Saturday, July 9, 2022

Vera Miles: Ray Harryhausen, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rod Serling

My title contains a bit of a teaser concerning one of the names in it, but those names are still accurate for the career of Vera June Ralston aka: actress Vera Miles. Yet to be honest, in that one instance, maybe not as my reader might imagine. 

This is not a biography, although two of Vera Miles four husbands are of interest to the film aficionado, nor is this a complete list of her films and television appearances. This is, to borrow a title from a forgotten 1959, United Kingdom motion picture, in which Vera Miles co-starred with Van Johnson, a "Web of Evidence", of a career well spent.



















Vera June Ralston was born on August 23, 1929, in Boise City, Oklahoma. A former "Miss Kansas", her family had moved to Wichita, Vera had also been the third runner-up to "Miss America". In 1948, she married Bob Miles, the two came to Hollywood in 1950. Bob became a stunt man and Vera wanted to be a motion picture actress. She received her contract, but not by her previous stage name of Vera Ralston, there already was an actress by that name. Who in 1952, married Herbert J. Yates, the founder and owner of "Republic Pictures", so, this Vera Ralston, used her married last name, and became Vera Miles.

One does not start at the top and Vera find herself as the uncredited, "Laughing Sergeant's Date", in her first on-screen role. The movie was 1950's "When Willie Comes Marching Home", and it was directed by a name Vera Miles would become associated with, John Ford, but neither the actress, or director, had any inkling of their futures together.

Four roles later, and Vera Miles found herself co-starring opposite Marshall Thompson, as a college football player and is new girlfriend, in the 1952, comedy drama romance, "The Rose Bowl Story".




Above center, Vera Miles and Marshall Thompson, on his right, James Dobson, and on her left, 14-years old Natalie Wood, in her 21st role. Also in the cast was actor Keith Larsen, in his 6th role, but more on him later.

As it happens, Vera Miles found herself, next, in another uncredited role:

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS released on June 13, 1953




"The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" is stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen's, classic, first solo work. 
































You can look a thousand times for Vera Miles in the released feature film, and never see her, but she was directly connected to that finished motion picture. After one-year of film making, mainly from Ray Harryhausen, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", was ready for release and "Warner Brothers" turned it over to their publicity department. 

The following was an advanced release ad, sent to movie theater owners, to get them to book the picture:





The "Trailer" for Ray Harrison's Science Fiction film, would be shown on both the movie theater screen and the television screen, one week ahead of release, and that's where Vera Miles comes in.


















In the official trailer, the only time Vera Miles is seen connected to the Ray Harryhausen classic, she comes out of the nuclear blast cloud and delivers the line:

Who Knows What Waits for Us in Natures No Man's Land?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5kqB80-Hmo



THE CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER premiered in Vernon, Texas, on June 30, 1953





For her next feature film, Vera Miles moved to fourth billing as "Jennie McKeever", in one of the first "3-D" motion pictures of the 1950's, "The Charge at Feather River". 

SHOULD my reader have a pair of those blue and red 3-D glasses, my article, "THIRD DIMENSION the Golden Age of 3-D Motion Pictures 1952-1955". becomes more enjoyable, at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/08/third-dimension-golden-age-of-3-d.html

One has to wonder, did Vera Miles, as one of the two sisters abducted by the Cheyenne, the other is Helen Wescott as "Anne McKeever", speak about her role with Natalie Wood, while making 1956's "The Searchers"?

Miles' character of "Jennie" has become full Cheyenne and the intended bride of "Chief Thunder Hawk".


















Above, Guy Madison as "Miles Archer", the leader of the rescue mission, has Vera Miles on his left and Helen Wescott on his right. The ending for Miles is different than for Wood.


During 1954, Vera Miles appeared four times in different television programs, including the episode, "The Wild Intruder", December 6, 1954, on Richard Boone's television series "Medic", and in a forgottenmade for "The Hallmark Hall of Fame" movie, "Immortal Oath". It was during the year that Bob and Vera Miles divorced, they had two daughters, Debra and Kelley.


TARZAN'S HIDDEN JUNGLE released February 16, 1955

















No, Vera Miles does not play "Jane", her character is "Jill Hardy". The actress had just co-starred with Charles Boyer on televisions "Four Star Playhouse", in the episode, "A Champion Affair", on December 16, 1954

Gordon Scott portrayed "Tarzan". Scott had been working as a lifeguard, at the "Sahara Hotel", in Las Vegas, Nevada, when I first met him as a swimming student. It was there, one day, when he was "discovered" by a talent agent. This movie was Gordon Scott's first on-screen appearance and he would make another five "Tarzan" films. The last, "Tarzan the Magnificent", was released on July 6, 1960, four-months after his divorce from his second wife, and mother of his son Michael, actress Vera Miles. The had been married back on April 14, 1956!

Gordon Scott's friend, Steve Reeves, suggested he come to Italy and make movies there. His first, which is part of the following linked article, was 1961's, "Goliath and the Vampires". My article, "PEPLUM: A Look at the Sword and Sandal Motion Pictures from the 1950's and 1960's", is at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/02/peplum-look-at-sword-and-sandal-motion.html
















Peter van Eyck portrayed "Dr. Celliers". German born Gotz van Eick, left Germany in 1931 with the rise of Adolph Hitler. He became an American citizen in 1943 and was drafted into the Army as a commissioned officer, and became part of "Ritchie Boys". Military Intelligence officers and interrogators that were trained at "Camp Ritchie", in Washington County, Maryland, to interview selected German Army and Navy POW's.

Van Eyck's first motion picture was the Tim Holt, Bonita Granville, and Kent Smith's, 1943's, "Hitler's Children". Ten-years later, he co-starred with French actor Yves Montand, in the French thriller, "Le salarie de la peur (The Wages of Fear)", the classic about four men hired to transport nitroglycerine through the jungle to a South American oil company. 

The actor is probably best known to American audiences for portraying "Lieutenant Colonel Ocker", in producer Darryl F. Zanuck's, 1962, "The Longest Day", Richard Burton's, 1965, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", and 1969's, "The Bridge at Remagen", starring George Segal, Robert Vaughn, and Ben Gazzara.
















Above, Peter van Eyck and Vera Miles.

Jack Elam portrayed "Burger". Elam lost his eye, when a fellow "Boy Scout" stabbed a pencil into it during, what Elam would describe when asked, a disagreement. After graduating from "Santa Monica Junior College" in accounting, Elam was first a bookkeeper for the "Bank of America", and then an auditor for "Standard Oil". Jack Elam entered the Navy during the Second World War, upon his discharge, he became an independent accountant in Hollywood, with Samuel Goldwyn as a client, leading to his acting career.















Two poachers come into the jungle hunting animals for profit, but plan on tricking "Dr. Celliers" and his assistant, "Jill Hardy" into thinking they're actually nature photographers. What the two overlook is "Tarzan", and will not succeed in their plan.



































ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Vera Miles has a distinction of sorts, she starred in the teleplay, "Revenge", Episode One, Season One, October 2, 1955, of the television series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", directed by Hitchcock.

In the episode, Vera Miles portrayed "Elsa Spann", and Ralph Meeker portrayed her husband, "Carl Spann". "Elsa" is assaulted by an unknown assailant and her husband drives his incoherent wife around town looking for the person who attacked her.





In true Hitchcockian fashion, at the end of the 23-minute program, he tells his viewing audience:
Well, they were a pathetic couple. We had intended to call this one "Death of a Salesman", but there were protests from certain quarters. Naturally, "Elsa's" husband was caught, indicted, tried, convicted, sentenced and paid his debt to society for taking the law into his own hands. You see, crime does not pay. Not even on television. You must have a sponsor. 


Vera Miles next meeting with Hitchcock was the only true-life story the director ever made.

THE WRONG MAN released on December 22, 1956

 





In the lower right corner of the above poster is a red-box that reads

                                     CHALLENGE!

If you don't believe that this weird and unusual story actually happened, see the records of Queens County Court, N.Y., Apr 21, 1953 indictment #271/53 "The Balestrero Case". 


Alfred Hitchcock directed the picture, his latest had been the 1956 remake of his own "The Man Who Knew Too Much", starring James Stewart and Doris Day. Hitch would follow this picture with 1958's "Vertigo", starring James Stewart and Kim Novack.


The screenplay was by two outstanding writers:

The first writer was playwright Maxwell Anderson. Whose plays, "What Price Glory", "Mary of Scotland", "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", "Key Largo", and "The Bad Seed", had all been turned into classic motion pictures. 

The second writer was Angus MacPhail, a major British screenplay writer and had written Alfred Hitchcock, 1945's, "Spellbound".


Henry Fonda portrayed "Christopher Emanuel 'Manny' Balestrero". Fonda had just been seen, miscast as "Pierre Bezukhov", in director King Vidor's, 1956, epic version of Russian author, Leo Tolstoy's, "War and Peace", co-starring with Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer. He would follow this feature, perfectly cast, in director Sidney Lumet's on-screen version of the Reginald Rose's, "12 Angry Men".

Vera Miles portrayed "Rose Balestrero". Miles was bookending this movie with two television dramas, "The Great Lady", September 11, 1956, on the anthology series, the "General Electric Summer Originals", and, "The Taggart Light", April 18, 1957, on the anthology series, the "Lux Video Theatre".

 




 














Above, Henry Fonda and Vera Miles.

Anthony Quayle portrayed "Frank D. O'Connor". British actor Quayle had just been seen in the true Second World War British naval story, 1956's, "The Battle of the River Plate" aka: "The Pursuit of the Graf Spee" in the United States. Quayle would follow this film with the U.K. picture, 1957's, "Woman in a Dressing Gown".













Above, Henry Fonda and Anthony Quayle.

The screenplay opens with Alfred Hitchcock addressing the audience and telling them that:

Every Word is True!

Hitchcock is followed by the title card:














"Christopher Emanuel 'Manny' Balestrero" is a down on his luck musician that works at New York City's "The Stork Club". 





















His loving wife "Rose" needs some dental work and "Manny" plans to borrow on his life insurance to pay the costs.














He goes to the insurance company and is mistaken for a man who robbed the office twice before.





"Manny" finds himself being questioned by the police, who strangely keep calling him "Chris", and explain they're looking for a man who robbed the insurance agency and other businesses in the neighborhood. 





















The police instruct "Manny" to walk in and out of a delicatessen and a liquor store that were previously robbed. He is next told to write the words from the note used by the robber at the insurance agency. When he comes to writing the word "drawer", he makes the same spelling mistake in the note by the robber, "drawer" becomes "draw". After being picked out by one of the employees from the insurance agency in a line-up, "Christopher Emanuel 'Manny' Balestrero", is arrested and charged with armed robbery.

"Rose Balestrero" calls Attorney "Frank O'Connor", who will set out to prove "Manny's" innocence.

























Proving "Manny's" innocence should have been easy, at the time of the first robbery, "Manny" and his family were on vacation. At the time of the second robbery, "Manny's" jaw was so swollen that anyone would have notice it.

HOWEVER:

Of the three people who saw "Manny Balestrero" at the vacation hotel, two are dead, and the third can't be located. Then it's discovered that there are no photos of "Manny's" jaw, or someone other than the family to testify to what he looked like at the time.

A juror's remark during the first trial, causes the judge declare a mistrial and schedule a second. This all causes "Rose Balestrero" to go into depression








"Rose's" depression becomes so severe that she is hospitalized.






















While awaiting his second trial, "Christopher Emanuel 'Manny' Balestrero" was exonerated!

According to Hitchcock, two police officers arrested a man for robbing a grocery store, and as the three walked past the main detective on "Manny's" case, the detective did a double take over the arrested man's strong resemblance to "The Wrong Man".

"Manny" is shown visiting "Rose" in the hospital to tell her the good news, but she remains depressed. The motion picture ends with a text comment for the audience to read, stating "Rose" recovered two years later. That was a lie, "Rose" never fully recovered from her nervous breakdown, blaming herself for "Manny's" arrest, she passed away in 1982, at the age of 72. "Manny" died in 1998, at the age of 88.


Sometimes, people think that Alfred Hitchcock's career started with 1951's "Strangers on a Train", and ended with the next Vera Miles motion picture. Hitch got his real start with a silent British film in 1927, the following link takes my reader to that classic and one, or two usually overlooked, or forgotten films. Along with his one attempt at the Third-Dimension. My article is entitled, "HITCHCOCK: A Scarf and a Medical Bag, A Conscience, 19th Century Ship Wreckers, and a Roving Body", and it may be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2022/01/hitchcock-scarf-and-medical-bag.html


PSYCHO premiered in New York City, on June 16, 1960




I remember, as a 13-years old boy, going to the "Majestic Theater", off 3rd Street in Santa Monica, California, and seeing "Psycho" the first weekend it played in General Release. I also remember the manager coming out to tell the mostly young audience that the movie was actually meant for adult audiences. Although there was no such rating on the picture, and further, that we must not start running around, or playing in the theater during the showing. Personally, I was glued to my seat, wondering, when "Norman's" mother was going to reappear, after the shower scene.

Note the correct billing order on the above original poster for the picture.

Anthony Perkins portrayed "Norman Bates". Perkins had just co-starred with Jane Fonda, in the romantic comedy, 1960's "Tall Story", and followed "Psycho", with a French and American co-production. This was the 1961, romantic drama, "Goodbye Again", with Perkins co-starring with Ingrid Bergman, and Yves Montand.
























Vera Miles
portrayed "Lila Crane", a role she would repeat in 1983's, "Psycho II", also with Anthony Perkins as "Norman Bates". At the time of making this picture, Vera Miles was predominately appearing on television. Before this film was released, she was seen on the anthology series, "Startime", April 5, 1960, in "Incident at a Corner", with George Peppard. Miles followed the picture with an appearance on the Western show, "Laramie", October 4, 1960, in the episode entitled, "Three Rode West".

 






















John Gavin portrayed "Sam Loomis". Gavin had just been seen in the romantic comedy, 1960's, "A Breath of Scandal", co-starring with Sophia Loren, and Maurice Chevalier. He would follow "Psycho", with the Stanley Kubrick directed, and Kirk Douglas starring, 1960, "Spartacus", portraying "Julius Caesar".















Vera Miles and Janet Leigh first appeared together, in the 1951 musical, "Two Tickets to Broadway". Except Miles had the uncredited role of a "Showgirl", and Leigh was co-starring with Tony Martin.

Janet Leigh
portrayed "Marion Crane". Leigh had just appeared in the last film together, with her third husband, Tony Curtis, 1960's, "Who Was That Lady?", the two would divorce in 1962. Leigh would follow "Psycho", co-starring with Mexican comedian Cantinflas, and Dan Dailey, in 1960's "Pepe".

Most viewers still question why Janet Leigh wasn't second billed, because, other than Anthony Perkins, it's her character the entire story revolves around. 

However, "Psycho" has a running time of 109-minutes, but Janet Leigh's "Marion Crane" is dead, exactly twenty-minutes into the picture. This leaves 89-minutes in which Vera Miles' "Lila Crane" has become the main character. That both the characters of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin react too.

Even the classic shower scene isn't as long as people remember it. After all the cuts and retakes, the scene only runs approximately three-minutes and that includes using Leigh's body double, Marli Renfro. 













I've written two articles about Janet Leigh for your reading pleasure. They are:

"Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh: Their 5-Motion Pictures Together With 2-Interludes". at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2022/03/tony-curtis-and-janet-leigh-their-5.html

I go into more detail about "Psycho", and speak to some other of her Horror films, in my article, "Janet Leigh Going "PSYCHO" Within 'THE FOG", enjoy the screaming at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/11/janet-leigh-going-psycho-within-fog.html


In a hotel room in Phoenix, Arizona, "Marion" and "Sam" talk about their need to have money to payoff his debts, so they can get married. 













After which, real estate secretary "Marion Crane" returns to work and steals the $40,000 (Today, as of this writing, $394,994.59), and heads for his home in Fairvale, California.













"Marion" stops at a used car dealer and trades her known car for another, but trading in a car in excellent condition, has left the used car dealer with suspicions that something is wrong.
















Across the street, a California Highway Patrol officer, also becomes suspicious of why a woman would want to trade a better car for the one she leaves with, but he only follows her for a short time and then drives away.














The night, "Marion" stops on her way to "Sam's" home, at the "Bates Motel", meets "Norman", and while having a shower is murdered apparently by his mother.
















"Norman" goes into the main house and seemingly speaks to his mother about the murder. Next, he takes "Marion's" body and clothing, places them in the trunk of her car, and sinks it in the bog next to the motel. (See my Janet Leigh Horror movies, to find out where the car seems to turn up in another of her movies)














"Marion's" sister, "Lila Crane" arrives at "Sam's" house in Fairvale, tells him about the theft and demands to know where he sister is at?  He has no knowledge of the theft, or "Marion's" whereabouts, and the two decided to search for her. 













At a store, they are approached by "Private Investigator Arbogast", played by Martin Balsam, who was hired by "Marion's" work and the three compare notes.     














"Arbogast" leaves, comes across the "Bate's Motel", parks and enters the lobby, and becomes suspicious that "Norman" knows more then he's saying. Looking at the "Guest Registry Book", "Arbogast recognizes "Marion's" handwriting, learns that she spoke to "Norman's" mother, but the son refuses to let the investigator meet her.

















"Arbogast" leaves, phones "Lila" and "Sam" at their motel and updates them about the "Bate's Motel". The investigator ads that he'll call back in an hour, after he speaks to the mother of "Norman Bates" in their home on the hill overlooking the motel.














The investigator enters the "Bates" house and finds the first floor empty. He starts up the stairs and a shadowy woman's figure comes out of a dark corner and stabs "Arbogast" multiple times.



























Not hearing from "Arbogast", "Sam" visits the motel and sees a figure of a woman in a window of the house, he assumes it's "Norman's" mother, but no one else seems to be around and "Sam" leaves. 














"Lila" and "Sam" visit "Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers", played by John McIntire, who tells them that "Norman's" mother died in a murder-suicide ten years ago. 













The Deputy Sheriff suggests that the investigator lied to get their information about "Marion". However, convinced that something happened to "Arborgast", "Sam" and "Lila" decide to go to the motel.


































While "Sam" distracts "Norman", "Lila" sneaks away and goes to the house. "Norman" becomes suspicious, is able to knock "Sam" out, and starts for the house.


























As she is searching upstairs, "Lila" sees "Norman" heading toward the house, goes downstairs and hides. "Norman" enters, but doesn't see her and "Lila" notices the door to the fruit cellar. In the darken fruit cellar, "Lila" finds the mummified body of "Norman's" mother.





















































As "Lila" screams from fright, "Norman". dressed as his mother, holding a knife, enters and attempts to kill her.













"Sam" appears, grabs "Norman", they struggle, but "Sam" subdues "Norman".














At the police station, a psychiatrist explains to "Lila" and "Sam", that ten years earlier "Norman" killed his mother and her lover. "Norman", unable to bear his guilt for his mother's murder, kept her body, and began talking to it as if she were alive. Over the years, his mind created the alternative personality of his mother, and whenever "Norman" seemed to be falling for a woman, "Mother" comes out and murders the young woman.


JOHN FORD


Think director John Ford and John Wayne, and you have to think of the movies in my article, "John Wayne in John Ford's CAVALRY TRILOGY: 'Fort Apache' 1948, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' 1949, and 'Rio Grande' 1950", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/12/john-wayne-in-john-fords-cavalry.html

Six-years after "Rio Grande", John Ford returned to the American Western.


THE SEARCHERS premiered on May 16, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois





John Wayne portrayed "Ethan Edwards". Wayne had just been seen portraying the "pre-Genghis Khan", in producer Howard Hughes', 1956, Mongolian Western, "The Conqueror", co-starring with Susan Hayward, as "His Tartar Woman". John Wayne would follow this picture with director John Ford's biography of "Frank W. 'Spig' Wead", 1957's, "The Wings of Eagles".














Jeffrey Hunter portrayed "Martin Pawley". Hunter's latest release was the crime film-noir, 1956's, "A Kiss Before Dying", co-starring Robert Wagner. He would follow this picture co-starring in the 1956 Western, "The Proud Ones", co-starring with Robert Ryan and Virginia Mayo.















Vera Miles portrayed "Laurie Jorgensen". Miles had just been on the television anthology series, "Strange Stories", in the April 13, 1956 episode, entitled, "Such a Nice Little Girl", co-starring with Marguerite Chapman and Robert Armstrong. Vera Miles followed this picture with 1956's, "23 Paces to Baker Street", co-starring Van Johnson.














Ward Bond portrayed "Reverend Captain Samuel Johnson Clayton". Bond had just been on the television anthology series, "Star Stage", in the January 6, 1956, episode entitled, "The Marshal and the Mob", co-starring with Jeffrey Lynn and Dan Duryea. He would follow this film with the 1956 Western, "The Dakota Incident", co-starring with Linda Darnell, Dale Robertson, and John Lund.
















Natalie Wood portrayed "Debbie Edwards -age 15", Wood was eighteen when she made the picture. She had just been seen on the television series "King's Row", in the January 17, 1956. episode entitled, "Carnival", co-starring with Dennis Hopper. She would follow this picture with an appearance, May 22, 1956, in "The Deadly Riddle", on the television anthology series, "Warner Brothers Presents".

As I asked earlier, did Natalie Wood and Vera Miles discuss their similar characters of a young woman kidnapped by Native American's? In Wood's case, Comanche, not, Cheyenne!
























Both actresses story lines are similar, two young white women, younger and older sisters, are kidnapped by Native Americans and someone goes out to return them to their families. The difference between "The Searchers" and "The Charge at Feather River", is the former also tells the story of the people waiting the outcome of the search.

In this screenplay, Frank S. Nugent, Ford's, 1948, "Fort Apache", 1948's, "3 Godfathers", 1949's, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", 1950's, "Wagon Master", and 1952's "The Quiet Man", waives the story of "Laurie Jorgensen" and "Martin Pawley's" love being tested by the title event of the movie.

In 1868, "Ethan Edwards" returns, from the Civil War and the Mexican Revolutionary War, to the home and family of his brother "Aron Edwards", played by Walter Coy, and his sister-in-law, "Martha Edwards", played by Dorothy Jordan.





















Above, Ward Bond, John Wayne, and Dorothy Jordan.


"Ethan" gives his eight-years-old niece, "Debbie", played by Natalie's younger sister "Lana Wood", who he adores, a large amount of gold coins. 























Above, Lana Wood, helping set the table for dinner with her mother.


A Comanche raid on the cattle of "Aron's" neighbor, "Lars Jorgensen", takes place and "Captain Clayton" leads "Ethan" and others on a search for the raiders, but they realize the raid was a ploy to draw the men from their families. They return and find "Aron's" home in flames, "Aron", his wife, and son are dead, and the two girls, "Lucy" and "Debbie" have been taken. 

























After a brief funeral, the men head out again, and find a deserted Comanche camp. The group next are ambushed, lose several men, and "Clayton" has them return to the "Jorgensen" ranch.
























The screenplay splits into two stories at this point. One, is the love story between "Laurie Jorgensen" and "Martin Pawley", and the second, the search for the sisters.

"Laurie" and "Martin" are in love with each other and both assume they will be married. 
"Martin Pawley" is "Lucy" and "Debbie's" adopted brother, but "Ethan" doesn't like him, "Martin's" mother was Comanche. 
























The sister's abduction now comes between "Laurie's" plans for her future with "Martin". 

"Ethan", and "Lucy Edward's" fiancĂ© "Brad Jorgensen", are going to continue the search for the sisters. "Martin" wants to go and "Ethan" reluctantly agrees, but "Laurie" is concerned for "Martin's" safety and return, because he's never left the "Edward's" ranch until now.

The three men leave and ride to the entrance of a blind canyon, "Ethan" tells the other two to stay, and enters it. He finds "Lucy" dead and apparently brutally raped, in a rage, "Brad" charges into the Comanche trap and is killed.

































"Ethan" and "Martin" continue their search until winter forces them to return to the "Jorgensen" ranch.
























There, "Martin" reunites with "Laurie", who has been worrying about him all this time. "Mrs. Jorgensen" gives "Ethan" a letter and he reads it. From the letter, "Ethan" discovers that a trader may have information about "Debbie". He wants to travel alone and fast, leaves "Martin", heads out, but "Laurie", who doesn't want "Martin" to leave her again, gives him a horse to catch up with "Ethan".

Now, "Laurie" starts receiving letters from "Martin" describing what "Ethan" and he have been doing.



























Into "Laurie's" part of this story, enters a new suitor, "Charlie McCorry", played by Ken Curtis. Both "Laurie" and "Martin" have known "Charlie" since childhood. "Charlie" entertains "Laurie's" parents by playing a guitar and singing, but also being there, hears some of the letters from "Martin". "Charlie" now attempts to play off the fact that "Martin's" been away for years now. While he's there to take care of "Laurie", if they married.























Above, Ken Curtis and Oliver Carey, mother of Harry Carey, Jr. and wife of John Ford's friend actor Harry Carey, portraying "Mrs. Jorgensen". 

























"Laurie" has become lonely for "Martin", but as he planned, has "Charlie" near her.

























"The Searchers" have learned that "Debbie" was taken by "Comanche Chief Cicatriz (Scar)", played by Henry Brandon. 


























"Ethan" and "Martin" locate "Scar's" camp, and "Scar" lets the two men speak to "Debbie". Who is one of "Scar's" wives after the five-years of their search for her. "Debbie" tells them that she wants to stay with "Scar".













































As they're leaving, "Debbie" suddenly appears to speak to "Martin" once more.























"Ethan" now wants to kill the Comanche "Debbie", but "Martin" blocks him.





















 

"Ethan" is wounded by an arrow, "The Searchers" escape, and "Martin" tends to "Ethan's" wound. However, "Martin" is furious that "Ethan" attempted to kill "Debbie".















At the "Jorgensen's" home, "Laurie", lonely and tired of waiting for "Martin Pawley's" return, is to be wedded to "Charlie", as "Ethan" and "Martin" return. "Laurie" is now torn between "Charlie" and the man she really loves, "Martin". That will be settled in a fist fight between the two over her and her realization she was only marrying the kind "Charlie", because he was there, as her mother knew. The two suitors remain friends and "Charlies" wishes "Laurie" and "Martin" well.















A young cavalry officer arrives with news of the whereabouts of "Scar" and his band. "Captain Clayton", who was to perform the wedding, now leads a group of men with "Ethan" and "Martin", to kill the Comanche,. After positioning themselves, "Martin" is permitted to enter the camp and rescue "Debbie" before the attack and is followed by "Ethan". 

In his rescue, "Martin" kills "Scar" but "Debbie" sees the look on "Ethan", who has scalped "Scar", and starts to run with "Ethan", now on horseback, chasing her. "Martin", who fears "Ethan" will shoot her as he promised while his wound was being attended too, chases after both of them.

BUT, in a classic scene, "Ethan" dismounts, walks over to the frightened "Debbie", picks her up, and tells her:

Let's go home, Debbie!















In the end, "Debbie" is reunited with the "Jorgensen's", "Laurie" will marry the man she really loves, and the film ends with another classic scene of John Wayne:














On July 16, 1960, Vera Miles married actor Keith Larsen, who portrayed football player, "Bronc Buttram", in 1952's, "The Rose Bowl Story" with her. The couple would have one son, Erik Larsen.


















In 1962, Vera Miles returned to director John Ford.

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE released on April 22, 1962






James Stewart portrayed "Ransom Stoddard". In 1959, James Stewart starred in the motion picture version of the 1956 best-selling book, "The FBI Story: A Report to the People", written by Don Whitehead. Both the book and the motion picture were approved by J. Edgar Hoover. In the motion picture, Vera Miles portrayed Stewart's wife, "Lucy Ann Hardesty". The approved screenplay told the story of the FBI, from its beginning into the 1950's, through the fictional "Hardesty" family.





















Just prior to this feature's release, James Stewart co-starred with Richard Widmark. and Shirley Jones, in John Ford's, 1961, "Two Rode Together". The screenplay was about bringing home four captured white woman in the camp of Comanche Chief "Quannah Parker", once again played by German born, American actor, Henry Brandon, and the women's adjustments to a "White Western Community", who may not want them, let alone their families.






























Below, James Stewart in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".
















John Wayne portrayed "Tom Doniphon". Wayne had just been in director Michael Curtiz's, 1961, "The Comancheros" and would follow this picture with director Howard Hawks', 1962, "Hatari!"














Vera Miles portrayed "Hallie Stoddard". Milles guest starred on the two-part television episode, "Three Blind Mice", of "The Detectives", Part One: March 30, 1962, Part Two: April 6, 1962, the show starred Robert Taylor and Tige Andrews. She would follow this feature with an appearance on the Edmond O'Brien television series, "Sam Benedict", in the episode entitled, "Maddon's Folly", October 27, 1962.

















Lee Marvin portrayed "Liberty Valance". Marvin and Miles would appear together, twice more, or perhaps not really. On October 10, 1963, and, October 17, 1963, Miles and Marvin co-starred in a two-part television story, on the new "NBC" anthology series, "Kraft Suspense Theatre". The story, which was the first for the program, was entitled, "The Case Against Paul Ryker". Lee Marvin portrayed the title character, an army sergeant accused of treason during the Korean War, and Vera Miles portrayed his wife, "Ann Ryker". 















Released on June 15, 1967, Lee Marvin starred in the major box office hit, "The Dirty Dozen". The producers of the two-part 1963 television program, edited them together. Suddenly, both Marvin and Vera Miles starred in "Sergeant Ryker", from "Universal Pictures", released on February 1, 1968, without making the movie.















Returning to "The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance", Lee Marvin proceeded the release of the picture with an episode of televisions "Bonanza", entitled "The Crucible", on April 8, 1962. He followed this motion picture with an appearance on "The DuPont Show of the Week", entitled "The Richest Man in Bogota", June17, 1962.
 













Above Lee Marvin with Lee Van Cleef as "Reese". My article on Van Cleef's career, "LEE VAN CLEEF: A Mixture of 'B' and 'Spaghetti' Westerns with a Side of Science Fiction and Just a Taste of Drama", is at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/09/lee-van-cleef-mixture-of-b-and.html


Edmond O'Brien portrayed "Dutton Peabody". Besides his television series, "Sam Benedict", Edmond O'Brien had just appeared in Walt Disney's "Moon Pilot", starring Tom Tryon and Brian Keith. The actor followed this film with 1962's, "Birdman of Alcatraz", starring Burt Lancaster.















Andy Devine portrayed "Marshall Link Appleyard". Devine had just been in the episode, "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", April 13, 1962, on Rod Serling's, "The Twilight Zone", and followed this picture with the 1962, Cinerama epic, all-star, production, of "How the West Was Won", with segments directed by John Ford, which Devine appeared set during the Civil War, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall.




My article on the actor, "ANDY DEVINE: "Hey Wild Bill, Wait For Me!", may be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/07/andy-devine-hey-wild-bill-wait-for-me.html


Woody Strode portrayed "Pompey". The ex-UCLA football player turned actor, who is actually Native American, had just portrayed "Stone Calf" in John Ford's "Two Rode Together", in 1960, Strode had the title role in John Ford's look at race, set after the Civil War, "Sergeant Rutledge", co-starring with Jeffrey Hunter, and Constance Towers, who had co-starred in Ford's, 1959, "The Horse Soldiers".






My article on Woody Strode and another overlooked character actor, Michael Pate, "Vittorio", in 1953's, "Hondo", and a Spanish nobleman turned Western gunfighter, vampire, in 1959's, "Curse of the Undead", is entitled simply, Woody Strode and Michael Pate: Western Stalwarts", and can be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/03/woody-strode-and-michael-pate-one.html


John Ford has showed the myth of the American West in many motion pictures. For "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", Ford was ready to take aim at that myth versus reality.

Sometime during the early 20th Century, "Senator Ransom Stoddard", and his wife "Hallie" arrive in the small town of Shinbone, no State given.








Above, James Stewart, Vera Miles, and Andy Devine.

The "Stoddard's" are there to attend the funeral of an old rancher named, "Tom Doniphon", who died in poverty. 

"Hallie Stoddard" asks "Link" to take her out to see "Tom's" burnt out ranch house. "Link" knows she wants to see the cactus roses that grow there.






As "Hallie" leaves with "Link", a young reporter from the "Shinebone Star" approaches "Senator Stoddard" and asks the question that the screenplay revolves around:
Why is a United States Senator coming to Shinebone for the funeral of an old, recluse, rancher, who died in poverty? 





The reporter and the Senator walk over to the stable and are joined by the new owner of the "Shinebone Star", who starts to ask the same question of the Senator. "Senator Stoddard" tells him, the story goes to his reporter, and looking around the stable, sees the old stagecoach he almost arrived in the town of Shinebone in.








The story now flashes back 25-years:

The stagecoach is stopped by outlaw "Liberty Valance" and his two henchmen. "Valance" is a sadistic killer and the town of Shinebone is powerless against him, because town "Marshall Link Appleyard" is overweight and a coward. However, no one wants his job, because the men are also cowards, frightened of "Valance", and what the gunfighter might do to them.








"Valance" robs the other passengers on the stage and sends them on their way, but he keeps "Ransom Stoddard". "Stoddard" attempted to stand-up to "Liberty" and "Valance" wants to teach the Eastern lawyer a lesson in manners. He first orders that "Stoddard's" law books be scattered on the ground and, then, violently whips the lawyer. After which, the three stage robbers leave the bleeding "Ransom Stoddard" surrounded by his law books and ride away. 








"Tom Doniphon" and his handyman "Pompey", heading for town, find "Ranse Stoddard". "Doniphon" is the only man "Liberty" stays away from and fears he could take him down.






 
























The two men take "Ransom Stoddard" to town and the steakhouse run by "Nora Ericson", played by Jeanette Nolan, and her husband, "Peter Ericson". "Tom's" girlfriend, "Hallie Ericson", now attends to "Stoddard's" injuries.














After his recovery and to earn a temporary lively hood, "Ranse Stoddard" becomes a waiter at the steakhouse. One day, "Tom" brings "Hallie" the cactus roses that she loves from his property.











Shortly afterwards, "Ranse" is confronted by a customer, "Liberty Valance", and "Tom" has to interfere before "Stoddard" is killed.




















Above, character actor Strother Martin as "Floyd" with Lee Marvin























"Dutton Peabody", the owner and editor of the original "Shinebone Star", becomes a friend of "Ranse" and lets him put up his law shingle at the newspaper office and open a school in the vacant back room. It is in that room that "Ranse" starts to teach "Hallie", her parents and others better English and American history. It is also where "Hallie" discovers she is falling in love with her teacher and "Tom" starts to see the signs of that change in her.

"Ranse" is attempting to learn to shoot a pistol by using an old one owned by "Dutton". "Hallie" is concerned and goes to "Tom" for help! He sees an opportunity and "Tom" takes "Ranse"
to his ranch to learn to shoot, but also to show him his plans for "Hallie" and his work expanding the ranch house.


























The men of Shinebone meet to elect two delegates to the Statehood convention. "Tom" objects to "Ranse" being a delegate, but is overruled. Next, "Liberty Valance" arrives and attempts to intimidate the men into making him one of the delegates, in the end they are "Ransom Stoddard", and, "Dutton Peabody". However, "Liberty Valance" has challenged "Ransom Stoddard" to a gunfight that night on the streets of Shinbone.








































"Tom" offers to help "Ranse" pack and get away from "Valance", but he declines. That night, "Liberty Valance" and his men ransack the "Shinebone Star" office and seriously injures "Dutton Peabody".





























 "Ransom Stoddard" now arms himself and goes out after "Liberty Valance".

 


















































The killer and the dishwashing lawyer face each other on the main street of Shinebone. At first the drunk "Valance" is still able to disarm the lawyer, but "Ranse" picks up the gun and fires, he is wounded, but "Liberty Valance" has been shot dead!














































"Ranse" goes back into the steakhouse and "Hallie" tenderly tends to his wounds.




































"Tom" enters to see "Hallie's" clear love for "Ranse" over him, he leaves, and gets drunk. "Tom  Doniphon" first forces "MARSHALL Link Appleyard" to run "Liberty Valance's" two men out of town. Next, he rides out to his ranch, sets it on fire in a clear attempt to die with it, but "Pompey" is able to save his friend.

It is now the "Territorial Convention" and "Ransom Stoddard" is nominated for their representative to Congress. However, the big ranchers are backing the unseen "Buck Longhorne", represented by "Major Cassius Starbuckle", played by John Carradine.










































It is "Starbuckle" who implies that "Stoddard" is a murderer, by killing the man the cattle barons were using to drive the farmers, that "Ranse" represents, out of the territory. "Ransom Stoddard" withdraws his name for nomination not willing to be build his career over "Killing a Man". 

"Tom" goes to "Ranse", and tells him the truth about the myth of "Ransom Stoddard, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

 
A flashback within this flashback takes place. The audience sees both "Stoddard" and "Valance" on the street in the distance, but in the shadows is "Tom Doniphon" with a rifle. 

 












































At the moment that "Ranse" fired, "Tom" fired and killed "Liberty"! "Tom" now tells "Ranse" to accept the nomination, at least for "Hallie's" sake, and then he quietly walks out of the convention into obscurity.

While, "Ransom Stoddard" became the first state governor, senator, ambassador to the United Kingdom, and is the likely vice-president nominee for his party.

The story returns to the present, and the editor of the "Shinebone Star" decides to burn the reporter's notes and his own, because it would ruin "Ranse's" legacy. When his reporter asks why, the editor replies with what has become the most known quote in a John Ford motion picture:
This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

As the train pulls out of Shinebone, "Ranse" tells "Hallie" that he thinks it time to retire from politics and she is pleased to hear that. 













As the train conductor passes the two, "Ransom Stoddard" thanks him for the many courtesies that the railroad has given them. To which the conductor replies:

Nothing's too good for "THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE!




ROD SERLING, SCIENCE FICTION AND HORROR TELEVISION 

The majority of Vera Miles 204 roles were on television and I have mentioned a few already. However, I am now going to look at her television appearances on classic Science Fiction and Horror television programs.

One of the classics of 1950's Science Fiction television programing was "SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE". It was syndicated from April 9, 1955 through February 9, 1957. Every one of the episodes used science, as it was known at the time, and were "What If's" stories. The show came from Ivan Tors and Maurice Ziv, and was hosted by Truman Bradley.



























Vera Miles portrayed "Dr. Jan Corey", in Season One, Episode Six, "No Food for Thought", April 23, 1955. 

Her co-stars were Otto Kruger portraying "Dr. Emanuel M. Hall". Among his motion pictures were 1934's "Treasure Island", 1936's "Dracula's Daughter", 1940's "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet", Alfred Hitchcock's, 1942, "Saboteur", and David O. Selznick's, 1946, "Duel in the Sun".

John Howard
portrayed "Dr. Paul Novak". His previous work included Frank Capra's, 1937, "Lost Horizon", 1940's, "The Philadelphia Story", both 1940's, "The Mad Doctor" and "The Invisible Woman", and the title werewolf of 1942's, "The Undying Monster".

The episode was directed by Jack Arnold, 1953's, "It Came from Outer Space", 1954's "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", and 1957's, "The Incredible Shrinking Man".

If the plot sounds familiar, it is:

A Nobel Prize winning scientist and his two assistants are trying to create a synthetic nutrient to help with what will become a shrinking world food supply as the Earth's population grows. Their nutrient has the unfortunate side effect of making the human body susceptible to deadly viruses. They discover this fact, after testing their nutrient on themselves.

The teleplay was by Robert M. Fresco. Fresco and Arnold took their story to "Universal Pictures" and seven-months later, released the movie "Tarantula".

 



















Above, Vera Miles, below left, John Howard with Otto Kruger.



















You're travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

On February 26, 1960, Vera Miles found herself in "The Twilight Zone", in the Season One, Episode Twenty-One, "Mirror Image", written by Rod Serling. 
Millicent Barnes, age twenty-five, young woman waiting for a bus on a rainy November night. Not a very imaginative type is Miss Barnes: not given to undue anxiety, or fears, or for that matter even the most temporal flights of fantasy. Like most young career women, she has a generic classification as a, quote, girl with a head on her shoulders, end of quote. All of which is mentioned now because, in just a moment, the head on Miss Barnes' shoulders will be put to a test. Circumstances will assault her sense of reality and a chain of nightmares will put her sanity on a block. Millicent Barnes, who, in one minute, will wonder if she's going mad.
While, "Millicent Barnes", played by Vera Miles, is sitting on a bench in the bus station, she has the feeling her doppelganger is trying to take over her life.
















































"Millicent" meets "Paul Grinstead", played by Martin Milner. He hears her story and questions it and later, her bus arrives, she starts to go to it, but faints at the sight of her doppelganger now taking her place on the bus.





























According to "Millicent", her doppelganger came from an evil parallel world of existence and could only exist in their's by eliminating her. Two police officers take her away as a mental case.




























"Paul" has missed that bus and awaits the next one. When it arrives, he reaches for his brief case, but it's missing. Looking around he sees himself running to catch the bus and chases his own doppelganger.



















































In May 1964, Vera Miles appeared on the Science Fiction series "The Outer Limits", in a story entitled, "The Forms of Things Unknown", Season One, Episode Thirty-Two. 

The story has only four roles:

Vera Miles portrayed "Kasha Paine". The actress had just co-starred with Brian Keith in Walt Disney's, 1964, "A Tiger Walks", and would follow "The Outer Limits", with an appearance on the anthology series, "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre", Season One, Episode Twenty-six, May 29, 1964, entitled "The Sojourner", with sixth billing as "Beth".

Barbara Rush portrayed "Leonora Edmond". Rush had co-starred with Frank Sinatra in the 1963 motion picture version of playwright, Neil Simon's, "Come Blow Your Horn". She would follow this television program portraying "Marian" in Frank Sinatra and His Rat Pack's, 1964, "Robin and the 7 Hoods".


























Above back, Vera Miles, foreground, Barbara Rush.

Sir Cedric Hardwicke portrayed "Colus". The actor had just been on "The Twilight Zone", in the episode, "Uncle Simon", on November 15, 1963. It was written by Rod Serling, and directed by Don Siegel.

David McCallum portrayed "Tone Hobart". McCallum, who had been acting since 1953, was four months away from being discovered, by portraying for the first time, "Illya Kuryakin", on the American television series, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.". 




























Scott Marlowe portrayed "Andre". Marlowe was strictly a television actor since 1951, with 109 roles. Although he had an uncredited role in the Italian-French, 1954, "Attila", starring Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren. 

















Two women, "Kasha Paine" and "Leonora Edmond" are both being blackmailed by "Andre", and the two come together in a plot to murder him. The episode takes place in France and could be described as the classic 1955 French motion picture, "Les diaboliques (Diabolique)" meets H.G. Wells.

"Kasha", "Leonora", and "Andre", are together in a car driving through the French countryside and come to a small lake. They stop, and "Andre" demands they make and serve him a cocktail in the lake.























































The two women comply, but his cocktail is made from a poison plant. His body is placed within the car's trunk and the two women drive on, as a strange violent storm starts.





























As they drive on, for some reason "Leonora" becomes convinced that "Andre" is still alive. "Kasha" stops the car, "Leonora" opens the trunk and sees "Andre's" lifeless body, but suddenly starts running into the surrounding forest saying he blinked.






























"Kasha" goes after her and the two women come upon a secluded house. 






























They are welcomed by the blind "Colus", the servant of the owner, "Tone Hobart", the inventor of a time machine, but not like the one described by H.G. Wells. A time machine that is designed to tilt the cycles of life and bring dead things back to life. Such as a live "Andre", who is no longer a corpse in the trunk of the car.























































There are twists to this story, that I will not reveal and are for my reader to find out!


"Journey to the Unknown", was a series made in the United Kingdom, but for United States television. This particular episode, "Matakitas is Coming", would be released in the U.K. on April 28, 1969, but first was seen in on American television, November 28, 1968.

The main production company was England's "Hammer Films", but both "20th Century Fox Television " and "ABC Television" were involved.

Vera Miles portrayed "June Wiley". Vera Miles had just co-starred, once more, with John Wayne in 1968's, "Hellfighters". She would follow this program with a Second World War motion picture written by her then husband, Keith Larsen, 1968's, "Mission to Batangas", co-starring Dennis Weaver.

Leon Lissek portrayed the title character of "Andros Matakitas". Australian actor Lissek was just in the British feature film, 1969's, "Where's Jack", and followed this production with the ITV mini-series, "Tottering Towers".

Gay Hamilton portrayed "Sylvia Ann Hahlen". Scottish actress Hamilton was a British television actress and her only non-television role, by this time, was "Hammer Films", 1967, "A Challenge for Robin Hood", portraying "Maid Marian".

"June Wiley" is a researcher of serial killers, while working on the history of "Andros Matakitas", who was recently hung. "Wiley" is transported back in time. She now finds herself trapped within a library, with librarian "Sylvia Hahlen", by "Matakitas".














































Vera Miles married her fourth husband assistant television director Robert "Bob" Jones, in 1973, but they divorced in 1975. I could not locate any information on Jones after 1990. She retired from acting in 1995.

According to IMDb:
As of the passing of Patricia Hitchcock 
in August 2021, Miles is the last surviving credited cast member from Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho (1960).



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