Vernon Corea was a movie buff. As a broadcaster he knew all the Managers of the cinemas in Colombo including The Savoy Cinema in Wellawate, the Majestic Cinema in Bambalapitiya, the Liberty Cinema in Kollupitiya, the Regal Cinema in Colombo-2 and other theatres.
Television hadn’t arrived in Ceylon in the 1950s and 1960s. The only forms of entertainment were the radio programmes over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon and the movies at the cinemas in Colombo and all over the island in Sri Lanka.
Hundreds used to queue outside the Savoy, the Liberty, the Majestic to see the popular films – quite often they were released about 6 months to a year after their release in the United Kingdom. Radio Ceylon broadcasters were given passes to see the movies and every month Vernon used to take his family to view some of the great films of the day.
Vernon has seen ‘The Sound of Music,’ ‘My Fair Lady,’ ‘The Singing Nun,’ ‘Charlie,’ ‘Hatari,’ ‘Goldfinger,’ ‘Dr.No,’ ‘The Great Escape,’Von Ryan’s Express,’ ‘The Great Race,’ ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad World,’ ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘The Bible,’ ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told,’ ‘Quo Vadis,’ The Ten Commandments,’ among hundreds of films released in Colombo in the 1950s and 1960s.
Vernon has also played the popular songs from the films on his radio programmes on Radio Ceylon including Henry Mancini’s ‘Baby Elephant Walk,’ from the film ‘Hatari.’
and of course Julie Andrews in ‘The Sound of Music’
Vernon’s friend and fellow broadcaster at Radio Ceylon, Christopher Greet had a supporting role in ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ filmed in Ceylon. Vernon has also given a helping hand for this film.