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Now Playing Tuesday October 9th, 1951

In my constant search for movie memorabilia I happened across a Toronto Daily Star edition from the title date. Time to board the time machine once again with Rod Taylor and journey back to the days when our classic movie heroes could be found all over town.

So hop aboard and scan the now playing ads to see which theater you’re going to attend upon our arrival. Just make sure you’re back for our scheduled departure. Otherwise you’ll be left to fend for yourself though if you know you’re sporting history, you could make a killing with the local bookies.

Maybe staying back isn’t such a bad idea.

Here’s a double bill of B’s with Leo and Huntz if you’re looking for comedy followed up with some Raft style action.

Maybe you’d rather see Leo and Huntz in Let’s Go Navy? Or perhaps sing along with Frankie Laine?

Perhaps star power is more to your liking? Peck and Hayward, Grant and Crain, Milland and Sterling, Day and MacRae or Kirk and Miss Mayo. Plenty to choose from here and I’ll have to check into that Milland/Sterling film. Doesn’t ring a bell.

I’ve no idea what the movie Fabiola is about but I have seen Cattle Drive with Joel McCrea. Kind of a western Captains Courageous with Dean Stockwell playing a spoiled little rich kid on the title cattle drive.

The zaniness of Danny Kaye never fails to entertain and if you take in 14 Hours, why not tell some stranger in the row ahead of you that the girl billed way down the cast list who goes by the name Grace Kelly will very soon be one of the most famous personalities on the face of the Earth.

I love to scan these ads looking for the hidden gems. Like John Payne in Tripoli. Bela Lugosi in The Invisible Ghost. Better still, the Giant Horror Show with a pair of Bela films, a grocery quiz AND a Sugar Ray Robinson fight.

Another John Payne title can be found in this mix of ads, Passage West. Maybe a Brian Donlevy title, Fighting Coast Guard. A pair of Jeff Chandler titles works for me. Then of course anything with Alan Ladd or Glenn Ford is worthy of my time.

Maybe go international with an Alastair Sim comedy? No doubt that art work has caught my eye for the latest Lloyd Bridges effort making it’s FIRST Toronto showing.

Hard to err when choosing the latest Spencer Tracy film. Also take note of a rerelease double bill of Errol Flynn titles from 1939/40. I much prefer Dodge City of the two. It has Miss Olivia with Flynn and something never sits quite right with Bogie in a western as seen in Virginia City. But truthfully, it’s the Jon Hall feature that grabbed me. One I’ve yet to see. It’s an early film role for a guy named Ernest Borgnine who was just four years shy of an Oscar for Marty.

Judging by the size of the ad, The Golden Horde, was getting the BIG release treatment. With all due respect to Ann Blyth whom I truly like on camera, the film is lacking real star power and maybe that’s why I’ve never seen it let alone heard of it as far as I can recall.

Aside from Yvonne De Carlo, there are a number of things that caught my eye on this next ad. I like that artwork on the Jimmy Stewart title, No Highway in the Sky, which brings to mind it’s capitalizing on the film It’s a Wonderful Life. A film I’ve been led to believe wasn’t really much of a success on it’s original go around and never really found an audience till years later on TV and it’s public domain status during the early years of the VHS tape. This would lead me to believe otherwise. ** Also, I’ve yet to see the Edward G. Robinson film, Tampico. ** Lastly I had to do some research on the one name actress Camelia appearing in Cairo Road. I’d never heard of her. Born in Egypt, she made but a handful of films and sadly by 1951 had already passed away in a plane crash at the age of 30. By all means if you’re familiar with her story, let me in on it.

Back to scanning ads to see what treasures lie within. Love That Brute with Paul Douglas playing like Brod Crawford in Born Yesterday might be a hoot. The gem here might be Jean Simmons in Basil Dearden’s Cage of Gold. A quick check reveals it’s a blackmail plot. Any sci-fi fans who made the trip with me are sure to be checking out Destination Moon. Maybe a Rod Cameron western in color no less, Cavalry Scout?

More Jeff Chandler action. An early Jaws rendition called Killer Shark? Not quite, it’s a Monogram special starring Roddy McDowall from director Budd Boetticher. Richard Conte and Julie Adams in Hollywood Story interests me and I’m drawn to the ad for Dark City starring Lizabeth Scott and Don De Fore. I guess the unknown leading man making his film debut didn’t warrant any attention just yet. A Mr. Charlton Heston. Ever seen the singing cowboy Jimmy Wakely (misspelled in ad) and his sidekick Dub “Cannonball” Taylor in a western? Now’s your chance. So much to choose from with so many favorites of yesteryear.

Lastly you could easily talk me into a double bill of Robert Ryan and John Derek. Then again to see Rhonda Fleming in technicolor opposite Bing in Connecticut Yankee is always worthy of my time.

Time to return to the present. Make room for a lobby card I talked an usher out of at the Carlton. Classic Jeff Chandler/Evelyn Keyes image.

7 Comments »

  1. That’s very cool Mike, I like these blast from the past items. One of these days I’ll show off these promotional film books my Dad gave me from a good yard sale score.

  2. Love these ads. Thanks for sharing. What a time we would have had, so much to see. We must find out about Rhubarb! Don’t know it . And, yes, Mr. Heston was an unknown for Dark City.

  3. What a huge number of cinemas there were compared to today and of course a much wider choice with plenty of oldies filling in gaps in programming. I wrote two books about my local town Paisley in Scotland which had 8 cinemas for its 90,000 inhabitants in 1950 and 1951 and they showed about 1200 pictures each year. The local daily newspaper ran a composite ad every day on the front page announcing what was showing. The books were “Paisley at the Pictures 1950” and “Paisley at the Pictures 1951” in case you are interested. I got tons of illustrations as well from my selection of pressbooks from the period. Paisley was about a year behind America in terms of releases – most of the films showing in 1951 had been seen in the US in 1950. But it’s fascinating to look back. Very few films managed to get a six-day booking, mostly they ran for three days. After I had written the first book I was lucky enough to be able to do research among people who had been in their teens at that time and it was fascinating to hear how they chose what films to go an see.

  4. Hi, Brian. I’m a Glaswegian and visit Paisley regularly- recently visited Abbey Books which has a great selection of film books at good prices.

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Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

The Magnificent 60s

by Brian Hannan

LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE

A Galaxy of Rewind

Lazarus' Lair

NOT Just another WordPress.com weblog

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

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