MURCIA. A few days ago I read a report about what they titled ‘The decline of cinemas in the Region’, and I thought to myself that this decline was not, at all, something that occurred due to the closures, capacity restrictions and the fear of the spectators that the pandemic has brought us, but a progressive decline that began with the proliferation of video clubs, followed with the appearance of a multitude of television channels, some dedicated exclusively to cinema, and ended up being unleashed with platforms that feed you with high doses of series and movies.
All this, not to mention the unstoppable trend of closing the neighborhood halls, and those in the center of most cities, to take them to the suburban shopping centers.
“We can conclude that any past cinema was better. Or as such we remember it”
Consequently, more than sunset we could speak of the lace to the cinematographic projection. Or to the remainder of the one we met and enjoyed who were regulars, throughout many years of our lives, to those double programs that had us locked up for an afternoon in front of the big screen enjoying the magic of the so-called seventh art. Which was very little, by the way, before all this bustle that has brought us ill for almost a year.
We could go back to the September fair of 1896 to find the first references in the local press about the arrival of the invention: “The advances of science have also been exhibited in the Silversmith’s and at the fair, with the phonograph Edison, whose auditions cost 10 cents, and with the cinematograph, photography in motion, which is presented on Calle del Príncipe Alfonso at 25 cents an entrance fee “. Prince Alfonsor was he one of the many names that tried to put the Junk, but I’ll take care of that another time.
The first projection in a space built and destined for the scene in a stable way, and that is still active, took place in the Romea Theater in November of the same year, although this enclosure did not have continuity as a place for cinematographic projection, so that the promoters of the invention of Light They sought as their main stage the other local coliseum, the Teatro Circo, premiered in 1892, which would occasionally dedicate itself to cinema at the beginning, when its first experiences, in December of the aforementioned 1896, and regularly from 1906 until its closure in 1984.
However, during the first years of cinema in the Region and in the city, the usual thing was portable barracks, and if there was any new building dedicated to this art, it was not as a main activity, at least initially, as is the case of the Orti Theaterwith, inaugurated in 1914 and transformed over time into Central Cinema, when his change of destiny was confirmed, and already in the 40s of the last century in Cine Rex.
The 1920s did give way to the first Murcian cinemas conceived as such. And so, on November 2, 1922, the so-called Media Luna Cinema, with a facade to the Carmelite square of the same name, which today we know as González Conde. Counted the chronicle of the newspaper Time that the new “movie room is solidly built under the direction of the notable architect Don Rafael Castillo. The hall, which enjoys splendid electric lighting, is capable of seating five hundred spectators. In the style of the best cinemas, the seats of the general entrance are installed in the front. The seats are preferably placed behind, being very comfortable. All the premises of the theater are built in accordance with the Entertainment Law. The apparatus for playing tapes is a great model of the renowned Casa Pathé. The vision is very clear and of an extraordinary fixity “.
In this way, and on that date, the first room built and dedicated to cinematographic projection in the city of Murcia, so that very soon it will be a century since that anniversary, without prejudice to the fact that the historic site passed into a better life long ago, after being first converted into a disco, as was evident in the photo that illustrated my previous article, and then torn down to make way for a new residential building.
Those pioneering entrepreneurs of Murcian cinematography were the brothers Rubio Molina (or what is the same, my grandfather and his family), who soon rented the room to the Iniesta, to later sell it to those who would be for decades the net dominators of the business in the city and in part of the Region through the entity called Inies programta.
Continuing the trend of bringing new art to the neighborhoods, in the last days of 1925 it opened its doors on the border between the neighborhoods of Santa Eulalia Y San Juan, which also emerged as an independent company before being absorbed by the monopolists of the show, and the Sport Vidal room, in Saint Andrew, which followed the same course. The first was converted into a garage and later was demolished, while the second was transformed into a party room, Pierrot was called at the beginning, and ended up also succumbing to the pickaxe. The excavation works to build a new building led to the discovery of the remains of the primitive parish of Saint Andrew… But that is another story.
This would be the story, broadly speaking, the history of the early years of cinema in Murcia, and of the first venues dedicated to film projection, none of which today offers movies on the big screen, although the Rex He was still doing it, by and by, a few months ago. The current offer in the urban area, apart from the aforementioned, was completed by the surviving rooms of Centrofama (he had five in his good years) and the Film library, located in what was Cine Salzillo.
Nothing to do, of course, with the best days of the famous Iniesta Circuit. Not even with a billboard from, for example, February 4, 1971, just 50 years ago today, when the Iniesta company offered programming in half a dozen spaces throughout the city: Coy (on the Gran Vía), Circus Theater, Great Via (in Ronda Norte), Cinema Iniesta (the old Half Moon), Rosi (in La Paz) and Avenue (in the Roll); to which had to be added the Coliseum (on Paseo de Corvera), of the company JPH, and the Rex, of the company Iniesta Martínez. From which we can conclude that any past cinema was better. Or as such we remember it.