The Picturedrome Fun
In the mid-eighties I was approached by the secretary of the North Shore
Historical Society to see if I would record on tape the history of the
Picturedrome cinema and dance hall. He suggested that I tell of the problems,
how they were overcome, and something of the life and times of those days. The
tape sat in my draw for about a year. Where on earth to start … and where to
stop? Although I had a book of cuttings of films that my father, L.L. Speedy had
compiled, these in themselves would be of little value unless they could be
brought to life. I doubted that any real interest would be shown in a pure
history. If the effort were to be worthwhile it had to be a story of human
interest. After all it was entertainment and happy times that had made the
‘Drome popular in the first place.
I have since discovered that the process of recalling back to early childhood is
one that essentially triggers the deep, deep, long-forgotten memory. Something
like psychiatrists work. Gradually over the next year or two the ideas were
developed. I was also helped by family chats. I went on air to talk about the
project with Humphrey Beale of Radio Pacific. Four people responded.
When the main writing task was finished the new secretary of the Society, Mrs
Bartlett, explained that they would like to publish some of my work along with
other accounts of those times. As the 75th anniversary of the City of Takapuna
was come up in 1987, I suggested that she might we able to persuade the City to
undertake the publishing. Eventually some of my script was included in People
and Places of Takapuna: (1987), (Takapuna City Council).
Later I handed the original script to Jock Mills, the property editor of the
North Shore Times Advertiser. It was not published until the Editor made space
for it in the main pages. Most of the script was run in twelve weekly parts in
the Saturday edition, commencing in January 1992. The availability of space
governed the published contents. This version is the original script with minor
The response to the weekly episodes has been, too me, quite remarkable. I knew
that it would strike a nostalgic cord with those who knew the happy times of the
‘Drome, but what I had not bargained for was the response from new-corners to
the district, including younger people who wanted to know what it was like in
the ‘olden days’ of the Picturedrome. My reward is in the pleasure it has given
so many readers.
FORWARD TO SECOND EDITION
In 2002 the North Shore City Council published a second edition of People and
Places of Takapuna and a Talking Book version was also produced.
This is likewise the second edition of the original script with minor
The Picturedrome Fun