Sunday, 25 February 2018

MOVIES! MOVIES! MOVIES! PART 3 1985 - 1990 BURRILL LAKE OPEN AIR THEATRE MOVIE GUIDES "SEE THE STARS"

MOVIES! MOVIES! MOVIES!

BURRILL LAKE OPEN-AIR THEATRE GUIDES
FOR ALL YOU MOVIE BUFFS OUT THERE!!!!!

PART 3: 1985 - 1990

WHEN "SEE THE STARS" TOOK OVER

   






An historic article showing the problems of the original entry....pity.



Click on the NOW SHOWING tag above to see my original 2005 fun trailer for my doco,
MAGIC LANTERN - a memory of Burrill Lake Open Air Theatre.....

AND

SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL BY WATCHING A SHORT FILM AND CLICK ON THE RED "SUBSCRIBE" BUTTON. IT'S FREE TO JOIN AND ENJOY WITH OVER 450 SHORT FILMS TAKEN OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS...YIKES!!


And here's the doco which helps explain how myself and two friends came in as partners (as also featured in Part 1... but hey, never let an opportunity pass by to plug a piece of history and for looks on the film!!!!)


MAGIC LANTERN - A MEMORY OF BURRILL LAKE OPEN AIR THEATRE



As the doco explains, myself, Alan Bond, Don Friend and Jim Davis were given the opportunity to take over the lease of the theatre in 1985.


So we formed a company name, "SEE THE STARS", on the screen and in the night sky!!



A local newspaper's articles about our enthusiastic enterprise.

It sure was a learning curve!!

First of all we had to get a loan ($5,000) each to pay up the first year's rent (600 bucks a month...!!) but importantly to buy better movie projectors, new screen and whatever else we needed to do, like throw away a lot of money on film hire!!!!

We made one BIG mistake.... we knew the theatre was popular during school holidays, but thought it would also be like that out of season!! Boy were we wrong...

A lot of locals were pleased that it fell into our hands, with even some saying it would have been a shame to see it close... but the trouble is, locals never came!!!

We also got rid of all the annoying pinball machines that inhabited the theatre foyer from the previous tenant. We put an old projector and other movie equipment in the foyer for display.

So we quickly learnt to cater for the holidays with the theatre virtually surround by holiday camping areas ensuring plenty of people around. No DVDs, no internet, no iPads, no Tablets, no Tricorders (except in Star Trek movies!!), no mobiles... God how did we live and keep ourselves occupied????!!!!!

We also learnt that the busiest period were the Christmas/ New Year School holidays.

So initially, Don did the design of our program guides (with the year on them which makes this Part 3 a lot easier to put together in the right order!!!!)

Jim looked after the accounts.... and I did the booking of films and promotion (plus being a printer, I was able to print the program guides at work...)

So the weekend before any holiday period we would go down on a Friday night, stay at my family's holiday home at Dolphin Point then prepare to do our movie guide program drop from Lake Conjola to Bawley Point and every shop and camping area in between!!!

We split the route in two starting in busy Ulladulla, and Don and Jim (if he was with us) would head north to Conjola and I would head south to Bawley Point.

It usually took us only a few hours where eventually we headed to the Bistro at the Marlin for a well deserved meal. Usually the terrific fillet minion...... wonder if they still have those....?? 

So on the weekend of February 9, 1985 we started our ambitious adventure and here is our first program guide and we should have had our heads read!!! (Double features at MIDNIGHT on specific holidays!!!)

BUT, and that's a BIG BUT, see how many movies you have seen on this or any other planet....!!

1985 - 86




 





But we never opened in June nor July because financial disaster had struck us.

We had countered on cinema advertising, you know from local businesses and film ads...they never eventuated for some reason. 

We couldn't get those cinema advertising people interested for some mysterious reason....... Excuses were made etc. We were also always 2nd run because of the other cinema setup in Ulladulla, but that wasn't really a major concern.....we were a holiday place and the theatre was really the main attraction.

So we re-opened again the following August/September/October with a more cautious approach.

The films were on for a longer period, thus one film hire for 8 nights and not just 1 or 2 nights.

 

After this period we closed down again until December/January for the Christmas Holiday period.

We experimented with a session at 8.15pm and another session at 10.15pm. 


Then after this, we stuck closer to the holiday periods and with double features.
Interestingly our copy of COCOON didn't arrive for the Dec 26 start. We had to screen another film instead until COCOON turned up the next day. It had been accidentally left at the other cinema in Ulladulla and hadn't been noticed.........











We started printing on the back of our programs which had previously been just blank. The reason we did this was not only for Midnight Movies and a location map, but because shop keepers were telling me they were good to write on the back of....!!!!!!




The Theatre Entrance of an evening.


Our very unusual auditorium and strange seating!!


The Projection Booth...that's me and Jim (seated) hanging about......


Inside the Projection Box.....during Intermission people would ask to look at our cameras but we would say we didn't have any cameras, that these were projectors...!!!



We put together our own slide presentation of local businesses to at least try and help to offset some costs. We offered these businesses a $15 a week cost to advertise their business on the back of our programs which were 10-12,000 copies depending on holiday season.

Here is some of the remaining artwork (2nd generation copies!!) for our slides, produced in a nifty "fluro"style colouring against a black background by Don Friend, one of the partners. 

Also by this time Jim had left and within a year or two, so had Don and I carried on by myself and a small keen staff.
















For some reason, I don't think we actually did a have "CROCODILE DUNDEE 2"
for a special season from July 23rd (can't find any trace of it), but we did have it for the Sept-Oct 1988 school holidays.... 




FUN FACT:
The most spectacular night in the time we ran the theatre was Fri 30 Dec, with "DIE HARD".
We had never seen the theatre so packed, and amazingly the audience were in absolute raptures 
over "DIE HARD"!!

They just literally roared the place down!! Never seen an audience get so wrapped up in a film and absolutely go with it!!! Every time Bruce fought the villains, the audience just got into hysterics, in the right way!! Amazing never seen that sort of reaction before, nor ever again!




But sometimes there was trouble. 



Here my late parents, Ken and Betty Bond, stand beside a hole left in the screen after 2 high school students from Canberra High School punched a hole through the screen during the intermission of a special school screening!!

The school teachers in charge that night assured me the school would look after things, but they didn't!! Didn't want to know about it!! It was between the parents and us!!!

Also we discovered the owner of the theatre didn't believe in insurance so the cost was onto us for screen replacement!!

What's worse I had to take the students who did this to court and I was awarded costs, but all I got in the end were nasty, threatening phone calls from the parents on my answer phone....!!!! Cops and the court didn't want to know about it!!!

What's worse another time the screen was totally destroyed by a wind storm despite have a weather shield in front of it!!

It was a bit of heart breaker but we persevered despite the theatre owner's attitude.

The businesses started dropping off because they could save $15 bucks a week by not advertising on our programs.....!!!! I guess they got a better deal somewhere…!!!!!

However after the businesses pulled out, we just ended up doing a slideshow on the local area at intermission.

Here's a couple of interesting comparison slides we did of the Burrill sand spit 40 years apart!
PLAY SPOT THE DIFFERENCE!




The "unique" seating, canvas strung between 2 poles! That's the entry to the foyer in the background.


And that almost brings us to the end of PART 3.

So here is some rare Super8 film for one last look at Burrill Lake Open Air Theatre from the 1980s......



One last footnote.....

I got out of the theatre in 1990. It went to our hands but was eventually closed by 1995.

The owner sold it to another guy who offered me the theatre for nil rent... but hey, not only was there no projection equipment in it, there was no seating!!! It had been removed!!! So thanks, but no thanks!!

But the irony is because it was such a unique theatre, it could have become Government founded with a heritage listing at the then tune of $50,000 a year!!

It never happened, was subsequently demolished and ended up buried at the Ulladulla Tip...... a very sad demise.

What replaced it warrants no mention here......

Though the theatre now lives in cyberspace thanks to the internet, the film "MAGIC LANTERN", photos and the many comments from people on Facebook sites who allows all this to bring back treasured memories of their childhood.........

Thank you for enjoying the movies....!!!!











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