Downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, in the mid 1940’s was a bustling metropolis for a boy of 7 just away from the farm and ranch community where he was born. My father, a cook and cowboy by trade, had just started as one of the first cooks for the Casa Manana restaurant in 1947. He moved us to an apartment on Ohio Street, right across from the Gem Theater, between 7th and 8th Streets. It’s here that we would stay for the next three years. The Gem Theater became a magic palace for a young mind. But it had to share that distinction with the rest of the magic that was Wichita Falls. I attended San Jacinto and Carrigan elementary schools, as well as Reagan Junior High, and belonged to the Boys Club on 6th Street. Please join, and share your stories and pictures through a Guest Blog, of early Wichita Falls - or your home town. Contact me at or leave a comment. We could use old pictures of movie houses, drive-in theaters, and other nostalgic pictures related to our youths.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Captain Marvel

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I discovered comic books in 1947 when my family moved to Wichita Falls, and my first heroes were Superman and Batman. I wasn’t aware of Whiz Comics until much later, but when I found Captain Marvel I had less interest in The Man of Steel.

Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics #2, February 1940, from Fawcett Publications. Affectionately called The World’s Mightiest Mortal and The Big Red Cheese. But for me, his costume completely outclassed Superman from the very beginning.

I really loved The Marvel Family: Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr. When I had a choice of comics, it was The Marvel Family that I picked up.

I wasn’t aware of the 1941 12-Chapter serial from Republic until after I had grown to adult hood. For some reason I never saw it at the Gem or Tower Theaters in Wichita Falls. But that isn’t surprising. There was just too much to offer for young boys back then, and maybe a double feature western was playing at the theater I chose on those Saturdays. But I did buy the serial and watched it about twenty years ago. Tim Tyler played The World’s Mightiest Mortal, and he didn’t turn into a cartoon image when he flew, like Superman in his two serials. But to be honest, it was the 1948 Superman serial that made me a serial fan, and I will always love that one.

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