The song of the ABC minors

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.