Yesterday it was Torvill and Dean, today it’s Pearl and Dean, but before that, a few memories from me. Â As kids I wouldn’t say we were big cinema goers. Â Mum and Dad weren’t particularly into films so we usually only got to go when there was a big film to be seen, such as E.T. or a Disney cartoon when we were very young. Â This was fine though, as it made it much more exciting when we did go.
Our local cinema (which has sadly now been turned into a gym – boo!) was one of those that are now a dying breed – the independant, single screen flea pit. Â To be honest, they were beginning to be a dying breed even in the eighties, but I used to love the old place. Â Through the old wood and glass doors you’d enter the red carpetted foyer, with a little ticket booth on one side and a shop selling popcorn, minstrels, kia ora and hot dogs. Â They also sold those little boxes of fruit gums and fruit pastilles that you don’t seem to get these days.
Clutching your little paper raffle ticket in your hand, you’d then ascend a twisty staircase and hand your ticket to a man who would then tear it in half and give you half back. Â From there it was into the dark red and brown decorated cinema itself. Â Find yourself a seat (no seat reservations in those days) and settle down for the main feature.
Which brings me finally to Pearl and Dean (about time too I hear you say). Â Pearl and Dean were an agency that handled putting adverts onto the cinema screen, which in those days didn’t mean ads for big, well known brands showing Â longer versions of adverts that you had already seen countless times on TV. Â Nope, back then the biggest brand you’d see an advert for would most likely be Kia Ora, with that brilliant advert with the crows. Â Instead, you got a smattering of adverts for local companies which followed the brilliant Pearl and Dean introduction, set to a piece of music called Asteroid. Â Here it is…
Obviously local companies usually didn’t have a great deal of cash to splash out on fancy advertisements, so you were treated to a variety of adverts which usually fit into one of the following categories.
The Semi-Professional: These consisted of actual filmed footage, which had been shot by someone who did actually know how to operate a movie camera. Â A deep throated voice over man would talk over the footage, telling you about the company. Â For us, the best example was an ad for Best of Bikes, a motorcycle shop, which had a biker riding about clad in black leathers. Â Biker pulls up, and start to unzip their jacket to reveal a woman’s cleavage, which just as it’s about to get interesting cuts to a page of text telling you contact details for the company.
The We-Couldn’t-Afford-Moving-Footage: This company really really wanted to have a piece of filmed footage in their advert, but it was just out of budget, so instead we got the pretty girl from accounts and the slightly odd looking son of the managing director to act out a scene, taking several pictures with a still camera which were then cross faded between to give the illusion of movement. Â Except it normally just looked like a bunch of photos cross fading between each other. Â Stick on a piece of music and job done.
The We-Can-Only-Afford-A-Voice-Over: Basically just a static screen of text and pictures advertising the business, with a voice over telling you the pertinent points. Â Always popular with Indian restaurants for some reason, where you’d get a voice over that went something like “Fancy a curry? Â Come to the Taj Mahal restaurant, just around the corner from this cinema“.
The Page-Of-Text: Think the previous category, minus the voice over. Â Possibly a piece of music instead, but quite often just stoney silence. Â If this was all you could afford, then really, why bother?