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AFI research collection
Reference Type book
Title 'On with the Show'
Author(s)John Cain
Editor(s)Jane Yule
Town Richmond
State VIC
Country Australia
Publication Date 00-00-1998
Citation Date
Comments ‘On with the Show’, pages 134 to 137 is a depiction of the highs and lows the Kirby family triumphed through, after opening the Roxy Theatre in May of 1946. Roc Kirby believed the Roxy (or sometimes referred to as the Maidestone Theatre) was ‘the first good suburban theatre the family owned’.

It was this belief that gave Roc Kirby the determination to stand up to George Griffiths, who at the time was the Victorian Manager of Hoyts. Mr Griffiths did not want films distributed to the Roxy, as the new cinema sat in a two-mile radius. In lay mans terms the cinema was competition. Mr Griffiths made it very hard for the Kirby’s to stay in business. He even stropped both Paramount and Metro Goldwyn from distributing film to the Roxy. As the two film distributors already supplied the Grand, Trocadero and Barkley Cinemas, which were owned by either Hoyts or their only other competitor the Independents.

This meant the Roxy had no films to show and if drastic action wasn’t taken the business would fold. Roc Kirby stood his ground and went to higher orders. He met with Ernest Turnbull (Managing Director and Chairman of 20th Century Fox) Mr Turnball was a fan of Roc, once stating ‘you’ve got my films anyway’. Roc remembered this and sought to meet with Mr Turnball. At the time 20th Century Fox owned Hoyts, this meant with the big boss happy to distribute to the Roxy, the Kirbys were back in business. From then on all but one distributor supplied the Roxy with films.

This reference, this story, is the beginning of Roc Kirby taking initiative. It explores the makeup, the type of person it took to bring the Kirby name into the caliber it sits in today. Within the Kirby timeline there are many more stories that show business deals, and expansion, however this reference sets the tone of the success that is to follow. The Kirby business started with an idea, a prospect in Cinema and it continued, with chance taking and strength, this reference highlights this.

Synopsis ‘On with the Show’, pages 134 to 137 represents the struggle and commitment that the Kirby family, in particular Roc Kirby presented in what was a difficult time in Cinema. This reference explores a show down between Roc Kirby and George Griffiths, who at the time was Hoyts Victorian Manager. It also shows how the Roxy Cinema, in Maidestone, went from no film supply to the release of films from all distributors, except one.
tags: Hoyts John Cain Kirby Theatres PTY LTD Roc Kirby Village Roadshow 
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