Jack Brown

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre Folk

Jack Brown

The DookitJack Brown, cinema and theatre manager-promoter; born Millport, November 28, 1909, died Hamilton, February 11, 1997

JACK Brown, a Scot who lived and breathed the world of cinema and live show-business, was one of a disappearing breed of show-business characters who toiled with all their heart in the ebullient, sometimes romantic but always precarious world of entertainment. Unlike many in today’s profit-chasing and sometimes soul-less era, he was a dedicated show-person, working all hours to give value to his customers through the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and enjoying his job both front-of-house and backstage.

A lover of his home ground at Millport and elsewhere on the Firth of Clyde, he began, like others who went on to be entrepreneurs on a larger scale, as a humble spools-boy. He was on the Doon the Watter scene of the 1930s when a lovely lass, Daisy Dee, came north from Hereford to sing and dance in the Scottish seaside shows of yesteryear. They married and became, as one associate put it, ”the most handsome married twosome in the West of Scotland.”

Jack sampled most aspects of show-business – from concert party, resident holiday shows and revue to cinema and, latterly, bingo. He was a loyal manager in the Rank circuit at the city-centre Odeon Theatre, Glasgow, and also managed cinemas at Hamilton, Renfrew, Blantyre and Dennistoun. He worked on bright ideas to save the Scottish suburban theatre in the tough days before today’s multi-plexes blossomed, and never forgot the many pensioners who gave his cinemas their afternoon patronage, throwing special parties for their interest.

His last cinema was The Parade in Dennistoun, Glasgow, where he set up a club-style entertainment house. As with those earlier forms of show-business which he loved, he threw his energies into the cinema-cum-bingo world that developed in Scottish towns and cities in the 1970s and 80s. But his heart remained in the live song- comedy-and-dance world of Millport, Largs, Rothesay and Dunoon – the long-gone area of Scottish show-business that, in today’s electronic, pop-crazy world, is only a happy piece of nostalgia for those who savoured it.

He was a former President of the century-old Scottish Show Business Benevolent Fund. He was pre-deceased six years ago by his wife, Daisy, and is survived by a son, Bobby, and daughter, Joyce. Showbiz, 1997 style, may have its protagonists, but, let’s confess, they don’t seem to build ’em like the Firth of Clyde Jack Browns of Millport any more.

The Herald, Saturday 15 February 1997

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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