Tuesday, 2 February 2010


This ad for the Tivoli dates from the late 60's.
It was a place I never went to, so don't know much about it other than the thing everyone knows, it was the place to go see X-rated blue movies!
In fact I didn't even realise it was licensed until I saw this ad. If I had known you could get a pint, I may have visited it out of curiosity!
Below is a very short clip of film, also from the late 60's, showing the Tivoli's position in Bonnybank Road.
The cinema closed down around the mid/late 70's, and lay empty for a while before it changed into a snooker hall.



  1. What a place! I am sure many will remember sitting through what seemed like hours of turgid foreign dross in the hope of a brief flash of naughty bits.
    On a happier note, I remember the bar there as having a particularly good pint of McEwan's Export.

  2. the tiv didnt show x rated blue movies. as the ad says, they were continental films. because there was a bit more flesh, and simulated sex, it got the reputation of being a pervs place.
    in there original form, the films probably did have a lot more in them, but by the time the censors were finished, they were about the same as the adventures of a taxi driver type film.
    i went to see the robert crumb animated film fritz the cat at the tiv, the only cinema that would show it, and you only had to breathe in to get stoned.

  3. Had an air of mystic to a 14 year old lol... Again, wish it was still there. Well it is but about to be demolished for housing...

  4. Didn't they have glass show cabinets outside showing stills from forthcoming movies? a wee bit "continental" flesh ;) and even more mutilated faces from some weird horror movies! i'm sure i remember making an effort to go past just to see the latest gore pic!!!! :)

  5. I remember going to the Tivoli in the 1960's,and lying about my age to get in. Sometime the black and white still photographs in the outside show cabinets held some secret promise of explicit nude scenes. But in prudish Britain there was no chance.It was a mystery to me that anybody would want to watch such boring films.

  6. Phantom of the Flicks5 March 2010 at 13:59

    Mr and Mrs Smith who owned the Tivoli were a charming and welcoming couple. Coffee was served in china cups which could be taken into the auditorium. Seating was in the stadium style with a raised section to the rear. Unusually the auditorium lighting came on or off, there were no dimmers to fade or raise the lighting, the only cinema in which I have come across this system. In the era before video, the Tiv was often the only place to view European or overseas films which were denied a wide release. True, some were marketed for their titillation value, many were good, interesting films. The Tivoli was unable to access new mainstream films which went first to the ABC, Odeon and Gaumont, then to the nearby Plaza and Vic, by which time there would have been no life left in them for the Tiv.

  7. I used to go to The Tivoli Every Saturday night with my girlfriend, and had many a happy time in the back seats. There was allways the chance of seeing a wee flash of skin on screen; but I usually missed it. During the interval it was great to have a drink in the bar. After it closed down, and before it was a snooker club it became Dundee Health Service Social Club; however this eventually flopped. I remember the subscription was taken every month from my meagre male nurse salary. Despite not having the comforts of the modern cinimas, I look back to The Tivoli with great affection, and somewhat through rose tinted glasses. IT IS MISSED.

  8. Yes it did show X-rated films. Check the Courier/Evening Tele ads for the late 70s to see exactly what audience it was aiming for

  9. As a kid growing up in 1960s Dundee I remember looking at the Tiv with prepubescent awe. My older brother did visit the 'shine' and he remembered the back row of 'flasher mac' middle aged blokes. This and the Victoria were my two closest cinemas - I lived on William Street - and I remember that the Vic was just as popular when it showed the 'Confessions' films (we skipped school to go and see Confession of a WIndow Cleaner).

  10. I lived round the corner in nelson St and we - oor gang used to look at the picures in the glass cabinets - but only at night....we were always too scared to look closely through the day in case we were seen by our mum's. But we would snicker at men going in from a safe hiding place!
    I loved the Tiv. It was colourful and all fancy lights! I went there to see Emanuelle but it felt like a different place by that time, because I had grown up!
    I cant believe it's been demolished. Then again. I can. Dundee never knows what it has :(

  11. @juneable The Tivoli hasn't been demolished yet, it's still intact as the snooker hall. Planning permission was granted for housing but the financial climate seems to have put a hold on that for the forseeable future.