Tuesday, January 8, 2013


1952's Best Picture of the Year Oscar winner was Cecil B. DeMille's circus epic, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. The film was the basis for a television series of the same name that ran on ABC-TV from September, 1963 to May, 1964. The show starred the great Jack Palance as the ringmaster. I remember seeing a few episodes of the TV series in syndication many years after the show was canceled. Seems like they ran on Saturday mornings. I don't remember anything else about the series but I liked Jack Palance back then and still do. He's one of my favorite actors.
The 1952 film was theatrically re-released in the late '60s and I vividly recall seeing it then for the first time on the big screen at the Southwood Theatre on Ben White Blvd. The train crash sequence that occurs at about mid-point of the film was one of the most spectacular set-pieces I'd ever seen and it stayed with me for days. Over the years I've seen the film at least once on home video and a few years ago, we screened it at the Paramount. Judy and I went to see it and we both enjoyed it immensely. Charlton Heston and James Stewart are two of my favorite actors and it was a treat to see the film again on the big screen.
Did THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH really deserve to be awarded Best Picture of the Year that year? Probably not, but what's done is done. It's a fun movie, full of color, spectacle and the magic of the circus. It's the perfect film for the ten-year-old kid that, if you're lucky, is still alive somewhere within your soul.
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, the Best Picture of the Year of 1967, was the first Best Picture winner to spawn a sequel. In fact, there were two films produced following HEAT, both of which starred Sidney Poitier reprising his role as detective Virgil Tibbs. The films were THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS! (1970) and THE ORGANIZATION (1971). And of course, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was yet another Best Picture winner to become a television series.

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