Sunday, August 6, 2023

CATHY DOWNS the Hollywood Rabbit Hole into 1950's Low-Budget Science Fiction

Her name was Catherine N. Downs and she would portray the title role in one of director John Ford's classic westerns, but Hollywood can be a moody place and in a moment a rising star becomes tarnished. This is her journey to a sort of 1950's science fiction cult status.

Catherine N. Downs was born on March 3, 1926, in Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York. Catherine's parents were James Nelson Downs and Edna Elizabeth Newman Downs. I could not locate anything about Cathy's early life other than sometime prior to 1944, Cathy Downs became a model for the Walter Thornton Agency. 

Above is part of an ad for Walter Clarence Thornton's modeling agency. On the above ad are three of his models, Elizabeth Scott, Cathy Downs, and Susan Hayward. His other models included Lauren Bacall, Peggy Ann Gardner, Arlene Dahl, and Dorothy McGuire. Thornton's male models included Joseph Cotton and Brian Donlevy. 

Cathy Downs was brought to Hollywood by a talent agent for "20th Century Fox" in 1944. She first appeared in 1945's, "Diamond Horseshoe", produced by Broadway producer Billy Rose, and starring Betty Grable, and Dick Haymes. Cathy Downs's, uncredited role had the interesting sounding name of "Miss Cream Puff".

Two more uncredited roles followed, and then sixth-billing, in a major "20th Century Fox" production.

THE DARK CORNER released on May 8, 1946

This "Sleeper-Film-Noir" was directed by Henry Hathaway. He had just released 1945's, "The House on 92nd Street", starring Lloyd Nolan, and followed this feature with James Cagney in, 1947's, "13 Rue Madeleine".

The screenplay was based upon a serial story by writer Leo Rosten in "Good Housekeeping" magazine. 

Lucille Ball, this was an excellent example of her pre-comedy dramatic acting, portrayed "Kathleen Stewart". The role was to have been for Ida Lupino, but she had previous commitments and Lucille Ball was borrowed from MGM. Ball had just been seen in the Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, 1945, "Without Love", and followed this feature with the crime drama, 1946's, "Two Smart People", co-starring John Hodiak, and directed by Jules Dassin.

According to
Harold N. Pomainville, in his 2016, "Henry Hathaway: The Lives of a Hollywood Director":
Early into the shoot, it was obvious to Hathaway that Ball was not concentrating on her job. After she flubbed her lines one time too many, Hathaway embarrassed her before her peers by ordering her to leave the set and actually read the script. 

"Kathleen Stewart" is considered one of Lucille Ball's best dramatic roles and she did apology to Henry Hathaway over her conduct.

Clifton Webb portrayed "Hardy Cathcart". Webb had just portrayed "Waldo Lydecker" in director Otto Preminger's classic film-noir mystery, 1944's, "Laura". He would follow this feature film with 1946's, "The Razor's Edge", co-starring with Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney.

Above, Clifton Webb stands before a portrait of his character's wife, portrayed by Cathy Downs.

William Bendix portrayed "Stauffer aka Fred Foss". To my generation, Bendix, was "Chester A. Riley" on the television comedy, "The Life of Riley", from 1953 through 1958. Like later for Lucille Ball, television overshadowed Bendix's dramatic roles, such as "Gus Smith", in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1944, "Lifeboat". Just before this picture, William Bendix co-starred with Alan Ladd, and Veronica Lake, in the 1946 film-noir mystery, "The Blue Dahlia". He followed this picture with the 1946 comedy, "White Tie and Tails".

Mark Stevens portrayed "Bradford Galt". Stevens had originally acted as Stephen Richards, he was born Richard William Stevens, and just prior to this picture co-starred with Joan Fontaine and Rosemary DeCamp in the musical mystery drama, 1946's, "From This Day Forward". He would follow this feature film by co-starring with June Haver and Martha Stewart, in the 1947 musical, "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now".

Kurt Kreguer portrayed "Anthony Jardine". Kreguer had just been seen in the 1946 drama, "Sentimental Journey", starring John Payne, Maureen O'Hara, and William Bendix. He followed this feature film with the 1948 comedy musical, "Unfaithfully Yours", starring Rex Harrison and Linda Darnell.

Cathy Downs portrayed "Mari Cathcart". Downs had the uncredited role of "Ms. Mascara", in 1945's, "The Dolly Sisters", starring Betty Grable, John Payne, and June Haver. Cathy Downs followed this motion picture with the uncredited role of a "Clothes Model", in the 1946 musical, "Do You Love Me", that starred Maureen O'Hara, Dick Hymes, and band leader, Harry James.

The story is a typically complicated, or not, film-noir. Private Investigator "Bradford Galt" has reasons to leave Los Angeles and moves to New York City. However, L.A. follows him, or has it? "Galt" had blamed his partner "Tony Jardine" for whatever it was that drove him from Los Angeles and now he is being followed by a thug in a white suit named "Fred Foss". Is he tied to "Jardine", or is someone else after "Galt"?

Other questions the ex-Los Angeles private eye is asking himself, why is "New York Police Lieutenant Frank Reeves", portrayed by Reed Hadley, hounding him? What might be the connection of wealthy art gallery owner, "Hardy Cathcart"? Where does "Cathcart" play in what seems to be turning into a conspiracy to frame "Bradford Galt" for murder, but again the question is why?

Helping her boss figure out the why, is his street, smart, sharp witted, secretary "Kathleen Stewart"

Above left, Kurt Kreguer, Clifton Webb, and Cathy Downs. Below, Lucille Ball and Mark Stevens.

After modeling clothing in 1946's, "Do You Love Me", Cathy Downs found herself portraying the title character in a big budget western for "20th Century Fox".

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE released on December 3, 1946

"20th Century Fox" had already made a motion picture based upon author Stuart N. Lake's. 1931 novel, "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal". The studios 1939 movie, "Frontier Marshal", starred Randolph Scott as "Wyatt Earp", and Cesar Romero as "Doc Holliday". Now the studio wanted to remake the story. Both "Frontier Marshal", and this motion picture, are part of my article about the real 30-second gunfight and the movie versions through March 2015, "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral' as Reinvented By Hollywood", saddle-up for Tombstone, Arizona, at:

John Ford was the new versions director. Being fully credited as Captain John Ford, U.S.N.R. (United States Navy Reserve), he had just released 1945's, "They Were Expendable". John Ford's next feature film would be 1947's, "The Fugitive", starring Henry Fonda, Dolores Del Rio, and Pedro Armendarez.

For those of my readers interested in the director, my three other articles, as of this writing, are:

"John Wayne in John Ford's CAVALRY TRILOGY: 'Fort Apache' 1948, 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' 1949, and 'Rio Grande' 1950", found at:

"The Three Godfathers': A Christmas Allegory Interpreted By John Ford, William Wyler, Richard Boleslawski and Edward Le Saint", found at:

"Comparing John Ford's 1939 'Stagecoach' to the 1966 and 1986 Remakes", ride to Lordsburg, at:

Above, John Ford and cinematographer Joseph McDonald film a scene with Cathy Downs.

Henry Fonda portrayed "Wyatt Earp". Fonda had just been seen in director William "Wild Bill" A. Wellman's classic western, 1943's, "The Ox-Bow Incident". He would follow this feature with director Anatole Litvak's film-noir, 1947's, "The Long Night', co-starring with Barbara Bel Geddes and Vincent Price. For those of a more literary bent, my article, "John Steinbeck, John Ford, Henry Fonda and Woody Guthrie: 'Tom Joad!", can be read at:

Linda Darnell portrayed "Chihuahua". The actress had just co-starred with Jeanne Crain, and Cornel Wilde in director Otto Preminger's production of composer Jerome Kern's, 1946, "Centennial Summer". She would follow this feature film with Otto Preminger's, 1947, "Forever Amber", co-starring with Cornel Wilde and Richard Greene.

Victor Mature portrayed "Doc Holiday". Who like many of the film versions has John Henry Holliday as a medical doctor. He was a dentist slowly dying from tuberculous. 

Victor Mature had just been seen in the comedy musical romance, 1942's, "Seven Days' Leave", co-starring Lucille Ball. He would follow this feature film with the crime film-noir, 1947's, "Moss Rose", co-starring with Peggy Cummins and "Ethel Barrymore". My article, "Victor Mature: 'One Million B.C.' to 'The Big Circus'---The Leading Man As A Character Actor", can be read at:

Walter Brennan portrayed "Old Man Clanton". Just prior to this role, Brennan was seen in 1946's, "Centennial Summer", the actor next appeared in the John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald's, 1946, film-noir, "Nobody Lives Forever".

Tim Holt portrayed "Virgil Earp". Holt had become a "B" Cowboy actor and had starred in 1943's, "The Avenging Rider", and followed this picture with another of his "B" westerns, 1947's, "Thunder Mountain". My article, "TIM HOLT: Directors John Ford, Orson Welles, John Huston and a Prehistoric Snail", will find by reader looking for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and at the Salton Sea in the following link:

Cathy Downs portrayed "Clementine Carter". 

Ward Bond portrayed "Morgan Earp". Bond was just in the Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, and Susan Hayward western, 1946's, "Canyon Passage". After this role he was part of the cast of director Frank Capra's classic, 1946, "It's a Wonderful Life", starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.

John Ireland
portrayed "Billy Clanton". This was the actor's fifth motion picture appearance and he had just been seen in the action comedy, 1946's, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog", and followed this motion picture with a role in the June Haver and John Payne, 1946 family adventure, "Wake Up and Dream". My article, "John Ireland: Westerns, Film-Noirs, A Little McCarthyism and a Few Affairs", can be explored at:

The year is 1882, the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" was in 1881. "Wyatt", "Morgan", "Virgil" and "James Earp", portrayed by a uncredited Don Garner, are driving their cattle to sell in California. On the Arizona desert they meet "Old Man Clanton" and his sons, who offer to buy their cattle, but the offer is turned down and the two groups separate. 

Outside of Tombstone, the "Earp's" bed the cattle down for the night, and "James" is left to guard the herd as his three older brothers go into town to gamble and drink. "Indian Charlie", portrayed by Charles Stevens, is drunk and shooting at people. The brothers now learn that Tombstone is a town without a marshal, but "Wyatt" offers the "Mayor", portrayed by Roy Roberts, to get "Charlie" and put him in the jail. After he does this, and learning his name, the "Mayor" offers "Wyatt Earp" the marshal position, but is turned down. Returning to the camp, the brothers find the cattle stolen and "James" dead. "Wyatt" returns to town and takes the position of "Marshal of Tombstone", Arizona.

Entering the saloon during a heavy rain storm, as "Wyatt" is walking out as the new town marshal, is "Old Man Clanton" and his sons, and they discover the cowboy has taken the marshal's job.

As they start to leave, "Old Man Clanton", after making some remarks about how the marshal's seem to leave Tombstone, asks the "Cowboy" his name, and gets:
"Earp---Wyatt Earp"

"Clanton" is obviously uneasy upon hearing the name and leaves with his men. 

The first part of the storyline has been set-up.

Next, "Wyatt", a gambler, is playing a game of poker, and "Chihuahua", the saloon girl is standing directly behind him, and giving a tin-horn-gambler signals about "Wyatt's" hand. 

This ends with the gambler being run out of town and "Chihuahua" warning "Wyatt Earp" that her boyfriend is "Doc Holliday".

Enter, "Holliday", who has heard of the poker game and the treatment of "Chihuahua". In the saloon "Doc" and "Wyatt" meet, but to everyone's surprise. especially "Chihuahua's, they like and respect each other.

What neither man know is that "Chihuahua" has another boyfriend besides "Doc", "Jimmy Ringo".

"Wyatt" is in his usual spot when the stagecoach arrives and off steps "Clementine Carter".

"Wyatt" is told that "Clementine" has been looking for her beau from Boston, "Dr. John Henry Holliday". When "Doc" finds "Clem" in Tombstone, he is very upset and angry with her arrival, and tells her to go back to Boston or he'll leave for Tucson. She decides to stay and become the new schoolmarm; he leaves. Completing the second part of the storyline.

"Doc" is gone from Tombstone and "Wyatt" and "Clementine" are coming closer. The two go to a town dance to raise money for a new school house.

Angry over "Doc's" leaving, "Chihuahua" goes to "Clementine's" room at the hotel and the two get into an argument as "Wyatt" walks in.

Breaking the argument up, "Wyatt" notices that "Chihuahua" is wearing the same silver cross his brother "James" had the night he was murdered. "Chihuahua" lies and tells him that it was a gift from "Doc". "Wyatt" rides out to Tucson to confront "Holliday". In Tucson, the two men have a minor gunfight with "Wyatt" shooting "Doc's" pistol from his hand. After which, they ride back to Tombstone to confront "Chihuahua" in her hotel room.

She confesses that it was "Billy Clanton" that gave the cross to her, but is shot through an open window by "Billy". As the young "Clanton" starts to leave Tombstone on horseback, "Wyatt Earp" is able to wound him and orders his brother "Virgil" to bring him back.

Now, medical doctor "John Henry Holliday" with nurse "Clementine Carter" must try and save "Chihuahua".

"Virgil" arrives at the Clanton Ranch, but "Billy" has died from his wounds, and "Old Man Clanton" shoots "Virgil Earp" in the back in cold blood. Back in Tombstone, "Chihuahua" is being operated upon as the Clanton's arrive and dumb "Virgil's" body in the street. "Old Man Clanton" yells into the saloon where the surgery is taking place that the "Clanton's" will meet the "Earp's" at the O.K. Corral.

"Chihuahua" dies and "Doc Holliday" vows revenge and joins the two remaining Earp brothers, "Wyatt" and "Morgan", the mayor and another to meet the Clanton's at the O.K. Corral.

The typical gunfight takes place in a larger area than the alley of the actual one and "Doc" dies, but "Old Man Clanton" survives.

"Morgan" and "Wyatt" give up their badges, and "Morgan" leaves in an open wagon. "Wyatt" meets "Clementine" at the location the school house is to be built to say his good-bye.

"Wyatt" gets on his horse, and remarks:
Ma'am, I sure like that name ---- Clementine

"Wyatt" next rides away to join "Morgan" and a long shot is seen of "Clementine Carter" as the closing music, "My Darling Clementine" is played.


According to the Hollywood gossip website, "Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen":

Around the time of the release of "My Darling Clementine", Cathy Downs had been seen a lot with Guy Madison, whose latest movie, 1946's, "Till the End of Time", was with Dorothy McGuire and Robert Mitchum. On December 31, 1946, the couple were seen making the rounds of New Years Eve parties, but according to the gossip columns. Madison's real love at the time, actress Gail Russell, was in New York, not Hollywood. Three years later, Russell became Madison's first wife. 

One would have thought that after "My Darling Clementine", Cathy Downs was heading up the ladder at "20th Century Fox", but for some unknown reason her contract was cancelled. Apparently, other than Downs and the studio executives, why she was let go, is unknown still as of this writing. Also, the word was out not to employ the actress by any major studio. I was unable to find any other entries that would clarify her firing, but several sources confirm that "20th Century Fox" invalidated her contract with them,

Seemingly overnight, Cathy Downs went from director John Ford to Austria-Hungary born director John Reinhardt, who had worked in the Mexican film industry, from 1933 through 1940, as a writer and director. 

The motion picture was "For You I Die", made by the independent "Arpi Productions", and distributed by the independent "A Film Classics Release", on December 17, 1947.

Cathy Downs portrayed "Hope Novak". Again, I could not locate anything the actress did other than her New Years Eve date with Guy Madison, between "My Darling Clementine", December 3, 1946, and this film one-year-later to the month. Yet, "Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen", has the following entry dated for February 1947:
is borrowed from Sam Goldwyn to play the feminine lead in an upcoming movie from a Louis Bromfield story.
I could not locate how she came to work for Samuel Goldwyn, or anything other than the above entry to support such employment. Additionally, I could not locate anything about the actress being loaned out. All my research appears to confirm this picture was the only film Cathy N. Downs apparently made in 1947. Which was written by Robert Presnell, Sr. 

Paul Langton portrayed "Johnny Coulter". Of his first ten on-screen appearances starting in 1943, Paul Langton had eight uncredited roles. Of his next eight appearances, in one motion picture his scenes were deleted, and three other roles were also uncredited. Langton's first credited role, was at 15th billing in MGM's big all-star musical, 1946's, "Till the Clouds Roll By", portraying Oscar Hammerstein II. In 1954, Paul Langton starred in the first motion picture about the "Abominable Snowman". In 1958, he was "Lieutenant James Calder", in the cult science fiction, "It! The Terror from Beyond Space", and the following year was in 1959's, "The Cosmic Man". For those of my readers who might be interested, my article, "The Abominable Snowman' As First Interpreted By Filmmakers 1954 to 1967", can be found at: 

Mischa Auer portrayed "Alec Shaw". Auer's first film was 1928's, "Something Always Happen", starring Neil Hamilton, "Commissioner Gordon" on the 1966 through 1968 television series, "Batman". Among Auer's other films are portraying "Firing Squad Victim #3" in Greta Garbo's, 1931, "Mata Hari", "General Montcalm" in Harry Carey's 1932, "The Last of the Mohicans", a "Butler pouring drinks" in 1932's, "Rasputin and the Empress", starring John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore, a "military attaché" in 1934's, "Viva Villa", starring Wallace Beery and Fay Wray, and "Carlo", in the William Powell and Carol Lombard, 1936, "My Man Godfrey". 

The plot was a typical "B" story going back to before Mischa Auer started to act. A falsely accused prisoner about to be released is forced into a prison break, holds up at a diner, falls for the lady behind the counter, and the two help the authorities to catch the ones behind the break and clear him.

Cathy Downs found herself with an all-expense paid vacation to Florida, to be seen in a bathing suit parading herself around the swimming pool to promote a new hotel.

Next, she appeared in a "B" western that would be remembered more for one of the co-writers of the screenplay then anyone that was in it. "Panhandle", was released on February 22, 1948.

The screenplay was co-written by John C. Champion, who would rewrite it to become Audie Murphy's, 1966, "The Texan".

The other co-writer, the one I am referring to, that also came up with the actual storyline, was Blake Edwards. This was Edwards first screenplay and he was also listed as a co-producer. Blake Edwards portrayed "Floyd Schofield", below, and the role was his 29th of what would be a total of 32-characters he played starting in 1942.


The Champion-Edwards screenplay was about an ex-Texas Marshal, "John Sands", portrayed by Rod Cameron, turned rancher, and gunfighter, tracking down the murderer of his brother, "Matt Garson", portrayed by Reed Hadley. 

Above, Rod Cameron with Anne Gwynne portraying "June O'Carroll", below is Reed Hadley.

Cathy Downs portrayed "Jean 'Dusty' Stewart".

Back in 1939, "Universal Pictures" made a comedy, "For Love or Money". It was about a bookie who sends two of his runners, "Sleeper", portrayed by Edward Brophy, and "Ted Frazier", portrayed by Robert Kent, with the winnings from a large bet to deliver to the winner. The two believe they are being trailed by thieves, decide to mail the money through the post office, but it's placed in a wrongly addressed envelope. The envelope containing $50,000 is received by an over worked secretary, Susan Bannister, portrayed by June Lang. Who immediately quits her job, starts to spend the cash, and the comedy of errors continues.

Nine-years later the studio decided to remake "For Love or Money" and renamed the picture:

THE NOOSE HANGS HIGH released on April 5, 1948

Bud Abbott portrayed "Ted Higgins". 

Lou Costello portrayed "Tommy Hinchcliffe". 

and Costello had just appeared in 1947's, "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap", co-starring with Marjorie Main. Where, "The Noose Hangs High", is mostly forgotten, the motion picture the comic duo made after it, remains classic and well-known. This was the first of Bud and Lou's meeting with "Universal Pictures" classic monsters, 1948's, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein". My article, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Universal Studio Classic Monsters", will be found at:

Joseph "Joe" Calleia portrayed "Nick Craig". Actually, Joseph Alexander Caesar Herstall Vincent Calleia was born in Malta and was probably the most recognized 1940's bad guy. Although right before this feature, he portrayed "Dr. Enrico Fermi", in 1947's, "The Beginning or the End?", about the Manhattan Project and the creation of the first atomic bomb, Hollywood style. Calleia followed this film with the Joel McCrea, 1948, western, "Four Faces West".

Cathy Downs portrayed "Carol Blair".

The original screenplay was changed to fit Bud and Lou's comic style. They play window washers that are mistaken by bookie, "Nick Craig", as messengers for the "Speedy Messenger Service". He sends the two to collect the $50,000 owed him from a "Mr. Stewart", portrayed by the uncredited, Ben Welden. "Tommy" and "Ted" get the money, but believe they're being followed by thieves. In this version, Lou hides in a building that turns out to have women sending out face powder samples. The envelope gets mixed-up with a face powder sample, and "Nick Craig" receives a sample of face powder instead of the money. He gives the boys 24-hours to find the cash and a list of people the samples were mailed out too. The boys are led to "Carol Blair", who has already spent all but $2,000, and three take a trip to the horse races to raise the rest of the spent money.

Above, Lou Costello, Jack Overman, Cathy Downs, Mike Mazurki, and Bud Abbott.

In October 1948, Cathy Downs was seen at "La Rue", with young champion golfer turned actor, Joe Kirkwood, Jr., at 8361 Sunset Boulevard, on the Sunset Strip.

June 1949, was a busy month for Cathy and might beg the question why she wasn't back with the majors? Actor Errol Flynn had given one of his lavish parties and, according to the gossip machine, Cathy Downs was dancing with and "very friendly" toward actor John Agar. He was a year-and-a-half away from divorcing "America's Sweetheart", Shirley Temple. Agar's career has many similarities with Downs', starting with John Ford, and ending in low budget science fiction movies. My article is, "John Agar His Fall That Led to Science Fiction Cult Status", at:

Also, in June, the gossip machine was expecting Cathy Downs and Melbourne, Australia, born, Reginald Thomas Kirkwood, better known as Joe Kirkwood, Jr. to be married shortly. They had it slightly wrong, the two were married in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 8 1949.

However, back on June 26, 1949, Cathy Downs was back to "B" westerns with "Massacre River". The Picture found the actress with 4th-billing in a movie starring her New Years Eve date, Guy Madison. Madison was becoming a western movie star and in two-years, would first portray televisions, "Wild Bill Hickock", that lasted from 1951 through 1958.

"Massacre River" was followed by two more forgotten "B" westerns, 1950's, "The Sundowners", with 4th-billing behind Robert Preston, Chill Wills, and Robert Sterling, and 1950's, "Short Grass", co-starring with Rod Cameron and Johnny Mack Brown.

"Joe Palooka" was a popular comic strip starting on April 19, 1930. Below, is the June 25, 1939 panel.

The character started appearing in the movies in 1934, starring actor Stuart Erwin. The last feature film version was:

JOE PALOOKA IN TRIPLE CROSS released on September 16, 1951

Joe Kirkwood, Jr. portrayed "Joe Palooka". Kirkwood had been portraying the character, his only film role, since 1946. This was his eleventh-feature-film. 

James Gleason
portrayed "Joe's trainer Knobby Walsh". Gleason had portrayed the same role in 1950's, "Joe Palooka in the Squared Circle". James Gleason had just co-starred with Robert Alda and Janis Page, in 1951's, "Two Gals and a Guy". 

Cathy Downs portrayed "Joe's" wife, "Anne Howe Palooka". 

Above, Kirkwood, Jr., Downs (Kirkwood), and Gleason.

From 1954 through 1955, Cathy Downs and Joe Kirkwood, Jr. would recreate their roles in the 26-episode, syndicated television series, "The Joe Palooka Story".

Between "Joe Palooka in Triple Cross" and the first episode of their television series, Cathy Downs guest starred on nine different television series. Then on February 24, 1955, prior to the series last episode, Cathy and Joe's divorce became final. She had filed on January 12, 1955, on the grounds of "mental cruelty", stating in the filing:
I tried golf for his sake, but he just made fun of me.

Then in September 1955, Cathy Downs filmed the first motion picture that would eventually give the actress to some people, science fiction cult status.

THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES released in December 1955

"American Releasing Corporation (ARC)", was a 1954 film distribution company founded by James H. Nicholson. When he decided to make his own movies, he teamed up with film editor brothers Dan and Jack Milner. The Miller's would co-produce Nicholson's first motion picture from a title he came up with. James H. Nicholson believed that the worst movie could be sold with a catchy title. 

Dan Milner would direct and also edit "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues". 

Publicity savvy James H. Nicholson realized that a single feature might not recoup his investment, but a double bill had a better chance. So he approached his sometime partner, Samuel Z. Arkoff, to join "ARC", and help finance a second motion picture to form the double bill. That picture would be called "The Day the World Ended", and "ARC" director Roger Corman was assigned. 

The double bill idea worked, "Phantom's" budget was $75,000, "World Ended" had a budget of $96,000 and the gross box office for the double bill was $400,000. In 1956, Nicholson and Arkoff, founded "American International Pictures".

Kent Taylor portrayed "Dr. Ted Stevens alias Ted Baxter". Taylor started on-screen as a "Night-Club Patron" in 1931 and became a 1930 and 1940 "B" drama leading man. Among his work is 1939's, "The Gracie Allen Murder Case", in which radio comedian Gracie Allen teams up with Warren William as author S.S. Van Dine's "Philo Vance" to solve a murder mystery. Kent Taylor was part of the all-star cast of the excellent, original, 1939, "Five Came Back", about a plane crash in a jungle inhabited by cannibals. The cast included Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, John Carradine, and Wendy Barrie. 

In 1942, Kent Taylor was "Doc Holliday" to Richard Dick's, "Wyatt Earp", in "Tombstone: The Town Too Tough to Die". From 1951 through 1953, Taylor was televisions "Boston Blackie".

Cathy Downs
portrayed "Lois King". 

Above, Kent Taylor and Cathy Downs.

Michael Whalen portrayed "Professor King". Whalen had co-starred with Shirley Temple in 1936's, "Poor Little Rich Girl", and 1937's, "Wee Willie Winkie". Then started appearing in several 1930's murder mystery movies as either the hero, or the murderer. In 1949, Whalen portrayed "Private Investigator Dunne", in the cliff-hanger/serial, "Batman and Robin". Just prior to this picture, Michael Whalen made his fifth appearance since 1949, on televisions "The Lone Ranger".

Rodney Bell portrayed "William S. 'Bill' Grant".  Of Bell's 56-roles from 1937 into 1952, only 4 are with credit. This changed only when he appeared on television shows starting in 1952.

One evening a fisherman row's out to sea and is killed by a mysterious sea creature guarding a glowing rock. With the morning tide, his body washes ashore in Baker's Cove covered with radiation burns. 

Department of Defense Agent "Bill Grant" is assigned to investigate the body and tourist "Ted Baxter" offers to assist "Grant". Unknown to the agent is that "Ted Baxter" is actually "Dr. Ted Stevens", assigned to work undercover, because two other people were killed in the same way.

As "Baxter" and "Grant" are talking, they are being watched by "George Thomas", portrayed by Philip Pine. Coming out of hiding, he introduces himself as the assistant oceanographer for "Professor King" and works for the Pacific College of Oceanography. "Thomas" claims he was on the beach looking for specimens and "Bill Grant" buys into the lie. "George Thomas" has actually been following "Professor King", who was the first to discover the body before hurrying away without saying anything. 

"Ted" now goes to "Professor King's" home and meets "Lois King", whose father has instructed his daughter to say he has been at home all evening. Before "Ted" can speak to the professor, 
King" climbs out of his bedroom window.

"Professor King's" secretary at the college, "Ethel Hall", portrayed by Livi Janiss, wants to know what he has been secretly working upon? She speaks to the janitor, "Andy", portrayed by Pierce Lyden, to learn what he's seen in the locked laboratory.

Later, "King" enters his laboratory, but drops a piece of paper. Once the door is closed by the professor, "Ethel" picks it up, but "George Thomas" grabs it from her. He first tries to bribe "Ethel, and when that does work, he switches to threats, to gain entrance into the laboratory.

While at the same time, "Ted" makes a test dive near the area of the deaths. He views both the creature, and the glowing rock chaining the monster, but is able to get back ashore safely.

"Ted" now goes to see "King" at his college laboratory and meets the professor outside the door. "Ted" informs him that the fisherman died from radiation burns and not natural causes. "Professor King" in turn reveals he knows that "Ted Baxter" is "Dr. Ted Stevens", famous for his experiments on the biological effects of radiation on marine life. Relieved by this, "Dr. Ted Stevens" reveals that he is investigating the nuclear light source and the mutated monster. "Ted" asks for detailed charts of the ocean around Baker's Cove and "King" promises to bring them to his home for the other to see. 

"Ted" expresses his concern that the light is man-made and could be turned into a deadly weapon. He further adds his belief that the monster is getting sustenance from the light source and warns that both must be destroyed. The professor is horrified that "Dr. Stevens" would imply that he is to blame, but "Ted" informs the professor that he is not a subject in his investigation and that the monster's creator has already offered the secret to foreign governments.

The discussion is interrupted by a phone call from Agent "Grant" requesting diving equipment for the following morning. 

At another location, "George Thomas" is meeting with his ex-girlfriend, "Wanda", portrayed by Helen Stanton, who is a secret agent for a foreign government. She has been seeking information about the nuclear light, that was actually created by "Professor King" for purely scientific reasons.

"Wanda" informs "George" that he must stop "Bill Grant's" dive the following morning and that he is only being given two-more days to provide her with the necessary intelligence on "Professor King's" project. "Thomas" goes to the college to sabotage the diving gear and is met by "Ethel Hall". She reveals that her son died while collecting specimens for "Professor King", and "George" uses her bitterness to have "Ethel" make wax impressions of the keys to the laboratory.

"Ted" and "Lois King" are walking along the beach and notice a young couple go into the water scuba diving. After the two are killed by "The Phantom", the name the locals are referring to the mysterious monster, "Ted" and "Lois" find their bodies washed ashore.

"Ted" sends "Lois" to locate "Bill" and ask him to meet him at the local morgue. After she has left, the hidden "George Thomas" shoots at "Ted" with a spear gun. The shot misses "Ted" and "George" is able to escape.

At the morgue as both "Ted" and "Bill" are looking at the corpses, "Dr. Stevens" reveals to "Bill Grant" who he is and that he is also working for the Department of Defense.

The following morning, both men are preparing for their dive, but the poison pill placed by "Thomas" almost knocks out "Grant". 

"Dr. Stevens" goes over the scuba gear and cleans them of all poisons. The two men now go out into the waters of the Baker's Cove, so "Ted" can show "Bill" the glowing rock and the creature. The monster makes movements to attack the two investigators, but they are able to reach the surface safely.

That night, "George Thomas" meets "Wanda", who informs him that "Ethel" has met with "Grant" and must be taken care of. Later the night, the professor discovers that his secretary made copies of the keys to the lab and searched it. "Ethel" is set to go to the beach to meet with "Grant", but is killed by "Thomas" with the spear gun.

The following day as "Bill" and "Ted" are discussing the case, the local "Sheriff", portrayed by Michael Garth, walks up to the two investigators. The sheriff confirms that "George Thomas" did shoot at "Ted Stevens" and has murdered "Ethel Hall".

"Ted" goes to "Professor King" and informs him about "Ethel" and "George", and "King" admits to having created the radium/uranium nuclear light. However, he is unwilling to end his experiments and asks for time to consider his options. As this is happening, "Bill Grant" and the "Sheriff" locate and arrest both "George Thomas" and "Wanda".

At the "King" home, "Ted" attempts to comfort "Lois" over her father's experimentation and the other events that have happened over the last few days. She insists that they go to her father's lab at the college and speak to him.

As "Lois" and "Ted" are walking along the beach, a large ship passes over the nuclear light and explodes.

"Professor King" also observes the explosion and is tormented by what he has done. He leaves his concerned daughter, destroys his lab, and taking underwater dynamite heads out for the location of the monster. The Professor succeeds in planting the dynamite, but the monster grabs him.

The dynamite explodes killing both the monster and "Professor King" and permanently covering the light source. On the shore, "Lois King", "Dr. Ted Stevens", and "William 'Bill' Grant' observe the explosion. The story ends with "Ted" soberly stating that "Lois's" father paid for his scientific mistakes.

Weird Travia:
According to a line in the screenplay, the monster was a mutated sea turtle. 

Four television appearances followed "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues", and four days before the release of her next feature film, on July 21, 1956, Cathy Downs married "electronics executive" Robert M. Brunson.

THE SHE-CREATURE released on July 25, 1956

Back in 1952, an unknown hypnotist named Morey Bernstein placed Pueblo, Colorado, housewife Virginia Tighe in a trance of regression to her childhood. This was a regular part of a routine Bernstein did at parties, but an unexpected result happened.

Speaking in an Irish accent, Virginia and her family had no Irish connections, Virginia Tighe told Morey Bernstein and those assembled that she wasn't a young Virginia, but eight-years old, Bridey Murphy, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1806. So began a worldwide phenomenon and arguments that caused pro and con discussions by noted psychiatrists and others about reincarnation. Tighe was examined by many medical professionals and not one could break her story as Bridey Murphy spoke to events throughout her life. 

Bernstein wrote a book, "The Search for Bridey Murphy", that became a worldwide best seller. 

The idea of reincarnation/regressions became major in other books and even in a movie version of Morey Bernstein's book. 1956's, "The Search for Bridey Murphy", starred Louis Hayward and actress Teresa Wright, and was released on October 1, 1956.

From the "New York Times" for April 11, 1999, after Morey Bernstein's death:
Although Bridey believers concede that the various investigations failed to prove that she had lived as she had been described, they also insist that the investigations failed to prove she had not.

"The She-Creature" wasn't the only Hollywood movie dealing with reincarnation, or regression to an early life taking their cues from the popularity of the Bridey Murphy story at the time. Two 1957 horror films also used the "Bridey Murphy" craze, they were director Roger Corman's "The Undead", starring Allison Hayes, and Michael Landon's, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf".

The motion picture was co-made with "Golden State Productions", co-owned by the brothers Alex and Richard Gordon, and the film's distributor, was the now, "American International Pictures".

One advantage over Cathy Downs's previous, "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues", was the title character was design by and worn by Paul Blaisdell. The feature was released on another double-bill with another Paul Blaisdell monster, 1956's, "It Conquered the World".

For those of my readers interested in the sometimes overlooked Blaisdell, my article is, "Paul Blaisdell: 'American International Pictures' Creator of 1950's Aliens and Other Creatures", available to be read at:

Chester Morris portrayed "Dr. Carlo Lombardi". Morris started acting in 1917, go to the above link under John Ford to the 1936, "3 Godfathers", and read about Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, and Walter Brennan's, version of the story. Morris co-starred with Lucille Ball and others in the classic 1939, "Five Came Back". In the 1940's, the actor portrayed detective "Boston Blackie" in a series of motion pictures. As I mentioned above, Kent Taylor, took over the role for 1950's, television.

Marla English portrayed "Andrea Talbott", the Bridey Murphy of the story. English started on-screen acting with five-uncredited, 1954 roles. Her last motion picture, only her 18th, was 1957's, "Voodoo Woman", with a reimagined "She-Creature" costume by Paul Blaisdell.

Marla English was given the role, because of her resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor.

Above, Marla English, below Elizabeth Taylor in 1956.

Tom Conway portrayed "Timothy Chappel". Conway took over for his brother George Sanders as "The Falcon" in the appropriately named, 1942's, "The Falcon's Brother". Fans of horror producer Val Lewton, know Tom Conway for 1942's, "Cat People", 1943's, "I Walked with a Zombie", and 1943's, "The Seventh Victim". Fans of 1950's science fiction, know the actor for 1959's, "Atomic Submarine".

Cathy Downs portrayed "Dorothy Chappel", "Timothy's" daughter.

Lance Fuller portrayed "Dr. Ted Erickson". To fans of 1950's science fiction, Lance Fuller will always be "Brack", from 1955's, "This Island Earth". The year before that feature film, he had 4th-billing portraying "Colorados", in 1954's, "Cattle Queen of Montana", starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Reagan, and Gene Evans.

Above, the somewhat romantic couple of Lance Fuller and Cathy Downs.

Ron Randall portrayed "Police Lieutenant Ed James". Randall started on-screen acting in 1942. Among his films was starring as "Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond", in two 1947 detective movies. Then, Ron Randall switched in 1949, to portraying "Michael Lanyard aka The Lone Wolf", in the crime mystery, "The Lone Wolf and His Lady". For fans of obscure 1950's science fiction, Randall was in the cast of the 1952 science fiction, "A 1000 Years from Now (aka: Captive Women)", and from 1954 through 1955, Ron Randall was the host of the forgotten crime thriller television series "The Vise".

Frieda Inescort portrayed "Mrs. Chappel". She began her on-screen work in 1935, and was in the cast of director John Ford's, 1936, "Mary of Scotland", starring Katharine Hepburn and Fredric March. Her other work included, 5th-billing, in the Greer Garson and Sir Laurence Olivier, 1940, version of Jane Austin's, "Pride and Prejudice". Her comic timing was in the Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone's, 1942, "The Courtship of Andy Hardy", and she had 2nd-billing portraying "Lady Jane Ainseley", in Bela Lugosi's, often overlooked, 1943, "Return of the Vampire". 

"Dr. Lombardi", a partitioner of black magic and the occult, who has a small show on the carnival-like pier at the beach, stares at strange footprints in the sand.

At the same time, "Dr. Ted Erickson" and his fiancée "Dorothy Chappel" are walking on the beach, because he is uncomfortable at the parties given by her parents for their wealthy friends. "Lombardi" is following the footprints and enters a beach house owned by the "Jeffersons". Inside "Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson" have been murdered and the house torn apart. "Ted" and "Dorothy" are still walking and "King", the "Chappel's" dog, comes running up to the two. 

"King" leads them past the "Jefferson's" beach house and they observe "Dr. Lombardi" leaving. "King" heads for the beach house and "Dorothy" and "Ted" discover the bodies. "Ted" calls the police department and "Lieutenant Ed James" arrives and going through the house finds seaweed all over the beach house floors.

"Lombardi" returns to the carnival pier and passes carnival barker, "Johnny", portrayed by Paul Dubov, who expresses his concern that "Andrea Talbott", "Lombardi's" assistant, has been in a trance for hours. 

"Lombardi" brings "Andrea" out of her trance and she declares her desire to get away from him forever. "Lombardi's" replies that he will possess her as long as she lives. "Lombardi" has been able to send "Andrea" into her prehistoric past and has unleashed the title "She-Creature" as a means of getting revenge on the people he believes are against him.

Soon after the above confrontation, "Ted" and "Lt. James" arrive at "Lombardi's" sideshow and approach the hypnotist. "Ted" tells "Lombardi" that he saw him leave the "Jefferson" beach house and gets the reply that "Lombardi" helped facilitate a "transmigration" of a prehistoric female into the body of a living woman. "Lombardi's" statement makes newspaper headlines and "Timothy Chappel" comes up with a way to make money off of the hypnotist and goes to the carnival looking for him.

"Timothy Chappel" enters "Lombardi's" place of business and approaches him about writing a book and going on tour, but first the hypnotist most come to "Chappel's" home to test how the egotistic hypnotist performs to the right crowd. "Lombardi" claims he has genuine psychic abilities, but "Timothy Chappel" thinks he joking.

While later that same evening, to "Dorothy Chappel", "Ted Erickson" seems occupied with something other than herself.


After "Timothy Chappel" has left, "Lombardi" places "Andrea" in a trance and sends her back to her prehistoric self and orders her to kill "Johnny" the barker.



After "Johnny's" body is found, "Lt. James" arrests "Lombardi" for murder, but has to release him for lack of evidence. That night, "Lombardi" and "Andrea" perform at the "Chappel's" home for their guests.

"Dr. Erickson" is mesmerized by "Andrea Talbott's" beauty, as "Lombardi" hypnotizes her and takes "Andrea" back to a previous life in 1618. That year, "Andrea" has become a woman named "Elizabeth Wetherby". "Ted" starts questioning "Andrea/Elizabeth", when "Lombardi" interrupts and tells the party goers that the "She-Creature" is coming. The party goers panic, but calmly, "Lombardi" walks down to the beach being followed by "Ted Erickson". Coming up behind "Ted" is the "She-Creature", but just before it attacks, "Andrea Talbott" wakes up screaming and the creature disappears.

The next day, "Ted" speaks to "Andrea" to tell her "Lombardi" has enslaved her, but he will work to free the young woman. 

That night, "Lombardi" put "Andrea" in a trance, kisses her, and tells her he loves her, but repulsed, she pushes him away, once again declaring her hatred of him.

Meanwhile, under "Timothy Chappel's" tutelage. "Lombardi" has written a best seller about reincarnation, become a major celebrity, and moved into the "Chappel" house. Presenting "Lombardi" with a check for $250,000 from the book sales, "Chappel" tells him to leave, calling the hypnotist a "dirty side show act".

"Lombardi" informs "Andrea" that they will be leaving the next day for a European tour, and she informs him that "Ted" has given her the power to resist the hypnotist. Later, "Ted" and "Andrea" walk together on the beach, now somewhat romantically attached to each other.

 As they walk, the "Chappel's" dog, "King", appears, and the dog, under a spell by "Lombardi" attacks them. "Andrea" uses her own, now found, powers to stop "King".

At another demonstration at the "Chappel" house, as he puts "Andrea" into a trance state, "Lombardi" realizes that she is attempting to resist him. He stops, and warns everyone that he feels a menace in the house and for everyone to leave. 

Now believing that "Lombardi" can really regress "Andrea Talbott", "Lt. Ed James" calls for police sharp shooters to converge on the beach. Hurrying to meet his men, "James" sees the "She-Creature" come out of the ocean, shoots at it, the bullets have no effect on the creature and it knocks "James" down and continues on its way. Hearing the gunshots, "Ted" rushes to "Lt. James", who informs the other that "Lombardi" has brought the "She-Creature" back.

As the police cars approach, the "She-Creature" enters the "Chappel" house and attacks "Timothy". The police make a circle of firewood around some of the "She-Creature's" footprints, after "Lt. James" realized that it returns over the exact same path. With the creature inside the circle, the police set fire to the firewood, shoot at the "She-Creature", but it just disappears. It reappears where "Lombardi" has "Andrea" in a trance within the house.

"Ted" now enters, "Lombardi" orders the "She-Creature" to attack and kill him, but now "Andrea Talbott" fights back. 

The "She-Creature" knocks "Lombardi" unconscious on the floor, as it kneels over "Andrea Talbott's" trance-state body, both versions of "Andrea" seem to combine while "Dr. Ted Erickson" looks on amazed.

The "She-Creature" now walks out of the room, down the beach, like a ghost through the ring of fire set by the police, into the ocean and disappears. Back in the house, "Lombardi" dies, "Andrea" awakens freed of his control and reassured that the "She-Creature" will never return.

Cathy Downs made three appearances on two forgotten television series and a 1957 movie entitled "Curfew Breakers". That teen-drama was about dope-peddling high-school athletes. Downs co-starred with two old, solid actors, tough-guy 1930's/1940's actor Paul Kelly, who had died five-months before the picture was released, and Regis Toomey, 1946's, "The Big Sleep", and 1955's, "Guys and Dolls". The character actor had been a regular on televisions "The Mickey Rooney Show", 1955 through 1956, and had just guest appeared on televisions "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet".

THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 4, 1957

This was another release by the king of the low-budget 1950's science fiction movies, producer and director Bert I. Gordon. My article, "Growing Up on a Diet of 'Mr. B.I.G. (Bert I. Gordon)': Giants, Little People and Grasshoppers", can be read at:

The original story came from Bert I. Gordon, and the original draft was by Mark Hanna, 1957's, "The Undead", and 1958's, "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman". Not to deprive Mark Hanna of his credit on this screenplay, but it is the uncredited screenplay writer that my readers attention must be drawn too. He is George Worthing Yates, 1954's, "THEM!", 1956's, "Earth vs the Flying Saucer", and 1958's, "Space Master X-7". My article about Yates is, "George Worthing Yates: Screenplays from 1927's LIGHTNING LARIATS to 1962's KING KONG VS GODZILLA", is at:

Glenn Langan portrayed "Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Manning". A mistake was made on the opening credits of the motion picture and his first name is spelled Glen. Langan's career also seems to show a decline in the substance of the movies he appeared in. His career started in 1939, that year he appeared as a "Medical Intern", in "The Return of Dr. X", starring Humphrey Bogart as the title character brought back to life. Six-years later, Glenn Langan was 4th-billed behind Laird Cregar, Linda Darnell, and George Sanders, in 1945's, "Hangover Square". In 1946, again 4th-billed behind Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, and Vincent Price in "Dragonwyck", the following year Langan fell to 5th-billing, behind Linda Darnell, Cornel Wilde, Richard Greene, and George Sanders, in directors Otto Preminger's, 1947, "Forever Amber". Next in 1948, was "The Snake Pit", starring Olivia de Havilland with the same 5th-billing. In 1950, like many a motion picture actor, Glenn Langdan moved into the new medium of television.

Cathy Downs portrayed "Carol Forrest". 

Above, Diana Darrin portraying "The Hospital Receptionist" and Cathy Downs

William Hudson
portrayed "Dr. Paul Linstrom". Hudson started on-screen acting in 1943, and his first 12-roles were all uncredited. His first credited role was as a "Medical Intern" in 1951's, "Hard, Fast and Beautiful", starring Claire Trevor, 1939's "Stagecoach". After which, William Hudson switched to the new medium of television. He did return to a colossal title character in 1958, portraying "Harry Archer", the husband in the "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman".

Larry Thor portrayed "Major Eric Coulter, M.D.". Character actor Thor began his on-screen career in 1952. He portrayed the first of several police detectives in the John Ireland and Dorothy Malone film-noir, 1954's, "The Fast and the Furious". Larry Thor was basically a newscaster on Los Angeles radio station "KNX".

Above, Larry Thor, Cathy Downs, and William Hudson.

The United States Army is involved in the testing of the world's first plutonium atomic bomb. The test site is Desert Rock, Nevada (Desert Rock was actually the code name for a series of eight-nuclear tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds, see following actual photos, between 1951 and 1957). 

Above, Camp Desert Rock, below, first test on November 1, 1951.

Back to the screenplay, "Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Manning" receives order to keep his men within the safety of the trenches.

Minutes later, a small civilian plane crashes on the test site and disobeying his orders, "Manning" runs to assist and the bomb goes off.

Suffering third-degree burns over his entire body, medical specialist, "Dr. Paul Linstrom" and Military nuclear scientist, "Major Eric Coulter", work of "Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Manning".

At the hospital, "Carol Forrest", "Glenn Manning's" fiancée awaits the findings on him, but "Dr. Linstrom" is hesitant to tell her that he believes "Glenn" will not make it through the night. However, both doctors are shocked to discover all of "Manning's" burns have healed and is skin is new and clear of even scars.

Above, a shocked "Nurse Wilson", portrayed by June Jocelyn, Larry Thor, and William Hudson.

That evening "Carol" goes to the hospital and is told that "Glenn" has been moved to an army rehabilitation and research center in Summit, Nevada. "Carol" drives the long distance to Summit, Nevada, and the research center. 

She is permitted entry into 'Glenn's" room and upon seeing him, faints, because he is now 16-feet-tall.

The next morning, "Linstrom" informs "Carol" that all of "Glenn's" original cell structure has been destroyed and the exposure to the plutonium bomb has caused new cells to grow, but they are growing at an accelerated rate. "Dr. Linstrom" ads that neither himself, or "Dr. Coulter", know of a way to stop the multiplying cells, and if they can't stop them. Then, "Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Manning" will just keep on growing until his heart gives out and he dies.

The next day, "Carol" visits "Glenn", to find a very depressed man at a height of approximately 22-feet-tall.

"Glenn Manning" has now reached the height of 30-feet, has been placed in a circus tent, and at "Dr. Linstrom's" advise, is still visited by "Carol Forrest". Adding to "Glenn's" depression is remembering the happy days with "Carol".

"Dr. Linstrom" reveals that "Glenn's" heart is growing at half the rate of the rest of his body and soon will not be able to maintain his size and weight. Also, he tells her that before that happen, "Glenn Manning" will have gone insane.

"Dr. Coulter" has been working to create a serum that will shrink a living subject. His test subjects are a camel and an elephant.

"Dr. Coulter" succeeds, but the now 50-foot-tall, "Lieutenant Glenn Manning" is gone and insane.

A ten-mile area search is conducted, but he isn't located. "Carol" wants to be part of the search and "Dr. Linstrom" cautions that "Glenn" may no longer recognize her. "Dr. Coulter" now reveals a special syringe to inject "Glenn" with the serum. His hope is that at least "Glenn" will stop growing.

The local news reports a giant man heading for the Las Vegas Strip, "Glenn Manning" is now 60-feet-tall. To the shock of the people on the strip, he walks it and plays with some of the hotel signs.

The police start shooting at "Glenn", he pulls a palm tree out by the roots and throws it at the police and a crowd of people. Next, he heads for Boulder Dam, army helicopters and troops are in pursuit, but in their own helicopter is "Carol", "Linstrom" and "Coulter" with the syringe. They land at the dam before the army, and try to reason with "Glenn". He appears to understand and "Coulter" and "Linstrom" run the serum filled syringe into his leg.

In response, "Glenn Manning" pulls the syringe out of his leg and uses it as spear to kill "Dr. Coulter".

"Glenn" next grabs "Carol" and starts across Boulder Dam.

"Dr. Linstrom" stops the army from attacking, so he and "Carol" can attempt to convince "Glenn" to release her. Confused, "Glenn" does release "Carol", who runs to safety as the army opens up on him.

The army's firing causes "Glenn" to tumble off the dam into the Colorado River and his apparent death.

Without the above cast, "Glenn Manning" would return in the sequel, 1958's, "War of the Colossal Beast".

On December 31, 1957, Cathy Downs immediately followed "The Amazing Colossal Man", with "Indian Medicine", an episode of Michael Ansara and John Lupton's television series "Broken Arrow". Her character's name was "Steve Mitchell. 

Cathy Downs next on-screen appearance wasn't until a full year to the month later.

MISSLE TO THE MOON released on December 15, 1958

Back on September 3, 1953, distributor "Astor Pictures" released in 3-D, "Cat-Women of the Moon", with a musical score composed and conducted by the unknown Elmer Bernstein, misspelled as Elmer Bernstien. "Missile to the Moon" is an even lower-budgeted feature film, from the same "Astor Pictures", and at times a scene-by- scene remake of the original, except this was a teen aimed picture. So, instead of 42-years-old Sonny Tufts and 51-years-old Victor Jory, you had 25-years-old Gary Clarke, and 28-years-old Tommy Cook. 

The motion picture was from director Richard E. Cunha. He was also a cinematographer and writer, and wrote and directed 1958's, "She Demons", starring televisions "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle", Irish McCalla. Cunha was both director and cinematographer for 1958's, "Giant from the Unknown", starring televisions "Space Patrol's, Buzz Corry", Ed Kemmer. While as only the director, Richard E. Cunha made 1958's, "Frankenstein's Daughter", starring future "Beach Party" regular, John Ashley and Sandra Knight, from Robert Mitchum's, 1958, "Thunder Road" and Roger Corman's, 1963, "The Terror".

Richard Travis portrayed "Steve Dayton". Travis started on-screen acting in very minor roles in 1940. In 1951, he switched to television roles and in 1957, starred in the one-season, forgotten, television crime drama, "Code 3".

Above, Richard Travis with Henry Hunter portraying "Air Force Colonel Wickers".

Cathy Downs
portrayed "June Saxton".

Above, Henry Hunter, Richard Travis, and Cathy Downs.

K.T. Stevens portrayed "The Lido". As "Baby Gloria Wood", who birth name, the future K.T. Stevens appeared in her first two on screen appearances in 1921. Her next on-screen appearance was with 9th-billing as K.T. Stevens, in 1940's, "Kitty Foyle", starring Ginger Rodgers. Only four on-screen appearances followed ending with 6th-billing in 1950's, "Harriet Craig", starring Joan Crawford. In 1951, Stevens switched to television and from 1966 through 1969, K.T. Stevens portrayed "Helen Martin", on the daytime soap-opera, "Days of Our Lives", and had been Peggy Mercer, on the daytime soap-opera, "General Hospital" in 1963.

Tommy Cook portrayed "Gary Fennell". In 1940, Cook portrayed Sunday newspaper side-kick, "Little Beaver", in the "Adventures of Red Ryder", a cliff-hanger/serial starring Don "Red" Barry. In 1946, Cook portrayed "Kimba" in "Tarzan and the Leopard Woman", starring Johnny Weissmuller. In 1950, he was "Miguel", in director Fritz Lang's, "American Guerrilla in the Philippines", starring Tyrone Power, he also was "Little Elk", in 1952's, "The Battle of Apache Pass", starring Jeff Chandler and Susan Cabot.

Gary Clarke portrayed "Lon". Clarke is remembered for taking over for Michael Landon, as the "Teenage Werewolf", in 1958's, "How to Make a Monster". On television he portrayed "Dick Hamilton", in 17-episodes of Richard Denning's "Michael Shayne", from 1960 through 1961. From 1962 through 1964, Gary Clarke portrayed "Steve Hill", in 63-episodes, of televisions "The Virginian". While in 1967, his character was "Cavalry Captain Richards", in all 17-episodes of the one-season television western "Hondo".

Above left, Tommy Cook speaking to Gary Clarke.

Nina Bara
portrayed "Alpha". Talk about type-casting, Nina Bara portrayed "Tonga" for 145-episodes of televisions "Space Patrol", 1950 through 1955. Actually, Bara first appeared as a "Young Cajun Woman in Café", in "The Mummy's Ghost", starring Lon Chaney, Jr. as "Kharis". Which was her first on nine uncredited roles until 1947, and 7th-billing in an Eddie Dean, "B" western, "Black Hills". This motion picture was only her 16th, or 17-roles. For those of my readers interested not only in the twice-mentioned "Space Patrol", but the other original television science fiction programs of the 1950's, my article is, "Boldly Going Before Kirk and Spock: 1950's TV Science Fiction", explored at:

Michael Whalen portrayed "Dirk Green". After "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues", Whalen appeared 13-times on television before this picture was released.

Above, Michael Whalen has his pistol pointed at Tommy Cook and Gary Clarke.

Marjorie Hellen, who in 1959 would change her name to Leslie Parrish after this role, portrayed "Zema". After her name change, the actress portrayed "Daisy Mae" in 1959's, "Little Abner", based upon both the comic strip and popular Broadway musical. Parrish portrayed Jocelyn Jordan", in director John Frankenheimer's original 1962, "Manchurian Candidate", and portrayed "Carolyn" in a 1967, "Star Trek" episode, "Who Morns for Adonais".

On the same evening that "Dirk Green" learns that the military is to take over his project of a rocket trip to the moon. He learns that the police are searching the rocket grounds for two escaped convicts. The scientist is happy to find the two escaped convicts, "Gary" and "Lon", hiding out in his space ship. At gunpoint the two are convinced to help "Green" go to the moon. He wants to use them as pilots on the flight with has a preset guidance system. The two figure they can return to earth as heroes and have their criminal records cleared.

Meanwhile, "Green's" business partner, "Steve Dayton", and "Dayton's" secretary and fiancée, "June Saxton", notice that in the laboratory, the rocket's control panel is lit-up. They go to investigate and enter the rocket ship, but accidently lock themselves in as the ship's engine starts up. "Steve" finds oxygen masks and the two put them on as the space craft lifts off.

"Steve" and "June" pass-out, and when they regain consciousness, they make their way to the control room.

After learning that the rocket's destination is the moon, "Steve" and "June" start to assist "Dirk", but "Gary" makes a sexual attack on "June" and a fight with "Steve" takes place. After "Gary" is put in his place, "Dirk" survey's the damage to the ship the fight caused. Just then a meteorite shower takes place!

Not only do the meteorite's damage the space ship, but "Dirk Green" suffers a fatal headwound.

Now, the dying "Dirk" pleads with "Steve" not to change direction back to the earth. He gives "Steve" a medallion and as he dies, asks forgiveness from "My Lidio".

The rocket ship lands safely on the moon and everyone puts on space suits with oxygen regulators, gravitational shoes, and takes a gun. As they explore the barren and rocky landscape, enormous rock creatures come out of the rock faces and attack them.

The group shoots at the rock men, but the bullets don't have an effect. They all flee into a cave and discover a torch burning. Realizing that fire can't burn without oxygen, the space explorers remove their regulator masks and space suits.  

However, the all faint from some mysterious gas, and come to in an elaborately decorated palace room and a stately blind woman introduces herself as "The Lido".

"The Lido" orders the young women of her court to find food for the strangers. One of the young women spots the medallion and tells "Her Lido". 

"The Lido" escorts "Steve" to her private chambers and speaks to him as if he was "Dirk". Now confirming the whomever "Dirk Green" really was, he was a moon man attempting to return. She continues to tell him that she has eliminated anyone in the tribe who doesn't provide a useful service to maintain their meager food. Then she adds, that his planned marriage to "Alpha" will soon take place.

Meanwhile, "Gary" introduces himself to a moon girl, who is shocked to see a man, because all the males were killed before she was born. Learning the girl is wearing real diamonds, "Gary" convinces her to take him to the diamond mines.

In their palace rooms, "Steve" explains to "June", that "Dirk" left the moon years ago to find a way to save his people. 

While, "Lon" is searching for "Gary", he first meets "Zema" and before their conversation is over has fallen in love with her. "Zema" explains that the moon has no atmosphere to protect them from the sun, which the rock monsters thrive upon, the sun would burn "Zema" and the other women to death.

"Steve" realizes their only chance to survive is to let "The Lido" and the other women think he is "Dirk" returned. However, when he allows "Alpha" to kiss him, "June" in a rage of jealousy attacks her and "Alpha" guesses the truth about her betrothed.

"Alpha" orders the people from earth killed, and uses her telepathic power to control "The Lido", but is no match for the leader and is told she challenged, as is her right, the throne, and failed. 

"Steve" and "June" now escape to the caves, but "Alpha" lets loose a giant moon spider.

"Gary", his moon girlfriend, and "Lon", join the two, but the moon girl is killed by the spider and the others captured. Taken to "Alpha", she uses her mind control to make "Steve" forget his past and pledge loyalty to her. "The Lido" reprimands her, but "Alpha" kills "The Lido", takes her crown and crowns herself "Lido". 

Next, she orders "June" taken to the extermination chamber and left for the moon spider.


While "Alpha" is now distracted by her marriage ceremony, "Zema" gives "Lon" and "Gary" the keys to a storeroom containing their space suits and hand-held bombs to fend off the rock men during their escape to the rocket ship.

"Gary" and "Lon" find "June", shoot and kill the moon spider, and free her. 

"Alpha" orders a search for "Lon" and "Gary", but "Zema" uses her own mind control to silence and immobilize her new "Lido". Next. "Zema" frees "Steve" from "Alpha's" mind control, but "Alpha" tries to use her own telepathic mind control to force "Zema" to pull the lever that will gas the earth people in the cave that are all now wearing their space suits. With her last bit of strength, "Zema" is able to throw one of the hand bombs against the palace wall, it explodes, and all the air in the palace is sucked out, killing "Zema", "Alpha", and the remaining moon women.

While "Gary" runs back to retrieve his bucket of diamonds, "Steve", "June", and "Lon" walk in the shade of the rock hills to avoid the sun. "Gary" weighted down by the diamonds is attacked by a rock man and burns to death in the direct sunlight. The others make it to the rocket ship, lift off the moon, and head for the earth.

The movie ends with "June" asking "Steve", if she is more attractive than "Alpha"? Smartly, "Steve" replies that there is only one thing more attractive to him than "June", "Mother Earth".

Five appearances on television shows between the May 15, 1959, episode, "Surrender at Sunglow", on "Tombstone Territory", and the February 26, 1962, episode, "Many a Slip", on "Surfside 6", followed "Missile to the Moon".

It would be one-year-and-five-months later, before Cathy Downs's name was associated with anything else in her life and that was her final divorce degree, July 29, 1963, from Robert M. Brunson.

It would be another two-years, until October 24, 1965, before Cathy Downs's name was seen on-screen again. This was in the episode, "The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner", on televisions, "Perry Mason". She had 8th-billing portraying "Millicent Barton aka: Millicent Barton Tolliver". In that cast with 6th-billing was K.T. Stevens.

Above, Cathy Downs with Noah Beery, Jr. portraying "Lucas W. Tolliver".

Cathy Downs ended her on-screen career with her third appearance on the 1966 through 1968, Christian television series, "This Is the Life", originally called "The Fisher Family". There is only the year, 1968, for the programs 198-episode entitled "The Reluctant Witness". 

In 1976, Cathy Downs's ex-husband, Joe Kirkwood, Jr., found out she was in a dire financial situation and wanted to help her. He started to set up a trust account to provide Cathy with an income, but before the papers were signed. On December 8, 1976, 50-years-old Cathy N. Downs passed away from cancer.



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