The Palace Theatre was celebrating its 100th birthday this year and as part of the celebrations, we were taken back in time to the 1930′s when the Palace was a cinema.  Complete with usherettes’ and a cocktail bar as well as a selection of original films shown at the Palace Cinema during its first week of opening

We were encouraged to dress in 1930′s costume (unfortunately I didn’t have anything suitable with me) the only nod to the 30′s in my outfit was a pearl necklace and bright red lipstick.

Palace Theatre Westcliff 1930 Staff Costumes

I was rather fond of the cocktail bar and 30′s menu… starting off with the Gin Fizz and finishing with a Martini (I needed to get some food when we came out as they were the strongest drinks I have ever tasted)

1930 Cocktail Menu

Unlike the current cinema practice, in the past you would have a series of shorts before the film started; a news segment, some cartoons – we had Popeye and Betty Boop as well as a short episode of Laurel and Hardy and part of an ongoing serial.  The intro lasted for about an hour, then there was a short interval (perfect for grabbing another drink) before the feature presentation started.

We had The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu. Oh, it is a terrible, terrible film; but it wasn’t really about that – it was about the atmosphere and the feeling that we had travelled back in time for the evening.  Hopefully they’ll have more nights like this and if they do I would thoroughly recommend that you go.