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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Jungle Jim

Pygmy Island, a Jungle Jim film with Johnny Weissmuller. Jungle Jim always played at the Gem Theater. At least I never saw the movies anywhere else when I lived in Wichita Falls. Thankfully, I lived right across the street from the Gem, and if there was a Jungle Jim showing, I didn’t go anywhere else. I loved the character, and Johnny Weissmuller was great – of course, he was great in all those Tarzan films too! I have all of the Jungle Jim movies, including the serial that featured another actor in the part, but I prefer Weissmuller. I recently watched Pygmy Island again, and still found the thrill of the kid in me as I watched it once more.

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