Just As Betty Grable Would …

Doreen Wendt-Weir
Doreen Wendt-Weir

The Hollywood Theatre once stood proudly on the corner of Logan and Chatsworth Roads in Greenslopes. Every Saturday morning in 1938, I would take my sixpence (five cents) to attend the tap-dancing class that was held at the back of the stage. I was ten.

There was a matinee at the theatre each Saturday, with two films and an episode of the serial Flash Gordon, plus a cartoon of Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. The place would be packed with youngsters sitting in the canvas chairs. There was quite a lot of Jaffa-rolling down the sloping, concrete floor, and lots of tittering and giggles.  

When the films were playing and it was dark, the proprietor, Mr. Marshall Palmer, would patrol the central aisle with his torch, making sure there was no ‘funny business’ going on.

And every month or so, during interval, the spotlight would be on the stage. The tap-dance class, complete with red lipstick and very pink rouge, arms linked, would tap our way onto the boards. I remember performing to the music of ‘The Lambeth Walk.’ Resplendent in black satin bloomers with a white satin blouse, we sang as we tap-danced, just as Betty Grable would. “Once you get down Lambeth Way, Any evening any day, You’ll find yourself — Doin’ the Lambeth Walk! Oi!”

By Doreen Wendt-Weir
Author of ‘Gardening in Your Nineties, sequel to Sex in Your Seventies.’  –