Could Roy Rogers and "Trigger" (the "smartest horse in the movies") re-appear in Penarth?

Could Roy Rogers and “Trigger” (the “smartest horse in the movies”) re-appear in Penarth?

Penarth Town Council is aiming to encourage the formation of a new local Film Club to try to make greater use of the video equipment it’s  installed at council-tax-payers’ expense the Paget Rooms.

The £35,000 video system  and  associated satellite receiver was installed last year for the  council’s own Live “Event Cinema” public screenings.

The Paget Rooms could become the venue for a yet-to-be-established Penarth Film Club

The Paget Rooms could become the venue for a yet-to-be-established Penarth Film Club

A total of 18 “Event Cinema” screenings have been held at the Paget Rooms since they began in July last year. Audience numbers are said to “fluctuate” but the council says they are “slowly building” and have a “solid fan-base”.

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Now the idea has been floated-out by the chairman of the Penarth Town Council Leisure and Amenities Committee Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)  that a local “Film Club” be formed to organise regular local movie showings on a monthly basis – in addition to the “Event Cinema” schedule.

Cllr Birch said that, when the Event Cinema equipment was installed in the Paget Rooms, it had been hoped that “some enterprising individual of the general public would come forward and  set up a film club” – but this had not happened.

She said those members of the public to whom she had spoken to about such a club had seemed to want the council to set it up for them  – as they perhaps did not want to be associated with “an outcome which might not work”   – a result which she described as “depressing” .

The cliff-hanging 13-part serial like "The Adventures of Smiling Jack" were a staple for Saturday children's cinema audiences

The cliff-hanging 13-part serial like “The Adventures of Smilin’ Jack” were a staple for Saturday children’s cinema audiences

Cllr Birch said she was now looking to members of the Town Council – and to members of the general public – to think about setting up a film club – perhaps to operate on one Friday every month . She suggested that screenings could be themed,  citing Halloween as a possible example and was “open to suggestions”. 

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said it was probably too late to do anything about Halloween this year – but it was a possible theme for next year / He said it would be necessary to establish who was using the Paget Rooms on a Friday night  and some good quality “market research” to find out how many people might be interested .

Cllr Wilson noted that members of the newly-established Film Club  set up at the “Memo” in Barry received “free pop-corn and a drink” and were also “allowed to talk during the film” and were able to turn the volume of the sound track down.He wondered if a “different kind of film club” could be looked at for Penarth.

The Hall of Memory in Barry - now rebranded as "The Memo"

The Hall of Memory in Barry – now rebranded as “The Memo”

[What is now called “The Memo” in Barry is an arts centre in what used to be the “Hall of Memory” originally erected in memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War.  ]

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) noted that former cinemas in Penarth used to screen Saturday-morning matinees for children – which allowed parents to leave their children at the cinema for a couple of hours.

Cllr Birch recalled Saturday matinees used to be held in the Washington Cinema.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said he knew nothing about film clubs – but advised that the council should find out about other long-standing successful clubs and get them to give advice.

Anyone interested in helping set up a Penarth Film Club should contact Penarth Town Council on  029 2070 0721.


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  1. LizG says:

    Can I please make something clear: The numbers in the Paget Rooms are NOT slowly building, in fact, they are not building at all, but they reducing quickly. And the “solid fan-base” is a joke. My friend and I have tried to support the Paget Rooms as much as we could. Firstly, there was nowhere from where we could find out what is on. And then, by chance, I looked in the Library, and there it was. How many people would know that? And now, the Council informs us what’s on by computer. Not bad, if they have your address. My friend and I started with a pretty full hall, then a moderately full hall, then they had tables in the hall with a candle on them, and last time we went, there were about 8 tables, and all in all about 14 – 16 people (I’m not lying, honestly). Then the picture disappeared from the screen, no picture, only the sound. That was the point when my friend and I decided to go and have a glass of wine – just for consolation, of course.

    What a waste of £35,000!

    I think the Penarth Online News should be investigation this further.

    • whatsoccurin says:

      I think it is a sign of the times-home entertainment is now the key and it is very difficult to get people out of their armchairs. I recall years ago working with children and the first Monday of each month was when a volunteer with his projector which broke down quite a lot, showed a newish film which was about two or three years old . The children were glued but then the local ABC cinema kindly gave us a free pass for midweek performances. From that time the children lost interest in the Monday night films because they could watch the new blockbusters.

    • Ann Other says:

      Yes, that would be useful. It is important that people are told EXACTLY how many people attend; it is just not good enough for the Council to use vague terms like ‘fluctuate’. Ridiculous. If they refuse to give the information, it may almost be worth a formal freedom of information request. Also you are right that it is unlikely that many people find out about the events. I have only ever learned of them by word of mouth. The main means, I discover, is by emailed updates from the Council. But do they not realise that to ask for these you have to know about the service in the first place? What about some of the many new members of staff just making and putting a few notices in shops?

  2. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I’m sure many of us fondly remember the Saturday morning clubs for kids at local Odeons, ABC or independent cinemas around the country which to my memory were great fun, Hopalong Cassidy, Casey Jones and the Cannonball express, The Lone Ranger etc etc and all the other cartoons and stuff.

    However those were the days before DVDs, Sky, the internet, and kids now have access to a far greater variety of entertainment in their own homes than a cinema could ever provide.

    It would be great to see such Saturday morning clubs introduced but I just wonder if they’re battling against the tide commercially in respects to what they can provide as opposed to yesteryear when there wasn’t a fraction of the alternative activities or entertainment that kids could indulge in.

  3. Johnabutt says:

    If there was demand for a film club the the enthusiasts would be doing it, but they are not, hence little or no demand. Penarth Council again demonstrating how far from reality their thinking is directed.

  4. Andrew Worsley says:

    We already have ‘Cowboys’ running the Council , maybe that’s where they got the idea from???………….. we could have amateur cowboy episodes like ‘The Municipal Seven’ or ‘They Would , Their Bad , And Their Ugly’ or ‘ How The Rest Was Done’.

  5. Volunteer beachwarden says:

    We have given up trying to attend the unpublicised film night at the Paget Rooms due sound issues, doors shut and no notice saying cancelled etc . The last time we tried no be could tell us what was wrong or if they could fix it. Someone called Alice was blamed by some but she wasn’t there. Cllr Cuddy was there but said the no show was nothing to do with him ( he had just been made Lord Mayor so presumably had other things on his mind)
    We now go to either Chapter , Vue (just by the bus stop in Wood St) or Maryann St – all very reliable so far and comfortable seats

  6. Mgg says:

    The equipment installed at tax payers expense. Everything a council does is at tax payers expense so the statement isn’t really needed

Comments are closed.