From the Film-Tech Collection.
The”Movietime in Texas, USA” Hollywood caravan tour through Texas visited more than 20 cities around the state in October, 1951. The tour was part of a national campaign called “Movietime, USA,” a film industry PR celebration of both the 50th anniversary of the first movie theater in the United States as well as a reminder to Americans that movies (not television) was the country’s premiere source of big-star entertainment. Similar tours of different groups of celebrities visited many states in the nation. The week-long tour through Texas began in Dallas on Oct. 7, 1951 and ended in Dallas on Oct.13, 1951.
The participants in this caravan were John Wayne, the #1 box office star in the world at the time, and fellow actors Greer Garson, Chill Wills (Garson and Wills were present at only a few of the stops), Keenan Wynn, Jeff Chandler, and Dan Dailey. They were accompanied by young actors on the rise (members of Paramount’s “Golden Circle”) Virginia Hall, Joan Taylor, Mary Murphy, Ann Robin, Laura Elliott, and Peter Hanson (later Peter Hansen). Also on the tour were director King Vidor, screenwriter Agnes C. Johnson, and pioneer movie producer Jesse L. Lasky Sr. (Other celebrities seen at the beginning of this film arriving at Love Field with members of the caravan — songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, comedian Vince Barnett, and actor Ward Bond — were not part of the tour but just happened to be on the plane with the other arriving stars.)
The itinerary of the week-long Texas tour:
10/7/51 – Dallas
10/8/51 – Austin, San Marcos, Sequin, San Antonio
10/9/51 – (Kenedy) Beeville, Corpus Christi
10/10/51 – Victoria, Rosenberg, Houston
10/11/51 – Hempstead, Navasota, Bryan, College Station
10/12/51 – Waco, Hillsboro, Fort Worth, Decatur, Bowie, Henrietta
10/13/51 – Wichita Falls, Gainesville, Denton, Dallas
(Kenedy was an unscheduled stop, but an appearance was made after the caravan was stopped by a roadblock outside the town, with the sheriff and deputies — six-guns drawn — jokingly insisted the bus stop in the small town for 20 minutes or risk arrest. The stars were happy to oblige, and this stop became a favorite anecdote of the tour.)
When this tour concluded, a second Texas tour, dubbed “Movietime in West Texas,” toured for a week through West Texas, with Chill Wills and the Golden Circle starlets.
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