SpaceWorld & the Embassy Theatre, Hamilton NZ

SpaceWorld & the Embassy Theatre, Hamilton NZ

This is definitely not LCD-related but it’s some local history and has been sitting in drafts for *ages*.

The picture above is a shot of Victoria Street, Hamilton. You can use the scrollbar at the bottom to show/hide the view of the photo taken in the early 90s, with a more recent shot from 2021.

The Embassy Theatre was where Richard O’Brien used to watch late night science fiction picture shows after a day’s work in the barber shop which was located either where Spaceworld or the Record Exchange is. Richard would go on to write, and star in, The Rocky Horror Picture Show which is pretty cool and the city even erected a statue of him (after a lot of prompting) which you can see in what is now called Embassy Square. Rocky Horror may be what Richard is best-known for, but it would be a disservice to say that was the only claim to fame for this multi-faceted, highly talented man. His presenting of The Crystal Maze in the UK in the 1990s really made that show what it is (and several remakes later, many would agree its longevity is due to the influence of its former host).

Spaceworld, which you can see in the early photo, was one of a chain of video arcades operated by Kerridge Odeon (one of the movie companies in NZ in that time) and they would put the video arcades in the same location as their movie theatres, ostensibly so movie goers would spend more money on video entertainment before and after the film). Teenagers of the 1980s would spend hours (and $$$$) in these noisy and dimly-lit environments saving earth from incoming invaders) and arcades today are a pale imitation of the original.

So there you have it — like a lot of history in NZ, it’s knocked down and mostly forgotten, apart from a few old black & white photos.

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