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Travelling picture show man still peddling joy after all these years

At the film’s end, the pair pack up and go home. Next weekend, they’ll screen in another town or suburb.

For 37 years, Mr Wynne-Yorke has been a travelling picture show man — owner of Movies on the Move.

Rick Wynne-Yorke at the Mount Evelyn cricket club movie night.

Rick Wynne-Yorke at the Mount Evelyn cricket club movie night.Credit:Simon Schluter

It’s not a strenuous job — it’s limited to the warmest four months, mainly on weekends, and each winter, he goes to Europe or Canada where his granddaughters compete in Scottish dancing.

But you can’t slack off. “We’re professionals,” Mr Wynne-Yorke says. “We do jobs that people are happy with and that they’ve made money on.

“Our business is a lot of the same clients. I’ll go to a school this year, and they’ll want it again next year.”

He is driven by a lifelong passion for cinema. Growing up in Yallourn, in Gippsland, in the 1950s, he’d sit on hard benches up the front of the local hall on movie nights, but it was still “a lot of fun” watching Westerns and musicals.

It's not hard work, but you can't slack off, Rick says.

It’s not hard work, but you can’t slack off, Rick says.Credit:Simon Schluter

At home, using his own 8 millimetre film projector, he’d show other kids Buster Keaton comedies, hired from Melbourne.

At 14, Mr Wynne-Yorke scored an assistant projectionist job at Yallourn, two nights a week.

In 1959, at age 16, he started work with Hoyts in Melbourne and over 32 years, rose from assistant projectionist to multiplex cinema manager.

The Regent Theatre on Collins Street in the '60s.

The Regent Theatre on Collins Street in the ’60s.

The high point was working at the Regent Theatre in Collins Street. In the mid-1960s more than 3000 well-dressed people would pack the auditorium on a Saturday night.

There was organ playing, newsreels and cartoons before the feature. There were 30 usherettes, and tray boys sold ice creams and chocolates.

Each reel of film lasted 18 minutes, so the projectionist watched for a “cue dot” on screen that told him when he had to change reels.

Mr Wynne-Yorke would rewind the used reels by hand for use at the next session.

As a side job, in 1983, Mr Wynne-Yorke and a friend set up what is now Movies on the Move, screening at parks and public pools.

For Mr Wynne-Yorke, highlights have included screening The Matrix under the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a brewing company promotion night.

He screened the premiere of the film The Tracker, in a hall in Arkaroola, in outback South Australia. Mr Wynne-Yorke and his son drove 20 hours there and 20 hours back.

He has an annual Valentine’s Day job screening Picnic at Hanging Rock at the foot of Hanging Rock, where he’s seen kangaroos hop between the viewers.

He used to run “golden oldies” such as MGM musicals at Nunawading Arts Centre, and once an elderly lady cried as she arrived.

“She said, ‘I’m so happy I’m back, to see one of these beautiful old movies’.”

It sums up why he loves his job.

“It’s just fun.

“You see so many people enjoying themselves, that’s where I get my pleasure. But my job’s always been that way. It’s always been a pleasure to go to work. I think I’m fortunate.”

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