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, 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.

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