Friday night was movie night at Cove open-air cinema

Friday night was movie night

I promised you the story about where I developed my love of movies. Well, here we go!

I grew up in Ocho Rios during the 1950s-60s. Ocho Rios was, at that time, a small fishing village on the north coast of Jamaica, an island in the Caribbean.

This was long before some of the harbour was reclaimed to accommodate cruise ships and the multistorey franchise hotels moved in.

Local entertainment

The only source of ‘formal’ entertainment for miles around was the open-air cinema, Cove, owned by my father.

Being ‘open-air’ meant you sat in an area walled on three sides with the screen forming the fourth wall. There was no roof. The seating was therefore open to the beauties of the night sky.

This arrangement meant, that before air conditioning, one could remain relatively cool for the length of the movie, but it was a washout on rainy nights, and chaos if it started to rain during the film. Everyone would be scrambling for some sort of cover, as there were no refunds.

 As the only cinema on the island with this arrangement Cove acquired a degree of fame. For instance, this was demonstrated when the new cinema was built the owners asked to retain the name ‘Cove’ as it was synonymous with movies amongst local people.

Friday night at the movies

Although Cove was open most week-nights, Friday night was movie night!

Friday was pay-day for most people, so there was cash to splash, and there was always a ‘double bill’ on, so you got two movies for the price of one.

Generally, the movies were cowboy films in which the audience fully participated. Shouting and giving directions to the actors about what they should do.

The noise from Cove on a Friday night could be heard all over town and the sound travelled up the hillside to the most glamourous of villas.

Of course, prior to the film starting, we all stood to attention, in silence, for the UK national anthem, as Jamaica had not yet acquired independence from British rule.   

Please, can we go to the pictures?

My brother and I had access to all the movies during the school holidays, and for us, it too was an important source of entertainment.

If the seating was full, we would go to the projection room and watch the film from there.

I do remember, however, that being allowed to go to the cinema was a process we started early in the day as we would ask our father, ‘Daddy can we go to the pictures tonight?’

He would then reply, ‘Go and ask your mother?’. Mother would say, ‘Have you asked your father?’ And so, it would continue until somehow, we finally got an answer one way or the other.

So, it is here my love of movies began.

Hope you enjoyed my story. Will you be going to the cinema soon?

Tra for now


P.S. Why not have a browse in our Magi Rose shop?