On "No Down Payment": Anne said...This is what makes me wonder if Jeffrey Hunter and Patricia Owens'scharacters had even consumated thier marriageThe kid's got a broken radio, Jeff pulls out a screw driver and sets to work.Tony Randall gets smarmy with Jeff's wife and he's a frozen bystander...if Tony was mashing a radio, I think Jeff's character would have sprun into action. March 9, 2013
On "Trooper Hook": Vienna said...Wonderful review ! I haven't seen TROOPER HOOK for a long time but hope it becomes available on DVD. You describe Joel and Barbara's characters so well. An unusual role for Barbara. I guess she chose to do it for that reason. March 11, 2013
Anne said...Thank you for writing about this little gemOne can see this film on the encore west channel now and then and it's astonishingly good. With a budget not enough for a modern office pastry cart, it shows what can be done with excellent writing and acting....and directing. I love how we see the tiny stage from afar, then we see it though Nanches legs, we are right behind him, and we now know he's on their trail...it makes him almost a gonzilla of a threatChildren: let Mr. McCrea and Ms Stanwyck show you how it's done.They are hotter across a dusty feed store than many buck necked couples in love scenes today.March 7, 2013
On "Any Number Can Play": Vienna said...I love this film. Great cast, though I hate seeing Audrey Totter so totally wasted. All Audrey seemed to do was stand around with a glass in one hand and cigarette in the other.I thought Alexis Smith did well ,playing a woman whom I 'm sure was meant to be older than Alexis who was probably about 30 at the time.Great to see Mary Astor though,again, what a small role. And Marjorie Rambeau is always a joy.It could have been a play, with the only sets the gambling club and Gable's house.An unusual role for Gable and he was convincing.March 1, 2013
On Anita Sharp-Bolster: Vienna said...I've just see Anita in THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS and she is so good as another battle-axe character , but with a touch of comedy . Nice tribute. Thanks.http//:dancing lady39.wordpress.com February 2, 2013
On Victor Jory - On Stage and Screen: Vienna said...Thanks for great tribute to Victor Jory whom I like, especially in a couple of films where he isn't the villain! In FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS, Victor does his best to help Randolph Scott and becomes a good friend to Scott's character. Such a contrast to Victor's usual roles. I also liked him in a little B, THE UNKNOWN GUEST where he is the leading manI had no idea Victor and Alexis Smith did two plays together - thanks for the information. Oh to have seen them!January 24, 2013
On And Then There Were None: Ryan said...I bought this years ago on DVD, and it's still my favorite movie version of this story. The cast was perfect, and to tell you the truth, though I love the book, I almost prefer this ending. I think it's the hopeless romantic in me.February 19, 2013
Now that the weather’s warming up, let’s go to the drive-in. Nothing says car culture like a drive-in movie. Above is an ad for the Air-Line Drive-In in Chicopee, Mass. from May of 1950, featuring Humphrey Bogart in “Tokyo Joe” (1949). The excellent Cinema Treasures site notes that this drive-in was built in 1952 (obviously an error if the ad is from two years earlier), and closed in 1984.
Another great website “Drive-in Movie.com” notes that Massachusetts had one of first drive-ins ever to open, the Weymouth in 1936, and during the peak years of the 1950s had 90 drive-in theaters. This astounds me considering our winters. Not only are drive-in theaters of necessity, seasonal, here, but must surely have required a great deal of maintenance in the spring after six months of weather havoc. Only about five remain in the Commonwealth today.
The ad boasted that the Air-Line had the largest screen in America, but I don’t know if that’s true. The second feature was “Make Mine Laughs” (194) with Ray Bolger, Dennis Day, Joan Davis, and Jack Haley.
On this day while you could see Humphrey Bogart at the Air-Line (so named for the thunderous military planes flying over from the so-close-you-could-spit-and-hit-it Westover Air Force Base), you could drive the family car over to Boston Road in nearby Wilbraham instead to the Parkway Drive-In (only a mile down the road from a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, yum) and see “The Untamed Breed” (1948) with Sonny Tufts and Barbara Britton in a double bill with “The Big Sombrero” (1949) with Gene Autry AND free Shetland pony rides for the kiddies. According to the Cinema Treasures site, the Parkway opened in 1948 and closed in 1987.
Another great site, “DriveInTheater.com” posts this list of early drive-ins begun from 1933 through 1939:
Drive-In Theatre: Camden, New Jersey. June 6, 1933 Shankweiler's Auto Park: Orefield, Pennsylvania. April 15, 1934 Drive-In Short Reel Theater: Galveston, Texas. July 5, 1934 Pico: Los Angeles, California. September 9, 1934 Weymouth Drive-In Theatre: Weymouth, Massachusetts. May 6 1936 Starlight Auto Theatre: Akron, Ohio. Summer, 1937 Lynn Open Air Theater: Lynn, Massachusetts. July, 1937 Providence: Providence, Rhode Island. July 21, 1937 Miami Drive-In: Miami, Florida. February 25, 1938 Detroit Drive-In: Detroit, Michigan. June 2, 1938 Cleveland: Cleveland, Ohio. June, 1938 Shrewsbury Drive-In: Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. June, 1938 San-Val: Burbank, California. June 10, 1938 Merrimack Auto Theatre: Methuen, Massachusetts. Summer, 1938 Valley Stream: Long Island, New York. August 10, 1938 Corpus Christi: Corpus Christi, Texas. March, 1939 Saco Drive-In: Portland, Maine. July 15, 1939 Atlantic Drive-In: Jacksonville, Florida. December 6, 1939
What are your memories of drive-in theaters? To start the ball rolling, I recall sitting in the back seat with my twin brother, both in our jammies, reaching over the front seat for popcorn and watching the movie between our parents’ heads. We saw “With Six You Get Egg Roll” (1968) with Doris Day and Brian Keith, and “The Boatniks” (1970). My brother, John, remembers there were two cartoons, “Tiger Trouble” (1945) with Goofy, and “Donald’s Ostrich” (1937) with Donald Duck. I don’t remember these, but then, he’s the cartoon guy. This must have been the summer of 1970. I faded out halfway through the second one, which I think might have been “The Boatniks”.
When I was a child growing up, I can remember that if we saw any of our friends in the neighborhood walking out to their cars after suppertime in their jammies and bathrobes and slippers, carrying pillows, we knew they were going to the drive-in.
I always thought one of the most haunting sights is an abandoned drive-in. The huge screen shredded by wind and the elements, the clumps of grass growing between cracks in the asphalt, the posts for the speakers standing sentinel, rusting. Like an Old West ghost town, eerie.
Meet Me in Nuthatch - A publicity stunt to attract tourists to a small dying town results in the entire community turning the clock back to 1904. It is local Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell’s idea, after watching the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” his young daughter’s new favorite movie. What begins as half practical joke and half desperate ploy initiates the rebirth of Nuthatch, Massachusetts. Tourists do come, along with the media. To Everett’s dismay, his campaign to save their community results in also attracting representatives of a chain of theme parks who want to buy Nuthatch 1904. Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and the community is divided on which alternate future to choose. A local drug dealer, the longtime enemy of Everett, may hold their future in his hands unless Everett can pull off his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical joke.
“…a comforting, pleasant read that stays with you even after the last page is turned. After finishing the book, I found myself still musing about the relationships and how they'd changed and progressed. This book was a nice, hot chocolate sort of read.” Grace Krispy, "MotherLode" blog book review.
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