From The New York Daily News, May 15, 1953.
Filed under 1953, Anthony Mann, Dan Duryea, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Stewart
Toby, if I had been around in 1953, this would have made me want to see THUNDER BAY.
Me, too. All the technical stuff about this movie is fascinating. Universal sent a team to New York to oversee the outfitting of the theater for this premier.
Always assumed Walter was one of the “Old Geezers Brigade”
especially considering his vast and extensive knowledge of cinema.
Founder members-(well myself and Jerry 🙂 ) will be amazed that Walter
was not around in 1953.
BTW Jerry I hope for your forthcoming birthday you will finally have
the Boetticher Indicator box set.
I will not disclose your age here,except to say,like myself you were
very much around in 1953.
With 3D, and CinemaScope just around the corner ’53 was indeed a
magical time to be alive.
THUNDER BAY in high definition and 1.85 widescreen is certainly
something to look forward to and Toby’s commentary is surely the
icing on a very tempting cake!
John K, how old do you have to be to be a member of the “Old Geezers Brigade”? You see, I’m envious of you’ll, because you were there to see the great classic movies from the 1940’s and ’50’s in the theaters, I first saw them on a black and white RCA VICTOR TV. My parents and uncle saw DUEL IN THE SUN in a movie theater in 1947. Mom and Dad took my brother to see HONDO in 3D, during probably late 1953 or early ’54. The 3D special effects scared my brother so much, they stopped going to see movies in the theater. So, I relied on black and white TV. Thank goodness for the CBS Affiliate Channel 3 WREC-TV, Memphis, Tennessee, because that station had one of the largest collections of old movies and shorts outside of California, and as a youngster I was able to watch movies and shorts too my heart’s desire. This was the beginning of my education in movies and since I liked History, I started to read, what there was at that time, books about movie history. Also, I started paying attention to who directed, wrote, and produced movies.
Since I didn’t live in Memphis, Tennessee it was a challenge to watch TV, back in the day. I lived on a small ranch in the hinterlands, way northwest of Memphis. We had a tall antenna, that when it was turned to the east and a little south we pulled in the 3 Memphis stations. The reception, believe you me, wasn’t perfect.
Toby might get a kick out of this story. I had missed the TV premiere of ONE-EYED JACKS , which was on the CBS FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE in 1966. Channel 3 WREC-TV showed their own movie, instead of the network’s. WREC-TV did show the network’s THURSDAY NIGHT MOVIE and the movie was shown again on that night movie in 1967. Somehow or other I missed it again. A few years later, I read in the newspaper, that ONE-EYED JACKS was going to be shown on the Little Rock, Arkansas NBC Affiliate Channel 4 KARK-TV SATURDAY NIGHT LATE MOVIE. Well, I wasn’t going to miss it this time. At a little before 10:30 P.M. I went outside and hand turned the antenna south. I pulled the station in, although the antenna was pointing at a mountain. It was a snowy TV reception, but I could see it well enough, so what the hey! At that point in life, I really liked the movie. Marlon Brando’s Western was a very different horse of a different color, hands down. It was different and that is why I liked it.
John Knight, I might not be as old as you and Jerry Entract, but I’m probably older than Toby Roan. Take care, Walter Severs
Thanks for the great info on your background.
I would guess a lot of Toby’s Western Posse are over 70-like myself
and Jerry-others certainly are not.
In many ways,and I know this sounds odd,I would loved to have been
around,say 10 years earlier there are so many wonderful London “Flea
Pit” cinemas that,regrettably I did not get to visit.
I was born in 1946 and we never had TV until I was 12-in fact the first
TV show I remember watching was Roger Moore in IVANHOE.
Before that I was more or less governed by what my parents wanted to
see or by Saturday Morning Picture Shows.
I would have loved to have been a teenager in the early 50’s so that
I could have avidly tracked down every 3D film that was showing at
I’m in the process of doing extensive research in what was showing
in North and East London “flea pit” cinemas during the 50’s and am
coming across some amazing double bills,furthermore I’m amazed
at how often either Bowery Boys,Jungle Jim or Bomba played at
the TOP half of the double bill-often coupled with an old PRC B Western.
Because of the very short running time of these programs the cinemas
often threw in a serial episode.
During the 1960’s I made an effort to visit virtually every London flea
pit that still existed,but sadly by then many of them had disappeared.
John K, I can go one better, or worse. We didn’t have a TV until 1963. My father, if it didn’t have anything to do with livestock or the ranch, just didn’t think it was important. We finally obtained a TV because of my mother. I think she wanted to be able to watch soap operas. Needless to say I watched everything that came on. Although, my maternal grandparents had a Zenith TV, which my grandfather bought in 1953. They were only able to get one channel, the NBC affiliate Channel 4 KARK-TV Little Rock. Arkansas. My older brother and I really liked to visit them and watch TV. The afternoon local children’s show CAPTAIN KARK would show the THREE STOOGES and cartoons. Those were the days.
The History of the North and East London “Flea Pits” is really interesting. When I was still a youngster we had what was called the “Walk-In Theater” and the “Drive-In Theater.” They both showed a double feature, cartoon, and coming attractions. This was in the 1970’s. Keep us posted on your research into the “Flea Pits.”
Here’s one to make you shiver in your boots John K, Mel Gibson is to direct a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. WHY ??
YEP! already heard that Mike-I’m waiting for the re-make of
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY with Tom Cruise and Vin Diesel….only
kidding!……BTW where’s Jerry-MIA during all this fun.
Mike Richards and John K, the un-needed re-boot of THE WILD BUNCH(1969) isn’t made yet. Mel Gibson is currently acting in WAR PIGS and is set to direct DESTROYER next year. so, it will be awhile or never.
There are so many good Western novels that could be adapted into new Westerns, but Hollyweird is only interested in a so-called brand. Hence we get the un-needed re-boots as in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN(2016).
Walter…I had to cut my last post short because I was running late to get
my “Flu Jab”-Jerry will know what I’m on about.
I would like to add to my previous comments-I was the only kid on the block,
OK road,and a very long one at that-not to have a TV until 1958.
I did however on a regular basis go ’round to my mate Steve’s and watch
Rin Tin Tin,Brave Eagle,Steve Donovan Western Marshall and others.
Steve’s mum would provide sandwiches and soda pop.
By the early 60’s many of the London flea pits-the ones having three
program changes a week-had closed down. Amazingly a few of them
survived until the early 70’s.
In the 60’s it was no longer viable to show Bomba coupled with an old
Buster Crabbe PRC Western. Many of them survived by showing the
hugely popular “Peplum” films normally supported by a 50’s Technicolor
I came across a most interesting ad in the Hackney Gazette which had
a personal appearance by Forrest Tucker signing and giving away
photos at the Standard Cinema in Shoreditch in 1953.
The double bill showing was THUNDER ACROSS THE PACIFIC coupled
with THE SEA HORNET.
Tucker,of course had been present at far more lavish cinema openings
in the UK as he worked there quiet a bit in the 50’s.
He made cheap Sci Fi/Monster films like THE TROLLENBERG TERROR
and THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X.
He did spy thrillers like BREAK IN THE CIRCLE and Republic A Movies
like TROUBLE IN THE GLEN and LAUGHING ANNE.
By all accounts Forrest loved English pubs.
Director Val Guest described Tucker as a “Big Schoolboy” which I believe
was a term of endearment.
Many of these wonderful old London flea pits had vanished by the late
50’s and I deeply regret that I was not old enough to investigate more
of them-certainly Bomba on the big screen supported by an old PRC
plus a classic serial episode, for my money would have been time well spent.
I love finding out how movies ran back in the day. Some of the twin bills are inspired, some insanely random. I’ve used some of them to pick movies to watch at home from time to time.
Since you’ve brought up Val Guest and Forrest Tucker, and since I’m on a bit of a Peter Cushing binge of late (aided by my daughter’s Star Wars frenzy), I’ve been working on a post on The Abominable Snowman Of The Himalayas. (I have LOTS of posts in the works — I work on them in dribs and drabs when the mood strikes me.)
In the UK THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (as it was called) got
a major circuit release-The ABC Circuit.
It played top half of a double bill-the support feature was UNTAMED
YOUTH and yes, I was there first time around.
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN was one of the very few 50’s Monster
Movies to get an “A” certificate-under 14’s allowed in, if with an adult.
I LOVE The Abominable Snowman as a kid — it really creeped me out. Today I love the while Regalscope thing of it, and how great Cushing is in it.
It HAS to be the reason for my lingering interest in the whole Yeti/Snowman/Bigfoot thing.
Before Jerry,or someone else gets on my case I might add that THUNDER
ACROSS THE PACIFIC was the UK title for Allan Dwan’s THE WILD
John K, this is really good and interesting information on what was showing in London during the 1950’s and ’60’s. We didn’t call the Hercules and the Sons of Hercules and others “Peplum” movies, but no matter, we liked them a lot. I watched them on ABC affiliate Channel 13 WHBQ-TV Memphis, Tennessee. Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott were my favorites.
I remember the first time I saw THE SEA HORNET(1951) on CBS affiliate Channel 3 WREC-TV Memphis, Tennessee. This was in the 1960’s and WAKE OF THE RED WITCH(1948) had been shown recently. I noticed that some of the underwater scenes were the same. I was beginning to see the use of stock footage, especially in Republic Pictures.
Forrest Tucker was quite a character in more ways than one. Many stories that couldn’t be repeated here. He is one of my favorites and always will be.
John K, comments are finally up on Laura’s Lone Pine write-up.
Thanks for the heads up Walter…they sure took their time.
“Tuck” was great,and I was most amused by your comment about
stuff that we cannot repeat here.
Regarding London “Flea Pits” there are two that survive the notorious
Imperial Portobello Road is now the ultra trendy Electric; and the
East Finchley Rex is now the equally trendy Phoenix.
Oddly enough the Castle cinema in Homerton was recently re-opened
after being derelict since the mid 50’s,albeit with a vastly reduced size
and seating area.
The wonderful curved ceiling is still partly intact.
I’ll try to mention later some of the weird & wonderful double bills that were
shown at these sort of cinemas in the ’50’s.
Thanks again for the background on your early years-wonderful stuff,
added to your experiences related over at Margot’s…..”Duck and Cover”
Another surviving London flea pit is,of course the Rex Islington-
they used to change their program 3 times a week and it was a wonderful
place to catch films that you missed first time around.
The Rex is now the ultra trendy “Screen On The Green”
John K, this is all interesting to me. I think it is interesting about THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN(1957) receiving an “A” certificate-under 14’s allowed in, if with an adult. I’m not that familiar with the UK movie rating system of the 1950’s. Here in the USA we didn’t really have a movie rating system until 1968. Although, we had the Motion Picture Association of America production code and the Catholic Church Legion of Decency. Also, there were local censor boards in the states and cities. The motion picture industry didn’t want the government stepping in, so they, for the most part, self censored.
If THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN received an “A” certificate, what did the Mamie Van Doren movie UNTAMED YOUTH(1957) receive?
A few days late coming to this, catching up after being off line.
If a film was censored locally for say violence or nudity, were the offending scenes actually cut from the film, if so, was the same censored film then sent for showing at other theatres in other towns, or was it just kept in local area?
Walter…..UNTAMED YOUTH also received an A Certificate.
There were three certificates in the 1950’s “X” no-one under 16
admitted-“A” under 14’s admitted if with an adult and “U” anyone
It’s totally insane that in the UK films like THE BLACK SCORPION
and GORGO received an X certificate.
During my on-going research I was amazed that the brutal BIG HOUSE
USA only received an A cert-it was paired with (on national release)
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY.
Other films us kids could not see in the UK due to the X cert were
THE CYCLOPS,ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS,ATTACK OF THE
50 FOOT WOMAN and THE LEECH WOMAN-not to mention CURSE
OF THE UNDEAD and FIEND THAT WALKED THE WEST.
Big House USA and A&C Meet The Mummy — now THAT is a good time at the movies! Might have to watch those together some night.
Speaking of The Cyclops, the Blu-Ray from Warner Archive is beautiful. They’re really found the sweet spot for B&W movies in high definition. The movie’s gloriously awful, of course, but it’s a terrific disc. Working on a review of it now.
Ha! Sure didn’t take you long…..
Keep uncovering these wonderful major circuit release double bills.
How about Jack Webb’s original DRAGNET coupled with De Toth’s
THE BOUNTY HUNTER.
or the “lost” Hammer production BREAK IN THE CIRCLE coupled with
Joseph Newman’s THE HUMAN JUNGLE.
BREAK IN THE CIRCLE picked up by Fox in the USA but only released
in black & white-I’d love to see the color original.
John K. movie ratings have always been a baffle to me. Here in the USA kids were able to watch these movies during the 1950’s, unless their parents wouldn’t let them. They were “Fun” movies or as some call them, “so bad they are good.” Today these movies are considered by many to be “Cult Classics.”
I have never seen BREAK IN THE CIRCLE(1955) with Forrest Tucker and Eva Bartok. Is the color version of this movie really “lost” or in a vault somewhere? Hungarian Eva Bartok had quite a real life as well as a reel life. During World War II, at age 14, she was forced into a marriage with a Nazis officer. This was how she escaped having to go into a concentration camp. The marriage was annulled after the war was over. Her only Hungarian movie PROPHET OF THE FIELDS(1947) was banned by the Communists and she had to escape to the UK.
At our two local, not quite flea pit cinemas, if the main film was an A cert, they stuck to the no one under 14 unless with adult rule, but if the main film was a U cert, and support was an A, then we usually got in without much hassle.
The one big problem being, l was allowed to see the A cert support film, “The Pharaoh’s Curse, which gave me nightmares for about a week.
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