On this day in 1958, ALLIED ARTISTS PICTURES released QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE. Directed by EDWARD BERNDS from a script by CHARLES BEAUMONT and BEN HECHT, this campy space movie’s greatest claim to fame (besides the amazing writing pedigree) is star ZSA ZSA GABOR. For whatever reason this retro-atomic space movie remains watchable today.
On this day in 1950, radio game show Truth or Consequences came to television. The show required erring quiz show contestants to perform outrageous stunts as the consequence for wrong answers. The radio version of the show ran from 1940 to 1956. The TV version of the series launched on CBS in 1950, but the network dropped the show after only one season. In 1954, NBC revived the game show, running it in prime time until 1958. Meanwhile, the network also created a daytime version of the show, hosted by Bob Barker, which ran from 1956 to 1965. NBC dropped the show altogether in 1965, but it continued as a syndicated series until 1974, with Barker staying on as host.
On this day in 1944, COLUMBIA PICTURES released THE IMPATIENT YEARS. Directed by IRVING CUMMINGS from a script by VIRGINIA VAN UPP, the most interesting thing about this film is the AL JOLSON song that was cut from the titles. The movie starred JEAN ARTHUR, LEE BOWMAN, CHARLES COBURN, EDGAR BUCHANNAN and JANE DARWELL.
LOS ANGELES – Fear has trumped romance at the box office over Labor Day weekend. The fright flick “The Final Destination” remained the No. 1 movie for the second-straight weekend with $12.4 million for the first three days of the long holiday weekend. “The Final Destination” raised its 10-day total to $47.6 million.
It came in ahead of Sandra Bullock‘s romantic comedy “All About Steve,” which debuted in second-place with $11.2 million from Friday to Sunday. Bullock plays a woman who sets out on the road in pursuit of her soul mate.
Among other new movies, the action tale “Gamer” debuted at No. 4 with $9 million. The movie starsGerard Butler in a thriller about real humans controlled by players in lethal games.
On this day in 1948, ALLIED ARTIST’S PICTURES released THE BABE RUTH STORY. Directed by ROY del RUTH, this corniest of all corny biopics starred WILLIAM BEXDIX, CLAIRE TREVOR, CHARLES BICKFORD, SAM LEVENE and BILL FRAWLEY. Certainly in the top ten of sanitized, homoginized filmed biographies, we would be remiss in not mentioning that we absolutely loved it when we were kids. A must see for all the wrong reasons.
On this day in 1967, the last episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater airs. Hope had hosted this dramatic anthology series since 1964, and he often starred in the evening’s teleplays. Guest stars included Jason Robards, the Osmond Brothers, Mickey Rooney, William Shatner, Peter Falk, Shelley Winters, and many others.
Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England, on May 29, 1903, and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, at age four. The son of a stonemason and a former concert singer, Hope worked as a newsboy, a soda jerk, a shoe salesman, and a boxer (under the name “Packy East”) in his teens. Later, he joined the vaudeville circuit with a song-and-dance routine, making his debut in 1924 in a Fatty Arbuckle revue.
Hope began appearing in comedy shorts in the mid-1930s. He appeared on Broadway for the first time in 1933 and made his radio debut in 1935 as a cast member of The Intimate Revue. In 1938, he was picked to star in The Big Broadcast. Since he had already committed to a radio contract in New York at the same time, he moved to Hollywood to film the movie and delivered his radio monologues long-distance to the New York studio. Hope’s popularity grew in 1939 with the film Cat and the Canary. In 1940, he co-starred with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in the Road to Singapore, the first of seven Road movies.
In most of the years between 1941 and 1953, Hope ranked among Hollywood’s Top 10 moneymaking stars. He regularly appeared on television shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. From 1953 to 1994, he hosted a Christmas television special that was broadcast internationally.
Hope also tirelessly entertained American troops stationed throughout the world during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. He made more than 700 trips to American military bases and hospitals around the world, entertaining some 10,000 troops. These efforts earned him five special Academy Awards and the nickname “Mr. Humanitarian.”
President John F. Kennedy once called him “America’s most prized ambassador of goodwill throughout the world,” and the United States Congress made him an “honorary veteran” in 1997-an unprecedented gesture. Hope has won more than 2,000 awards and citations, including 54 honorary doctorates, an honorary knighthood, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1985, he was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for Lifetime Achievement. His accolades earned him the title “Most Decorated and Honored Entertainer” in the Guinness Book of Records. He died on July 27, 2003, at the age of 100.
On this day in 1935, RKO RADIO PICTURES released TOP HAT. Directed by MARK SANDRICH, this song and dance classic starred FRED ASTAIRE and GINGER ROGERS in the first film actually written specifically for them. Brilliant dance routines will make this film memorable forever.