When this photograph of the Odeon, London Road, was taken, the cinema was just 20 years old. The cinema was built on the site of a boxing stadium which had closed in 1931 and opened as the Paramount in 1934. Its opening was not without incident as the Scala, Futurist and Palais de Luxe all objected to it on the grounds that the Paramount company produced, distributed and exhibited films – making competition virtually impossible. The objections were overruled and a state of the art cinema erected. Interestingly, the frontage was restricted to about half the building’s width because of the presence of the neighbouring store. The architect made up for the lack of width by building tall, with a distinctive stonework central feature which was illuminated by neon lights.
The cinema was designed for a single screen with stalls and a circle and a seating capacity of 2670 (1972 in the stalls and 698 in the circle). A resident organist gave shows every day and was in almost continual use until the cinema was split into twin screens in 1968. In 1942, Paramount sold the cinema to the Odeon Deutsch group and it was renamed the Odeon. In 1954, the year of the photograph, it became the first Merseyside cinema to be equipped for CinemaScope films, later replaced by the larger ToddAO system (the screen was 51 x 24.5 foot). Following a record run of The Sound of Music, the cinema converted to twin screens. All the architectural features in the foyer and auditorium were lost in the conversion, which introduced Panavision and full stereo sound. One particular point of interest was the performances of The Beatles at the cinema in the early 1960s (before conversion). In 1973, an additional screen was added, followed in quick succession by a fourth and fifth screen (in 1979), followed by further subdivisions which finally gave the cinema 10 screens by 1999. This was to mark the end of development and the opening of Odeon’s new cinema in Liverpool One was to prove the end of the road for a cinema that had provided great entertainment for over 60 years.

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