Thursday, April 16, 2009

Singapore Theatres FDC

Singapore FDC
Name: Cinema Theatres of Yesteryear
Date of Issue: 20 March 2009

Movie-going has become a regular and favourite pastime for most Singaporeans since the first silent films hit our shores in 1902. The first public screening in Singapore is said to have taken place in April 1902 at a tent in an open space at the junction of River Valley Road and Hill Street and the first movie theatre opened its door in 1904. More theatres appeared with Shaw Organisation operating their own ‘proper' cinema known as The Empire in 1927, and Cathay Organisation raised the curtains at The Cathay Cinema in 1939. The Cathay Cinema was to be the first cinema complex as well as the tallest building in Singapore then.

Featured in this set of stamps are some of the grand dames of movie theatres. The majestic and beautiful structures of these theatres featured still stand today but all, with the exception of The Cathay, no longer screens any movies.

1st Local:
Cathay, 1939
The cinema, raised it's curtains on 3rd October 1939, becoming Singapore's first air-conditioned cinema and the first skyscraper, the tallest in Southeast Asia during that time. On 24 March 2006, it was redeveloped together with Cathay Building (now known as The Cathay) and opened to public with 8 cinema halls including The Grand Cathay and The Picturehouse.

50¢: The Majestic, 1928
The Majestic is a historic building on Eu Tong Sen Street in Chinatown built in 1927 and completed in 1928. Located between the People's Park Complex and Yue Hwa Department Store, along the stretch of Eu Tong Sen street, it was known as Majestic Theatre, which used to be a Cantonese Opera House. In January 2003, the Majestic Theatre was reopened but as a shopping mall and renamed "The Majestic".

80¢: Capitol Building, 1933
Capitol Building is a historic building at the junction of North Bridge Road and Stamford Road. Completed in 1933, it operated under the name of Kyo-Ei Gekkyo until 1944 during the Japanese Occupation. After 1946, the Capitol was purchased by Shaw and rebuilt, becoming the organisation's flagship theatre and renamed as Shaw Building. Its use as a movie theatre ended with its last movie screening on 29 Dec. 1998.

$1.10: Queens, c1920
Queens first opened in the 1920s as Ritz Theatre, located between Lorong 42 Geylang Road and Paya Lebar Road, it was being renamed as "Nanyo Gekizyo" in 1942 – 1945 (during the Japanese Occupation) and became Queen's Theatre in 1946. It ceased operations in 1983 but the old theatre's classical colonial facade was being retained.

$1.10: Rex, 1946
A Shaw Brothers cinema opened in 1946 with the inaugural screening of The Jungle Book. It ceased operations in 1983, having screened its last film, "Jaws 3-D" (1983). The cinema was located at MacKenzie Road, conveniently next to the bus depot of the Singapore Traction Company, and Kandang Kerbau Hospital.

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