Remember the giant movie billboards on Causeway Road?
- Pak Lok Commercial Building, 180 Tung Lo Wan Road
A big theatre...
This is where Causeway Bay's famous Park Theatre once stood. With a capacity of over a thousand seats, it was one of the city’s premier movie houses in the 1970s. Park Theatre was where you’d go to watch first-run English movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T. and the Exorcist. By the time the 1990s rolled around, the introduction of computerised printers and rising labour cost rapidly displaced hand-painted billboards for printed ones. The theatre closed down in June 1997 and since then, both the theatre and its giant billboards have become part of Hong Kongers’ cherished memories.
...and even bigger billboards!
Park Theatre was the most prominent building at the busy intersection between Causeway Road and Tung Lo Wan Road. Anyone who has taken the tram there in the 1970s and 1980s will definitely remember seeing the hand-painted giant movie billboards hanging on the façade of the theatre. These billboards were even large enough to be seen from the Victoria Park football fields! Mr Chau Qiong (周強), one of the last surviving movie billboards artists in Hong Kong, estimated that there were more than a hundred movie poster painters in the 1970s, when single-screen cinemas were popular in Hong Kong. Each billboard took a master painter and two apprentices a few days to complete. Given that theatres changed their films fortnightly, movie painters were kept very busy!
Nice to know
The greatest challenge for movie billboard painters was to keep the painted canvas dry during rainy weather. The rain and moisture could smudge the painting and distort the facial expressions of the actors. Towithstand the elements a layer of waterproof acrylic was applied.