Passing time in a news cinema

Before television news there were cinema newsreels, often shown as shorts before the main movie.  They were weekly rather than daily, and presented motion pictures of the main world events, usually disasters or wars.  The most famous in the UK were Pathe News (with a cockerel crowing to introduce them), and Movietone News.  A strident accompanying male voice declared the stories behind the pictures.

There were news cinemas, and on my rare visits to London I would pop into the one on Trafalgar Square.  It offered a show of newsreels plus travelogues, short documentaries and cartoons, with a programme usually lasting about an hour, and with no main feature.  Admission was cheap, and it was a good way to pass the time on a rainy day, particularly as you were allowed to stay in and watch the show over again if you wanted. 

Of course they were victims of television and of television news. They could only show pictures of last week’s news, whereas TV offered it more currently, especially when satellites enabled transcontinental transmissions. It’s a pity in some way, though, because I found the travelogues quite interesting, and sometimes made a note in my mind to visit some of the exotic places they showed.