When I was a kid growing up in the 1970’s, only one movie theater in town was allowed to show DISNEY movies, and it was called the Manor Theater. In the 1980’s, it was featured briefly in the Stephen King feature CAT’S EYE, in the sequence where gamblers were laying odds on whether or not a frightened kitty cat could scurry across the street before being squashed by the oncoming downtown traffic.
The Manor was in the shady part of town, which always made it extra exciting when we’d go see DISNEY movies there, especially at night. I recall heading there to see 101 DALMATIANS with my family, and my dad’s sister’s family when it was re-released, and my Aunt Judy decided to sit in the back of the Station Wagon with us kids for some reason. Anyway, she dropped a hankie or something, and assumed it was beneath me, and was digging under my little butt for it until I got irritated and snapped, “Get your fanny out of my finger,” and everyone burst out laughing at my slip of the tongue.
Other than Disney movies, the Manor also showed B-movies on a regular basis, and eventually became the town’s first discount “Dollar Movie,” where my cousin and I last saw CLASH OF THE TITANS during its final run back in the 80’s, when I was a teenager. I recall seeing COMIN’ AT YA! in 3-D with my best friend there, but my strongest memory of the Manor was when I went to see THE ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD there…(well, that, and an Easter Sunday Double Feature of the WITCH MOUNTAIN movies, which we talked the manager into letting us stay to see one more time; oh, what fun it was). Anyway…
Before the DISNEY features began, even before the cartoons they’d sometimes show, the Manor would occasionally regale us kids with trailers for more grown-up fare, which made a trip to that theater all the more provocative for us. Before ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD began, I recall we’d decided to slip up to the balcony of the theater (another big treat for us, because we rarely got to do this), and with our Dip’n Stick candy in hand, we got ready for the show, and some possibly creepy movie trailers.
I do not know the name of the movie the trailer I’m writing about was, but I do know that it was an early 1970’s movie, and it was set in Africa – possibly during the historical time period when the British Army was having regular skirmishes with the Zulu tribes or other natives who rejected their presence. I recall seeing golden plains, a caravan of some sort, and African warriors in full regalia, including exquisite head-dressings, spears, shields, etc. Note that it was not ZULU DAWN, or ZULU! as I am familiar with them, but it had a very similar look. What stood out to me, though, was a close-up of a large weapon with a massive paw with giant claws that was suddenly hoisted into the air — zoomed in on, if I remember correctly – and then it strikes someone below. A woman, I think, who’s skirt has been torn from her in such a way as to expose her leg. As it slashes her leg, it leaves bloody tracks where the claws raised her flesh — and that’s all I remember, other than images of fire, and a battle sequence. Long story short: the trailer both fascinated and horrified me, and I’ve wanted to see that movie ever since… I have no idea if it was a major release, or a B-movie, or what — but I’ve not seen the trailer since I saw ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD from that balcony in the Manor Theater. If anyone can tell me what the name of the movie was, I’s be forever grateful.
BUDDO – A regular here at our favorite childhood haunt.