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From westerns to the war

PUBLISHED: 14:14 02 November 2010

Members of the Norwich Ghostriders Western Club at a special film show at Wymondham

Members of the Norwich Ghostriders Western Club at a special film show at Wymondham

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A special western night at the Wymondham Regal was a rootin' tootin' success, as Derek James discovers.

It is fast becoming the Hollywood of the East – and it doesn’t even have a “proper” cinema.

The dear old Wymondham Regal closed its doors many moons ago and is now the Ex-Services Club.

But a bunch of film fans, calling themselves The Regal Experience, have brought back the glory days of the silver screen.

And it’s not every day you get Doc Holiday and Calamity Jane enjoying a drink together.

Members of the Norwich Ghostriders Club made sure a special western show staged by one of the Experience Group, Michael Armstrong, was a rootin, tootin success.

Former projectionist Michael staged his own cowboy show reliving the glory days of the Saturday morning picture shows for kids and the Regal Chums Club.

He was helped by Colin “Hopalong” Proctor, Jill Clarke, John “Wayne” Jarvis and Les Woods.

Around 100 people showed up to join Roy Rogers and Trigger, Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry ride the range again.

Each film resulted in a round of applause and there was a special message from Roy Rogers Jnr in America who said: “My father would be thrilled to know he and his movies are still valued today.

“Happy trails you all, and as my father would say ‘goodbye, good Luck, and may the good lord take a likin to ya.’”

The last Regal Experience Show of the year is on Sunday with the screening of what is regarded as the best film lifting the lid on what life was really like in this country during the Second World War.

The main feature is Millions Like Us, made in 1943, which centres on the trouble of a family in wartime and a meek daughter who goes to work in a munitions factory and falls for a shy airman. The main stars are Patricia Roc and Gordon Jackson.

And the supporting film is just as interesting. The First Days is a fascinating documentary looking at how Londoners were preparing for the Blitz – digging shelters, preparing for aid raids, just like they were in Norwich and across Norfolk.

There will also be another selection of popular old adverts, many that were showing during the war years.

The Regal Experience and Hollywood Cinemas present World War Two on the Home Front at the Wymondham Ex-Services Club (Regal Cinema) on Sunday November 7 at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £5. Call Michael Armstrong on 01953 603246 or Maureen Dodman on 01953 605593.

A new book by Experience member and historian Philip Yaxley called Around Wymondham in World War Two, packed with more than 160 photographs, will be launched at the film show.

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