Cathay’s Firsts In Singapore
Cathay Organisation’s history as a pioneer in movie entertainment began on 18 July 1935, when it was incorporated as Associated Theatres Ltd.
In celebration of its 84th Anniversary, we take a look back at the many firsts in Singapore that the organisation has achieved through the years.
FIRST SKYSCRAPER IN SINGAPORE
The Cathay Building opened its doors in 1939 with 16 storeys, at 83.51m high. 40,000 tonnes and over 10,000 cubic yards of reinforced concrete was thought to have been used.
Cathay Cinema opened on 3rd October with the screening of Sir Alexander Korda’s “The Four Feathers”.
FIRST AIR-CONDITIONED CINEMA
The installation of the new air-conditioning plant led to the slogan “Cathay for Comfort”.
FIRST PENTHOUSES IN SINGAPORE
There were 4 penthouses on the top floors of the Cathay Building, one of which (No. 94) was occupied by Dato Loke Wan Tho and another was occupied by Mrs Loke Yew (No. 92).
FIRST COMMERCIAL SQUASH COURT
Opened in Cathay Building in 1939
FIRST MALAY FILM IN COLOR
Buloh Perindu was produced by Cathay-Keris Studios in 1953
FIRST MALAY FILM DUBBED INTO CHINESE
The highly successful Pontianak was dubbed into Chinese in 1957.
FIRST SINGAPORE FILM MADE IN CHINESE
The Lion City was produced by Cathay-Keris Studios in 1960
FIRST COMMERCIAL BOWLING ALLEY
Operated by Cathay, Jackie’s Bowl at the old Orchard Cinema opened in 1965. Cathay Organisation then diversified into the bowling arena by acquiring all shares in Jackie’s Bowl and operating it under the name Orchard Bowl, subsequently renamed Cathay Bowl in 1995.
This record was held by Orchard Cinema when it opened in 1965
FIRST (AND ONLY) DRIVE-IN CINEMA
The Jurong Drive-In opened on 14 July 1971 as the first drive-in cinema in Singapore and Malaysia and the largest in Asia. The highest box-office takings for one evening totaled to S$12,000 for Bruce Lee’s Big Boss.
FIRST ORANGE JULIUS
The store opened in Singapore at Cathay Cinema in 1982.
FIRST ARTHOUSE CINEMA
The Picturehouse opened in 1990 as Singapore’s first arthouse cinema
FIRST SINGAPORE FILM TO GROSS MORE THAN S$1 MILLION
Distributed by Cathay Asia Films, Army Daze, a comedy film based on the 1987 theater play of the same name by Singaporean writer Michael Chiang was produced in 1996. It was a roaring success.
FIRST CINEPLEX OPERATOR TO ACHIEVE ISO 900 CERTIFICATION
Cathay Cineplexes became the first cineplex operator in Singapore to achieve ISO 9002 certification in 2000.
FIRST TO INTRODUCE MOVIES IN DIGITAL FORMAT
Cathay Cineplexes introduced commercial films in digital format in 2003.
FIRST AUTOMATED CINEMA TICKETING KIOSK IN MRT STATION
Back in 2004, Cathay Cineplexes has a ticketing kiosk at Orchard MRT. Cathay Movie Xpress Kiosk, a 24-hour fully automated kiosk dispenses instant movie tickets on purchase.
FIRST COKE RED LOUNGE OUT OF THE USA
The lounge opens at Cathay Cineplex Cinelesiure Orchard on 4 March 2005.