Sir Alexander Boyne King (Founder Member of Lodge Anima No.1223)
Although his business interests limited his attendance at the Lodge he maintained interests in its progress, even to the extent of offering the use of cinemas within his chain in the 1930’s for “Sunday Cinema Entertainment” events, to raise funds for the Lodge Benevolent Fund. He also represented the Lodge in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow’s, Captain Speirs Golf Competition, reaching the final of the competition in 1935 in partnership with William Bendon P.M.
King, Sir Alexander Boyne (1888–1973), cinema manager and booking agent, was born on 24 October 1888 at 113 McLean Street, Govan, Glasgow, the only son of James L. King, clerk, and his wife, Jane, née Boyne. He was educated at Rutland Crescent School, Glasgow.
Sir Alexander Boyne King was one of the most revered and respected figures in Glasgow cinema history. His role in the development of cinema and film was seminal, not only as a major exhibitor but also as an organiser, and diplomat.
Sir Alexander Boyne King’s career in cinema began at the age of twelve, selling programmes in the Princess Theatre in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. (Now The Citizens Theatre)
He was appointed assistant manager of the Grand Theatre, Glasgow and later manager of the Lorne Cinema by 1914. He became the principal booking manager for the Inverness based Caledonian Associated Cinemas (CAC), whose humble beginnings with only 9 cinemas in the north east in 1935, had risen to 49 by 1950 under his careful supervision.
A shrewd negotiator, he was responsible for booking films for independent and private cinemas and he sat on the Board of Caledonian Associated Cinemas, at one time Scotland’s biggest and only national circuit.
CAC were a serious rival to ABC circuit in Scotland; they held a solid base in the northern half of the country from which they expanded to the Lothians and Fife. King was an astute businessman; distributors knew him as a shrewd buyer, whilst his fellow exhibitors had the greatest respect for his sound views and judgement. He campaigned against the Entertainment Tax that was introduced in 1916 and pushed for reductions of tax on cheaper seats, which helped relieve the financial burden especially for the smaller exhibitors. He continued to push for the abolition of the tax through the Cinematograph Films Council and the owners’ organisation, the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association, and is remembered for championing this cause.
During the war years, as a result of being associated with one of the largest groups of cinemas in the west of Scotland, King became involved in a scheme to provide kinema (film service) entertainment to evacuated school children and organised travelling cinemas to remote areas of Scotland. In 1944, he was made chairman of the Scottish Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Information and had raised over £50,000 for charities in Scotland.
King was appointed chair of the second Films of Scotland Committee formed in 1954 a position he held until his death in 1973. He used his influence in the cinema industry to guarantee exhibition of the Committee’s films. He also became associated with innumerable other publicity committees likely to advance the interests of Scotland.
King contributed much to the status of the cinema in Scotland during his lifetime. He was made CBE in 1937 and for his charity work during the war he was Knighted in 1944. He was a Justice of the Peace and a deputy Lieutenant of the City of Glasgow.
He was instrumental in securing remission in Entertainment Tax for cinemas.
In the 1950’s he was elected Vice chairman of The Scottish Tourist Board and remained so until 1973.
In 1960 he founded Grampian Television, and was its chairman for its first eight years.
Alexander Boyne King was an honorary graduate of the University of Glasgow. He was awarded degree of Doctor of Law in June 1957.He was a well-respected figure in the American film and cinema industries, and was admired by his colleagues at home for his contributions to the entertainment industry.
In 1958, he served as Commandant to Scottish Team at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.
Thanks to Substitute Provincial Grand Master Brother Gavin G. Stewart. OBE. Past Master No.1223 for the information.