It was a step back in time when our 60s Up group paid a visit to Time Cinema, a private cinema in Lyall Bay, Wellington. Our big white bus had a little trouble with some of Wellington’s notorious narrow streets and tight corners so the driver had to let us off at the corner and we walked a little way to our destination. Some of us more energetic types walked on ahead of the slower ones and I let our hosts know the group was on it’s way. We knew we were at the correct address when I recognised the film reels attached to a post on the driveway.
Time Cinema is found down the driveway and at the back of the property. It is part museum, part theatre, and cafe too. Our hosts welcomed us with morning tea which gave the less nimble time to sit down and catch their breath before we started our film adventure. The vision of a private cinema was born over 35 years ago when an already fast-growing collection of cinema memorabilia and films arrived and was housed in what is now Time Cinema.
You won’t find any modern or arty films here – everything is strictly vintage. That didn’t matter, as the 60s Up group is decidedly vintage too. The small theatre was full with a few having to accommodated down the front on extra seats from the dining area.
The programme started with old news reels, one especially chosen for our group as it showed Levin when it was a hive of industry in earlier years. Factories producing nylon stockings, shirts and knitwear, even brushes and brooms produced many jobs which made Levin a very desirable place to live in. We laughed at the antics of Tom and Jerry, and got to stand up for the Queen, (that doesn’t happen these days). At interval lunch was ready to be served and we all filed back to the dining area for a finger food lunch, hot savouries, chicken pieces, and sandwiches. Then the cream cakes made an appearance, and we couldn’t say no to one of those each, could we?
The feature film of the day was “You were never Lovelier”, starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth. A 1942 Hollywood musical romantic comedy film set in Buenos Aires, it told the story of Bob, a dancer looking for work, and Maria, the daughter of a wealthy man, taking a dislike to each other. The family keep interfering, Bob (Fred) shows his dancing skills, and the pair finally falling in love. (We have to admit that the pair of us had never seen a Fred Astaire film - a bit before our time).
Fred and Rita
We had time for a quick look around the huge collection of movie memorabilia before we left. This has grown with the years, aided to a great extent by enthusiastic visitors who have felt that their old cameras and other gear should be turned over to the care of Time Cinema as custodians.
We walked back to the corner to board the bus where our driver Peter was waiting patiently. Our drive back home took us around the bays, and doesn’t Oriental Bay look wonderful in Spring sunshine? Then it was a quick drive through the city, with a short comfort stop at Te Papa, joining the motorway and homeward bound.
A few nodded off on the long drive home, (shall we admit we were probably amongst the snoozers?), and a nasty road accident led to a diversion. We arrived home a little later than expected, so fish and chips were on the menu for an easy meal. It was a great day, interesting and full of nostalgia, another great 60s Up day out. We were pleased to come back for a return visit, as we remember celebrating Robin's 50th birthday at Time Cinema with a private family booking. That's a long time ago!