Thursday, April 2, 2015

What movies were playing 50 years ago this week?

April 2, 1965 movie listing from the Lorain Journal
From the pages of the Lorain Journal, here's a small sampling of the movies (above) that were on area screens back on April 2, 1965 – 50 years ago today. The selection is interesting because as we shall see in a bit, a few of the features were based on TV properties – similar to what's been going on in recent years.

Anyway, over in Amherst Theatre (where my family usually saw all our movies), James Garner and Eva Marie Saint were starring in 36 Hours, a terrific World War II thriller. In the movie, Garner plays a U.S. Army Major who is kidnapped by the Germans, who hope to trick him into believing that the war is over so that he will reveal what he knows about the upcoming D-Day landings at Normandy. The Germans' hoax is quite elaborate and clever, including making Garner think he has aged six years, and convincing him that he suffered from amnesia.

Here's the theatrical trailer.

At the Tower Drive-in on Lake Avenue, another World War II epic – although a little lighter in tone – was the first movie in an unusual triple feature.

McHale's Navy (1964), was based on the TV show and featuring the same cast, starring Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway and Joe Flynn. The novelty here was seeing the familiar characters and settings in Technicolor.

Here's the movie poster (courtesy of classic-film-posters.com)
Here's a clip from the movie in case you'd like the see the PT 73 gang in color, and without a laugh track (which seems kinda strange). As usual, Tim Conway is the funniest part of the show.

(My brothers and I watched the black and white TV antics of McHale and his crew (probably reruns on one of the UHF stations in Cleveland) but I can't remember the plot of a single episode! But I liked the theme song and the opening credits.)

Rounding out the rest of the triple feature at the Tower Drive-in were two 1964 offerings that were a little more serious: Behold a Pale Horse and the Cold War thriller Fail Safe.

My battered copy of the
'novelization' of the movie
Lastly, at the late, great Avon Lake Theater, Yogi Bear was starring in the animated Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! based on the popular TV show of course.

As noted on this blog before, I was (and still am) a big fan of those original Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear cartoons. But I've never particularly liked this full-length Yogi cartoon feature.

Why? Because it seemed to take place in an alternate Jellystone Park universe. Everything was different – the way the characters acted and moved, the music, the backgrounds, etc.

Even Ranger Smith was redesigned. Gone was the surly, burned out ranger who had no problem chasing Yogi for miles past the same identical trees while hitting him on the head with a baseball bat. Instead, we had a gentle ranger who didn't even have the trademark Hanna-Barbera grey muzzle around his mouth any more.

I think kids could tell the difference. We did.

Here's the trailer from the release of the movie on DVD.


And to refresh your memory of just how funny Yogi could be, here's one of his earliest and funniest shorts (below).
And speaking of Ranger Smith, here's one of his earliest and best (below). He doesn't even know Yogi in this one.

I love the sound effect when Boo Boo pulls Yogi's eyes open at the end of the episode.

1 comment:

-Alan D Hopewell said...

The first time I ever went to the Avon Lake Theatre was to see HEY THERE, IT'S YOGI BEAR....twelve years later, me and my friends saw the premiere of STAR WARS on that same big screen, although we were, shall we say, in a more receptive frame of mind.