Royal touch to vintage film clips

Russell Campbell searches his personal collection for film clips to be shown at the Regent Theatre next week. Photo by Peter McIntosh.Retired projectionist Russell Campbell says he will not be able to resist adding a touch of royalty when he shows old newsreels and documentary clips at the Regent Theatre next week.

''It's quite a thrill to be able to put this together on film at the Regent especially,'' Mr Campbell said.

He will start his show for the Friends of the Regent Theatre with the national anthem, as was done in the past.

It will be an original coronation anthem Mr Campbell found while searching the Regent's archives back to the 1950s.

''Lo and behold it was there, with its colour intact. I thought it was just a coincidence given the Royals are here.''

Adding to the royal flavour, the walls of the projection room were adorned with advertisements for Queen Elizabeth's 1954 visit, which had been there for decades.

After the anthem, Mr Campbell would show a silent newsreel made by the former Empire Theatre in Dunedin in the 1920s.

''There are lots of Dunedin items on it, as they made it themselves.''

Next would be an international newsreel from the 1960s and two pictorial parades supplied by former National Film Unit colleague Roy Lance, who was a holiday relief projectionist at the Regent.

The pictorial parades featured railways, a centennial and the change from steam to diesel.

The parades used to come out each month and one of Mr Campbell's early jobs as a young projectionist was to go down to a depot to pick them up for the St James Theatre in High St.

He planned to finish with a short National Film Unit piece called Aspiring, which was typical of the unit's work in the 1960s.

''It's quite exciting. The National Film Unit was a big part of my life - I worked there 18 years.''

The showing will be held at the Regent on April 16 at 5.45pm.

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