GEMSTONE OF GLEBE
24 Hours in Sydney is proud that Sydney was blessed with many Art Deco style film houses throughout the suburbs. Many have gone now. Today we remember one of the best where this writer spent many a Saturday evening watching cult classic movies.
The Valhalla was located in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Glebe. It opened as a cinema late in 1937 under the name “Astor”. The cinema had a respectable seating capacity of 992.
The Valhalla served as one of many suburban cinemas at the time and operated until 1959 when it faced its first closure. This was blamed on the introduction of television.
The cinema reopened in 1968 and operated until 2005 under various names such as the Filmore Red Star Cinema, the New Arts Cinema and the Curzon Cinema. It finally became known as Valhalla in 1979.
Over the decades since it became known as a specialist in cult or independent films as well as a number of live shows. These shows included the first live Australian production of the “Rocky Horror Show” in the 1970s. Other live shows included “Oh Calcutta”. This show was controversially banned for a time and even had the performers arrested. It even hosted the outrageous drag performance of “Cycle Sluts”. Also, it was cheap. An SMH article from 1988 declared that ‘the best bargain around town’ was the Valhalla’s Saturday matinee deal. ‘For a mere $3.50, the patron gets to see one feature, two cartoons, an episode of The Shadow, and also is provided with a drink and a packet of Jaffas,’
In 1994 the Valhalla was divided into two cinemas. It was also a film projection school from the 1960s until 2005 when it closed. The building was sadly gutted and became offices later in 2008. Today there are only a handful of local Art Deco cinemas left in Sydney. For the best day ever take in a ‘flick’ when you can. #yougottalovesydney
IMAGE CREDIT: Glebe Walks