When Doris moved from Sunderland and created a bit of cinema history

Doris Hart who was leaving Sunderland Odeon to became manager at the Hartlepool cinema.
Doris Hart who was leaving Sunderland Odeon to became manager at the Hartlepool cinema.
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Doris Hart was a woman who created her own bit of history in 1979.

Eleven years after starting her career in the picture industry, she became the North East’s first female cinema manager.

Inside the cinema.

Inside the cinema.

And it all started when, one day, she spotted an advert for a cashier’s position.

She went home and told her husband she was “totally bored with being a housewife” and that housework was driving her “up the wall.”

She got the job and had risen to a management position within 12 months.

By 1975, she was deputy manager of the Odeon in Sunderland and about to start a new position as the manager of the Odeon in Hartlepool.

We had to get 1,400 people out of the theatre and another 1,400 in within ten minutes. That gives me a lot of satisfaction, especially when you know they are all enjoying themselves

Doris Hart, 1979

She said at the time: “I used to love Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair and the cowboy films with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.

“It was all good escapist stuff but that is what films are. They still make plenty of good escapist entertainment now, though.”

She said she loved James Bond films and remembered the first time she had to cater for one as an assistant manager.

She said in 1979: “We had to get 1,400 people out of the theatre and another 1,400 in within ten minutes.

The Odeon cinema in Sunderland.

The Odeon cinema in Sunderland.

“That gives me a lot of satisfaction, especially when you know they are all enjoying themselves.”

Darlington-born Doris was taking over at the Hartlepool Odeon from Brett Childes who was taking over at the Odeon in Sunderland.

And there was another member of the Hart family who was doing well in the industry at the time.

Doris’s son Michael was already a manager of an Odeon cinema in Glasgow by the time he was 26.

Hartlepools Odeon cinema.

Hartlepools Odeon cinema.

Who remembers Doris and her time at the Sunderland Odeon?

Or perhaps you would just like to reflect on the movie industry in bygone days.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk