The B.B. Film Hire Service

'The pioneer of permanent cinema entertainments in Glasgow, Mr. J.J. Bennell, the respected chief of the B.B. Film Hire Service, also one of the pioneers of the film-hiring industry in Scotland. Opening the Wellington Palace, Glasgow, with an all-picture entertainment on Dec. 23, 1907, and hiring his pictures from Jury's, London, it only took Mr. Bennell a little over twelve months to foresee the boom that was to come, and having by this time seven complete touring cinema entertainments on the road, to see advantage which would be his were he to do his own buying. But buying films and suing them in his own shows did not suffice, for in these days even more than now, the length of the "run" was an important factor, and Mr. Bennell quickly found that to get the best out of the films he bought he had to hire them out. Such, then, was the genesis of the B.B. Pictures as a film hiring concern. The hiring staff at first consisted on one - Mr. Bert Foulger, who was a moving spirit in the new venture, and who is now the general manager of the exclusive department. In the early days the hiring was conducted from the Wellington Palace, but the space at the disposal of the department was rapidly outgrown and larger premises became a necessity. These were found in Dunlop Street, where a flat was taken in the present premises three years ago. Six months later another flat was necessary, and now still more space is about to be secured in the small building. At present there are forty employees in the film hire department, and many more in the six halls owned by the firm. In the hiring department pace has been kept with the times. When features were most wanted, features were bought, and when transitions of trade caused a demand for exclusives the demand was supplied, and supplied in a way which at a bound made the B.B. what it claims - the House for Exclusives. As for the personnel of the firm, no one is better known in the industry in Scotland, or in England than Mr. J.J. Bennell, who, in the North at any rate, is looked up to as the father of the profession. His connection with the entertainment world goes back for many years, commencing when he first went on tour as manager of the Alpine Choir, of which he was latterly proprietor. Mr. Ritson Bennell joined the firm in 1910, and for a time filled the position as traveller on the northern journey, opening much new business for the company. After four years buying in London Mr Bennell came to the head office in Glasgow, where he now assists his father in the direction of the business. Mr. Foulger has been connected with the business since its earliest days, and has in a manner grown up with the firm. As head of the exclusive department Mr Foulger has found his forte and the manner in which this department has developed during the past twelve months is proof of his sterling ability. With the customers of the firm "Bert" is a popular favourite, and whether at trade shows or in his sanctum in Dunlop Street is always consulted by those in trouble and found every ready to put his practical knowledge at the disposal of all. The staff of all departments are a happy family, a fact which is evidence annually when they meet in social capacity to celebrate the anniversaries of the film's commencement in business. The B.B. Film Hiring Service having the goods the exhibitor requires, both in features and exclusives, has earned the respect of the exhibitors throughout Scotland; and while conducted as hitherto the firm is assured of retaining the enviable position they now occupy in the industry

TitleThe B.B. Film Hire Service
SourceThe Bioscope