Wednesday, November 23, 2022


Before he took us on a "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and let us go through "The Time Tunnel" to a "Towering Inferno". Producer, Director, and Writer, Irwin Allen, told us about his Dark Fantasy Science Fiction, "THE STORY OF MANKIND"! 

Irwin O. Cohen was born on June 12, 1916, in New York City. Cohen first attended and graduated from "City College of New York", and afterwards, moved to "Columbia University". He majored in Journalism and Advertising, until "The Great Depression" caused him to drop out like many a young American, over financial difficulties, being unable to continue to pay his tuition.

With a change in name, Irwin Allen, arrived in Hollywood in 1938. Many websites agree that he went to work that year as the editor of the tourist magazine "Key Magazine". The one website that seems to disagree, is "Key Magazine's", because according to the magazine their first Los Angeles issue wasn't until sometime during the 1940's. 

We can confirm from the website, "The Irwin Allen News Network", that in 1941, Allen became a publicist for some of the movie studios and was able to produce a radio program on Los Angeles station KMTR, that would become KLAC in 1946.

The Irwin Allen Show was a regular radio show produced and presented by Irwin Allen from the early 1940s to the early 1950s. In each show Irwin interviewed celebrities, went behind the scenes at movie productions, and discussed the arts. The show fitted in well with his media column in newspapers. The Irwin Allen Show (also sometimes referred to as Hollywood Merry-Go-Round) was broadcast at various times of the day (even midnight some weeks), and usually on a Sunday. It was initially broadcast on the station KMTR which was later (12 March 1946) sold and renamed to KLAC on 570 on the broadcasting dial.

Allen's, "Hollywood Insider", newspaper column,  was syndicated in 73-newspapers.

During those late 1940's, Irwin Allen logically become a "Talent Agent", as a result of both his radio program and newspaper column's interactions with would be celebrities and the motion picture studios. 

In 1950, talent agent Allen, put together a package that consisted of a director, some of the actors, and a writer, and sold it to Howard Hughes, the owner of the motion picture studio that was founded by the "Radio-Keith-Orpheum-Corporation (RKO)".

The package became the film-noir, "Where Danger Lives", released on July 8, 1950. Irwin Allen received his first motion picture credit as "Associate Producer", under RKO's contract producer, Irving Cummings.

Allen followed "Where Danger Lives", as the uncredited "associate producer", on 1951's, "Double Dynamite", a musical comedy, starring Howard Hughes' current girlfriend, Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, and Frank Sinatra. Next, Irwin Allen was shown as the sole producer of a Groucho Mark comedy with William Bendix, 1952's, "A Girl in Every Port".

BEFORE there was either "THE SEAVIEW", or the "S.S. POSEIDON", Irwin Allen traveled under the oceans of the world.

RACHEL L. CARSON'S THE SEA AROUND US released on July 7, 1953

Rachel Louise Carson was an Aquatic Biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and a Conservationist, and Writer. Her 1962 book, "Silent Spring", became a bestseller about the dangers of pesticides, speaking to the aerial spraying of DDT on crops, that she said led to American deaths as a result of eating food from those same crops. Carson was able to get President John F. Kennedy's administration to realize that danger and stop the use of DDT.  Her work would move into President Richard M. Nixon's administration and resulted in Nixon creating the "Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)".

Back in 1951, Rachel Carson published her second book, and the second part of what would become known as "The Sea Trilogy", the bestselling "The Sea Around Us". The book remained on the "New York Times Best Seller List" for 86-weeks. 

The website, "Literary Ladies Guide", has a review of "The Sea Around Us", by Nava Atlas, dated August 20, 2022.

Nava writes:

The Sea Around Us remains as fresh today as when it first appeared over six decades ago. Carson’s genius for evoking the power and primacy of the world’s bodies of water, combining the cosmic and the intimate, remains almost unmatched: the newly formed Earth cooling beneath an endlessly overcast sky …The seas sustain human life and imperil it.

Today, with the oceans endangered by the dumping of medical waste and ecological disasters such as the Exxon oil spill in Alaska, the gradual death of the Great Barrier Reef, and the melting of the polar ice caps,

Carson’s book provides a timely reminder of both the fragility and the centrality of the ocean and the life that abounds within it. Anyone who loves the sea, or who is concerned about our natural environment, will want to read, or re-read, this classic work.

Irwin Allen Produced, Directed, and Wrote the descriptive dialogue for his filmed documentary version of Carson's 1951 book, "The Sea Around Us". 

Rachel Carson was hired by "RKO" as a consultant only on the choice of the film footage used by Allen. She had no input on his screenplay, or the direction he was going to use to tell her book's story. 

In fact, Irwin Allen took Carson's focus on the ecosystems in the world's oceans and their potential impact on the future environment, which had made the book a best seller. Then, turned the focus around, to how valuable the sea is as a source of food for man.

Above, Irwin Allen and an unidentified assistant inspect film footage for the documentary.

At the "25th Academy Awards Ceremonies", March 19, 1953, Irwin Allen received the "Oscar for Best Documentary". Apparently, not one of the members of the Academy had read Carson's best seller, or if they did, missed Rachel Carson's poetic plea to save the oceans before they're gone that was completely lost by Allen.

Later, Rachel Carson was approached to sell the rights to her other works for motion picture documentaries, but refused over what Irwin Allen had done with "The Sea Around Us".

Irwin Allen next Produced for RKO, "Dangerous Mission", filmed in the Third-Dimension and starring Victor Mature, Piper Laurie, and William Bendix.

THE ANIMAL WORLD premiered in New York City, on May 30, 1956

This documentary was the first example of what I would call, Irwin Allen's "P.T. Barnum Showmanship" as a publicist to lure an audience into the movie theater, in my case, 9-years-old Lloyd going to the "Encino Theater", in Los Angeles County's San Fernando Valley.

The above poster, and the television and motion picture theatrical trailers for "The Animal World", focused on the approximately 8-minute-long dinosaur sequence, out of the 82-minute documentary about animal life. Irwin Allen gave his potential audience the feeling that the feature was not a documentary, but a dinosaur movie.

Allen assembled many filmed shots of insect, animal and marine life for his feature. He also, cleverly, let those nature photographers keep the rights to their own shot footage, cutting down the costs of production. 

However, the end result was that "Warner Brothers" only owned the dinosaur footage. This became the reason the motion picture couldn't be seen, technically, after its first run. Otherwise, the studio would have to pay every one of those nature photographers for the re-use of their footage for each additional showing of "The Animal World", per their contracts with Irwin Allen.

I have a faded color copy of a 16mm print used in school science classes of the complete motion picture. Which was the only way the complete film could be seen after the initial run and get around the payment to the nature photographers. 

As to the dinosaur footage, it was shot by stop-motion-animators, Ray Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien. Initially, to keep costs down, Irwin Allen wanted to use static dioramas of dinosaurs, but Ray Harryhausen "talked-him" into animating the prehistoric sequence. 

The problem was that  Allen would not pay for the quality stop-motion-animation that Willis "Obie" O'Brien had received his "Special Effects" Oscar for 1949's, "Mighty Joe Young". As a result, low-cost replacement animation was used. A process that causes a jerky look at times to the dinosaurs, because O'Brien and Harryhausen are just replacing models with another in a different position and repeating the process over and over. Rather than using articulate models with different body parts to get the smooth looking stop-motion of even 1925's "The Lost World". Below, Ray Harryhausen with one of the dinosaurs:

The following linked video, at the time of this writing, is from "The Animal World Fan Club" and is the remastered dinosaur sequence.

Back in May 1955, Irwin Allen announced he had acquired the rights to a popular children's book, "The Story of Mankind", by Hendrik van Loon. Allen added that he was starting pre-production on the possibility of turning the bestseller into his third documentary feature. However, he was still in production for his second documentary feature, "The Animal World", and that was taking up the majority of his time.

Two-months prior to the release of the "Animal World", in March 1956, Allen stated he had completed pre-production for the movie version of the book he spoke about the year before. Once more, for "Warner Brothers", Allen started to work on the new documentary's screenplay with Charles Bennett, stating the screenplay should be finished in June.

Charles Alfred Selwyn Bennett was an English playwright and screenplay writer. In 1928, Bennett wrote the play "Blackmail", and in 1929, director Alfred Hitchcock turned Bennett's play into a motion picture with a screenplay by the playwright. In 1934, Charles Bennett wrote Hitch's, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", followed by 1935's, "The 39 Steps", and in 1936, Bennett wrote both Alfred Hitchcock's "Secret Agent", and "Sabotage", while 1940, it was the screenplay for "Foreign Correspondent". 

However, Charles Bennett also had a hand in writing, among other screenplays, director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1942, "Reap the Wild Wind", Orson Welles', 1949, "Black Magic", and in 1957, director Jacques Tourneur's "Night of the Demon", aka: "Curse of the Demon". 

This screenplay would be the first of several by Charles Bennett for Irwin Allen including 1959's, "The Big Circus", the 1960 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Lost World", 1961's, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", and Irwin Allen's, 1962, version of Jules Verne's, "Five Weeks in a Balloon".

Allen and Bennett's planned screenplay was in the form of a travelogue using two actors, one male, one female, reappearing throughout time as a focal point for the audience. Jack L. Warner let it be known that a film-crew would accompany Irwin Allen to 18-countries to shoot "Warner Brothers" latest documentary feature film.

However, by the end of September 1956, only the screenplay had been completed, and production had yet to start. 

Then, on October 17, 1956, Michael Todd's version of French author, Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days", premiered in Canada. Todd's blending of a travelogue with a scripted story, with leading actors, David Niven, the renowned Mexican comedian Cantinflas, Robert Newton, and Shirley MacLaine, would impact the plans of both Irwin Allen and Jack L. Warner. 

Another factor that was bringing audiences in to see Michael Todd's motion picture, was his invention of the "Cameo Appearance", with major stars appearing for very brief moments on-screen. Three of Todd's examples are Ronald Coleman as a Railway Official, John Carradine on a Wild West train being attacked by Indians, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke, also in a train scene, but going from Bombay to Calcutta.

The worldwide release and sold-out roadshow performances of "Around the World in 80 Days" didn't stop the movie publicist turned producer Irwin Allen, and he came-up with a counter proposal for Jack L. Warner. His suggestion was to turn the present screenplay for their documentary, "The Story of Mankind", into an all-star film like Michael Todd's, and to start publicizing their as yet unmade film to play-off of the publicity "Around the World in 80 Days" was getting. 

One-month after Todd's motion picture premiered, on November 18, 1956, the "Los Angeles Times" film critic, Philip K. Scheuer, published an article in his syndicated column, "A Town Called Hollywood", entitled, "Mankind' to Tour History of Humans in Three Hours". However, the final cut of Irwin Allen's motion picture would only run one-hour-and-forty-minutes.

THE STORY OF MANKIND was finally released on November 8, 1957

The following is a description of the non-fiction book, "The Story of Mankind", as it appears on the "Amazon" website.
First published in 1921 and awarded the first ever Newbery Medal of 1922 for its contribution to children’s literature, “The Story of Mankind” follows the history of western civilization from prehistoric times to the early 20th century. Originally written for his children, Hendrik van Loon, a Dutch-American journalist and historian, both wrote and illustrated this classic for children to learn about world history in an entertaining way. From the very beginning of mankind, the development of writing and art, the rise of world religions, to the formation of nation-states and modern politics, van Loon emphasizes the people and events central to the monumental changes and achievements of human history. Beautiful and detailed, van Loon’s epic work has withstood the test of time with its lively illustrations and warm and accessible prose, making these famous figures and grand world events relatable and interesting to children of all ages. A remarkable, accurate, and enduring work, “The Story of Mankind” is a masterpiece of children’s literature and continues to engage and inspire young readers to this day. 


The motion picture was Produced for "Warner Brothers", Directed, and Publicized, by Irwin Allen.

Allen and Charles Bennett scrapped their original screenplay and started all over. In his above- mentioned article, Philip K. Scheuer, quoted Irwin Allen as saying the following about the scope of the screenplay verses the book's story, but also hinting at the publicist over the writer.
Where we can't do justice to a time and place we won't just brush them off summarily. We just won't use them. There have been 400 or more giants of history in all our fields. Our big problem has been to bring them down to about 50, asking about each: was what he or she did lasting - and how long did it last? Telling history on the screen can be like telling a bad joke twice. You first have to find a handle, a gimmick.
I will get to the actual screenplay shortly, but at this point, let me just say that Henrik van Loon's children's story was about to involve a "SUPER HYDROGEN BOMB"!

Irwin Allen wanted to out due Michael Todd and while the new screenplay still focused upon two main characters, now revised into one being good, one being evil. Those two would now be supported by an additional forty-six characters, varying in speaking role size, and nine uncredited smaller roles. 

Jack L. Warner had put his trust in Irwin Allen to direct this feature film knowing Allen had never directed an actor before. Now, he was to direct a total of fifty-eight. 

Although Allen's "hyped" publicity for "The Story of Mankind" gave his potential audience the belief that there were nineteen major roles with nineteen major personalities, seventeen were actuality just cameo's. 

Below the nineteen personalities on Irwin Allen's designed publicity poster, seen above:

Ronald Coleman portrayed "The Spirit of Man". This was Ronald Charles Coleman's 61st role and his final motion picture. British actor Ronald Coleman after recovering from injuries sustained during the First World War, started his acting career on June 19, 1916, on the London Stage. His first motion picture was a documentary, 1931's, "The House That Shadows Built", actually a publicity stunt by "Paramount Pictures" showing theater-goers the studios current actors and actresses. Over his career Coleman would star in 1926's, Beau Geste", 1929's, "Bulldog Drummond", director John Ford's 1931 version of author Sinclair Lewis' "Arrowsmith", 1935's, "Clive of India", co-starring Loretta Young and Colin Clive, the 1935 version of author Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities", director Frank Capra's classic version of the James Hilton novel, "Lost Horizon", co-starring Jane Wyatt, 1937's "The Prisoner of Zenda", co-starring Madeline Carroll, 1944's, "Kismet", co-starring Marlene Dietrich, and the 1950 comedy, "Champagne for Caesar", co-starring Celeste Holm and Vincent Price.

Vincent Price portrayed "Mr. Scratch-The Devil". Vincent Leonard Price, Jr's acting career started in 1935, on stage, in London, performing with Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre". His second film role was that of "Sir Walter Raleigh", in the 1939, "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, and his next was as the "Duke of Clarence", in 1939's, "The Tower of London", starring Basil Rathbone. Vincent Price followed that feature with the title role in "Universal Pictures", "The Invisible Man Returns", he was pure understated evil as "Prosecutor Vital Dutor", in 1943's, "The Song of Bernadette", introducing actress Jennifer Jones in the starring role.  Vincent had fun with two 3-D horror movies, 1953's, "House of Wax", and 1954's, "The Mad Magician", and the audience hated him as the slave driver, "Baka", in director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1956, "The Ten Commandments". Vincent Price would be seen in Irwin Allen's 1959 version of director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1952, "The Greatest Show on Earth", "The Big Circus".

Above, Vincent Price points out something to Ronald Coleman.

Hedy Lamarr portrayed "Joan of Arc", she was 44-years-old and Joan was 19-years-old. Vienna, Austria, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was first known for the 1933, "Ekstase (Ecstasy)", when the 18-years-old actress has some nude scenes and other strong sexual ones. It would be five-years before she appeared on-screen again in 1938's, "Algiers", co-starring Charles Boyer, and would follow that feature with films such as 1940's, "Comrade X", co-starring with Clark Gable, 1941's, "Ziegfeld Girl", co-starring with James Stewart and Judy Garland, 1942's, "White Cargo", co-starring with Walter Pidgeon, and as the Biblical temptress in director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1949, "Samson and Delilah".

The Three Marx Brothers:

Groucho Marx
portrayed "Peter Minuit". Besides the 13-comedy-movies he made with his brothers, Julius Henry Marx is known for his radio program turned television show, "You Bet Your Life", from 1947 through 1961. 

Harpo Marx portrayed "Sir Isaac Newton".  Adolph "Arthur" Marx did speak, but not in the comedies with his brothers on-screen, or on-stage. He was an accomplished harpist, mime artist, and always wore a red wig.

Chico Marx portrayed a "Monk". Leonard Joseph Marx was an accomplished pianist, and in their movies, some also with fourth brother "Zeppo"(Herbert Manfred Marx), such as 1929's, "Cocoanuts", and 1930's, "Animal Crackers", Leonard played the uneducated, but charming con-man.

Virginia Mayo portrayed "Cleopatra". Virginia Clara Jones started out with three-years in vaudeville and became Virginia Mayo for her Broadway role in comedian Eddie Cantor's "Banjo Eyes". In 1943, she made her first feature film, "Jack London", starring Michael O'Shea and Susan Hayward, Mayo was sixth-billed. A year later, she co-starred with Bob Hope in 1944's, "The Princess and the Pirate", followed by two films co-starring with comedian Danny Kaye. Next, Mayo was one of the six stars of director William Wyler's classic drama, 1946's, "The Best Years of Our Lives", and then reunited with Danny Kaye for 1947's, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", and 1948's, "A Song is Born". In 1950, the actress co-starred with Burt Lancaster is the adventure film, "The Flame and the Arrow", and in 1951, she co-starred with Gregory Peck, in author C.S. Forester's, "Captain Horatio Hornblower".

Agnes Moorehead portrayed "Queen Elizabeth I". In 1938, Agnes Robertson Moorehead first appeared on radio, in Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre" production of author Bram Stoker's,  "Dracula", as "Mina Harker". Her first on-screen appearance was in Orson Welles', 1941, "Citizen Kane", as the mother of "Charles Foster Kane", and she made a second on-screen appearance in Welles', 1942, "The Magnificent Ambersons". Among the actress's films were the Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine's, 1943, "Jane Eyre", co-written by British author Aldous Huxley, and John Wayne's, 1956, "The Conqueror", portraying the mother of the future Genghis Khan. From 1964 through 1972, television audiences knew Agnes Moorehead as "Endora", on "Bewitched".

Peter Lorre portrayed "Nero". Austrian-Hungarian actor Laszlo Lowenstein shocked the world in director Fritz Lang's, 1931, "M", but like Lang the director. The actor left Germany with the rise of Hitler and made his way to the United Kingdom to appear in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1934, "The Man Who Knew To Much", then in the United States, the excellent horror film, 1935's, "Mad Love" with Colin Clive and Francis Drake. Lorre's other films include the sometimes overlooked, 1935, version of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment", directed by Josef von Sternberg, and Hitchcock's, 1936, "Secret Agent". The following year, Peter Lorre filmed the first of his "Mr. Moto" detective series, and in 1941, the actor was in director John Huston's version of author Dashiell Hammett's, "The Maltese Falcon", starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. While in 1942, Peter Lorre was in the motion picture Jack L. Warner believed to be a waste of the studios money to make, "Casablanca". Peter Lorre would also be seen in Irwin Allen's, 1959, "The Big Circus".

Peter Lorre's "Mr. Moto" is part of my article, "Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Warner Oland, Sidney Toler: "3" Famous Asian Literary Detectives Portrayed By Non-Asian Actors", found for sleuths, at:

Charles Coburn portrayed "Hippocrates". Character actor, Charles Douville Coburn was a three-time Academy Award nominated actor and during the 1940's, Vice-President of the "Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals". This was a group dedicated to prevent the leftist infiltration of and the forcing of their beliefs on Hollywood. Among Colburn's feature films were 1939's, "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell", 1941's, "The Devil and Miss Jones", 1942's, "Kings Row", 1943, "Heaven Can Wait", 1952's, "Monkey Business", and 1953's, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes".

Sir Cedric Hardwicke
portrayed the "High Judge". Although Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke first appeared on the London stage in 1912, he served with the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War in France and was one of the last to leave that country. His first feature film was 1926's, "Nelson", portraying "Admiral Horatio Nelson", in 1931, the actor starred in "The Dreyfus Case", in 1933, Hardwicke co-starred with Boris Karloff and Ernest Thesiger in the horror feature, "The Ghoul". While in 1935, the actor was in author Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables", 1936, saw him in the H.G. Wells written screenplay, "Things to Come", 1937 was H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines", and in 1939, the motion picture was Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Sir Cedric Hardwicke joined "Universal Pictures" major franchise with 1942's "The Ghost of Frankenstein", followed by the classic "Jack the Ripper" novel, "The Lodger", in 1944.

Cesar Romero portrayed a "Spanish Envoy to Queen Elizabeth's Court". The 6'3'' Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. was a New York City born boy that joined the United States Coast Guard during the Second World War, between 1943 and 1947. He portrayed on-screen in supporting roles until 1935's, "The Devil is a Woman", co-starring with Marlene Dietrich and Lionel Barrymore, that was directed by Josef von Sternberg. In 1939, Romero took over for Warner Baxter in the title role of "The Cisco Kid and the Lady". That same year he portrayed "Doc Holiday", opposite Randolph Scott's "Wyatt Earp", in "Frontier Marshall", the second sound picture about "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral". The screenplay would be reworked by director John Ford with Victor Mature in the role, as 1946's, "My Darling Clementine". Other work, found Romero in the 1951, science fiction film, "The Lost Continent", and from 1954 through 1958, the actor starred in the long-forgotten television series "Passport to Danger". He would appear in four episodes of Walt Disney's "Zorro", and of course, became television's "The Joker", in 22-episodes of "Batman" and in the movie version of the television series. Cesar Romero also co-starred in Japanese movie studio, Toho's, science fiction feature, 1969, "Latitude Zero".

Dennis Hopper portrayed "Napoleon Bonaparte". Dennis Lee Hopper's father had served in the "Office of Strategic Services", known today as the "Central Intelligence Agency". Dennis studied at "The Actor's Studio" with founder Lee Strasberg. The young actor became a friend of art collector Vincent Price and acquired an interest in fine art. The future director, co-writer, and co-star of 1969's, "Easy Rider", started his on-screen acting career on the small screen in "A Medal for Miss Walker", December 14, 1954, on the long-forgotten television anthology series "Cavalcade of America", produced by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He had 9th-billing in his friend James Dean's, 1955, "Rebel Without a Cause", and moved to 8th billing in Dean's, 1956, "Giant". In 1957, the young actor portrayed "Billy Clanton" in director John Sturges', 1957, "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. 

Marie Windsor portrayed "Josephine Bonaparte". Emily Marie Bertelsen was known as a "femme fatale" in classic film-noirs such as John Garfield's, 1948, "Force of Evil", Charles McGraw's, 1952, "The Narrow Margin", and Sterling Hayden's, 1956, "The Killing", directed by the unknown Stanley Kubrick. However, to cult science fiction fans, Windsor will always be associated with the 1953, 3-D, "Cat-Women of the Moon". Not to forget 1955's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy", or director Roger Corman's, 1956, "Swamp Women".


Above, Marie Windsor and Dennis Hopper.

Marie Wilson portrayed "Marie Antoinette". Katherine Elizabeth Wilson was a radio, film, and television actress. She is best remembered for portraying scatterbrained "Irma Peterson", first on the radio program, "My Friend Irma", April 11, 1947 through August 23, 1954. Next, in the 1949 motion picture, "My Friend Irma", and again in the 1950 movie, "My Friend Irma Goes West", along with the television series, "My Friend Irma", 1952 through 1954. Speak to type-casting!

Helmut Dantine
portrayed "Marc Anthony". At 18-years-old, in 1938, Austrian born Helmut Guttman was rounded-up and interned in a Nazi Concentration Camp outside of Vienna. Using their influence, his parents were able to get their son out of the camp and flown to California. He started learning acting at the prestigious "Pasadena Playhouse", and was spotted by a talent-scout for "Warner Brothers". His first three roles were uncredited, but in 1942, he played a "German Flyer" in "Mrs. Miniver", starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. He continued to play German, or Dutch roles in 1942's, "Casablanca",  1943's, "Edge of Darkness", "Mission to Moscow", "Watch on the Rhine", and "Northern Pursuit". In 1944, Dantine joined Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, and Sydney Greenstreet in director Michael Curtiz's, "Passage to Marseille".

Fans 1950's science fiction know Helmut Dantine as 1954's, "Stranger from Venus", co-starring Patricia Neal in a British rip-off of 1951's, "The Day the Earth Stood Still", that also co-starred Patricia Neal. In 1956, the actor portrayed "Nectenabus", in Richard Burton's "Alexander the Great", but his voice had to be dubbed by British actor Christopher Lee. Also, in 1956, 8th-billed, Helmut Dantine portrayed "Dolokov", in director King Vidor's epic version of Russian author Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace", that co-starred Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Mel Ferrer.

Edward Everett Horton portrayed "Sir Walter Raleigh". Edward Everett Horton, Jr. made his first on-stage appearance in "Columbia University's 1909 Varsity Show". Thirteen-years-later, Horton first appeared and starred on-screen in the 1922 comedy, "Too Much Business". In 1928, he co-starred in the Edgar Wallace horror mystery, "The Terror", and would become a 1930's comedy star. Edward Everett Horton was "The Mad Hatter", in "Paramount Picture's", 1933, version of author Lewis Carrol's "Alice in Wonderland", with other of the author's characters being played by Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, W.C. Fields, and Sterling Holloway. Although a major exception to being type-cast in comedy, was director Frank Capra's, 1937, "Lost Horizon", starring Ronald Coleman. 

Of course, if you're a child of the 1960's, you recognize Horton's voice as the narrator for the "Fractured Fairy Tales", on "Rocky and Bullwinkle", 1959 through 1963.

Above, Edward Everett Horton is on the far right.

Reginald Gardiner portrayed "William Shakespeare". William Reginald Gardiner first appeared on-screen as a "Dancer" in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1927, "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog", his silent Jack the Ripper movie. That unnoticeable career start would lead to supporting roles in 1938's, "Marie Antoinette", starring Nora Shearer and Tyrone Power, 1940's, "The Great Dictator", starring Charlie Chaplin, the Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, and Monte Wooley, 1942, "The Man Who Cam to Dinner", the Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara, 1943, the Immortal Sergeant", 1946's, "Cluny Brown", starring Charley Boyer, and Jennifer Jones, and 1948's, "Fury at Furnace Creek", starring Victor Mature and Coleen Gray, among other films and television appearances.

Cathy O'Donnell portrayed "An Early Christian Woman". Ann Steely was born in Siluria, Alabama, and in 1946, under her on-screen name, appeared in director William Wyler's highly acclaimed motion picture about returning Second World War vets, "The Best Years of Our Lives". O'Donnell's role was the high school sweetheart, "Wilma Cameron", of Navy vet, "Homer Parrish", portrayed by real-life, double amputee, Harold Russell. In 1950, she was 5th-billed in the sequel to "Mrs. Miniver", "The Miniver Story", again starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. While in 1951, O'Donnell was 4th-billed in William Wyler's hard hitting "Detective Story", starring Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, and William Bendix, and in 1959, she played Charlton Heston's sister in William Wyler's "Ben Hur". Cathy O'Donnell, by that time was married to William's older brother Robert Wyler.

I take writer's privilege and add six more members of the cast for my readers to know.

John Carradine portrayed "Pharaoh Khufu". Shakespearian trained actor Raymond Reed Carradine claimed that he tested for the title role in director Tod Browning's, 1931, "Dracula", but there is no record of a screentest. He would play the count three other times, for "Universal Pictures", he was "Baron Latos/Dracula" in both 1944's, "House of Frankenstein" and, 1945's, "House of Dracula". In 1966, Carradine again portrayed the Transylvanian count in "Billy the Kid vs Dracula". 
Although associated with horror and science fiction films of varying degree of excellence, Carradine appeared in several major dramatic roles. These motion pictures included the 1935, "Les Misérables", 1936's "The Prisoner of Shark Island", director John Ford's, 1936, "Mary of Scotland", starring Katharine Hepburn and Fredric March, and 1937's, "Captain's Courageous". John Carradine portrayed "Robert 'Bob' Ford", twice, first in 1939's, "Jesse James", starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, and second, in 1940's, "The Return of Frank James", starring Henry Fonda. His roles of "Hatfield", in John Ford's1939, "Stagecoach", and "Jim Casy", in Ford's, 1940 version of author John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", are classic.

Henry Daniell portrayed "Pierre Cauchon - Bishop of Beauvais". Charles Henry Pywell Daniell was a British character actor's character actor. Among his varied roles are "Baron de Varville" in the Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, 1936, "Camille", "Sir Robert Cecil", in the Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, 1939, "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", "Garbitsch", in Charlie Chaplin's, 1940, "The Great Dictator", "Anthony Lloyd", in the Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, 1942, "Sherlock Holmes" feature, "The Voice of Terror", "Dr. Wolfe 'Toddy' MacFarlane", in producer Val Lewton's classic version of author Robert Lewis Stevenson's "The Body Snatcher", directed by Robert Wise and co-starring Boris Karloff, and "Jacques Desaix, in 1948's, "Wake of the Red Witch", starring John Wayne, Gail Russell, and Gig Young.

Above, Henry Danielle listens to Hedy Lamarr's "Joan of Arc".

Nick Cravat portrayed the "Devil's Apprentice". Nicholas Cuccia, while at a New York summer camp to get boys out of the city environment for a while, met another boy who became his lifelong friend, named Burt Lancaster. The two literally would run away and join the circus and as an acrobatic team appeared together in Lancaster's 1950, "The Flame and the Arrow", and 1952's, "The Crimson Pirate", considered the model for both actor Johnny Depp's "Captain Jack Sparrow" and "The Pirates of the Caribbean" series. Cravat also appeared with Lancaster in 1958's, "Run Silent, Run Deep". My article, "Burt Lancaster: Circus Acrobat Turned Actor", speaks to Nick Cravat and Lancaster's circus performances and films. It can be read at:

Anthony Dexter portrayed "Christopher Columbus". Walter Reinhold Alfred Fleischmann resembled silent film idol Rudolph Valentino. In fact, his second on-screen appearance was the lead in producer Edward Small's, 1951, "Valentino". Dexter followed that motion picture with title roles in two "B" productions, 1953's, "Captain John Smith and Pocahontas", opposite Jody Lawrence, and 1954's, "Captain Kid and the Slave Girl", opposite Eva Gabor. In 1956, Anthony Dexter was "Luther Blair", in the British science fiction film, "Fire Maidens of Outer Space", in 1960, he was "Dr. Luis Vargas" in the science fiction "12 to the Moon", and the following year he was "Herron" in another science fiction feature, "The Phantom Planet". Starting in 1968, Anthony Dexter spent the next ten-years as a speech and drama teacher at "Eagle Rock High School", in Los Angeles.

Francis X. Bushman portrayed "Moses". Francis Xavier Bushman's first on-screen appearance was in a 1912 short, "My Friend's Wife". In 1925, the actor asked his friend, cowboy star and owner of half of the Santa Clarita Valley, William S. Hart, about playing a villain in an upcoming feature film. Bushman's image had always been of a good person and he worried about how his fans would react. Hart told him to go for it, and Francis X. Bushman became "Messala", opposite Ramon Novarro in title role of Civil War General and Governor of New Mexico, Lew Wallace's "Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ", in one of the masterpieces of the silent era. Bush's career continued until 1966 and he even found himself both in the "Beach Party" entry, 1966's, "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini", and on televisions "Batman".

Don Megowan portrayed "Early Man". He was a character actor that perhaps his best-known role was the "Land Version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon" in 1956's, "The Creature Walks Among Us". Some of his other roles included "Colonel Travis" in "The Alamo" segment of Walt Disney's "Davy Crockett", the sheriff in 1956's, overlooked horror movie, "The Werewolf", "Captain Kenneth Cragis" in the cult 1962, science fiction "The Creation of the Humanoids", and the "Gum Chewer" in Mel Brooks', 1974, "Blazing Saddles". My article, "DON MEGOWAN: Portraying William Barret Travis and 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon", may be read at:


The motion picture was no longer a travelogue and Irwin Allen was not going to 18-countries. In fact, the entire motion picture was shot at "The Warner Brothers Studios", 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California. Filming began on November 12, 1956, not even a full-month after Michael Todd released "Around the World in 80 Days". The actual filming ended, and post-production would begin in January 1957.

To keep the costs down, Allen used a large amount of excess stock footage in "The Story of Mankind". Four of these sources came from director Howard Hawks', 1955's, "Land of the Pharaohs", director Michael Curtiz's, 1939 Western, "Dodge City", director Victor Fleming's, 1948, "Joan of Arc", and director Robert Wise's, 1956's, "Helen of Troy". 

Overview of he Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett Screenplay:

Two angels appear in the sky as stars and are discussing how man has invented the "Super H-Bomb" sixty-years before they should have created it. Noting that mankind will be destroyed if the bomb detonates, the angels report their discovery to the "High Tribunal of Outer Space". The "High Tribunal" realizes that when the "Celestial Clock" strikes eleven, the "Super H-Bomb" will go off. 

Irwin Allen's screenplay, not the original children's novel, now asks the question:

Will the "High Tribunal" prevent the bomb from going off, or should they let the human race face their created fate? A decision to hold mankind on trial is agreed too.

The tribunal now calls for "The Spirit of Man" to defend the human race and "Mr. Scratch (The Devil)", who arrives with his apprentice devil, to prosecute the human race.

Above, Welsh character actor Tudor Owen swears in Ronald Colman and Vincent Price.

The "High Judge" of the tribunal instructs the defense and prosecutor that they may use any person from Earth's history to make their case. The witnesses had been assembled and the "Spirit of Man" starts his case by first showing how man developed from a solidary people to communities. That in communities he developed both fire, with its uses for warmth and cooking their food, and created the wheel and that inventions impact.

"Mr. Scratch" argues that man's downfall began almost immediately by creating envy and greed. He switches to 26th Century Egypt during the "Old Kingdom" and "Pharaoh Khufu". "Scratch" tells the tribunal that the Pharaoh murdered 100,000 men to build his tomb, the "Great Pyramid of Giza", because man in his stupidity, worshipped villains as heroes.

While "The Spirit of Man" conceded "Mr. Scratch's" point, he countered by reminding the prosecutor and the tribunal that the reverse was also true. By bringing up the story of "Moses" who led his people to freedom, and gave them "God's Ten Commandments" upon Mount Sinai.

"Mr. Scratch" counters "The Spirt of Man", by reminding him that the "Ten Commandments" were soon broken by war, rape, and other villainy. His example is the story of "Helen of Troy", portrayed by Dani Crayne.

"Scratch" takes a similar position as he had with the building of the pyramid in Giza, by stating that thousands of men, Greeks and Trojans died for "The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships". While, admitting that myth and history are sometimes so intertwined that one cannot tell the difference between the two.

"The Spirit of Man" takes "Mr. Scratch" to ancient Greece to meet "Socrates", "Plato", and "Aristotle", sculptors, and early astronomers, that had taken man's thinking to a new level. He then introduces "Hippocrates", the father of modern medicine, whose oath is still given to doctors today and held inviolate by them.

"Mr. Scratch" doubles down starting with "Cleopatra", who killed her brother, manipulated "Julius Caesar", portrayed by Reginald Sheffield, and betrayed "Marc Anthony", before committing suicide to avoid being taken captive by "Augustus Caesar".

Then "Mr. Scratch" brings up "Nero" and the burning of Rome, claiming the citizens were content with "Nero's" abuse of power. "The Spirit of Man" counters with Christians martyrs praying to God as Roman soldiers take them to their deaths in the arena. Adding that despite these brutal times, a new hope for man had arrived. 

"Mr. Scratch" now presents "Attila the Hun", whose armies marched against the Pope and organized religion. However, "The Spirit of Man" counters with the signing of the "Magna Carta", and the legend of "King Arthur", showing faith did survive.

Attacking "The Spirit of Man", "Mr. Scratch" claims the treatment of "Joan of Arc" completely disproves his position and he goes on to indict the entire Middle Ages. 


"The Spirit of Man" again counters by stating that the era gave birth to the Renaissance, a new age of thought, and "Leonardo da Vinci".

"Mr. Scratch" counters that some of da Vinci's inventions were forerunners of weapons of war, the flying machine, the submarine, and his version of a machine gun made with multiple rifles on a wheel firing each one as it turns.

"The Spirit of Man" counters by saying that da Vinci's worked influenced "Christopher Columbus's" voyage to the new world. 

Which is immediately countered by "Mr. Scratch" reminding "The Spirit of Man" how Spanish explorer "Hernan Cortes (Cortez)" lead an expedition to the New World that ended with the slaughter of the Aztec Indians, as Spain attempted to rule and terrorize the seas. 

"The Spirit of Man" counters with "Elizabeth I", warning the Spanish envoy of Spain continuing their attacks and then "Francis Drake's" sinking the Armada. He adds that the queen inspired "William Shakespeare".

Speaking to the New World, "Mr. Scratch" mentions how "Peter Minuit" cheated the Indians out of Manhattan Island.

"Scratch" adds that the colonies permitted slavery, and in Salem, people were hung and burned at a stake for being witches. Not to forget that "Sir Walter Raleigh" introduced tobacco to the "Old World" and that the unsanitary conditions throughout Europe created plague.

To which, "The Spirit of Man" counters with the discoveries of medicines and advances in science, mentioning "Sir Isaac Newton", the discover of gravity.

Next, "The Spirit of Man" adds the story of the American founding fathers building a nation on the principle the all men are created equal. To which, "Mr. Scratch" again doubles down by calling to the witness stand, first "Marie Antoinette", and next, "Napoleon Bonaparte", to illustrate mankind's lust for power and creed.

"Mr. Scratch" continues his argument about greed, by leaving Europe for America, and speaking to the land grabbing and gold fever that led to the Indian Wars, and the Civil War pitting brother against brother. "The Spirit of Man" argues that out of the American Civil War came "President Abraham Lincoln's", played by Austin Green, "Emancipation Proclamation".

"The Spirit of Man" continues by mentioning the many inventors, such as "Alexander Graham Bell", played by Jim Ameche, and musicians that followed, but "Mr. Scratch" is not impressed.

"Mr. Scratch" replies by speaking to the "First World War", and how the "Great Depression" in Europe created the opportunity for the rise of "Adolph Hitler", played by Bobby Watson, and the "Second World War".

The final session of the "High Tribunal of Outer Space" is called to session. The "High Judge" calls for summations so that the judges can make a determination, as the "Celestial Clock" is nearing eleven o'clock and the "Super H-Bomb" will explode.

"The Spirit of Man" tells the judges that humans have been misled by the followers of "Mr. Scratch", but they have survived and redirected themselves. He calls one last witness "The Man of Tomorrow", who is a baby, and argues IF THERE IS NO TOMORROW, THE PAST MEANS NOTHING!

"Mr. Scratch" directs the judges to look closely at the toys around the baby, a gun and a sword.

However, "The Spirit of Man" demonstrates that when fired, the gun plays music, and the sword opens, because it's a pencil box.

"The Spirit of Man" now brings out a Bible as an exhibit and reads:


and then rests his case.

The judges now go into deliberation and return with their verdict:


As such, they will reserve final judgement for a future date. The "High Judge" states that man's destruction has been postponed, BUT the "High Tribunal of Outer Space" will reconvene on that unspecified later date.

If I bored by reader going over the screenplay, that is considered a dark science fiction and fantasy tale, for Irwin Allen's first major all-star production, you are not alone. The motion picture is found in the Harry Medved and Randy Dreyfuss, 1978 book, "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way)". 

In 1957, Irwin Allen approached Jack L. Warner about a circus movie, but Warner would not back the venture after the financial loss and negative reviews to the studio from "The Story of Mankind". Allen next went to "Columbia Pictures", they wouldn't back it, but "Allied Artists" agreed. 

"The Big Circus", that wouldn't be released until July 5, 1959, was an obvious imitation of Cecil B. DeMille's 1952, "The Greatest Show On Earth" and was publicized with having a tightrope walk across Niagara Falls. When it came to that critical scene, Gilbert Rolland as "Zach Colino" did the walk superimposed on scenes of the falls.


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