Reproduced with permission from The Beacon Supplement August 1, 1988


Let’s go to the Movies!

By Jennifer Peddle

Kevin Quinlan remembers Gander’s Globe and Star movie theatres, his places of employment starting in 1953, were always busy especially on weekends.

“It was no trouble to see people their lining up in front of the door before it even opened because this was a special thing to do,” he said.

Quinlan began working for W.J. Lahey, a wholesaler and beer distributor who also operated the theatres, when he was 15.  for each double feature show at the Globe, he would put on his bow tie and take tickets at the door as an usher.

“They had to have ushers then because there were so many people and there was nothing else,” he said.  “There was no television and that was the only place to go.”

Double features at the Globe started at 6 p.m. every evening, he said, and they used to show the popular movies of the time.  He said movies with Gabby Hayes, Roy Rogers and Johnny McBrown in the cast were especially popular.  He also said “Gone With the Wind” drew in large crowds.

During the day, Quinlan got to see all the movies while screening them.  He said they used to come from St. John’s and might have some breakages.  Another duty as an usher was to repair these breakages so customers could watch the movie without interruptions. 

The Globe Theatre, managed by Gord Mitchell, was located on the Canadian side near Chestnut Street on the old townsite.  Quinlan said it was close to the Banting Memorial Hospital.

He said the Globe Theatre was actually a military building renovated to have all the features a theatre should have.  It had a balcony, a neon sign and seated about 200 people.  “There were nice seats in the Globe,” he said, “but the Star Theatre just had ordinary church seats.

Lahey also operated the Star Theatre located on the Army Side.  Quinlan would operate the camera at this theatre for children’s matinees on Saturday afternoons.

He said it cost about 50 cents for a double feature at both theatres and 10 cents for children’s matinees.

The only thing the theatres never had that cinemas provide today is popcorn.  Though they never sold popcorn, Quinlan said Lahey stocked the lobbies with vending machines from his wholesale company for people to buy pop and bars.

Lahey opened a theatre on the new townsite in 1957.  The Crescent Theatre maintained the exact seats from the Globe but they had a large cinema scope screen.

The Fraser Mall opened a theatre when the Crescent closed down.  Quinlan said it’s not much different from the old theatres in Gander except it doesn’t seem to be as exciting to go to a movie as it was then,” he said.

“There was that many people that if there were two seats available, you had to find them,” he said, “it was like going into church when there was a big crowd.”




Researched by Carol Walsh


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