A long time ago, in 1980s, the only way to purchase movie tickets was to go to the cinema and queue up at the ticket counter. There was no such thing as phone booking or internet booking in those days. So if it was a popular movie one would need to be early to avoid disappointment. But before heading to the cinema, one would need to check the listings in the newspaper to know which cinema would be playing the particular movie and the timings available. The other option would be to go directly to the cinema and check, but that would not be a good idea as the cinema might not be playing the particular movie or the timings might not be suitable.
At the ticket counter, the customer would tell the counter staff the time slot and movie he wanted, and the staff would flip a booklet to show a big sheet of paper, probably A3 size. That sheet of paper would show the layout of the theatre, and which seats were still available. Some theatres had 2 levels. If I remember correctly, a ticket for level 2 cost $3.50, and a ticket for level 1 cost $2.50. After choosing the seats, the staff would cross out the seats on the sheet of paper to indicate that they were not longer available, and write the seat number on the ticket. Payment was solely by cash. If one would like some snacks while watching the movie, the only snack available for sale in the cinema was assorted nuts.
Inside the theatre, there would be ushers armed with torchlight walking around to direct the customers to their seats. Part of their duty was to resolve seating problems. The seat number on the ticket was handwritten so there were times when some customers read it wrongly and sat at someone else’s seat.
In those days (1980s), there was no rating for movies. Using the current rating system, movies of that era that were allowed to screen were either G or PG. There was also hardly CG effects in the shows due to the high costs involved. I remember watching the Carebears movie at Cathay. Of course at that time, it was a 2D cartoon movie. In case the younger readers are wondering, by 1980s the movies were already in color, not black and white.
After the show, when the customers had left the theatre, the cleaners would clean up the theatre so that the next group of customers could enjoy the show in a clean environment.
- A typical day in school in 1980s
- Children’s day celebration in 1980s
- TV with antenna in 1980s
- Imagining 21st century in 1980s
- Void decks of 1980s
- The coin changing machines of 1980s