THE HEYDAY of cinema chain ABC will be remembered at a special event in Christchurch.

The Cinema Theatre Association has partnered with the Regent for Remembering ABC Cinemas.

Taking place on Easter Sunday between 6pm and 9pm, former staff and management of the chain are expected to attend along with Allen Eyles, the author of the definitive history of ABC.

David Eve, who is organising the event with fellow enthusiasts Adrian Cox and David Cox, said the evening would be “a tribute to the much-missed chain”.

He said: “We are delighted that Allen Eyles, author of ABC Cinemas: The First Name in Entertainment, the most important history of the chain, will be with us, as well as former employees and hopefully management of the ABC Bournemouth – the last ABC, that closed in a blaze of glory in 2017, 80 years since first opening.”

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The evening will include photos, interviews and film clips, with some 35mm film run by former ABC Bournemouth projectionist Darren Payne.

The celebration coincides with the centenary of the founding of Savoy Cinemas, the first cinema exhibition company created by John Maxwell, who went on to form the national ABC circuit.

At its peak, ABC – Associated British Cinemas – had hundreds of screens across Britain, including the grand Art Deco venue on Bournemouth’s Westover Road.

The brand name disappeared from town centres when the Bournemouth cinema closed in 2017.

Christchurch’s own Art Deco cinema was once owned by ABC.

David said: “The Regent was taken over by the Shipman and King cinema circuit and absorbed into the ownership of ABC, although never advertised as such.”

Bournemouth’s ABC opened as the Westover Super Cinema in 1937, with the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical Shall We Dance? as its first film.

Its original auditorium could seat 2,600.

The cinema was turned into a twin-screen venue in 1970 with a third screen added in 1973.

In later years, the ABC brand was acquired by the Odeon chain, which closed the Westover Road venue along with its Odeon neighbour as it prepared to move to the town’s BH2 complex.

The ABC’s final night in January 2017 saw a charity screening of Back to the Future, a title picked by Daily Echo readers.

Tickets for the event at Regent cost £10, concessions £9 and are available at or by calling 01202 499199.