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, April 19, 2014

Superman And The Mole Men

Superman And The Mole Men

In 1951 the State Theater on Indiana Street was playing Superman And The Mole Men. I had already seen the 1948 serial and was anxious to see this movie. Somehow I came up with money, and it was my first time to visit the State Theater. Prior to that, my dime was given to either the Gem or Tower Theaters. The State Theater was a little pricey, but I had to see this one.

Superman And The Mole Men starred George Reeves, who would soon be television’s very own Superman. Wichita Falls native, Phylis Coats, played Louis Lane; she was also play Louis Lane on the TV series for a while. The story basically involved an oil well dug deep in the ground, connecting to the underground world of a race human-like small people called Mole Men. When townspeople saw the little creatures everyone took up arms. It was up to Superman to save them and see that they are returned to their underground world. For an eleven-year-old boy it was a fun movie. As you might guess, I watched it again today. It was still a fun movie, but of course not of great quality. Still, it was worth the hour I spent viewing something from my childhood again.

To learn more about the production of the movie, a new book has been released. “Talks Cheap, Actions Expensive: The Films of Robert L. Lippert” by Mark McGee. The cover of the book features a scene from the movie, Superman And The Mole men. By the way, the movie was also used as a two-part episode of the TV series. I believe the only two-part ever aired during the series.

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