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.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mandrake The Magician

MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN: I watched this over the weekend. Released from Columbia in 1939, it is a 12-chapter serial starring Warren Hull as Mandrake. Although Columbia had some fairly good serials, I didn’t care much for Mandrake. Lots of lesser cliffhangers in every chapter, but none of them very good, even the chapter ending. Some cliffhangers were actually repeated, like the airplane crash. But serials are a lot of fun, and Warren Hull also played The Spider and Green Hornet in serials, so he was chosen well as Mandrake. And you’ve got to like the magic acts Mandrake performs.

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