Introduction

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 fadingshadows40@gmail.com or leave a comment. We could use old pictures of movie houses, drive-in theaters, and other nostalgic pictures related to our youths.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jungle Jim: Killer Ape


Jungle Jim: Killer Ape. I recently watched this one again. I have all the Jungle Jim movies on VHS and still enjoy them. I’m sure I originally saw this at the Gem Theater in Wichita Falls. Johnny Weissmuller moved over to the Jungle Jim series after his stint as Tarzan, which the Gem Theater was also showing back in the 1940s. It was a wonderful time to be a kid. I’ll always remember paying nine cents for the Saturday Matinee double feature.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Retro Rocket Ship


Retro Rocket Ship: I loved science fiction movies, books, and comic books when I was a kid growing up in Wichita Falls. This painting is of a retro rocket ship of those early days of SF and what we thought of as space exploration.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

100 Postcards of The 1950s


100 Postcards of the 1950s: The Art of classic comics – the Golden Age. Great comic book covers of the 1950s. I just picked up this card set. I actually enjoyed comic books back then. What ever happened to the good ones?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Science Comics

Science Comics from the 1940s. Another comic book I enjoyed as a kid. After DC's Superman hit the stands, other comic book houses brought their own super heroes out by the dozens. Science Comics was one of them.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Day The Earth Stood Still


The Day The Earth Stood Still. I saw this great science fiction movie at the either The Strand or The State Theater in Wichita Falls in 1951. I think every kid in Wichita Falls made went to see it, because it was all the talk at San Jacinto elementary that year, as I’m sure it was at all the other schools. One of the best from the period, though today we can see the problems with it. However, it remains one of my favorite to this day.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Desert Legion


Desert Legion with Alan Ladd and Arlene Dahl, from Universal in 1953. Like Lost Horizons, this film has a hidden valley paradise with its leader growing old and looking for a replacement. Captain Paul Lartal (Alan Ladd) serving with the French Foreign Legion in North Africa leads his men in search of the notorious outlaw, Omar Ben Khalif. His men are ambushed in the mountains, and he’s left for dead, but awakes in a tent treated by the beautiful Morjana (Arlene Dahl). He is later found wondering in the desert by the Legion, and tells the story of the beautiful woman. He wants to return to the mountains and capture Khalif, but is refused orders to do so, and takes a corporal with him, returning to find Morjana. It is a good movie with plenty of action, but not as powerful as his portrayal in Shane, from Paramount in the same year.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Drive-In Theaters


Drive-In Theaters were part of American history. Every town had one or more, many of them were twin screens. Most with interesting names, though many were just named from the town or owner. The one above, Flamingo Drive In, is a fine example. I wish others would share their town movie houses and drive-in theaters with us.