Blog 118 Intermezzo
Intermezzo is defined as a light dramatic, musical, or other performance inserted between the acts of a play. This blog was intended to be part 3 of Flashback, but I read of an upcoming birthday celebration and am inserting some comments about it between Act II and III of the flashback. It is not musical or dramatic, so I suppose it is perhaps another performance.
The Woodlawn Theater
is celebrating its 75th birthday this year. Does that place bring back memories? Who remembers that when it opened, the Woodlawn and all the other theaters in town had large signs that proclaimed “Air Conditioned Inside”? If you have some good memories, post them here for others to enjoy. Do you remember the Saturday afternoons there, the treats, even the cost of a kid’s ticket? I think it was nine cents, but I need one of you all for a memory check. The current management is looking for memories, so if you all will post yours, I will send them along.
Today, the Woodlawn is home to a live theater group who produce mostly musicals, although it is shut down presently because of the pandemic.
The theater was designed by the same man wo created the Majestic. What a difference in style and décor! The world premiere of “The Alamo” occurred at the Woodlawn, with John Wayne, Fess Parker and others present. That was in October 1960. I happened to be in town then and went to see it, of course. And I also wondered why it was not held at The Majestic.
John Wayne was the producer and star of the movie. Disclaimer here is that I have never been a John Wayne fan and was never impressed by his acting chops. His best effort was undoubtedly in “True Grit,” for which he received an Oscar. Part of that was most likely due to his longevity in the business. My opinion.
My recall of the movie will probably alienate some, but I thought it was not especially memorable except for two things. John Wayne uttered one of the two most stupid lines I have ever heard in a movie when talking to the staunch defenders and he said, “Now listen, and listen tight!” Inane. How do you listen tight? The other memorable thing I recall is that the “Green Leaves of Summer” came from the movie. The song came from Dimitri Tiompkin, who wrote so many amazing movie scores. If you want to hear it sung by The Brothers Four, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6ryBrtQtgM
Of course, I have to now mention the other all-time stupid line. It was in a B-grade movie whose name I have not since forgotten. It was some sort of jungle movie made on a movie lot, so not much authenticity. In one line, a girl is a jungle outfit (i.e. skimpy) entered the scene and went up to some one and uttered in a Brooklyn accent, “I brought the poison berries for you.” The entire theater erupted in laughter, cat calls and hoots.
More Trivia: the movie was filmed at Brackettville, Texas, one of 72 movies actually filmed on the film lot there. In 2018, at an estate sale, the film lot was closed and movie memorabilia was auctioned off, including The Alamo sets and props. The San Antonio
Express-News ran this article.
“Everyone knows the refrain “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.”
Well, in October 1960, the stars of Hollywood shone bright in San Antonio for three days straight to celebrate the release of “The Alamo,” the $12 million movie starring, directed and produced by the legendary John Wayne.
Pictures of Wayne, known affectionately worldwide as “The Duke,” ran on the front page of the San Antonio Express for five days in a row, starting with a pen and ink drawing on Oct. 22. The paper suggested the airport would resemble Grand Central Station that day, a Saturday, as “movie stars, visiting bigwigs, and newspaper folk from throughout the country come winging in.”
The day was jam-packed with festivities and entertainment, with the first evening capped off with Wayne officiating the unveiling of “a giant 30-foot ‘Battle of the Alamo’ cake” baked by Handy Andy Supermarkets, which hosted the event at its store at Fredericksburg Road and what used to be Loop 13, now Loop 410.
A special “Night in Old San Antonio” was held Sunday night at La Villita.
Monday was another full day, even though it rained throughout the day. A tribute to the Alamo heroes was held in the morning, but an Alamo Heroes Parade that had been scheduled for downtown that afternoon was canceled. The rain couldn’t stop a large contingent of trail riders who arrived from the movie set north of Brackettville, more than 100 miles away, from starting a parade of their own.
The rain continued at the premiere at the Woodlawn Theatre, but as a front page headline stated the following day: Showers fail to wash away premiere glamor. Wayne arrived about 8:20 p.m. and thanked the crowd for turning out in the bad weather.
In his review of the film, Warren Darby acquiesced that the story of the Alamo had been told many times, but it “probably has not been told so dramatically and vividly and with such impact.” He concluded, “If audience reaction at Monday night’s premiere is any criterion, it has been a brilliantly successful venture.”
Someone advised that they don’t know how to post comments on this blog. Here is how: Just under the title of the blog is a line that says “Leave a Reply.” Just click on that and type away.
Reagan High School.
The previous blog, I commented that I think Reagan High School is one of the ugliest schools I have seen. I walked back through it again the other day and did not change my opinion. Pictures from the web appear below.
Reagan opened in 1999 on 84 acres. It has live oak trees scatted through out the acreage, no manicured areas that I observed, few plants or greenery. There are a lot of parking lots and bare dirt showing. I do not think it needs to have acres of manicured lawns, but it needs
Will conclude flashbacks next time.
I continue to enjoy with keeping up with the news. Thank you for taking the time. Although I have been in Corpus Christi/Portland for the past 25+I still miss San Antonio and all the friends Jefferson, that continued when our boys played at Churchill. If it is possible, could you forward Dennie Conklin Williman’s E-Mail address I would so appreciate it. Thanks again,Jack for all the time you put into jeffclass54
Peggy Page Murry
The Woodlawn Theater was where my dad took my brother and I when he had to entertain us when my mom played Bunko. It is also where I watched movies once a week when my dad Bowled in his league. Wasn’t time spent in a theater entertaining? On Saturday mornings we watched two movies, a newsreel, a serial, coming attractions, and a couple of cartoons. I think most neighborhoods had a theater. There was the Harlendale, The Broadway, The Olmos, The Uptown, Majestic, Astec,Texas, and then all the Drive-In’s. I was not allowed in the Empire. We did get our money’s worth.