It first opened as The Victor Theatre in November 1923 and, according to Cinema Treasures, the opening films were 'The Bohemian Girl', starring Gladys Cooper and 'Mord Em'ly', starring Betty Balfour.
Picture from cinema treasures.org
In 1928 the building was renovated and seating capacity increased but the building was badly damaged by fire in January 1931. When the theatre finally reopened in December 1934 it was renamed The Ozone Theatre and, what's more, it was all dressed up in an Art Deco style.
A blue plaque at the front of the building draws attention to the Art Deco light fittings, chrome fixtures and the very glamorous terrazzo floor in the foyer.
It's the decor that makes the Victa so appealing to me. I love the plush velvet curtains, the light fittings, the polished timber handrails inside each cinema and the stylised chrome handrails leading up the stairs to Cinema 1. I especially like the sign indicating the Ladies Powder Room. I say 'Ladies Powder Room' in keeping with the ambiance of the era. It seems to fit.
During the 1950's the theatre was owned by Hoyts Theatres Ltd and then sold to private operators in 1970 for the sum of $25,000.
Various renovations took place over the years including a conversion to 'twin cinemas' in 1998. Now, of course, we get to see twice as many movies, but I'm grateful that I saw 'Babe' ( the one about the pig) when the Victa was still one big old fashioned theatre.
The current owners purchased the theatre in February 2005 and are committed to preserving and maintaining the beautiful art deco building, while improving functionality and comfort for patrons. This includes digital projection, reverse-cycle airconditioning and comfy seats.
My movie experience is never complete without a Choc Top. I'm sure you feel the same. Unless you prefer popcorn. In fact I'd go as far as saying 'it's not all about the movie, it's about sitting in a dark room with a friend, eating a Choc Top (or popcorn)'. Thankfully the Victa Candy Bar stocks both.