Thursday, October 14, 2010

......LHS News......The Lawton Story
Originally sent October 12

Guys, this is a 'special edition' of LHS News. I have received so much information on several subjects in past few months, am seperating, editing, and will send most out for all to read. This news is about the Easter Pageant movie - ie: The Lawton Story. I did talk with dear friend Darlene Bridges 2-3 years ago when question came up about the movie as Darlene was in the movie. She said others had contacted her in years past looking for a copy of the film but sadly as far as anyone knows there is not a copy in existence. Darlene did say she had a copy of the original script but she gave that to someone from 'Hollywood' who had called her years ago and she did not know what was done with that..?
So, here are a lot of 'remembrances'..... some may vary, but just sending what I received!

All this from Ron Hagler, ' will see many familiar names, including classmates and parents of classmates.
This info is from IMDB. <>
The Lawton Story (1949), also known as: "The Prince of Peace" - USA (reissue title).
Plot: Drama set around the annual passion play in the Wichita Mountains. Directed by: William Beaudine,
Harold Daniels. Writing credits, (in alphabetical order).....Scott Darling-screenplay; Mildred Horn-story (as Mildred A. Horn); Milton Raison -story; DeVallon Scott-additional dialogue; A. Mark Wallock - play (as Dr. Reverend A. Mark Wallock);

Cast (in credits order): Ginger Prince - Ginger; Forrest Taylor -Uncle Mark Wallock; Millard Coody - Millard Coody / Jesus; Ferris Taylor - Uncle Jonathan Wallock; Gwynne Shipman - Jane (as Gwyn Shipman);
Darlene Bridges -Darlene Bridges/Virgin Mary; Maude Eburne - Henrietta; Willa Pearl Curtis - Willa Pearl;
Raymond Largay - Dr. Martin (as Ray Largay); A.S. Fischer - A.S. Fisher/Simon; Hazel Lee Becker - Herself / Mary Magdalene; William Ruhl - Mr. Nelson; Russ Whiteman - Mr. Cole; Knox Manning - Narrator; also appearing:
Lydia McKim, Billy Lord, Lee 'Lasses' White, Del Fisher, George Hutchins, Marjorie Russell, Jan Hutchins,
A.D. Sly, Doug Robinson, Reece L. Russell, Fred Larrance, Homer Cherry, Frank McFarland, Clair Logan (as Sgt. Clair Logan), W.J. Becker (as Prof. W.J. Becker), Fred Mayers, Bert Alford (as Lt. Bert Alford), Ivan Tobias (as Dr. Ivan Tobias), Joseph Otis (as Sgt. Joseph Otis), Ralph Holt (as Dr. Ralph Holt), Mildred Hester, Louis Vanderpool,
Fred Larrance Jr., Pearl Oliver, J.O. Chastain, Austin Parker, John O'Malley, Blair Calley.

Trivia: Some of the actors were natives of Lawton, Oklahoma - where this was filmed - and their Oklahoma accents were so strong that all of their lines had to be re-dubbed.
Songs listed here (and in the movie credits) cannot always be found on CD soundtracks.
"Down in Oklahoma" - Written by Lee 'Lasses' White; "Right Under My Nose" - Written by Steven Edwards and Andy Page; "The Turtle" - Written by Vachel Lindsey; "Holy, Holy, Holy" - Written by John B. Dykes.

And in emails:
"I was in the Lawton Story too. I grew up in the Congregational church. Rev. Wallock who started the Easter Pageant was our pastor. I played a part in Peter's denial. Gee, that was a long time ago.
Dorothy (Dawson) DeMoro

" My father was the Executive Director of the Wichita Mountains Easter Sunrise Service from 1962 or 63 through his death in November 1965. This assignment came after he had served about two years as Chief of Police in Lawton."
Jack Rhodes, '59

"Has the Lawton Story ever been released in a video? Seems like it was in the process some years ago and one of the owners died it didn't get done. I think a lot of us would be interested in having a copy. When I was a Rainbow girl, we were angels one year long after the movie was made."
Connie (Lassetter) Johnson '56

NOTE: As far as anyone knows, no film existing now.

"I wanted to add a comment about the Easter Pageant. I remember how much fun it was to be in it, got to stay up all night w/no parents around, running around in the rocks, freezing! Then, when my part was done, back on the hill with friends trying to stay warm. The best part was staying up all night! Thanks,
Doris Joyner, '55.

I know a lot of folks have good memories of 'The Lawton Story' I remember seeing myself although I don't remember in what theatre; must have been the Vaska I guess. What I remember better though is reading in Time magazine some years later that with our Okie twangs and drawls in our speech that it became the first movie ever dubbed "From English into English" as they put it. I don't know if adding this to the discussion is relevant or not. All the best,"
Mike Harris, 59

"I was reminded by the Easter Pageant comment that I read Mary and the Angel in 1958. It was in that sound booth that I heard the best of Lawton's dirty jokes, told by adult cast members when the microphones were off! I did not plan to do the pageant the next year (since I had already played the lead!), but my English professor told me after class that he expected to see me at the casting, so I read the girls again in 1959. I had been a angel years before, and I assure you being in that tiny booth listening to jokes was a better location for public service than shivering in the cold on a ramp wearing giant wings!"
ellen (ewing) jahnke, '58

This information sent by Murdoch Matthew, '49:

The original version premiered in Lawton and featured a back story about a little girl, a would-be Shirley Temple, who reconciled two feuding brothers, one based on Mark Wallach, pastor of the Congregational Church who originated the pageant, and one, an evil banker, based on Central Hollywood stereotype. The banker's scenes were filmed at the big white house with pillars at 11th and Gore -- forget which banker actually lived there. [FYI: it was Exall English]
Darlene Bridges, who had a Church of Christ story hour on channel 7 when I worked there, played the Virgin Mary. But the Lawton Story was deleted as Babb adapted the film for showings around the country, emphasizing the pageant.

*For more on the film, see

I worked the KSWO radio broadcast for several years. In the daytime, radio signals had limited reach, but after dark they went much farther. That's why radio stations like KSWO cut power at sundown -- I think KSWO's 1,000 watt daytime signal covered Duncan and Chickasha, but they cut power at dark to 250 watts to avoid conflicting with all the other stations in the nation broadcasting on the same frequency. But most stations in those days went off the air at midnight, so the FCC gave KSWO permission on Easter Eve to stay on all night, broadcasting the Easter Pageant. We got letters from all over afterwards, Hawaii, Mexico, it was fun being an international medium one night a year.

Great to hear from so many on an event that was very special in our community! Regards to all......Georgia

1 comment:

Elaine Paine said...

I, too, was in the Easter Pageant, and enjoyed it a lot...I'm not sure how I got into it..but someone mentioned Rainbow Girls, and that must have been it. I was an angel..have also tried to find a copy of the movie,with no luck.

Previously, people mentioned the Smith mom was great friends with them..played bridge and so forth...anyway, a few years ago they came into Baltimore on a cruise ship. Mom was living with me here in the DC area at the time and I drove her up to Baltimore to see them. We had lunch and had a good time. Miss Bernice was my Jr English teacher, and a great favorite of mine, so it was special for me too. Elaine Paine, class of '58