Saturday, June 10, 2017

1948 ads for the Rialto, Louisville's million dollar movie palace

1948 would begin and end with Bob Hope musicals.  Regular television broadcasts would begin this year.  Except for some of the most popular and/or prestigious A pictures, most attractions at the Rialto had a B film attached to it.  Eventually, the expected double bills at indoor theaters would gradually evaporate and move to the drive-ins. Initially, it was not unusual for drive-ins to show just one film per evening with two or three showings. January 1, 1948
This was the last time the Andrews Sisters appeared in a movie.   January 8, 1948
Years later, Otto Preminger remarked he had no memory of directing this movie.   January 15, 1948
Cecil B. DeMille movies were always regarded as prestige pictures and demanded premium admission prices but this one is virtually forgotten now.  January 22, 1948
This was the only movie George S. Kaufman directed.  According to IMDB, he was way out of his depth.    Since this time, I think it's fair to say more senators have been indiscreet than not.  January 29, 1948
Captain from Castile ran for two weeks at the Rialto. At this time through the early 1950s, most features would move to the somewhat smaller Brown Theatre on Broadway after the first week.  Zanuck had intended this very expensive, long movie to be a roadshow release with an intermission, which is possibly why the Rialto management sought to assuage rumors of higher prices.  February 5, 1948
Magic Town didn't work magic at the box office.  It lost money.  February 19, 1948
This was the first of seven movies Burt Lancaster made with Kirk Douglas, who was not yet a big enough star to share top billing.      February 25, 1948
You Were Meant for Me was not one of Fox's prime musicals --  it was in black and white when most Fox musicals were in vivid Technicolor.  Jeanne Crain made several musicals for Fox and was always dubbed.  That must have been pretty dispiriting.  Half Past Midnight was the 69 minute B movie.  Peggy Knudson was in some pretty big A pictures as a supporting actress, such as  Humoresque, The Big Sleep and A Stolen Life. When you wanted to star, you took what you could get.   This was director William F. Claxton's first movie; he went on to direct for decades in television including series like The Twilight Zone and Bonanza. March 3, 1948
Tycoon was RKO's biggest budget movie in the history of the studio to this point in time, and their biggest bomb of the year. March 11, 1948
This was Eddie Cantor's last movie, but he went on to work in television for many years, including his own series.  Joan Davis went on to star I Married Joan on TV.  Slippy McGee was a 65 minute B movie from Republic, starring Dale Evans without Roy Rogers.    March 18, 1948
You might remember supporting actress Helen Walker as the landlady in the famous Twilight Zone episode, The Midnight Sun.   The B movie, Campus Honeymoon, starred twins Lyn and Lee Wilde.  They both had short careers and died at ages 93 and 92 respectively.    March 25, 1948
Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! is possibly best known as Marilyn Monroe's first movie, though she's unbilled and hard to spot.  It also is one of few movies to have two exclamation marks in its title. I can think of no other good reason to watch it.  The B movie was The Challenge, a 68 minute Bulldog Drummond detective story starring Tom Conway, best known as George Sanders' older brother.  April 1, 1948
Saigon may have been known as 'the Paris of the Orient' but the movie was shot at Paramount studios, so don't expect many authentic Indo-China sights.   April 8, 1948
Gentleman's Agreement was even more controversial than you'd think, but the picture did very well, even in the South.   April 15, 1948
Look carefully at that title.  Yes, it really does say Cary and the Bishop's Wife. Test marketing showed that audiences were wary of what they imagined was a religious picture. It is, but it's not The Nun's Story. To confuse the issue (?)  Sam Goldwyn had the bright idea of putting Cary's name in the title itself in some markets -- including Louisville.  This might be the only time that ever happened. What they didn't tell the public, apparently, was that it wasn't just religious, it was a Christmas movie that was released in the spring. Since this time, the movie of course has become a perennial holiday favorite.   April 22, 1948
An A film noir with a good cast was paired with Caged Fury, a Paramount cheapie with borrowed footage from a Buster Crabbe movie that was fifteen years old.   April 28, 1948
Sitting Pretty, an extremely funny film that made Clifton Webb a star, was the first of the Mr. Belvedere movies and by far the best.  Basketball Highlights was apparently a sports newsreel though one assumes the Rialto had been showing newsreels and other short subjects all along.   May 6, 1948
This might have been the first movie to tackle this subject matter.  It did cause problems for some people but not who you'd expect.  Alfred Newman, who scored the movie, incorporated music by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturyan and Miskovsky presumably to give it an authentically Russian atmosphere.  Stalin was not pleased and the composers had to swear they had nothing to do with the film. The B movie was Arthur Takes Over,  a 63 minute romantic comedy.  May 13, 1948
I Remember Mama was always a hit, in every iteration, and continues to be shown regularly on Turner Classic Movies.   May 20, 1948
First there was My Friend Flicka, then Thunderhead, Son of Flicka and finally Green Grass of Wyoming.  Roddy McDowall is not in this one and is said not to be very good but at least Burl Ives sings three songs. The second 'hit' was the B movie 13 Lead Soldiers, another Bulldog Drummond detective story, once again starring George Sanders' brother. May 27, 1948
Five months before the Rialto charged roadshow admission prices to see Unconquered.  Now it was back at popular prices with all kisses intact.    June 3, 1948
Abbot and Costello had been so successful throughout the forties that they were now ready for an independent production for Eagle-Lion. Universal-International did not release The Noose Hangs High -- the team had it in their contract to do one film a year with other studios (which didn't pan out as planned). It was a remake of the 1939 Universal film For Love or Money which the team bought from the studio.  It was only 77 minutes long.  It was paired at the Rialto with Green for Danger, an English mystery made at Pinewood Studios and released in America by Eagle-Lion.  The cast includes Leon Genn, Trevor Howard and Alastair Sim and was written and directed by Sidney Gilliat. Gilliat wrote The Lady Vanishes and The Belles of St. Trinians.  I have a sneaking suspicion it's better than The Noose Hangs High. June 10, 1948
The undistinguished Hazard was accompanied by an undistinguished B melodrama, Mr. Reckless, both from Paramount.     June 17, 1948

Dan Dailey was really churning out Fox musicals at this time, but this one is in Technicolor, at least.  This time he wasn't paired up with Betty Grable or Jeanne Crain but with contract player Nancy Guild (breaking all pronunciation rules as rhyming with 'wild').  She was pretty but quickly vanished from the movie scene. The Counterfeiters was a 73 minute B film with some interesting supporting actors:  Hugh Beaumont (Mr. Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver), Long Chaney Jr., George O'Hanlan (the voice of George Jetson), the always alluring Joi Lansing and Scott Brady.
June 24, 1948
Billy Wilder claimed he didn't know how to make a musical when he directed Irma La Douce, and cut out all but one of the songs, yet he did this one.  July 1, 1948
                                                                        July 8, 1948
Ben Hecht wrote the script except for Frank Sinatra's lines, which were written by DeWitt Bodeen (The Cat People). Valli, whom RKO decided deserved a different typeface, was Alida Valli, an Italian the studio promoted as 'the next Garbo.'  The Third Man is her best known film.  She returned to Italy when the American roles dried up and continued her career there until 2002. The Miracle of the Bells bombed. July 15, 1948
 The Street with No Name is a Fox gangster film with semi-documentary location shooting.  With it was the 68 minute Columbia B film Sweet Genevieve.  It starred Jimmy Lydon, now best known as the oldest son in Life with Father and gave Elizabeth Taylor her first on-screen kiss in Cynthia.  It was not to be her last.    July 22, 1948
John Ford also directed Shirley Temple nine years before in Wee Willie Winkie.  The budget was high, especially for RKO.  John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple each were paid $100,000.   The B film Lightnin' in the Forest was a 58 minute Republic comedy.   July 29, 1948
Dream Girl was obviously inspired by Lady in the Dark, also made by Paramount and Mitchel Leisen. Betty Hutton thought she would be nominated for an Oscar. She wasn't. The movie bombed, because according to Leisen, "All of Betty's fans were disappointed when she didn't go around screaming 'murder he says' and the rest of the public who couldn't stand her didn't go either."  Attached to the bill at the Rialto was Waterfront at Midnight, a 63 minute Paramount B noir.  August 4, 1948
Kirk Douglas was working his way up the star ladder this year. He would soon no longer be a supporting player.   Director John M. Stahl's best film is probably Leave Her to Heaven, also starring Cornel Wilde.   Tom Conway was back again in another B picture. this time from Fox.  Hurd Hatfield (The Picture of Dorian Grey) and Frank Cady (Sam Drucker on Green Acres) are also in it.  August 12, 1948
Billy Wilder was great friends with Marlene Dietrich, and said the crews adored her.  The movie is interesting for its location footage of a ruined Berlin.    Accompanying it at the Rialto was the 60 minute Paramount B picture Big Town Scandal.   August 19, 1948
This is the fifth and last of the Disney package features.  Like all of them, some segments are better than others.  Pecos Bill's cigarette smoking has been edited out of the current DVD release. Also from RKO was Mystery in Mexico, a 66 minute B picture directed by Robert Wise.  He would have a few more years of proving himself before he was rewarded with the sci-fi A picture The Day the Earth Stood Still.  August 25, 1948
Beyond Glory was a story of love and guilt.   With it was Shaggy, a boy and his dog story.  The boy was Georgie Nokes, who played the child version of Harry, George Bailey's brother in It's a Wonderful Life (the one who fell through the ice).      September 2, 1948
That Lady in Ermine promised gratuitous shots of Gable's famous gams, but since the story took place in 1861, it couldn't have been very often.   The movie bombed and Gable said it was her least favorite of all her movies. The B picture at the Rialto that week was The Winner's Circle, also from Fox, the life story of a famous racehorse.   September 9, 1948
Tap Roots lost money at the box office.  Maybe it was that terrible title. Boris Karloff plays an Indian, something a departure for him.    September 16, 1948
Forever Amber returned to Louisville from its roadshow engagement the year before.   It initially received a Condemned rating from the Catholic Legion of Decency, which might help explain why it was the biggest grossing movie of 1947.   September 23, 1948

The Best Years of Our Lives returned at popular prices from its roadshow engagement two years before and winning all those Oscars.   It was nearly three hours and took in ten times its initial production cost.  September 30, 1948
Feudin', Fussin' and Fightin' was the only one of the nine films Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride made together in which they did not play Ma and Pa Kettle. It doesn't seem like it was too much of a stretch for them here.   The B picture was Republic's Out of the Storm, a crime drama starring Jimmy Lydon.    October 7, 1948
RKO rushed Rachel and the Stranger into release following Robert Mitchum's arrest for possession of marijuana to take advantage of the publicity.   With it was The Gay Intruders, a 68 minute B comedy from Fox.  October 14, 1948
Sorry, Wrong Number is one of few movies that plays in real time. It was a big hit. French Leave was a B comedy from Monogram starring two former child stars, Jackie Cooper and Jackie Coogan. October 21, 1948
 Apartment for Peggy was a heartwarming drama from Fox.  Night Wind starred the actress most famous for playing the Swedish coffee expert in Folger's Coffee commercials, Virginia Christine.      October 28, 1948
One Touch of Venus was a surprisingly poor adaption of a hit Mary Martin Broadway musical with music by Kurt Weill, though Ava was certainly more Venus-like than Mary.  It's not even in color. The Code of Scotland Yard was an English drama. It starred Austrian actor Oscar Homolka who today is probably most recognized from I Remember Mama. November 4, 1948
 
A Song is Born was the remake of the far superior Ball of Fire.  There's a few songs, but it's not a musical.  Bodyguard was a B noir starring Priscilla Lane, her final film.  She retired upon marrying her Air Force husband.   November 11, 1948
Miss Tatlock's Millions was a romantic comedy from Paramount.  Bungalow 13 was yet another B film starring Tom Conway, George Sanders' brother.  November 18, 1948
When My Baby Smiles at Me was the third Dan Dailey Fox musical this year, and like Give My Regards to Broadway, was in Technicolor.  Betty Grable was back in Vaudeville with Dan, which was a comfortable fit for the pair.    November 24, 1948
Good Sam flopped.  Ann Sheridan chalked it up to no chemistry between Gary and herself.  December 2, 1948
Road House was an A film noir with a good cast but director Jean Negulesco said it was undone by a bad script by Edward Chodrov.   Another Peggy Knudsen B movie, Trouble Preferred, was about a pair of female rookie detectives.  December 9, 1948
Night of a Thousand Eyes was a Paramount film noir.  It's interesting for its location shooting in the old Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles which was completely wiped off the face of the map in the 1960s.  The Music Center and several office buildings now occupy the spot. Gail Russell died at age 36 of acute alcoholism.  Disaster is a B film starring Richard Denning about a construction worker turned hero when an airliner crashes into a skyscraper.  December 15, 1948
After the independently produced The Noose Hangs High (see above), Abbot and Costello returned to Universal for Mexican Hayride.  According to IMDB, neither wanted to make this movie. While it was playing at the Rialto, Pardon My Sarong (1942) was playing a few blocks away at the National.    December 23, 1948
The Paleface was the highest grossing comedy western until Blazing Saddles.  Jane Russell played a much more glamorous Calamity Jane than Doris Day would five years later. December 30, 1948

All advertisements appeared in The Courier-Journal in 1948.

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