The Civic projectionists not only ran the movies, they controlled theatrical lights, an artificial cloud machine, the blinking lights of the sky ceiling, the raising and lowering of the 'barge' musicians stage, and the rotating lift of the Wurlitzer organ.

 

Frank McMillan - the 'Singing Projectionist'. Frank as well as being the Projectionist at the Civic had a beautiful tenor voice and would appear on stage singing  'Sleepy Lagoon' accompanied by Reg Maddams playing the Wurlitzer organ, they were spotlighted with the house lights dimmed. (via Trevor Skelton)

 

Herb Freeman - projectionist at the Civic for 50 years retained fond memories of the Civic as a dance venue in the 1930's and 40's. "At the end of the show on Friday and Saturday nights, the Wintergarden was converted inot a dance venue with and orchestra and Wurlitzer Organ" "In those days the Civic was the onloy place open for entertainment in the city after midnight".

 

Russell Dennerly had been at  the Civic, and its sister movie houses, in Queen Street for 43 years when it closed in February 1998. He started his working life as an assistant projectionist - and worked at a four-year apprenticeship to learn all there was to know about the job (in those days it was a good deal more complex than today). His most vivid memory of a movie is "The Sound of Music" which ran for 77 weeks in Auckland.

 

When Steve Henshaw started work in the Civic in 1964 as an ice cream boy, he was paid a commission of one penny an ice cream and if he was lucky he sold two trays an interval. He felt very smart in his bow tie and white jacket uniform!

 

His career at the working side of cinemas has given him a life-long love of classic film.

Russell Dennerly

Steve Henshaw

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