Wednesday, 3 February 2010

THE VIC - VICTORIA ROAD

Call it the Victoria, Vicky, Vic or flea-pit, but as picture house's go, it was quite low down in the pecking order of cinema's to visit.
It couldn't really compete with the blockbusters the ABC and Odeon screened regularly and so would often show movies that were on their 2nd or 3rd outing. Having said that, I did go there quite a lot in the 60's & 70's.
I have 2 not so good memories of the Vic...
Once, on a visit as a schoolkid in the 60's, me & my wee brother came back from a show with our heads covered in lice! Yep, the flea-pit tag struck with a vengeance that day. We had to use "special shampoo" and a nit comb for a few days afterwards!!
The other Vic nightmare was in the early 80's, when during a film, a huge chunk of plaster came crashing down off the ceiling. Luckily it landed around an empty area of seats beside the aisle rather than on someones noggin, but I clearly remember saying after the show - "That's the last time I'll be in this place" - and indeed it was.
Amazingly though, the Vic was the 2nd longest running cinema in Scotland, so I can only assume it's heyday was pre 60's.
The place was closed/condemned at the end of the 80's.

24 comments:

  1. Mad I remember going early 80's just before it closed down , the Balcony was condemned & was closed off but you were still allowed to watch films below it!
    Health & Safety ? Pffft!

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  2. i loved the vic. do you remember the crabbit doorman (owner??) in the purple suit who glowered at everyone going in. that's when you got an "A" film and a "B" film too.

    Happy days

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  3. I remember watching the Clashs 'Rude Boy' there, ah the memories

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  4. Ahhh Tracey yes. I remember the crabbit guy too...tubby bloke with a bow tie. I can see his face now like it was only a few months ago that he glowered at me!
    Despite it being a bit of a dump I remember going to see quite a few films there...National Lampoon's Animal House, Gregory's Girl, Chariots of Fire, Tron, Pirrannah(!) to name but a few.
    The queue for The Fly was so long that I didn't get in which, to be honest, I was quite pleased about - me being a gibbering wreck with scarey stuff!

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  5. I went once, to see the Three Fugitives. Still the only film I've ever been to see where the audience were in collective uproar at a funny bit (the scene with the cops and the street light)!

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  6. There was one time in the 70's when I was in the Vic and just as the movie was about to start, there was a bomb scare (hoax caller as usual) and we all had to vacate the premises. Before leaving the building, we all hung around the foyer waiting to get our money back, but the owner was having none of it. The best he could offer was for us to keep hold of the ticket stub and we would get in free if we came back to see the same film. Which I suppose is the same thing, but how many people did go back? I did, by the way!

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  7. I went there to see "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" back in 1989, which must have been just before it closed. I remember that there was a long queue outside - a busker with an eye for an opportunity walked up and down the pavement playing his harmonica.

    Lots of cinemas from my youth have either shut down or been knocked down altogether - the ABC, the Odeon, and the cinema in the Ferry next to the Occidental (now a car showroom) where I went to see "The Neverending Story". Shame.

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  8. Radio Tay's Caring For Kids had a Rocky Horror picture show night in there with an after show party in the Coconut Grove in the late 80's. A good night of fun was had by all.

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  9. Kevin from Altres was an usher there ! he used to terrorize the kids , this was after "the crabbit owner" sold it to a younger couple ....then it all went wrong ..memory going ..help me kevin !!
    last film i saw there was Jungle Book with Mike Duffy and the Flat Top Butch! (Scott) with a huge carry out , that was a laugh
    The Crabby owners Daughter , Beth , went on to run the Steps Theatre for years - wee bit of trivia.
    mike

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  10. I remember the cheerful welcoming owner :) There was a double bill of Bond movies once and the place was packed, how did he get more people in? Simple, just chuck out some of the unnacompanied kids who weren't doing anything wrong and give the seats to some adults.

    I also remember lying about my age to see Magnum Force and the reels were shown out of sequence.

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  11. I seem to remember being at someones house and they had a row of seats salvaged from the Vic when it closed down, might have been Mike & Kev's flat?

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  12. Phantom of the Flicks6 March 2010 at 13:08

    From the 1930s until his death in 1968 the Vic was owned by the Dundee based cinema magnate J.B. Milne whose circuit extended throughout Scotland from Galashiels to Lerwick. His Dundee cinemas included the Vic, Kinnaird (Bank Street),Regal (Small's Wynd), Ritz (Morgan Street), Royalty (Baffin Street),State (Bellfield Street),Plaza (Hilltown), Broadway (Arthurstone Terrace) and Regal (Broughty Ferry). In 1956 he built the Capitol (Seagate) which he sold in 1958 to ABC. After extensive alterations it reopened in 1959 as the ABC Dundee. The Vic was one of JBM's most popular Dundee cinemas. After his death, his cinemas were taken over by the Kirkcaldy based Kingsway Entertainments who refurbished the Vic during the 1970s. Kingsway eventually leased the cinema to an independent operator called Border Movies under whose management it rapidly declined. The building was eventually declared unsafe and demolished. I worked for J.B. Milne in the late 1960s at the Ritz and Plaza cinemas.

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  13. My used to work in the Vic... the "crabbit" owner was called Mr Ramsay.Lol

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  14. I saw "Rocky 4" at the Vic. We were about 5 people in the audience that night. It was raining out and there was water dropping in at various places, but the management had kindly placed Tupperware boxes here and there to catch them all. Anyway, the constant dripping didn't ruin my viewing of the (pretty awful let's face it) movie. No, it was the fact that middle reels of the film were shown "out of whack", with the top of the frame at the bottom of the screen, a big black band in the middle, and the bottom at the top. I still don't know how Rocky managed to beat Drago...

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  15. Great cinema! Went to the ABC to see Ghostbusters with my mate, he wasn't allowed in because he was under 15, went to the Vic and no problem getting in despite the massive, grumpy man who seemingly used to hate people coming into his cinema. Also remember Kev Guthrie being a well cool usher who was up for friendly chit chat at the door.
    Sure Laurel and Hardy visited the place back in the day, saw film of it on TV years ago.

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  16. the grumpy old guy was Bill Ramsay who was the manager of the vic the projectionist was alex miller a photo of bill ramsay and the projectionist in the press cuttings book for 89 in dundee central library when the vic was under threat of closure and was taken over by border cinemas.
    i visited the cinema once in the 70's the david galaxay affair pretty awful film! seem to remember you entered the stalls from the side not from the rear as with most cinemas dont know where the entrance to the balconies were seem to recall the balconies were still open at that time the projection room was at the back of the first balcony

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  17. Hi, I was thrilled to find this site and need everyones help. I am trying to trace my father who worked as a projectionist at the Vic along side his father victor rooke in the years between 68-71. Both father and son had the same job and would be so grateful if anyone who has any more info come forward.My name is Alison Yuill and my mother is Margaret Yuill who was dating Stuart at the time and also worked there as an usherette. Thank you. Email: aliciaray@live.co.uk

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  18. Alison Yuill? .. daughter of Margaret Yuill??? - fond memories indeed. You and I have met although you will have no recollection, given, you were just born and living with Mum in the family home in Beechwood. I knew your father in the passing but regret to inform, can shed no light on his whereabouts.

    Please convey my very very best wishes to your Mother whom I have not seen these forty-odd years. I think of her often.

    Alistair

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  19. remember going to see mature films shall we say while underage also remember the door man wuold rant if the que was noisy

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  20. I remember going to see a Bond double-bill on a Monday night in Feb 74 and they had the 'house full' sign outside. They used to show 'The Magnificent Seven' a lot too.

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  21. I worked in the Vic with Dougie McDade and liz Barrie in the late 70s Norman Barrie was the projectinist. Bill Ramsay was my Boss, he was a very nice man when u got to know him they showed a lot of arty films in the afternoon and the cinema was always packed with men especially when the emanuelle films were on.

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  22. I remember seeing a few movies at the Vic when I moved to Dundee in 84 aged 10. I managed to get banned from the place for screaming out RAT....im not sure why I got banned because one had just run over my foot! Anyway I got my revenge as my dad bought some of the stone from the demolition and the vic is now a set of steps in their back garden!

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  23. Yeah, it was a flea pit - but I liked it. The balconies were spooky, the seats were always suspiciously mildly damp and if you were brave enough to try the popcorn, well you are a better man than I was Gunga Din!

    My fondest memory was my friends and I skipping school (Morgan) one afternoon to go and see 'Confessions of a Window Cleaner' only for one of us to notice that our gym teacher was sat about three rows back from us!

    After the initial shock we suddenly twigged that he shouldn't have been there either! And a couple of the braver of us actually turned round and gave him a wave! :)

    Sadly I never visited the tiny theatre that was around the back of the Vic.

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    Replies
    1. Beaty, The Little Theatre, behind the Vic, is still going strong.

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