Page updated 20th September 2011
The next purpose built cinema was the Franklin Picture Palace which opened on 3rd February 1911, in the Assembly Hall of the Franklin Temperance Hotel and Restaurant, which is now the Australian theme bar, Walkabout. It was run by C Holland, son of the hotel owner; Holland was also the projectionist, in the days when films were hand cranked, and it is said that the audience would become restive if he took longer than usual to change the reels or the film broke.
A piece in the National Journal of Bioscope of 1913 stated:
Mr J Holland, the manager and proprietor presents a first rate entertainment and is doing excellent business. The Franklyn is a charming little theatre seating 250 people and we were particularly impressed by the very admirable system of ventilation. Mr Holland runs a continuous program and is also of the opinion that the good people of Exeter love cowboys and indians as well as well as any other form of picture drama.
The cinema gained a reputation for showing Charlie Chaplin films, with seats costing 2d, 4d and for the wealthy, 6d.
The cinema had a flat floor for the seating and could accommodate 250 people. The Exeter character, Artful Thomas worked at the Franklin Cinema as an attendant - one of his jobs was to walk up the aisle spraying disinfectant over the audience, in an age when personal hygiene was somewhat lower than now. It closed in 1924.
The Franklin Hotel is now the Walkabout.
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