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Rex Panorama No.19 (Set 2) - The Rex Theatre (Cinema), Ipoh
This Panoramic photograph by Rex Photo Studio, shows the Rex Cinema at the corner of Hume Street and Anderson Road and fronting the latter, with Hume Street to the right. At the far right of the picture in Hume Street is the Golden Asia Hotel with its coffee shop below and further down the street is Tai Loo, vehicle registration plate shop, advertised by the registration plate A 234 above the entrance.
This upgraded building originally called the Isis theatre was redesigned by Danish architect Berthel Michael Iversen. Part of the Shaw Brothers Empire, this is acknowledged by the words "Shaw Building" immediately under the rooftop Rex sign.
The original Isis Theatre was built in 1916 by Mr. John Archibald (Archie) Russel on land he had bought in 1913.
The Rex, is said by some to be the little brother of the famous Lido Theatre, Ipoh (also a Shaw property), it showed English, Malay and Chinese films that could not be fitted into the busy programme of the Lido.
One thing that it shared with another Ipoh cinema, the Odeon Theatre, was that it was said to be haunted! There were two dragon effigies near the stage which had previously belonged to the Isis Theatre. These were to protect the audience from the spirits of those Chinese who had died and their funeral rites had been held, either in the coffin shops or the upstairs terminally ill 'convalescent homes', all sited directly behind the building. There is a more detailed history of this theatre available through the link below.
The building remains (in 2008) as a furniture shop and the coffin shops also remain close by; same with the convalescent homes (where you only went to die), both are still in operation.
The photograph is dated by the billboard advertising the movie; Kentucky (also released as The Story of Seabiscuit) starring Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald. Released in 1949 it told the story of Horse trainer Shawn O'Hara and his lovely niece, Margaret, who went to Kentucky to escape the memory of an accident involving Margaret's brother, Danny.
To read more about Berthel Michael Iversen, click here
To read a short introduction to the Shaw Brothers and their Jubilee Park, Ipoh, click here.
To read more about the Isis Theatre click here.
To read more about the Lido Theatre click here.
To read more about the Odeon Theatre click here.
To go to the next panorama, click here.