April 22, 1953
Contingent Of Hollywood Stars Takes Part In World Premiere Here
By Sim Myers
Times Amusement Editor
A couple of news stars were created, a new color process easier to watch and at least as effective as Technicolor was introduced, and thousands of persons participated in the Monday activities which signified the gala world premiere here of “Take the High Ground!”
Elaine Stewart and Russ Tamblyn, both of whom appeared here in the all-day festivities which introduced the big Dore Schary-produced M-G-M picture of infantry training, gave performances in the film of stellar character.
A stage show in which the stars spoke and gave brief acts ended the day’s activities which were a result of co-operation between film executives, stars, Ft. Bliss officials, Army representatives, civic officials and officers of Texas Western College.
Two of the three showing of the picture and appearances of the stars at the Plaza Theater were sold out and hundreds of persons milled around in Pioneer Plaza and stood in line before the theater hopeful of getting tickets or of seeing some of the stars.
The movie itself, filmed in the main at Ft. Bliss, was an effective production which took advantage of the local scenery and the heart-warming routine of Army training.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s new Ansco-Color proved to be one of the biggest assets of the picture, seeming much easier on the eyes than and as satisfactory a process as the standard of the industry, Technicolor.
But the activities of the day began early Monday with the arrival at Union Station of the contingent of stars from Hollywood. That a group was preceded by Miss Elaine Stewart who arrived from Atlanta and a personal appearance tour of the East on Saturday.
Arrival of Richard Widmark and Tamblyn, stars, Dore Schary producer, George Murphy, master of ceremonies, and other Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer officials touched off activities which began at 9:30 a.m. in Hilton Hotel.
At that press conference breakfast, stars, City officials and Army officers talked with representatives of press, radio and television before making a six-car escorted cavalcade to Ft. bliss.
At Ft. Bliss, the stars visited Maj. Gen. Stanley R. Mickelsen, commanding general, and then were given military escort to the Memorial Flag Pole were Dore Schary was presented the Army Citation of Achievement.
Gen. Mickelsen made the presentation in a ceremony which included playing of “Take the High Ground” march by the combined 62nd and 65th Army Bands, a salute by the 531st AAA Bn. Which stood at attention during the ceremonies, and presentation of the stars of the film.
The citation stated in part “… Mr. Schary made significant contributions toward enhancing the prestige of the Army through the medium of motion pictures. By his faithful portrayal of the unselfish, patriotic devotion of American citizens serving the cause of freedom with the United States Army, Mr. Schary and the studio he represents succeeded in creating a better public understanding of the Army and its aims … His service in the national interest has been of great benefit to the Army and merits the recognition of his fellow Americans who wear the uniform of the service.”
Also on the speaker’s stand was Brig. Gen. Frank Dorn, Army deputy chief of information, who arrived here from Washington for the premiere.
Following the outdoor affair, M-G-M entertained the touring group, Interstate officials, city officers, Army and Air Force officials, Texas Western College officers, the press, and other El Paso leaders at a cocktail party and luncheon in the Officer’s Mess.
At that time, Richard Widmark was made an honorary sergeant, Chris Fox of the State National bank introduced prominent El Pasoans, and George Murphy introduced the stars and executive of the movie.
Dore Schary, vice president and production chief of M-G-M told the audience that he considered “Take the High Ground!” a significant contribution which pictorially has captured the spirit of the Infantry training and the reasons which make such training so necessary to our present way of living.
Introduced during the program were Maj. Gen. Bryan Milburn, Gen. Dorn, Gen. Mickelsen, Brig. Gen. John Hewett, Brig. Gen. Bill Waters, Tom Rogers, president of the Chamber of Commerce of El Paso, Sheriff W.O. (Jimmy) Hicks, Dorrance Roderick, president and publisher of The El Paso Times. W.J. Hooten, editor of The Times, W.W. (Woody) Wilson, general manager El Paso Chamber of Commerce, and Col. Cyrus Shelton.
Immediately following luncheon, the stars were taken to KROD-TV for a television appearance, and thereafter made the first appearance on stage at the Plaza.
The picture will begin its regular run at the Plaza Tuesday while the Stars and studio officials will continue through Texas making four additional gala openings.
The picture will not be in general release for about a month.