Interviewed by Jim Shields
Peter Stroud was born in Kilburn. His first job was as a projection box boy at the Prince of Wales Cinema (ABC), Harrow Road when he was fourteen. He went on to the Odeon, Kensal Rise where he returned in 1949 after National Service. Having become frustrated with the lack of promotion opportunities at Rank Theatres, in 1951 he went to Pinewood where he became Chief projectionist at Theatre Three, and later for many years was the Chief of Theatre Seven.
In this interview, conducted by Jim Shields shortly before Stroud’s retirement in 1993, he talks in detail about his early days in the projection box. He remembers the Wartime newsreel-crossover system which meant that newsreels had to be shared between Gaumont and Odeon cinemas, he discusses the fraught relationship between operators and managers, the average personnel in the projection box during the 1940s and 50s and the atmosphere in the box. He discusses different boxes in cinemas in London, and also in the theatres at Pinewood. He talks about the difficulty of projecting rough-cuts with separate sound-tracks for directors at Pinewood, and about his rare encounters with directors (particularly Kubrick). The interview is a fascinating insight into an aspect of the industry which is rarely discussed.