John Rumball kindly contacted us to share his wonderful memories of James ‘Saronie’ Roberts, founder of the Prestatyn Scala Cinema:-
I now live in Leicestershire but was a resident of Prestatyn in the days of Saronie. I remember that he always sat at the back of the cinema`s stalls, the aisle seat on the right as you entered. He was always smartly dressed and made himself available to the patrons.
The Scala had a main film which was shown twice in an evening, with a single showing of a film between the main film. The prices were 1/-, 1/9, and 2/3 in the balcony.
The other cinema was the Paladium with a large downstairs, and a small balcony with double seats at the back and on the side – very popular with couples!! Their prices were the same.
I was always felt that Saronie went for the more up-market and classic films. There was a farm on the opposite side of the road to the cinema, owned by the Ellis family. Occasionally when in the cinema, you could smell the Countryside!!
I remember his house on the Hillside with, I believe, an observatory. It certainly had a dome.
I wish you well with your project and all good fortune to your efforts to maintain the Scala. I attended Prestatyn County Primary School on Marine Road, and Rhyl Grammar School. I married Sheila Gibbs, a former Carnival Queen.
John Rumball, Wigston, Leicestershire.