Giant was the 1956 film adaptation of Edna Ferber’s epic novel of the same name. Ferber’s 1952 best seller was about an enterprise reportedly modeled after the legendary King Ranch of south Texas. The film tells the story of a ranching family (the Benedicts) in Texas, along with their romances and conflicts, set in the early to the mid 1900s. The project was bankrolled by Warner Brothers with George Stevens as director. The script was adapted by Fred Guiol who had worked with Stephens before. Original music was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, who already had amassed a lengthy and impressive resume even by 1955.
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A couple, Jimmy Hollis and Mary Larey, had been on a date after which they had parked on the last road of a subdivision in Texarkana the night of February 22, 1946. At the time, Hollis was 25 and Larey was 19. After a double date to a movie, they had only been parked for about ten minutes when someone walked up to Hollis’ side of the car and shined a flashlight in his eyes. The man with the flashlight ordered the couple to exit the car. Hollis recalled that the man was armed with a gun. The man then demanded that Hollis remove his trousers. Hollis had initially resisted but complied, only to be struck hard in the head either with the gun or some other object. Hollis suffered a fractured skull in the attack. Thinking it was probably a robbery, Larey was scared but pulled Hollis’ billfold out of his trousers to show the man that Hollis had no money. The man then ordered Larey to open her purse. She replied that she didn’t have one and she was knocked to the ground by the assailant after being struck with an object. The man then ordered Larey to get up and run, which she did. The man quickly caught her and bewildered Larey by asking her why she was running. Larey was again knocked to the ground and this time was sexually assaulted. After the attack, the assailant disappeared and Larey was allowed to escape, managing to get to her feet and run to a nearby house.
The Newton Boys were a gang of brothers from Uvalde, Texas operating mostly in the 1920s. Probably many people had never heard of them until the 1998 film by that name. The Newtons were Willis, Joe, Jess and Dock (Willis’ twin brother whose birth name was Wylie). In total, they robbed six trains and over 80 banks. They were active for about four years before they were apprehended. All spent some of their lives in prison and after being released, most returned to Uvalde, living there into their senior years.
(Image credit: IMDB.com)
This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the feature film Bonnie and Clyde. It was directed by Arthur Penn (1922-2010), who also directed around two dozen other films including The Missouri Breaks, Night Moves, Little Big Man, Alice’s Restaurant and The Miracle Worker. Penn had received his start in the early days of television, having been involved with productions in series including The Gulf Playhouse, Goodyear Playhouse, Playhouse 90 and others.
(Image credit: Albuquerque Journal)
On October 12, 1959, the Associated Press column appeared in newspapers across the country with similar headlines to this one, “Admirer Kills Young Actress In Alamo Movie.” The article reported the death of LaJean Eldridge, an actress in the John Wayne film project being shot in Bracketville, Kinney County, Texas. Ms. Eldridge, about 26 years old, had died the day before, the victim of a stabbing that took place in a rented residence that she and five male actors shared in nearby Spofford, Texas. The group were members of a little theater troupe. Eldridge had been cast in the film as “Mrs. Guy” and the alleged killer, Chester Harvey Smith, about 32 years old, was her boyfriend who had been cast as an extra in the project.