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Author Topic: The Wide-screen Centre
Allan Riddelll
Junior
Posts: 14
From: Msida, Malta
Registered: Feb 2016


 - posted September 22, 2019 09:04 AM      Profile for Allan Riddelll   Email Allan Riddelll   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Despite it's heydey in the 70s/80s I've often wondered what happened to Tony Shapps at the Wide-screen Centre. I bought my first trailers from there (Longest Day reissue and the Zanuck introduction to The Robe). Met Tony at the 1984 Blackpool convention where I ordered the Scope cartoon Goodwill to men and subsequently the Iscomorphot 8mm anamorphic lens kit. Around that time he was advertising 16mm Kowa anamorphics in Movie Maker magazine. He was a nice man and such a boon to 8mm enthusiasts.

Regent Films in Blackpool were also a great source of 8/16mm trailer reels from Thunderbird in the States.

What became of them ?

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Mike Spice
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted September 22, 2019 12:46 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tony Shapps is certainly a name I remember with quite some respect.

The widescreen centre was very special back in the day to any cine enthusiast

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Barry Attwood
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1411
From: Enfield, U.K.
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted September 23, 2019 02:49 AM      Profile for Barry Attwood   Email Barry Attwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They moved from the central London location of Baker Street in 2016, they have premises just outside Ely in Cambridgeshire. I believe that Tony Shapps and wife have now retired. They still carry 8mm items to this day! To find out more search online for The Widescreen Centre Ely and there site will come up.

[ September 23, 2019, 04:43 AM: Message edited by: Barry Attwood ]

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted September 23, 2019 02:55 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here is the link:-
https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/

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Maurice

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Allan Riddelll
Junior
Posts: 14
From: Msida, Malta
Registered: Feb 2016


 - posted September 23, 2019 05:53 AM      Profile for Allan Riddelll   Email Allan Riddelll   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the link Maurice but no mention of any 8mm items.

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted September 23, 2019 06:10 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They called themselves The Widescreen Centre, but when I visited them in London many years ago their shop seemed to be filled with telescopes even then.

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Maurice

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Tom Photiou
Film God

Posts: 4837
From: Plymouth U.K
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted September 23, 2019 06:18 AM      Profile for Tom Photiou   Email Tom Photiou   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I found them rude. As i mentioned in a thread elsewhere on here, my Brother visited London in there heyday. He walked in the shop with a stack of cash to spend and was pretty much ignored. They were dealing with a guy who was clearly a regular and when it came to serving my Brother they were rude and abrupt.He didn't just brush it off either, he said he came up from Plymouth & that i had already phoned but they really didn't want to know, they just pointed a finger and said, you can browse over there if you want, at that point they were both told where to go. I never ever dealt with, or contacted them since. They were too far up there own backsides.

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Barry Attwood
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1411
From: Enfield, U.K.
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted September 24, 2019 01:06 AM      Profile for Barry Attwood   Email Barry Attwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Allan.

They stock super and standard 8mm shooting stock, they also have some film reels and splicing tape etc. For more info look through their site.

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1633
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted September 24, 2019 01:18 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My Dad bought me my Kowa 8Z Cinemascope lens from the Widescreen Centre for me for Christmas in 1988, when I was 17.

I recall it was £189.00. Very expensive, but a quality lens that I still use today. I even filmed some Kodachrome 'scope using it back in the 90's.

I ordered super 8 stock from them in the 90's too and a 16:9 camcorder lens to fit in front of a 4:3 DLP video projector around 2004, to give a scope image without too much line structure from 576i DVD.

I never visited in person, but I do recall that the prices were always at the top end of the range.

Tom, I do remember asking my Dad to check if the Kowa would fit on my Elmo ST-1200HD using the Schneider f1.1 xenovaron at it's wide 11mm and the answer back was very odd, quoting "up to 11 feet", or something.

It didn't work at 11mm unless the Kowa was pushed right up to the front of the Schneider, so the swing bracket we also bought was useless, as it left too much gap between the lenses.

Never mind, we built a meccano bracket together that worked.

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 969
From: Athens,Greece
Registered: Jul 2008


 - posted September 25, 2019 01:45 AM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I also bought my Kowa lens in the late eighties,at one of my trips to London and also films from their catalogues which they sent periodically.Tony Shapps was the Dean of 8mm Cinemascope,writing articles in Movie Maker and trying everything to promote it.I don't remember any rudeness.Perhaps it was the "bad moment".

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1785
From: London, UK
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted September 25, 2019 02:13 AM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mayve it was safter Tony was less involved. I remember that a couple of times he ran, in conjunction with Derek, a coach from the Widescreen Centre to Derann open days. I went to my first open day on one.

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted September 25, 2019 04:28 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I only went to Dorset Street once. I was served by a very courteous gentleman named Jake Astbury (I still have his card.) He helped me buy a Quartz Super 8 camera and the small Super 8 CIR splicer.
Both items I still have.

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Maurice

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1633
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted September 25, 2019 06:03 AM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, he was a nice guy to deal with.

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Jeremy Rundle
Junior
Posts: 3
From: Llandysul, Wales, UK
Registered: Sep 2019


 - posted September 25, 2019 09:57 AM      Profile for Jeremy Rundle   Author's Homepage   Email Jeremy Rundle   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well I have been shopping with Simon at the Widescreen Centre since I was a Buyer and then Contracts officer at Heathrow Airport Limited many many many years ago and spent £10k there just a few years back on my new telescopes

Simon is blunt, and yes they can be off putting to new people as Simon can come over as..... well.......... Errr

https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/film-department.html

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I am Autistic so please bear with me if I unintentionally come over as a little blunt

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