Former Kirkcaldy cinema manager Douglas Adams to be laid to rest

Douglas Adams is presented with one of his Lion Awards.
Douglas Adams is presented with one of his Lion Awards.

A well-known figure will be laid to rest this week, after providing decades of service to the entertainment of people in the town.

Douglas Adams, longstanding manager of the old ABC Cinema, passed away in January.

Douglas meets circus impressario Billy Smart

Douglas meets circus impressario Billy Smart

To many who have fond memories of the former cinema, he was ‘Mr ABC’.

Joining the firm in 1951, he arrived in Kirkcaldy a few years later, and he quickly turned heads with his management style and customer relations skills, and won industry accolades - he was the first ‘foreigner’ to be given the American MGM Showmanship award in 1957.

He would go on to win a second ‘Lion’ award, being the only manager to do so.

But he noted upon winning the US-based award that the cinema had been listed as being in England.

Douglas Adams on the front page of an industry magazine after his MGM award in 1957/58

Douglas Adams on the front page of an industry magazine after his MGM award in 1957/58

“I intend to send the sponsors a map and some tourist literature,” he said at the time.

While he started out as an actor he always had a love of stagecraft, something which would serve him well in his future career.

As a PR-savvy showman, he often found unique ways to coax in film fans and raise the profile of the cinema.

One-such occurrence saw him build a Dalek for a children’s Christmas party at the ABC in 1965, made with the help of his friends at the charitable group, The Round Table.

Douglas Adams with his two Lion MGM awards

Douglas Adams with his two Lion MGM awards

A more daring ploy drew a great deal of press attention in 1957, involving a life-size cardboard cut-out of then teen-idol Tommy Steele.

When the cinema looked to promote the Tommy Steele Story, the cut-out was initially displayed in the foyer, however, it soon ‘disappeared by arrangement’, only to be ‘discovered’ in the harbour. Naturally the papers obliged with headlines like “Tommy Steele found floating in Kirkcaldy harbour”.

As well as his work with the Round Table - he became chairman in 1966 - he was also involved with community groups like the the Sea Cadets.

In 1993 he was even invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace in recognition of the amount of charity money raised in the cinema.

Douglas with a Dalek made by the Round Table for a kids Christmas party at the cinema.

Douglas with a Dalek made by the Round Table for a kids Christmas party at the cinema.

Douglas would often take to the stage to ask viewers to make a donation upon leaving the theatre.

When he found the time, he was a keen sportsman, taking an interest in golf, curling, and rugby.

After 37 years as manager of the Kirkcaldy ABC Cinema, he retired in 1994. This allowed him to spend more time enjoying the garden.

Douglas passed away at the age of 86 at Victoria Hospital on January 20.

He is survived by his wife Eileen, his sons Stuart, Paul, Nigel, and Mark.

A private family service will be held on Friday, however friends and family are invited to meet at the Strathearn Hotel afterwards at 3:45pm

Douglas with the clock he got for long service

Douglas with the clock he got for long service

Douglas Adams meets circus impressario Billy Smart

Douglas Adams meets circus impressario Billy Smart