I WAS projectionist at the Curzon cinema in Huddersfield town centre for 18 months prior to it closing and showed the last film before we pulled the doors to for the last time.
At the time I was about 16 - I am now 57 and started as third projectionist - and I had a badge sewn on the breast pocket of my smock to prove it. I used to go down into the foyer in my tea-break with the usherettes, feeling dead important.
I must have been very bright (or was it that maybe the job was not that demanding), as I strode through the ranks and was senior projectionist within six months - and oh the power!
I could nearly write a book about the stuff that went on there!
We were not, shall we say, the best cinema in town. That title was reserved for the ABC or Ritz and the only thing we had in common was that we shared the Pathé newsreel with them.
We used to work out our film schedules (we probably called it film times) at the beginning of the week and they were more often than not very tight. We had to run like the clappers up to the ABC and back with minutes to spare, lace it up and show it - you remember the cockerel ta-da-da-da-da?
Then can it back up and the assistant projectionist from the ABC would be waiting to do the same in reverse. I suppose if we shared the newsreel we must have shared the cost.
As I was saying, we were not shall we say the most salubrious cinema in town and were showing a fim starring Brigitte Bardot topless and the cinema manager, Mr Fowler, thought to create a bit of publicity he would advertise that any female who came topless would be allowed in free - Mr Fowler was no fool.
He then employed two topless models to turn up and, lo and behold, the newspapers were there to cover the event.
And, yes, I was in the foyer on that day with my smock washed and pressed and a smile like the Joker.
I used to let pals come up into the projection room to watch the films and help me build my motorbike - you could not do that at the ABC!
Sometimes when I had finished work at about 10.30pm I used to join the lads (we were a gang of motorcycle riders called the Saints) who used to meet in a cafe in the town centre.
We would ride up to the Standedge transport cafe for a bacon butty, then on the odd occasion that the Curzon was showing a good film we would go back at about 2am and park our bikes up round the back. I would let them all in through the fire door and put the film on.
One time it got a bit exciting. Two bobbies thought they could hear something and were shining their torches through the foyer doors and I was already looking through the Situations Vacant in the Examiner, expecting the worst. But they moved on and I lived to fight another day.
When the film Zulu came out it was so popular we retained it for a second week. Full houses every one (most unusual for the Curzon). That's three times a day for two weeks I watched that film. I knew Stanley Baker like a brother and knew all the Zulus by their first names.
When we showed the war film The Longest Day I got the reels mixed up and the paratroops were all landing on the ground. Then when I switched reels they were just getting into the plane and all those heads turned round looking up at the porthole and the usherettes were ringing the projection room bell!
I thought bloody hell, what can I do? I thought they would all be chasing me through the streets of Huddersfield, like a Benny Hill movie, but they all settled down again, much to my relief.
The Curzon was one of the first to show Asian films. It was all a bit avant-garde. Full Houses!
I was not the best projectionist in the world and I often used to be sitting next door in the Caprice coffee bar, drinking coffe and an usherette would rush in screaming: `Peter, the bloody reel's finished.'
And I would fly back upstairs, listening to the stamp of feet by the audience as I went to switch the reels over.
* The Curzon Cinema opened on September 11, 1950 showing Ticket To Tomahawk and Borneo. Ticket prices were from 10d to two shillings (10p).
* The original cinema on the site - a former clothiers shop on what was then Buxton Road - was the Picturedrome which opened in December 1910, hit in 1949 by a fire and sold shortly afterwards.
* The Curzon was only the second cinema in the country to install its wide screen in June, 1954.
* There followed 3D and Cinemascope but it was doomed to a short life. It struggled through most of the Sixties before closing to films.