What’s the link between Hollywood Theatre and Lion City Hotel? Well they are both owned by the late property magnate Mr.Wee Thiam Siew. Mr.Wee Thiam Siew also owned the not too long demolished Seven Storey Hotel. The Seven Storey Hotel was built in 1953, followed by Hollywood Theatre in 1957. The Hollywood Theatre was opened by the cinema magnate late Mr.Loke Wan Tho in 1958.
I’ll blog on Hollywood Theatre in Part 1 and Lion City Hotel in Part 2.
I remember whenever I drove past the Thiam Siew Ave, my mother would point to me the corner house nearer to Haig Road and said “See, that was the Hollywood Theatre boss’ house”. At that time, I thought that it must be some rumours from the wet market aunties spread to her; but when I’m researching for this topic, I think it might be true. Just a few streets away from the Hollywood Theatre and Lion City Hotel, along the Haig Road, you can find Thiam Siew Avenue. It was named after Mr.Wee Thiam Siew in 1939. It was originally known as Thiam Siew Road. In 1940, he proposed to the Municipal Commissoner to have it renamed as an Avenue so that the properties value will increased. Probably I’ll blog on Mr.Wee Thiam Siew in the near future.
The opening of Hollywood Theatre in 1958;
Hollywood Theatre in 1958;
Above 2 credits : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore
And how it looks like now in 2011;
Of course you cannot find the name Hollywood Theatre on the building itself anymore as it is now Sheng Siong Supermarket. Surprisingly the only place where you can find the full name “Hollywood Theatre” is at the fence of the power generator besides the theatre, in the Lion City Hotel carpark just in front of the KFC;
When I was still in the army, I would like to watch a movie (mainly Mandarin shows) in this Hollywood Theatre as it was cheaper with my 11B (soldier’s identity card). Of course at times there were rats running across the feet while watching the show. And if it’s a night show, there were some food and drink stalls in front of the theatre in its early years. With the introduction of multiplex and the increased in movie ticket price, this theatre screened its last show in end of June 1995. You will be surprised to know that this typical Chinese theatre last movie was a French show “Le Parfum d’Yvonne”.
Hollywood Theatre in 1994, just a year before its last show;
Credit : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore
Same view in 2011;
A rather deserted theatre, as view from the overhead bridge in 1994;
Credit : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore
After 17 years (2011), the 2 trees in front of the theatre have grown much bigger;
I’ve not seen the escalator moving so far. The overhead bridge linking City Plaza to the front of Hollywood Theatre;
The carpark entrance, turning right after entry to the theatre; turning left to the Lion City Hotel;
There are more parking spaces at the side of the theatre. On the left is the previous Yock Eng High School, now become CDAC;
The Hollywood Theatre almost turned into a multiplex if not for a fail negotiation between the owner and Eng Wah Organisation for a longer lease. At that time, the owner was only willing to lease it out on a 2 to 3 years basis, thus in 1995, the City Harvest Churh settled down at this venue;
Credit : City-News
The old theatre stage still remained. Many of the new multiplex cinemas are without such stage;
Credit : Quiet Confidence, Em
It was said that Siew Fung Fung and Fong Bo Bo once performed here on this stage during its heyday. Even when it was being used as a supermarket, they still retained the stage. Somehow, the City Harvest Church ended her lease in 2001 and Sheng Siong Supermarket took over from then till now 31 Aug 2011;
Besides the Hin Hollywood Canteen, construction already going on, think it’s for a substation by SP Powerassets;
The back of the theatre facing the Hin Hollywood Canteen;
The carpark exit booth (behind the white car). Very troublesome, have to wait for your change. In the past, this was 2-way (out/in);
Behind the theatre is the Hin Hollywood canteen that I called Hollywood coffee shop;
There are already many bloggers blogging on this coffee shop, so I will not elaborate on this eatery. Frankly having stay here for so many years, I don’t find the food here fantastic. Somehow after the Mediacorps showed the documentary on this coffee shop, many people flocked to it before it was demolished;
Before I end the Part 1, below is the excerpt from the Mediacorps documentary on the Hin Hollywood Canteen;
Credits : Mediacorps, PICAS, National Archives of Singapore
I’ll blog on the Lion City Hotel in Part 2.
What my father wrote; “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”