The Naked Hills (June 17, 1956)
Released on June 17, 1956: (running time 1 hour and 15 minutes) A young farmer from Indiana hears about the gold rush in California and heads west to find his fame and fortune.
Produced by Josef Shaftel
Directed by Josef Shaftel
Written by Helen S. Bilkie and Josef Shaftel
The Actors: David Wayne (Tracy Powell), Keenan Wynn (Sam Wilkins), Jim Backus (Willis Haver), James Barton (Jimmo McCann), Marcia Henderson (Julie), Denver Pyle (Bert Killian / Narrator), Myrna Dell (Aggie), Lewis L. Russell (Baxter), Frank Fenton (Harold), Fuzzy Knight (pitch man), Jim Hayward (counter man), Christopher Olsen (Billy as a boy), Steven Terrell (Billy as a young man), Nick Borgani (prospector), Rudy Bowman (man outside bank), Chet Brandenburg (prospector), Paul E. Burns (prospector), James Conaty (man in hotel lobby), James Dime (prospector), Duke Fishman (prospector), Herman Hack (barfly), Stuart Holmes (townsman at town meeting), Jimmy Horan (barfly), Jack Kenney (barfly), Hank Mann (Haver's secretary), Kermit Maynard (wagon driver), Frank Mills (barfly), Frances Morris (woman in store), Cap Somers (prospector)
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The Gold-Digger with Gold Fever, and the Woman Who Waited
The Actors Studio, at 434 West 44th Street in Manhattan, is currently run by Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, and Harvey Keitel. Founded in 1947, this acting school has probably trained more motion picture stars than any before or since. When the school first opened, there was room for fifty students, but over seven hundred aspiring actors applied. One of the successful applicants was character actor David Wayne.
Born Wayne James McMeekan in Michigan, to support his acting efforts at the Cleveland Play House, he got a day job in Cleveland as a statistician. It wasn’t long before he made his way to New York City, becoming a Broadway actor that was seldom out of work.
David Wayne appeared in hundreds of motion pictures, but mostly in small character roles. Actress Una Merkel, a co-star in one of his early motion pictures, remarked that, “I think he’s one of the finest actors we have. He’s so good they don’t know what to do with him.”
In this adventure he is the leading man who catches the gold-bug. He and his buddy from Missouri head to California when they hear that gold has been discovered. Together they begin searching for gold, but they soon part ways, because David Wayne’s character will do anything to find gold, even if it means dealing with the devil. He will do whatever it takes to find a mountain of gold in the naked hills of California. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
David Wayne, Keenan Wynn
Lewis L. Russell