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  • Writer's picture Richard Littler

Sale Odeon/Pyramid

This is another drawing that I've created purely as a distraction while I'm trying to write, or, rather, playing with fiddling graphics helps my mind work through writing ideas.

This is one of two local cinemas I visited frequently as a child: the Sale Odeon, just outside Manchester. It's pictured here as I remember it, circa 1980.

As a small child, I would have seen various Walt Disney films here, back when there was a programme of cartoons and a supporting feature before the main film. Not to forget the intermission when you could buy drinks and sweets from the 'ice cream lady's' tray at the front of the auditorium.

The last film I saw here was either Return of the Jedi or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

The cinema opened in 1934 as the Pyramid, built in the Egyptian Revival style, reflecting the cultural fascination with Egypt following Howard Carter.'s discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922. Numerous Egyptian theatres were built around this time, most famously Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Even when I was a child the building was starting to look rundown and I didn't notice the Egyptian features, which, in some cases, had been painted over so many times that what lay beneath was obscured. For example, only in researching the cinema for this drawing, did I discover that above the outer door frames there are mouldings of winged serpents or snakes.

In 1981, the cinema's lease was taken over by Tatton Cinemas Ltd, but only briefly. The cinema closed in 1984, a victim of the new multiplex cinemas opening up and down the country.

Since then, the building has been a nightclub and a gym, having been saved from demolition and awarded Grade II listed status.

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