The Astra Cinema

Who can forget the good old Astra cinema, the starter cartoon before the main feature, (Good old Fred), the shouts of "Siggie, Siggie, Siggie" and the accompanying responses!! Or the one for MCU (the responses rhymed with bank). There used to be two showings a day, one at 1845 and the other at 2100. The Siggies always went to the 1845 showing so there was still time to go to the bars.  Siggies always used to occupy the first three front rows in the Astra as they were the cheapest seats. The films used to change twice a week, if I remember rightly it was Sunday to Wednesday and Thursday to Saturday.

Do you remember the Brylcreem ad?

Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya!
Brylcreem, you look so debonair!
The gals will all pursue ya,
They’ll love to get their fingers in your hair...”
We were all like big kids waiting for the starter cartoon, that is after we had sat through all the adverts, Brylcreem, Cigarette ads etc. The PC brigade would have a bloody heart attack nowadays!
When the cartoon feature came on, everyone shouted "Good old Fred" after the director Fred Quimby, but none of us really knew a lot about him at that time. And, woe betide the the projector breaking down. The projectionist would really get some hammer and torrents of abuse, including the most shouted "Fix the F*&%er!!".
When it rained during the monsoon season, you could hardly hear the picture for the sound of the rain beating down on to the tin roof.
The RAF motto is "Per Ardua Ad Astra" which we interpreted in those days as "Through hardship to the pictures!"
They also used to stage CSE (Combined Services Entertainment) shows in the Astra. I remember going to see Joe Brown and the Bruvvers. They were brilliant and they fitted in brilliantly. No airs and graces, just like any of the lads. Also went to see Norman Collier, he was one of the funniest men I have ever seen, and being live, a lot of it was ad libbed. He came down to our bar for a few drinks later on. NIce bloke!
If any of you out there can think of any more ads that were shown, or anything I've got wrong, let me know. The old memory is getting a bit hazy in places!


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