Cinema history to live on

By Roger Moroney

Six months ago, during the summer Art Deco weekend, Napier man Paul Franklin spotted a hefty chunk of what had been part of the now demolished Odeon cinema lying on the Marine Parade side of the work site.

Most of the old cinema had come down to make way for what will be the new Farmers department store.

It caught his eye, as it had a distinctive "criss-cross" pattern on it, as well as part of the Odeon lettering. He was amused to see that the workers on site had done their bit for Art Deco weekend by putting a sign up against the three-tonne ragged slab of concrete.

"Art Demo" - the demolition crew wrote.

"I like the look of it and asked what was going to happen to it," Mr Franklin said.

He was told it destined for the rubbish pile, so he put in a bid.

"And I got it ... for a bottle of wine."

He organised for it to be craned onto a truck that he arranged to call at the site, and it was duly taken to his Marewa home where it was fork-lifted off.

"But I was starting to think then ... what the hell am I going to do with it?"

What he did was embed it into the front garden of his Tom Parker Ave property - which just happens to be an Art Deco-designed house.

And there it settled - only to be spotted by an Art Deco suburban tour guide about three months ago, who was delighted to see it.

The guide mentioned it to the Art Deco Trust, and shortly afterwards the architects of the planned Farmers building gave him a call.

They also liked the look of it too and decided that in the design sense it still had a place on the site.

"They came around and took a mould of it - they're going to use it on the new building," Mr Franklin said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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