time Kilburn and Brondesbury had not seen a new Cinema erected since 1914, in which year the Grange Cinema was built.

The great difficulty was to find a suitable site, this area being so well built up and the shops very established. After negotiations, which lasted over a year, I created a site comprising numerous shops and factories which I considered ideal for the purpose in mind. However, at this stage I was confronted by the natural desires of many vendors concerned — obsessed with the vision of a speedy retirement to Bournemouth.

The next problem was, who could most satisfactorily carry out such a project. Gaumont Super Cinemas Ltd., appeared to have Directors whose names were famous for " big things," and I accordingly approached them. Then, with the co-operation of their Architect, Mr. George Coles and the advice of Mr. R. Schapiro their Solicitor, the scheme was considered in its entirety. Upon further investigation we agreed that North-West London was deserving of a mammoth Cinema which would have a gigantic seating capacity and should be, as it is, the greatest Cinema in Europe, therefore the site was not big enough.

A sketch of the site of the Gaumont State, kilburn shortly before it was erected

Above - A sketch of the site of the Gaumont State, kilburn shortly before it was erected

I was thereupon instructed to obtain additional properties, and after a further year of complicated and delicate negotiation, the site was purchased. Nevertheless numerous other difficulties had to be overcome before this great palace of entertainment could be built.

I am, naturally, extremely proud to have been associated with this wonderful theatre, and Victor J. Kempner, Barton & Co., join with me in wishing THE GAUMONT STATE every success.

VICTOR J. KEMPNER, BARTON & CO.,
VICTOR J. KEMPNER, F.C.I.A., A.A.L.P.A.
EDWARD H. BARTON, P.A.S I., AAI, Chartered Surveyor.
CINEMA & SHOP PROPERTY SPECIALISTS
8, CONDUIT STREET, LONDON, W.I.
MAYFAIR 6565

Organist and Musical Director

Organist and Musical Director -  "TORCH !" VAN DAM

"TORCH !" VAN DAM

Our famous broadcasting and recording organist . . . . commenced his career with the Hyams Brothers' first super . . . . Broadway, Stratford, in 1927 . . . . considered greatest exponent of syncopation on the cinema organ . . . . organist at the Regal, Marble Arch . . . . Metropole, Victoria . . . . and the Regal, Edmonton . . . . recording artist of long standing for Columbia , always on the air . . . . will have as his musical colleagues . . .

Van Dam and his Gaumont State broadcasting orchestra . . . . Van has reigned at the famous Trocadero, Elephant and Castle, as musical director for the past seven years . . . . broadcast weekly for the past four years . . . also on the air from Luxembourg .. .. and of course the Gaumont State. Has conducted Opera, Dance Bands, Variety, etc without a doubt the most versatile musician in the country.

Grand Opening Ceremony

Grand Opening Ceremony

Grand Opening Ceremony

Grand Opening Ceremony

 

6.45 THE BAND OF H.M. GRENADIER GUARDS.

DIRECTOR OF MUSIC : MAJOR GEORGE J. MILLER, M.B.E.

7.30 OPENING CEREMONY AND PAGEANT OF EMPIRE. TRUMPETS AND DRUMS OF H.M. GRENADIER GUARDS. PIPES AND DRUMS OF H.M. SCOTS GUARDS.

7.38 HIS MAJESTY THE KING.

7.40 " TORCH " AT THE WURLITZER.

SCREEN EFFECTS BY PERCY PILGRIM AND ERNEST HURRY.

8.0 OUR BROADCAST:

8.45

*GRACIE FIELDS.

* HENRY HALL AND HIS ORCHESTRA.

* GEORGE FORMBY.

* LARRY ADLER.

*VIC OLIVER, OUR COMPERE.

* STONE AND LEE.

"TORCH" WITH VAN DAM AND HIS STATE

BROADCASTING ORCHESTRA.

8.45 HENRY HALL AND HIS ORCHESTRA.

9.20 FORTHCOMING ATTRACTIONS

9.30 GAUMONT BRITISH NEWS.

9.40 "SAID O'REILLY TO McNAB." Featuring WILL

MAHONEY AND WILL FYFFE.

11.4 THE KING.

Gaumont State Efficiency

A Glimpse Behind the Scenes

Gaumont State EfficiencyOne of the main reasons why you will always find that the Stage Shows at Gaumont Super Cinemas run with such polished efficiency is because the whole of the performance is controlled by one man who, whether it is rehearsal or actual production, is seated in the circle of the theatre where he can see and direct the show from the point of view of the audience. To do this he must be able to give instantaneous instructions to all the strategic points in the theatre, and this he does with the greatest simplicity by the use of a Standard Rehearsal System.

Immediately in front of him is a small control panel, actually only about half the size of this page, to which is connected a hand microtelephone very similar to that found on the latest type of Post Office telephone. By using this handset and operating appropriate switches on his control panel, he can talk at will to his stage manager on the prompt side of the stage, to the stage hands on the opposite side of the stage, to the engineer at the lighting switchboard, to the operators in the projection room, and to the operators in the spot room, either individually or collectively. He must not disturb the members of the audience who sit near him, so he speaks in the merest whisper, but for all that his voice comes out clearly from loudspeakers situated at these points. A microphone is provided near each loudspeaker so that, if a reply is necessary, his assistants can answer him without having to interrupt their duties in any way, and without even having to use their hands. Should he feel it necessary to speak to some individual privately, then, by operating a switch and still using the same telephone handset he can call and speak to telephone sets fitted at all these points. Could there be any better or simpler method of controlling any theatrical production?

A Standard Rehearsal System is fitted in this theatre which is also equipped with a private Automatic Telephone Exchange, enabling telephone communication to be established between the forty-five telephone sets fitted throughout the building. Here also, in order that the time of the Management may be saved, six of the executives have loud-speaking telephones connected to this automatic system but with an additional facility. By merely operating a switch and without even having to dial, these executives can be in instant touch with the twelve most important members of their staff.

Standard Telephones and Cables Limited, the designers and manufacturers of these systems, are proud to have taken part in the task of equipping this beautiful theatre.

For your Immediate Entertainment

For your Immediate Entertainment

Wurlitzer

A Stately Organ For A Stately Theatre

Wurlitzer - A Stately Organ For A Stately Theatre

The Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

General Information

Gaumont State General Information

More Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

The Revolving Stage at the opening of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in 1937

Above - The Revolving Stage at the opening of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in 1937

More Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Gaumont State Contractor Credits

Back of Programme

The above text and images come from the Opening Souvenir Programme for the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn on the 20th of December 1937 - (C) The Arthur Lloyd Archive 2009.

Click here to see the opening 'Tour of the Theatre' Programme plus many more images.
Click here to see tickets for the opening of the Gaumont State on December 20th 1937.
Click here to Return to the Gaumont State, Kilburn' main Page on this site.

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