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TITLE
Ron Miller on Jimmy Nairn (1 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_RONMILLER_01
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Ron Miller
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2209
KEYWORDS
cinemas
audio

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Scottish amateur film producer and director, Ron Miller, created a film in 1979 called 'Movieman'; a documentary about the life of Jimmy Nairn, Inverness cinema manager, photographer, and amateur film maker. The documentary was shown to an appreciative audience, including Mr. Nairn himself, at La Scala cinema, Inverness. In this audio extract, Bill Sinclair asks Ron Miller where the inspiration for the documentary came from. The photograph shows Jimmy behind the counter in his photographic shop, talking to a customer or sales representative.

Interviewer: Ron, well I've certainly enjoyed the film that I've just seen in the La Scala cinema. How did you get involved with this in the first place?

Well, I've known Mr. Nairn for, what, thirty years, thirty-five years of my life now, and I knew there was a story here somewhere. What really triggered it off was the fire in the Playhouse [1972] which destroyed, not only that building, but a whole sort of world for people in Inverness was suddenly just removed from them, especially the children, I think, because every year he opened that place for the kids and created for them this incredible sort of fairyland situation; a complete environment that they could lose themselves in and believe in all the magic things. And, he was to me the complete cinema manager because, as one of the commentators on the film said, it wasn't enough just to show the pictures, but he made it an occasion. And when you entered the cinema he was there to greet you as you came in, and he was there at the end of the show if you had any comments about the picture; if you liked it, fine, if you didn't like it, tell him. But he was there all the time and there was this welcoming ambiance which he created round about him.

Interviewer: Did you find difficulty in getting old archive material? Mr. Nairn obviously must have lost a lot during the fire?

Tragically yes. But there was a surprising amount of material escaped the worst of the blaze and there was a very nice little bit, which I think dates away back to the turn of the century. It's an example of the early hand-tinted material - a little magic film - which must have taken somebody months to produce. It runs about two minutes and that was saved, and also some of his local newsreels. And one of the joys of making a compilation like this is the knowledge that you're preserving these little bits of history because unfortunately film, in the early days, was a very fragile medium indeed.

Interviewer: Quite.

And it didn't last all that long. It broke down into a nasty jelly sort of substance.

Interviewer: As the commentator was saying in the film that film is just as fragile as the people taking part in it?

Yes, exactly

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Ron Miller on Jimmy Nairn (1 of 2)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1980s; 1990s

cinemas; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Jimmy Nairn

Scottish amateur film producer and director, Ron Miller, created a film in 1979 called 'Movieman'; a documentary about the life of Jimmy Nairn, Inverness cinema manager, photographer, and amateur film maker. The documentary was shown to an appreciative audience, including Mr. Nairn himself, at La Scala cinema, Inverness. In this audio extract, Bill Sinclair asks Ron Miller where the inspiration for the documentary came from. The photograph shows Jimmy behind the counter in his photographic shop, talking to a customer or sales representative.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Ron, well I've certainly enjoyed the film that I've just seen in the La Scala cinema. How did you get involved with this in the first place?<br /> <br /> Well, I've known Mr. Nairn for, what, thirty years, thirty-five years of my life now, and I knew there was a story here somewhere. What really triggered it off was the fire in the Playhouse [1972] which destroyed, not only that building, but a whole sort of world for people in Inverness was suddenly just removed from them, especially the children, I think, because every year he opened that place for the kids and created for them this incredible sort of fairyland situation; a complete environment that they could lose themselves in and believe in all the magic things. And, he was to me the complete cinema manager because, as one of the commentators on the film said, it wasn't enough just to show the pictures, but he made it an occasion. And when you entered the cinema he was there to greet you as you came in, and he was there at the end of the show if you had any comments about the picture; if you liked it, fine, if you didn't like it, tell him. But he was there all the time and there was this welcoming ambiance which he created round about him.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Did you find difficulty in getting old archive material? Mr. Nairn obviously must have lost a lot during the fire? <br /> <br /> Tragically yes. But there was a surprising amount of material escaped the worst of the blaze and there was a very nice little bit, which I think dates away back to the turn of the century. It's an example of the early hand-tinted material - a little magic film - which must have taken somebody months to produce. It runs about two minutes and that was saved, and also some of his local newsreels. And one of the joys of making a compilation like this is the knowledge that you're preserving these little bits of history because unfortunately film, in the early days, was a very fragile medium indeed.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Quite.<br /> <br /> And it didn't last all that long. It broke down into a nasty jelly sort of substance. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: As the commentator was saying in the film that film is just as fragile as the people taking part in it?<br /> <br /> Yes, exactly