A Scottish projectionist is bringing down the curtain on his 50-year career manning the projectors at a number of Glasgow’s famed picture houses.
Barney McCue started working as a projectionist as soon as he finished school in 1964. He had long had an interest in the workings of cinemas, having been born above Glasgow’s old Grand cinema in Cowcaddens.
He told the BBC that when he first became a projectionist it was a highly-skilled vocation, and one that has allowed him to sustain a long and stable career.
“It was a trade – you had to do a three-and-a-half year apprenticeship at the beginning,” he said, explaining that the 35mm film reels required changing every 20 minutes or so without any interruption to the film.
“The audience did not notice the changeover because it was just another change of scene. There were little dots or cues on the right-hand side of the screen that told the projectionist to change over.”
The use of 35mm film has almost completely disappeared now, however, due to the rise of digital projectors. Barney has been working at the Glasgow Film Theatre for the last 32 years, but told the BBC that the time is right – with the retirement of virtually all of the film projectors in the city – for him to raise the lights for the last time.