Running for the exits at the national anthem - Ireland?

I was just reminded (you know when a thought just pops up that you haven’t thought of in years for no apparent reason) of something I’d read a long time ago. I can’t even really remember where I read it or who wrote it (though the thought has overtones of Gerald Durrell somehow).

The passage I remember talks about living in Ireland (can’t remember if Eire or NI) in the (I guess) 30s or 40s, and running for the exits at the movie theater when the national anthem played. And I never understood what that was about. Was there some tradition that violence started with the anthem? Was it the UK national anthem and if one stayed for it, that was a sign you were a loyalist and therefore subject to IRA revenge?

Any Irish Dopers know? Thanks!

Ray Bradbury wrote a short story titled “The Anthem Sprinters” but I don’t think it mentioned how it got started.

With regard to Ray Bradbury, he included the story above as part of a novel, Green Shadows, White Whale, I haven’t read the book nor the short story but it sounds like the practice was a bit of codology thought up by the characters in the book (who seem to have been based on real people). A lot of people still try to get out of the cinema as fast as possible when the film ends, no National Anthem anymore alas.

The Ray Bradbury short story is set sometime after Ireland became an independent country. The anthem being played was the Irish national anthem. I presume that the reason that people hurried to leave was so they didn’t have to stand and listen to the anthem. I guess that they would have been taken as being unpatriotic if they had left during the anthem itself. I can’t find any evidence other than the Bradbury story that anthem sprinting existed.

For those of you who didn’t understand the word “codology” in post #3, here’s a definition:

I suspect that this sort of behaviour was not unique to Ireland, back in the days when they played the national anthem in cinemas. Nobody wanted to stick around for the anthem, but OTOH actually walking out in the middle of it might have made you look a little uncouth. Do they still play the national anthem in cinemas elsewhere?

I last heard the Irish National Anthem in a non-sporting or non-ceremonial public setting at a disco in 2001. It was a venue popular with people from down the country, outside Dublin. They played the NA as the lights were turned on at the end of the night. If you didn’t pay due respect you got glared at and I’m sure the odd fight probably started over it.

Was a national anthem played anywhere at any period except in Ireland before or after movies? One webpage I found in searching says that the Indian national anthem is played before movies in India.

Wow…I’m slightly ashamed to have managed to get the situation that wrong, even if it was years and years ago that I read about it. Thanks, everyone!

I don’t know, but I have a feeling from period dramas/comedies such as Dad’s Army that the British national anthem was sometimes played in cinemas in the 1930s/40s. Maybe even the 50s?

A little bit of background on the UK experience. (Second answer down)

The national anthem used to be played before movies in New Zealand. I can’t remember when they stopped doing it but it was probably in the late ‘60s. I still remember the slightly scratched movie of HM sitting on her horse at the Trooping of the Colour, taking the salute as the music of "God Save The Queen’ played, for those interested.

I don’t know if it still is, but the national anthem used to be played before movies on US military bases. We stood at attention for it, but it wasn’t unusual for some joker to yell “PLAY BALL!” as it finished.

I remember the NA getting played in the 70s.

What wedgehed said. Also, when I was in Pennsylvania circa 1970 there was one drive-in that played the anthem before the previews. Nobody else in town did.

Many US TV stations used to play the anthem late at night when they signed off at 1 or 2 AM. Now most stay on all night.

And sometimes they would sign back on later to test equipment and broadcast porn. A few guys got caught doing that.

It’s been a long time since I heard the National Anthem being played at any sort of semi-formal social occasion here, e.g. cinema performances. It had pretty much died out by the 1970s.

There was talk around Cleveland of everyone standing in the concourse for the national anthem and kickoff at the next Browns game to protest their terribleness. Any chance it was that that reminded you?

I doubt it. I don’t really follow football, so I most likely hadn’t even heard of that.

I doubt everyone can stand in the concourse.

Some tailgaters at games don’t enter the stadium until after the national anthem to maximize their tailgate time.