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Old 03-12-2002, 10:27 PM
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More Blasts from the Past with Malum Nalu & Jim Dudgeon !

A whole generation in PNG has grown up without knowing the experience of watching movies in a cinema.

In the ‘happy days’ of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, cinemas were commonplace all over the country.

Those of us who grew up in the roaring that memorable period will know the joy of watching films on the big screen.

Bruce Lee, James Bond, and those old black and white cowboy movies – garnished with icecream, popcorn, and cotton candy – are now becoming a fading memory like those venerable haus piksas (cinemas) once scattered all over the country.

These days, with the advance of television, video, VCDs, and the Internet, the movie projector has become as antiquated as the time – honored typewriter.

Anyone who grew up in Lae in the pre – Independence years of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s will tell you about the Stewart, Huon, and Lae Theatres.

Large Oval in front of the stores including Andersons Foodland in Lae - close to the Huon Picture Theatre :
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:28 PM
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The Stewart went first, followed by Lae Theatre in 1990 (to make way for the Vele Rumana), and finally the Huon was burned down in 1995.

Many of us, who grew up in Lae with these theatres, shed a quite tear, as it was the end of an era.

Lae, in those halcyon days, was a well – organized multi – racial town with a large expatriate community.

Many of those expatriate children who were either born or raised in Lae, fondly recall – with nostalgia – those good old days.

They had their start in Lae and later moved on to Australia, USA, Germany, or other countries in the world.

However, the common denominator is that all have Lae close to heart, and are very sentimental about this.

Lae City :
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:32 PM
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I recently stumbled upon a well – visited website, Rob’s PNG Links Dreambook, in which former PNG residents reminisce about their happy childhood days here.

I posted a note on this website, asking for contributions from former Lae residents about Lae in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

Jim Dudgeon, once a projectionist at the Huon Theatre, emerged from the mists of time with some amazing anecdotes about this institution.

“I was attending the Lae High School at the time,” he said.

“ This was my very first job and I did it for the first year for free, as I liked it so much.

“My father was Bob Dudgeon.

“He was the Forman Mechanic with Government Transport in Lae.

“ I arrived in Lae as a baby in 1950, attended the Lae Primary A School, and Lae High School.

“Had several jobs in Lae, bought the first GL Subaru in 1972, it got written off in Mt Hagen by one of my friends at the time.

“I went ‘south’ in 1973, so I had 23 years in Lae.

Lae Primary School :
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:34 PM
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“My mother died in Australia while I was in second year high school, my father died in 1982 - I think.

“I now live in a small town in Queensland called Warra, my brother Stan lives in Rochedale, and my youngest brother lives in Brisbane.

“I can be reached by email Jdudgeon@bigpond.com.”

Mr Dudgeon, in those very early years of the Huon Theatre, was its assistant projectionist.

“The projectors that we used were called Gaumont Galee, 35mm frames, which passed 24 frames past the gate per second,” he remembered.

Lae City as it was in the seventies :
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:37 PM
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“My mother died in Australia while I was in second year high school, my father died in 1982 - I think.

“I now live in a small town in Queensland called Warra, my brother Stan lives in Rochedale, and my youngest brother lives in Brisbane.

“I can be reached by email Jdudgeon@bigpond.com.”

Mr Dudgeon, in those very early years of the Huon Theatre, was its assistant projectionist.

“The projectors that we used were called Gaumont Galee, 35mm frames, which passed 24 frames past the gate per second,” he remembered.

The old Lae Post Office area as it was back in the seventies before the new one was built near the Melanesian Hotel :
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:39 PM
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“ The light that was produced to project the images onto the huge screen - largest in the southern hemisphere at the time - was from passing a 35Amp current at about 48 volts DC between two carbon electrodes, covered in an overlay of copper coating.

“ There was a shorter electrode which protruded through a three - inch hole in the centre of the parabolic mirror.

“ The longer electrode was placed in front of the other.

“My duties were, upon entering the projection box (room), turn on the main three - phase switches, house switches (where the audience sat) amplifier switches and lastly the three projector switches.

“Read the diary for any special instructions (man, there were plenty of comments passed in this book).

“Get the sound system working, (records only in those days) prepare the projectors, thread up the 20 minute reels of film, set up the lamp housing (light source), put either wide screen or cinemascope lenses in the projectors and change the gates to the correct film apertures (cinemascope or wide screen format).

“ Do the slide check over.

“We used glass slides for advertising.

“ This slide machine also had a carbon arc source.

Lae Primary School :
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:41 PM
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“When the film began to roll, the house lights had to be lowered by raising a thumping big rheostat, then switch the curtain motor to open (don't forget to turn it off or the 50 feet - plus fan belting would burn out).

“Watch for the timing marks at the end of the first reel, then switch over to No. 2 projector, wait for the end of the reel to arrive on the bottom spool, remove it and replace it with reel No. 3, take the first into the rewind room and rewind it so it would be ready for the next nights showing.

“Then do all the same again all through the night until the end of that nights showing.”

Mr Dudgeon asked that if anyone knows his friends, they should email him at Jdudgeon@bigpond.com.

Ends

Map of where Lae is situated just in case any of you have forgotten - haha :
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Old 31-08-2004, 03:38 PM
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Hi Aussie,
My mother worked for many years at the Huon theatre as an usher and also at Steamships in the stationary deptand my dad was the administrator at Angau hospital. THis was in the 60s and up to 1974 .I remember always going to the movies for free .And at night when mum was working i would be there in my pj,s curled up on the seats asleep.
My 4 brothers and i thought it was the best thing ever and spent many weekends with our mates at the movies watching Bruce lee and John WAyne movies. BYE STACEY
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