Movie Memories: Tarka the Otter

When I was young (I’m not sure of my exact age, my memory for that kind of thing is terrible but this was before 1984 so under 13 years old) the Royal British Legion club, which was situated in our local ‘shopping centre’ (which we called The Top Shops) played films.  I think it was at weekends.  I recall them playing onto a screen with some kind of projector.  My memory isn’t good enough to tell you why we were there (I was with at least my cousin Chris, that much I do remember), if it was just to see the films or for another reason, but I vividly remember seeing one film in particular.

Tarka the Otter.

I strongly remember not really being interested in the story of an otter, no matter how cute it might first appear to be.  I was probably sulking, I was a really sulky kid.  I know you find that hard to believe now when I’m unnaturally happy at all times, but it’s true! I sulked!

I remember seeing other films there, at the Royal British Legion, but I can’t for the life of me remember any of them except Tarka the Otter. I remember the smoke in the air and the stale smell of beer, the red vinyl covered seats with rips and foam showing through.  This was the age of supermarkets that were the same size as todays news agents who charged for carrier bags and still labelled food products with 1/2p stickers, hardware stores that smelled of metal and wood and sold 3amp fuse wire next to spare broom handles, local grocers and butchers who sold far better quality products than those supermarkets but couldn’t compete on price, and real Stotties (from Greggs!) filled with bacon and peas pudding.

I don’t recall if the RBL was showing the movies at the same time as their cinema release somehow, or if they were playing videos on some kind of projector (which seems more likely) and if they had or needed a license of any kind.  It’s just an odd memory of an odd time when places other than cinemas seemed to show films.

2 thoughts on “Movie Memories: Tarka the Otter”

  1. Yes this was the kids club of the 70’s/80’s I remember seeing this and it was definitely before Blakelaw so we’re talking ’81 at the latest, it was a projector and other films I remember were a couple of the Herbie ones and something from Disney but not sure what. I can’t remember how you ended up there or if anyone collected you at the end or you went off yourself it is one of those many mysteries of childhood from that time – like where sweets really bigger?

  2. Ah yeh, now you mention it, I remember seeing Herbie goes to Monte Carlo! Sweets were definitely bigger, and I remember getting the 5p mixup from the news agents on the corner at the other end from the RBL, opposite the supermarket place, which was next to the hardware store and the green grocers.

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