Report content as inappropriate

Original Text (Annotation: EPW041170 / 394451)

' The Hippodrome Theatre and Plaza Cinema. In 1908 the building was taken over by Fred Karno who commissioned an architect to convert it into an Edwardian music hall, named the Hippodrome. It was opened on 2 November 1908. The main auditorium could seat 700 with a balcony and gallery seating a further 380. Charlie Chaplin is said to have appeared there, before he went to Hollywood. It was also used as an early cinema, giving Chaplin the chance to return, but this time on celluloid. Marie Lloyd and Harry Tate were two others who trod the Hippodromes boards. The first night performance "...opened to overflowing houses with a variety programme that won general applause from all parts of the house." Hippodrome Theatre then Plaza Cinema The Hippodrome, with both live shows and cinema, was competing with the Theatre Royal, just a few dozen yards away on the other side of New London Square. The Hippodrome was sold in 1929 to a Mr Vickery, from Taunton, who closed it and engaged architects Messrs Lucas and Langfords of Exeter to redesign the theatre into a cinema only. Messrs R C Lee and Co Ltd undertook the renovation, which included a gold proscenium arch around the screen. On 6th February 1931, the Hippodrome, now named the Plaza Cinema opened its 875 seats as a talkie cinema, with Mr Lattimer as the manager. The King of Jazz which featured a young Bing Crosby and utilised the recently developed 2 strip Technicolor system was the first film to show at the Plaza. In 1936, the rival Savoy (renamed ABC) was built to replace the New London Inn, giving Exonians two cinemas within yards of each other. A sheet of flame This grand old building would not survive the blitz of 4 May 1942 and a hit from a single high explosive bomb destroyed it and created a conflagration in the buildings all around. "......caused by a bomb which fell on the Plaza Cinema almost entirely demolishing the building. This building was a converted theatre of the old type and a very bad fire risk; the explosion caused a sheet of flame which seemed to envelop the premises immediately." Neither of the Plaza's nearest rivals, the Savoy/ABC, and the Theatre Royal survived the 20th-century. '