Were you a member of the Saturday morning gang?

The Gaumont, Haymarket, Norwich

The Gaumont, Haymarket, Norwich - Credit: Archant

They were the highlight of so many young lives - a chance to escape to a world of make-believe at the flicks.

Film hero Roy Rogers

Film hero Roy Rogers - Credit: AP

It was mid-day in Norwich on a busy Saturday when the livestock market was in full flow...and gangs of boys were doing strange things.

Some were slapping their backsides as they ran along at full speed while others were carving a letter Z in the air as they chased around the city centre.

Most people didn't take any notice of them.

They knew they had been to the pictures and were still living the dream as either cowboys - good ones of course - or Zorro, the sword wielding masked defender of the people.

Thank you for all your magical movie memories and especially to Steve Streeter, a member of a popular club in old Norwich - the ABC Minors.

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Many of the cinemas scattered across Norwich years ago had Saturday morning picture shows and the ABC and the Gaumont were among those with clubs for the boys and girls.

The noise - and I remember it well - was deafening.

'I was a regular Saturday morning Minor at the ABC (the old Regent). During the 1950s and 60s my dear nanny, Phylis Leftley, was a morning cleaner there,' said Steve.

Then one Saturday they asked for four older children to volunteer to be Monitors.

'This basically was to help the staff keep the rest in order, and the four of us really thought we were the bees knees and lorded it over the 'kids.'' he said.

Steve admitted he was later demoted from monitor duties when it was discovered he had thrown a stink bomb during a Tom and Jerry offering.

<t> June Burleigh was one of the children other at the Haymarket (later the Gaumont) on a Saturday morning. 'We would queue up hay Hill with our 6d admission and then crowd into the cinema. Before the show started Uncle Chris (I think he was the manager Mr Crisp) would appear at the left hand corner of the stage and welcome everyone.

'We would have to shout out GOOD MORNING to him, than a screen would snake down and we would sing our club song,' said June.

When the song was finished they usually sang a couple of others, friends and neighbours and the like, and then the programme would start. A cartoon, a serial and then, after the interval, the main feature which was usually a cowboy - with lots of shouting, cheering and boos.

'I can't remember any trouble considering there were so many unaccompanied children. We just wanted the enjoyment of watching the films,' said June.

<t> Watch this space for more of your movie memories, and if you have any stories or photographs, send them to me at derek.james@archant.co.uk or drop me a line at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

The Saturday morning picture songs.


We are the boys and girls well known as

Minors of the ABC

And every Saturday all line up

To see the films we like and shout aloud with glee.

We love to laugh and have a sing-song

What a happy crowd are we.

We're all pals together

We're Minors of the ABC.


We come along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile

We come along on Saturday morning, knowing it is well worthwhile

As members of the GB (Gaumont British) club, we all intend to be

Good citizens when we grow up, and always long to be

We come along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smi-i-ile, smile, smile

Greeting everybody with a smile.