So what was playing on area movie screens, sixty years ago this week?
A glance at the theater listings in the January 2, 1961 Lorain Journal shows that although westerns were beginning to fade in popularity (possibly because of the glut of them on TV), there were still some good ones being made for the big screen.
The Magnificent Seven (1960), one of the greatest westerns of all time, was playing at Amherst Theater.
The number 7 also figures strongly in the other great western on the Journal movie page. That’s because ‘Seven' is the name of the character that decorated WWII war hero Audie Murphy plays in Seven Ways From Sundown (1960) which was showing at the Tower Drive-in.
In this one, Audie plays a very green, young Texas Ranger trying to bring in the most likable, slickest bad guy of all time, played by Barry Sullivan. It’s another Western with a final showdown that chokes you up a bit. (This movie shows up on GRIT TV regularly, so if you’ve never seen it, be sure to catch it.)
The second feature at the Tower Drive-in starred Gina Lollobrigida in Where the Hot Wind Blows. (Flintstones fans remember that she was spoofed on the prehistoric cartoon comedy as an Italian maid named Lolobrickida.)
Elsewhere in the area, Desire in the Dust (no, it wasn’t a Western) was playing at the Dreamland; Butterfield 8 with Elizabeth Taylor was at Avon Lake Theater; the Academy Award-winning Ben Hur was at the Ohio; ol’ ski-nose himself Bob Hope was starring in The Facts of Life at the Palace; and Esther and the King with Joan Collins was at the Tivoli.
Yup, you know the 1960s were well underway, as there were no more Bowery Boys films in the Lorain movie screen listings.