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Advertising during the intervals provided an additional income for the Empire owners.   The advertising was handled first by Langfords and later by Pearl & Dean.   Below we give a brief history of cinema advertising and this well known company with their Welsh connection.

Cinema advertising in the UK first began with simple announcements scratched onto slides and projected onto the screen but many people are amazed to learn when the first cinema commercial was produced. As a guess, most people would suggest the 1930’s but, remarkably, the date is actually 1899 when a commercial for Dewars Whisky appeared on UK screens.

The names of Pearl & Dean are synonymous with cinema advertising and its origins go right back to the 1930’s when Messrs Pearl and Dean first began selling simple slide advertising and commercials in Cardiff. However the company truly took off in 1953 when Ernie & Charles Pearl joined Jack Dean in setting up Pearl & Dean on 15th January representing the ABC circuit as its main exhibitor.


The Pearls (Charles was always known as “Dickie” & brother Ernie) were reared in Swansea in apparently modest circumstances – a very long way from the opulent Hollywood lifestyle they were to later enjoy!

They first worked in the 1920’s (chiefly in South Wales and round about) selling all manner of media such as town guides and other forms of advertising - including stills at the local cinemas, and live theatres too, where simple messages could also be projected onto the fire curtain.

An eventual meeting with a certain Mr Robert Dean (always known as Bob/Bobby) in nearby Bristol was to prove another pivotal moment in ultimately creating the Pearl & Dean as we know it today.


And a flash from the past....

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