Memory Lane: ‘Million Dollar Movie’

“If you missed any part of Attack of the Crab Monsters, or wish to see it again, the next showing will be tomorrow at 7:30 p.m….”

Are you kidding? I’m 11 years old, yer durn tootin’ I wish to see more crab monsters!

That was Million Dollar Movie on Channel 9, WOR-TV, New York, from 1955 through 1966. This was how the local stations held their ground against the major networks. Channel 11 had the Yankees; Channel 5 had Sandy Becker; and Channel 9 had Million Dollar Movie. In fact, Million Dollar Movie worked so well, a lot of local networks around the country imitated it.

Twice a day, for a week, they’d show the same movie. That was the week’s feature film. Next week would be a different one. Since RKO owned both Channel 9 and most of the movies being shown, Million Dollar Movie cost peanuts to produce.

King Kong! Gunga Din! Forbidden Planet! Oh, there musta been hundreds of ’em! Of course I didn’t watch musicals or kissing movies, and most of the detective movies went over my head. But then The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms would come along, or Frankenstein 1970, and I’d be in my element, reveling in sheer cinematic artistry. And my friends and I would play “King Kong” all week, outdoors, with our toy dinosaurs.

We didn’t have cable TV, we didn’t have Youtube, or any of those online streaming video packages (I don’t even know if I’m saying that right); but somehow there seemed to be more movies that you wanted to see, and more theaters in which to see them, than there are now. And none of the films were based on comic books. Who needs comic books when you’ve got Queen of Outer Space with Eric Fleming and Zsa Zsa Gabor? (For some reason I’ll never understand, my mother really took to that one.)

Anyway, you’d turn on the TV, you’d hear that “Tara’s Theme” from Gone With the Wind, and you’d know it was time for Million Dollar Movie! It may seem a poor thing, by today’s standards; but it made us kids feel rich.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

2 responses to “Memory Lane: ‘Million Dollar Movie’

  • marlene

    There’s some heavy nostalgia going on today. I began regularly watching TV only after my son was born. Before that, I watched it only when I was at my grandparents home, eating an apple, sitting on the floor next to my grandfather in his rocker, and watching wrestling and Mule Train – both pretty horrible, but I was content.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: