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, January 8, 2017

The Masked Marvel

The Masked Marvel, a 12-chapter Republic serial from 1943. I watched this one on Saturday.  Sakima, a Japanese spy, is sabotaging America’s war effort, and the World Wide Insurance Company is taking a heavy loss. When Warren Hamilton is murdered, they send out four insurance investigators while the mysterious Masked Marvel is working to capture Sakima. The spy believes one of the insurance investigators is actually The Masked Marvel, and is determined to find out who he is.  In the meantime, Hamilton’s daughter, Alice, is working with the investigators and relaying information and orders from The Masked Marvel. This is another good Republic serial, with recognizable explosions and cliffhangers from other Republic serials. The same building is used for a hospital, apartments, and other buildings, but who cares it was all a lot of fun. There are the regular fight scenes with each chapter.  Of course, Tom Steele, un-credited, is The Masked Marvel, and in most of the fights. He has to be; a couple of the investigators look more like sissies than macho athletes. In fact, the Masked Marvel is revealed at the end to be Bob Barton, one of the sissies. But, again, who cares?

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