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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Great SF Movies From The Fifties

Great SF Movies from The Fifties

The movie THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL from 1951 was based on a 1940 pulp story, “Farewell To The Master” by Harry Bates, and starred Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, along with Gort the robot, and probably one of the best SF movies of the period, about an emissary from space arriving in a flying saucer to warn the world of disaster if they continue show aggression when they enter space.

Another flying saucer brings another kind of emissary in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, starring Kenneth Tobey and Margaret Sharidan, and a monster carrot creature played by James Arness. The Thing was here to conquer Earth, and except for a brave team at the Arctic Circle might have just did that. It was Box Office success, and still popular today.

I had recently read the hardback edition of THIS ISLAND EARTH, which was originally written in three stories appearing in the pulp magazine, THRILLING WONDER STORIES in 1949, when this 1955 movie played in Wichita Falls. Starring Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, and Rex Reason, is was about scientists from another world arriving in a flying saucer to recruit Earth scientists into helping them save their planet.

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