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"Unknown Island" - Pre-Historic Monster Thriller
released on October 15, 1948
The Actors: Peter Cookson (Larry Crain), Virginia Grey (Carole Lane), Phillip Reed (Ted Osborne), Richard Denning (John Fairbanks), Barton MacLane (Captain Tarnowski), Dick Wessel (First Mate Sanderson), Dan White (crewman Edwards), Phil Nazir (crewman Golab), Ray Corrigan (monster), 'Snub' Pollard (patron pointing out Tarnowski), Harry Wilson (barfly)
Humbug . . .
Now . . . I'm not saying that pre-historic dinosaurs cannot exist on some remote island that has not yet been discovered, but . . . . Humbug! What is a 'humbug'? I'm sure you know the word only as the expletive often grumbled by the Charles Dickens character in A Christmas Carol, but do you know what a humbug is? The most famous promoter of humbugs was P.T. Barnum in the late 1800's, when humbugs were common. A 'humbug' is something that seems to be amazing and probably impossible, but there is always doubt - the humbug may be a hoax . . . or it may be real . . . you cannot find empirical proof to expose it as a hoax, and it may indeed be real. The best humbugs combine known fact with an element of mystery that is very unusual and probably impossible. Is the bearded lady that I paid money to view at a carnival side show really a lady with a long, real beard, or is she merely a lady wearing a false beard? I could not prove the reality of the bearded lady one way or the other from my spot on the crowded dirt floor in front of the gal on the wooden stage . . . maybe she was a hoax . . . and maybe not. Humbug! Either way I didn't want my money back, I was a happy customer at that carnival side show and I enjoyed that humbug.
Forty five years before Steven Spielberg produced the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park, Albert Cohen produced this movie about an island deep in the Pacific that was home to a menagerie of pre-historic monsters. It is 1948,and World War II has been over for a couple of years, and pilot Ted Osborn, played by Phillip Reed, remembers straying over an uncharted island during the war and spotting all sorts of giant creatures. Now he is in Singapore with his girlfriend Carole trying to hire a ship to take him in search of that island and discovers that another American from the war has also seen that island. Soon the lecherous Captain Tarnowski, played by Barton MacLane, along with Osborne, his girlfriend Carole, played by Virginia Grey, and John Fairbanks, played by Richard Denning, are on their way. Soon we are transported to an island deep in the uncharted waters of the South Pacific inhabited by all sorts of pre-historic man-eating monsters. Of course this is only a movie story . . . not reality . . . animals like this don't exist anymore . . . everyone knows that . . . or do they? Can you prove to me that no such island exists even today? . . . . Humbug! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn drizzled with warm melted butter and enjoy the show.
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Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people want to go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise . . . Mary Pickford
Some of my Favorites:
Probably my all time favorite movie, My Man Godfrey in 1936 not only gives us an comedic peek at the wealthiest and poorest during the Great Depression, but also was the vehicle for Carole Lombard to create the movie icon of the 'dumb blonde screwball comedy' that is a popular theme even today.
Meet John Doe - 1941: The Frank Capra classic set in the Great Depression era that pits the common man against the political masters. You can't be a fan of old movies until you watch Frank Capra's old movies. This one premiered seventy years ago, and it still stirs our emotions and thoughts now. It is as timely as if it were produced today.
Angel and the Bad Man - 1947: One of the great teachers of the Secret Law of Attraction is Dr. Joe Vitale . . . but before he was even born actor John Wayne paid for and produced this Cowboy Western that featured The Law of Attraction.
The Time of Your Life - 1948: James Cagney financed this strangely different feel-good movie, and he plays the part of Joe, a barfly that tries to live his life by making everyone around him better. I watch this one often, and try to become more like Joe every day.
Painted Faces - 1929: Comedy legend Joe E. Brown is a circus clown in a surprisingly serious role as a juror in a Christmas week murder trial who tells the other jurors a story that will change their verdicts in a pre-code drama that could not have been made a few years later.
Charade - 1963: It doesn't get much better than Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in a tale of death, deception, spies and lost wealth as a woman tries to sort out the good guys from the bad guys in this cold-war spy thriller love story.