Thursday, May 9, 2024

On Area Movie Screens & Vicki Leigh at the Showboat – May 1954

There's plenty to look at on the movie page from the May 1, 1954 Lorain Journal.

Strangely enough, there's no John Wayne feature, or even a Bowery Boys epic for those Lorainites with refined tastes (like me). For Westerns, the one that leaps out at me is The Boy From Oklahoma, starring Will Rogers, Jr. Here's a clip.

What's interesting about this film is that it was the template for the TV series Sugarfoot, starring Will Hutchins as the mild-mannered cowpoke named Tom Brewster who was studying to be a lawyer. He wasn't your regular cowboy hero; he was shy around women, didn't wear a gun and only drank sarsaparilla (with a dash of cherry). But despite his naive demeanor, he was mighty good with his guns and his fists.

I like Will Hutchins' interpretation of the Tom Brewster character better than the way he was depicted in the movie. (I bought a DVD of the first season of Sugarfoot earlier this year and am really enjoying it.)
Another movie that seems to dominate the page is the musical Rose Marie, with Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Fernando Lamas and Bert (the Cowardly Lion) Lahr. 
Looks like my kind of movie, seeing as I'm such a big fan of Canada, with plenty of good scenery. Bert Lahr as a funny Mountie looks like a riot.

Elsewhere on the page are ads for businesses I've featured on the blog over the years, including Vian's Barbecue and the Charcoal Pit.
I said there was plenty to look at on this page, and one of the main sights is lovely Vicki Leigh, who was appearing at the Showboat. The ad copy notes, "She's beautiful, she's talented, she is 22 years old and she has a figure that puts Venus de Milo to shame.
"She stands 5 feet 6 inches tall, she has blonde hair, blue eyes, with a 38 inch bust, 25 inch waist and the rest of the measurements in keeping to add up to a gal you can't take your eyes off.
"Vicki is starting Monday at the Showboat with Hank Young and the Tunesters. Look for her, she is worth seeing."
Here's Vicki in an ad that ran in the Journal on May 3, 1954. I like the simple, "WOW."
Like many other performers that passed through Lorain during the 1950s, Vicki is difficult to track down today. Vicki was mentioned in the Feb. 3, 1954 edition of Variety, which noted that she and her trio would be appearing at the Seven Seas, Omaha's 'top downtown nightery' on Friday, Feb. 5th.
In the May 13, 1955 copy of the The Globe, which appears to be the official newspaper of Camp Lejeune, N.C., Vicki is featured in an article and photo about her upcoming performance with a new trio.
Vicki continued to show up in newspapers for the next year or so, performing in or near Chester, PA. (which is about a half hour from her native Philadelphia). Show dates included Dec. 1955 (with the Sensations), Feb. 1956 and April 1956. After that she seems to have disappeared.
Here's hoping that Vicki continued to perform and achieve some measure of success and ultimately, happiness. Perhaps someone familiar with her will leave a comment at some future date.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Looking at the Westerns playing at the local theaters back then, I'm pretty sure that I saw them all on GRIT at one time or another. A lot of my tv viewing these days is Westerns, crime shows, and horror/sci-fi movies, although I can't stomach Svengoolie. MOVIES! shows noir on Thursdays and Sundays, although they repeat them a lot.
Does tv really suck that bad, or are we just getting old?

-Alan D Hopewell said...

A good low budget film noir, the first film of exploitation director Roger Corman, who's still making movies at ninety-eight...

Don Hilton said...

Svengoolie is no Ghoulardi, or Ghoul, for that matter.
Heck, he ain't even no Superhost.

They used to call TV "a wasteland."

For me, remember how you had to go to the county fair to see the freakshows? Now, they're on TV!

Buster said...

TV was actually fairly sophisticated in its early years, with regular slots for classical music, musical theater, drama and art. Even Ed Sullivan - based in New York - invited opera and Broadway performers to perform on a regular basis.

For some reason, I have the soundtrack LPs of many of the films on this page - "Rose Marie" (I hope you like operetta, Dan), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Miss Sadie Thompson," "Red Garters" and even "Julius Caesar."

Buster said...

By the way, who or what is this "Svengoolie"? A third generation Ghoulardi clone?

Harrison Baumbaugh said...

Rose Marie would have played at the Ohio theater.It being an MGM film and the Ohio featured MGM movies. But the Tivoli had the only cinemascope screen and projectors in Lorain. Tivoli had them installed in sept 1953 and showed The Robe as the first feature.

Anonymous said...

Talk about a bunch of very beautiful women that viewers had to gawk at back in the day.Rita Hayworth,Ruth Roman,Barbara Stanwyck,Jane Russell,Marilyn Monroe,Deborah Kerr,etc. and my personal favorite,fireball redhead Rhonda Fleming.If I was a kid back then I would've wound up in the theater every day of the week.Todays movie patrons have got the ___tty end of the stick if you ask me in the form of what talent they are forced to watch.

Don Hilton said...

Svengoolie was out of Chicago, at first, I think.
But has since been syndicated.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

Lauren Bacall, Hedy Lamarr, Maureens O'Hara and O'Sullivan, Rosalind Russell, Mara Corday, Barbara Steele, the hits just keep on comin'!