2010-11-14

Commodore Cinema

Main Street Cinema Strabane c1945
Looking NorthWest along Main Street: (electric lights) | fullsize
Published by Grays Printers 1956. [Photo from Mr Curlyhill]

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  • 1913: Cooper family build the Pallidrome Cinema on Railway Road/Street.
    (Date supplied by Mr Curlyhill)
  • 1935: Cooper family open the Commodore Cinema on Main Street. (Correct date supplied by Mr Curlyhill. See quote below)
  • 1936: Town connects to the electricity supply.
    Douglas Cooper signs up to join the Air Force in late 1936.
  • 1937: Douglas is awarded his Wings in June 1937 and assigned to RAF Station Waddington in Lincolnshire in October of that year.
  • c1945:  Douglas Cooper returns to Strabane and becomes manager of the Commodore Cinema.
  • 1970s: The Commodore Cinema closes.
The above view of Strabane Main Street came from a postcard published in 1956 by Grays printers. Valentine publishers also used the view in at least two other postcard designs.


From the other side. Looking Southeast along Main Street: c1940 (gas lighting) | fullsize

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Quote: Mr Curlyhill

Cooper opened the Commodore in 1935.
References: document of Dougie's Memories.
But films were being shown before this, particularly in the Recreation Hall in Sion Mills.
World History:
Cinema manager Douglas Cooper (Squadron Leader H.D.H Cooper) was a POW at Stalag Luft III (now Żagań in Poland) during World War 2. The camp was made famous by the films "The Great Escape" and "The Wooden Horse". Although Douglas did not take part in the actual escape, he did help to plan and construct the 'Wooden Horse'.

Download: Stalag Luft III for Google Earth 
Plan of Stalag Luft 3 projected on a topographic map from 1940. Red line indicates where tunnel "Harry" was built.



Movies: 
video
The Wooden Horse 1950 Trailer (Stalag Luft III)

video
The Great Escape 1963 (Stalag Luft III)

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