EDITOR - I was greatly saddened to read of the death of Madge Denton-Cox of Mablethorpe.
Anyone who remembers the legendary Lyric Cinema (now a DIY store) in George Street before the mid-1970s when, sadly it closed, will remember people queueing so far as Wright’s corner shop, now the Seal Sanctuary Shop, hoping they would get a seat if they hadn’t already pre-booked and Madge smiling and greeting everyone coming in.
Many a time they would put me in the staff seats if I’d been working late on the land and a chink of daylight through the side curtains would herald local lads trying to get through the exit doors whereby Madge’s dedicated usherettes would pounce on them quicker than a seagull on a bag of chips.
Madge and her family have been much loved and respected by all those who have known them over the years and, to become a friend of Madge’s was to become a friend for life.
She would have four changes of films a week, three for two nights, and a horror film on a Sunday, but sometimes, you would get more than that if they were double features.
The night the North Sea broke through in January 1953, flooding Mablethorpe and the cinema, The Lyric was showing an American film starring Jon Hall called Hurricane Island. When Madge booked that film she had no idea what would happen that night.
I was privileged to help out at the cinema after school rewinding the big spools of film and repairing broken or damaged film ready for the second house performances, even being allowed to operate one of the two big projectors when they changed over from one reel to another.
You had to look out for a dot in the corner of the screen to make sure there was no break in the picture showing but, some misery reported me to the education authority and my mother received a letter from them threatening her with court and the closure of the cinema if I carried on working there.
I can remember the tears in Madge’s eyes when I had to tell her but that didn’t stop me and my sister delivering programmes showing the month’s films to people’s houses or me going out on my bike with a brush and bucket of paste to stick up posters for the week’s films.
The strange thing was, according to the rules, there were certain jobs I could do BEFORE school, including washing up at cafés but I couldn’t work at the cinema in the evenings.
I remember hearing a rustling sound one night as I was re-winding a reel of film and, looking sideways saw a big heap of film piling up on the floor.
Unnoticed upstairs it had broken after going through the projector with the film still showing on the screen but was dropping down the stairwell to the floor below. That took some sorting out.
You knew if the film had broken the wrong side of the projector from all the footstomping followed by a big cheer when the film got going again.
Thankfully that didn’t happen very often but it amazes me now when I see all those thousands of feet of film on the small DVD discs.
Madge may be gone now but to many of us she will never be forgotten and neither will The Lyric. My deepest sympathy goes to her son Dallas.
Thanks Madge for all those happy memories from a time long gone.