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, May 29, 2016

Man Hunt In The African Jungle

MAN HUNT IN THE AFRICAN JUNGLE or SECRET SERVICE IN DARKEST AFRICA, either title, they’re the same serial. My copy happens to be MAN HUNT IN THE AFRICAN JUNGLE. This is a 15-chapter Republic serial with Rod Cameron as secret agent Rex Bennett and Joan Marsh as Janet Blake, and American correspondent working secretly as a United Nations agent. Both are working with French officer Pierre LaSalle (Duncan Renaldo). They are after Gestapo agents who have infiltrated the North African tribes. Baron Von Rommeir is disguised as Sultan Abou Ben Ali, who is kept a prisoner in the dungeon, while Von Rommeir leads the tribes against the United Nations. I always loved the fight scenes with Rod Cameron, they liked to throw things more than fists – tables, chairs, etc. Lots of fun. Equally fun was watching Arabs riding horses with western saddles, with California scenery as a backdrop, firing six shooters like cowboys. And this takes place in Casablanca. Oh well, California does look a little like North Africa.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Marvel Family

The Marvel Family, The World’s Mightiest Mortals: This was one of my favorite comic book series back in the day. Although Superman and Batman were my first comic book superheroes, I quickly became a fan of The Marvel Family.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Gem Theater

Here’s a nice photograph of “a” GEM Theater. Wish it was the one in Wichita Falls, Texas, but until one comes along, I’ll be happy with this one. The GEM Theater in Wichita Falls never played a Doris Day movie that I’m aware of. She was more the STATE, WICHITA, or STRAND.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Man From Planet X

William Schallert posing with The Man From Planet X, one of my favorite early SF movies from 1951. Schallert played the evil scientist in the movie, but it was a memorable role for the actor. You remember him, and not the lead male actor. Margaret Field, the mother of Sally Field, was the lead actress. I believe I saw this either at the STATE or STRAND Theater in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Jungle Drums of Africa

JUNGLE DRUMS OF AFRICA: A 12-chapter serial from Republic, 1953, starring two of my favorites, Clayton Moore and Phyllis Coates. Phyllis was originally from Wichita Falls, where I was raised, and Clayton (of Lone Ranger fame) also spent time at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls during training in WWII. Alan King (Moore) and Bert Hadley (Johnny Spencer) are sent to Africa to develop an uranium mine for America, but run into trouble sponsored by Kurgan and his lieutenant, Regis, agents of a foreign country (this is 1953 but the agents sound like Nazis). Regis has promised weapons to the local witch doctor planning the downfall of Chief Douanga. Carol Bryant (Phyllis Coates), the daughter of a deceased medical missionary is feared by the natives for her powerful medicine, and Regis wants her dead also. This was another great serial from Republic. There would only be two more from Republic in 1954, then two more in 1955, and that would end Republic Serials reign. Republic and Columbia were the last of the great Matinee series of my childhood, both ending in 1955.