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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Culture and Leisure


By Janet McBain

Green's Playhouse Having enjoyed some fifty years as one of the most popular and successful forms of entertainment in the modern era, cinema-going was in decline by the 1950s. Audience numbers began to fall off drastically for a variety of reasons. Improved housing and affordable television sets were reducing the incentive to go out for entertainment. Vast sections of Glasgow's population were decanted from older inner city areas to new housing developments on the outskirts where there was no easy local access to a cinema. Hollywood was no longer making so many of the escapist family entertainment films that Glaswegians loved, but instead was turning out films with a more adult tone - the X-rated film .

Odeon Cinema, Renfield St. As audiences melted away, cinema owners sought new uses for the huge capacity buildings. Some cinema theatres became bingo halls as this entertainment became popular. Many cinemas closed in the 1960s. Those that struggled through this period of decline underwent twinning or tripling to reduce auditorium size and increase choice. But by the mid-1980s cinema attendance was at an all time low. Film production increasingly targeted the affluent youth market catering for the teenager and young adult.

Site of Garden Festival Attendance accelerated with the appearance in the 1990s of the American style ‘multiplex’ - a multiple screen operation often built beside new shopping centres and offering a number of different films on the one site. The old cinema buildings with the huge auditoria have now virtually disappeared - the new, functional small-screen multiplexes represent the modern face of cinema-going.

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