The ABC stood for Associated British Cinemas, and they dominated many of the Saturday mornings of my childhood. Hundreds of children queued up at the Ritz to pay our sixpence (2.5p) for a morning's cinematic feast. The movies were usually shorts, typically including comedies by Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges, and Westerns featuring immaculately clean and well-dressed cowboys such as Roy Rogers, Tom Mix or Hopalong Cassidy.
Best of all were the serials, of which a 30-minute episode was shown each week. They included Kit Carson, a Western hero up against the Mystery Riders, and Batman, who took on the Japanese Cave of Horrors, a Gotham carnival front for the sinister Japanese war effort. Each episode would end with a cliffhanger that would be resolved at the start of the next episode.
Everyone we knew went to these Saturday matinees, and the serials quite often dominated playtime conversations over the following week as we all speculated on the likely outcome. There was a song we all sang just before the start of each programme from words shown on screen. With hindsight it now seems rather like the company songs Japanese workers used to sing at the start of their day's work.
We are the boys and girls well known as
Minors of the ABC
And every Saturday we line up
To see the films we like
And shout aloud with glee
We love to laugh and have a sing-song
Just a happy crowd are we
We’re all pals together
We’re minors of the ABC.
Alas, it all ceased for me when I was admitted, just turned 11, to Humberstone Foundation (grammar) School, which featured classes on Saturday mornings.