A fantastic random picture find via ebay here’s a look back at the square in 1976, one that magically manages to capture 4 cinemas all in one frame. Far right and mostly obscured by the railing it’s the Warner Brothers West End, we can’t see what’s playing though sadly. Then look up and central and you’ll see a previously unknown sign for The Prince Charles Cinema which is just out of sight up Leicester Place. Then there’s the long gone Jacey which is playing Black Emanuelle, must have been amazing to walk past and see that huge billboard displaying that one. Then on the far left you can just see the marquee for The Empire, where you can make out the partial word ROSSING, which is very probably The Cassandra Crossing from 1976, the date fits and I can’t think of anything else that fits title wise. The toilets are still in the same position, though updated now, beyond the changes to the shops and restaurants this side of the square still actually looks quite the same today.
I love YouTube, you just never know what you’re going to find out there, case in point being that I stumbled upon this amazing 1987 episode of the ITV show South Of Watford which looks at the late 1980s comic boom. This is such a fun watch and looks so incredibly 80s, highlights include actual footage from inside the original Forbidden Planet on Denmark Street, footage from one of the Westminster Comic Marts, Watchmen, Wendy James from Transvision Vamp talking about Halo Jones, a young looking Neil Gaiman plus plenty of West End streets!
PLUS that lead on to find the South Of Watford episode from 1984 looking at fantasy role playing games with lots of Dungeons & Dragons action plus a look at very early LARPing and it’s presented by Ben Elton of all people, this is equally amazing, you have to check out the fantastically grumpy man in the games shop!
And as a bonus here the Blue Peter report on LARPing at the same location…