OUR RECENT pictures of Roy Rogers visiting the city prompted memories of another famous singing cowboy for Glasgow Times reader Bruce Taylor.

“My grandfather met Gene Autry in 1939,” he recalls. “They were photographed together when the star came to the city to perform at the old Paramount cinema on Renfield Street.”

Bruce’s grandparents George and Agnes Taylor were a famous and much-respected part of cinema society in Glasgow. (“They also met Boris Karloff and Laurel and Hardy, whom they entertained at home,” smiles Bruce.)

“My grandfather was born just off the High Street at the end of the 19th century,” he explains. “He became interested in what was then a new and growing idea of moving pictures.

“He was a projectionist as a young man, but also met people who were developing the new technology of cinema. My grandmother played the piano along to the silent films at Partick Picture House, which is where she met George.”

Glasgow Times:

George’s sisters were well known stage performers of the time too – Chris, who went by the stage name Marjorie Fulton, and Daisy Taylor.

George went on to become general manager of the Partick Picture House, and Agnes worked in the office until the outbreak of war in 1914, when she was given responsibility for running the cinema and overseeing the operation of the projectors.

According to a biography of the couple in the National Library of Scotland’s Museum of the Moving Image:“George was unable to join the armed forces because of his poor eyesight; however, he used the skills he had developed as an instrument maker in the manufacture of range finders for guns.

“George and Agnes married in 1919. Two years later, George Taylor became the general manager of the Grosvenor cinema in Byres Road and here, Agnes introduced ‘Chorus Nights’, where the audience could join in with the songs during musical interludes.

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“These evenings were very successful with audiences and a number of years later, the cinema chain Associated British Cinemas began to take an interest in these entertainments.

“Agnes was given responsibility for ABC’s output for the whole of Scotland, at a wage of twelve shillings per week. The ‘Chorus Nights’ were discontinued after the introduction of films with sound.”

Glasgow Times:

By 1931, George Taylor was running a group of picture houses.

In 1939, Gene Autry came to the city, and huge crowds gathered to welcome him.

People began gathering at 2pm to await his train which was not due from London until 7.20pm. By the time he arrived, Gordon Street and Hope Street were both blocked by fans.

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The Singing Cowboy seemed rather bewildered as he was driven slowly from the train to the hotel entrance but then climbed on to the taxi roof to acknowledge the fans who had claimed every vantage point in a bid to see their hero.

He appeared at a window of the hotel to wave at the crowds before police asked him not to so they could clear the streets.

The Holywood star was in Scotland to promote his latest film – Colorado Sunshine – and was to ride his horse from the hotel to the Paramount Theatre (later the Odeon) to make personal appearances.

Which famous stars have you seen in Glasgow over the decades? Share your memories and photos by emailing ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.