Teresa

1951
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Cast: Pier Angeli, John Ericson, Patricia Collinge, Richard Bishop, Peggy Ann Garner, Ralph Meeker, Bill Mauldin.


Still: Ralph Meeker

Notes on Teresa
-- John Ericson, Ralph Meeker and Rod Steiger made their film debuts in Teresa. In 1957 Meeker and Steiger co-starred in Sam Fuller's Run of the Arrow.
-- Meeker's character, Sgt. Dobbs, dies early in the film.
-- This was the first American film for Italy's Pier Angeli, who would soon have a well-publicized involvement with James Dean. Dean died in a legendary car crash in 1955. Angeli committed suicide in 1971 during the filming of Octaman, in which her co-stars were Kerwin Mathews and Jeff Morrow.
-- In Teresa, Peggy Ann Garner played John Ericson's sister. In 1945 she had won a "special" Oscar for her performance in Elia Kazan's A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.
-- Author and wartime cartoonist Bill Mauldin also made his film debut in Teresa. His best-selling books included Up Front and Back Home.
-- Director Fred Zinnemann directed the film version of Oklahoma three years later.

 

Four in a Jeep

1951
Director:
Leopold Lindtberg
Cast: Viveca Lindfors, Ralph Meeker, Joseph Yadin, Michael Medwin.


Notes on Four in a Jeep
-- An article in the pressbook attempts to explain the "striking resemblance" between the careers of Ralph Meeker and Montgomery Clift. Both actors had their first "starring opportunities" in films produced by Lazar Wechsler. Clift made his film debut in Wechsler's The Search, directed by Fred Zinnemann. Wechsler's Four in a Jeep gave Meeker his first major screen role.
-- Four in a Jeep was filmed on location in Vienna.
-- Ralph Meeker has a nude scene. Sort of.
-- Viveca Lindfors was still making movies in the 1990s. She had a small but important role in 1994's Stargate.


 

Shadow in the Sky

1952
Director: Fred M. Wilcox
Cast: Ralph Meeker, James Whitmore, Nancy Davis, Jean Hagen, Gladys Hurlbut, Eduard Franz.

Poster
: Title lobby card

Pressbook: Ads and articles

Notes on Shadow in the Sky
-- According to the pressbook, Ralph Meeker had at one time worked as a gas-meter checker, and had once hocked his accordian to make a down payment on a suit to wear to an audition.
-- Nancy Davis played Ralph Meeker's sister. An item in the pressbook says her biggest thrill in Hollywood is "A house of my own!" In real life she married Ronald Reagan and ran the White House her way.
-- Prior to this film, Whitmore and Davis had starred together in the 1950 cult film The Next Voice You Hear.
-- Jean Hagen is best remembered for the ditz she played in Singin' in the Rain, and for playing Danny Thomas's original wife in the TV sitcom Make Room For Daddy.


 

Glory Alley

1952

Director: Raoul Walsh
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Leslie Caron, Gilbert Roland, Louis Armstrong, John McIntire.
Still: Ralph Meeker and Leslie Caron


Notes on Glory Alley

-- This was Leslie Caron's third picture (and second musical) after her breakthrough in 1951's An American in Paris.
-- The "plot" for Glory Alley actually has something to do with a small scar on Meeker's scalp.

 

Somebody Loves Me

1952

Director: Irving S. Brecher
Cast: Betty Hutton, Ralph Meeker, Adele Jergens, Robert Keith, Billie Bird.

Still: Betty Hutton and Ralph Meeker

Event: The Return of Miss Betty Hutton

Notes on Somebody Loves Me

-- The film purportedly told the story of Blossom Seeley (Hutton) and Benny Fields (Meeker).
-- Off-screen Ralph Meeker was known for being an accomplished and versatile musician, but in Somebody Loves Me his singing voice is dubbed.


 

The Naked Spur

1953

Director:
Anthony Mann.
Cast: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, Millard Mitchell.

Poster: Insert poster

Notes on The Naked Spur
-- The Naked Spur is considered to be a western classic and one of the best of the Anthony Mann/James Stewart collaborations.


 

Jeopardy

1953

Director:
John Sturges
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Ralph Meeker, Lee Aaker

Poster: Lobby card

Notes on Jeopardy
-- John Sturges also directed Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Satan Bug and Ice Station Zebra, among many others.


 

Code Two

1953

Director:
Fred Wilcox
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Sally Forrest, Keenan Wynn, Elaine Stewart, Jeff Richards, Robert Horton, James Craig

Notes on Code Two
-- According to the pressbook, Ralph Meeker was Hollywood's "One-man Band" and could play such instruments as piano, guitar, cornet, drums and vibraphone. His apartment was the scene of "tumultuous" jam sessions.
-- Also, according to the pressbook, Ralph Meeker had been an all-around athlete at Northwestern University and spent his summers instructing "camp-age boys" in group sports and judo.
--More pressbook stuff: Apparently Meeker broke a tooth in a fight scene with Jonathan Cott
.
-- We have a photo of James Craig in our Potpourri Lounge.


 

Big House USA

1955

Director:
Howard W. Koch
Cast: Broderick Crawford, Ralph Meeker, Reed Hadley, Charles Bronson, Lon Chaney, Jr.

Notes on Big House USA
-- This was the first of three films Meeker appeared in with Charles Bronson.


 

Kiss Me Deadly

1955

Director:
Robert Aldrich
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Cloris Leachman, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rodgers, Albert Dekker, Strother Martin, Jack Elam, Juano Hernandez

Kiss Me Deadly: Advertisement & credits

Pressbook profile: Plays Hammer Because He Can Wow the Dames

Stills: Portraits and scenes


Notes on Kiss Me Deadly
-- Kiss Me Deadly is considered one of the best examples of late film noir.
-- According to the original pressbook, more than 75% of the film was shot in and around Los Angeles. The other 25% was filmed at Sutherland Studios.
-- Cloris Leachman made her film debut here. The role is a long way from her Phyllis Lindstrom on the much later Mary Tyler Moore Show.
-- A "restored" version of the film, including the "lost ending," was released on video in 1997.


 

Desert Sands

1955

Director:
Lesley Selander
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Marla English, J. Carroll Naish, John Carradine, Ron Randell, John Smith, Keith Larsen, Lita Milan.

Still: Ralph Meeker and Marla English

Notes on Desert Sands
-- Desert Sands is a Foreign Legion adventure set in French Morocco. It was filmed on location near Yuma, Arizona, on a set the pressbook calls "one of the largest motion picture sets ever erected outside Hollywood."
-- In Desert Sands, Ralph Meeker plays a Foreign Legion officer whose nickname is Le Marteau -- "the Hammer." In his previous film, Kiss Me Deadly, he played Mike Hammer.
--The pressbook reveals that Ralph Meeker once supported himself by working as an athletic coach in the afternoons and performing with jazz bands at night.
-- Director Lesley Selander's long list of credits, predominantly westerns, is an interesting read if you've got a few hours. For instance, he directed George Montgomery and Ruth Roman in 1948's Belle Starr's Daughter, and George Montgomery and Marie Windsor in 1950's Dakota Lil.
--Marla English was a former model and beauty contest winner who had minor roles in a few major films like Hitchcock's Rear Window and the Bob Hope vehicle Casanova's Big Night. Her post-Desert Sands career is even more interesting, including such titles as Flesh and the Spur, Voodoo Woman and The She Creature. We have three photos of Marla English in our Potpourri Lounge.
-- According to the pressbook, John Smith's real name was Robert Van Orden.
-- Keith Larsen was the star of a short-lived (but fondly remembered) TV series called Brave Eagle. In 1960 he married actress Vera Miles, who had co-starred with Ralph Meeker in the premiere episode of TV's Alfred Hitchcock Presents and later appeared with him in the feature film Gentle Giant. Keith Larsen's filmography includes Son of Belle Starr, which is not to be confused with Lesley Selander's Belle Starr's Daughter.
-- We're not making any of this up.


 

A Woman's Devotion


1956

Director:
Paul Henreid
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Janice Rule, Paul Henreid, Rosenda Monteros

Still: Ralph Meeker and Janice Rule

Notes on A Woman's Devotion
--A Woman's Devotion was originally called Acapulco. It has been available on video as Battle Shock.
-- In the 1950s Ralph Meeker and Janice Rule starred together in stage, screen and television projects. In 1953 they had starred in Broadway's acclaimed original production of William Inge's Picnic. In 1957 they appeared with Helen Hayes in a Playhouse 90 production called "Four Women in Black."
-- Director Paul Henreid, in his autobiography, recalls that Meeker and Rule had a reputation for not getting along during their stint in Broadway's Picnic, but that they got along "famously" during production for A Woman's Devotion. Another of Mr. Henreid's noteworthy directorial achievements was Live Fast, Die Young, which featured Dorothy Provine in the supporting cast.
-- Ads for A Woman's Devotion proclaimed: "The lovers of PICNIC together again . . . closer . . . more wildly in love!"


 

Run of the Arrow

1957

Director:
Samuel Fuller
Cast: Rod Steiger, Sarita Montiel, Brian Keith, Ralph Meeker, Jay C. Flippen, Charles Bronson, Olive Carey

Pressbook: Stills and pressbook profile

Notes on Run of the Arrow
-- This was the second time Meeker and Bronson were co-starred.
-- Bronson played a scantily clad Sioux warrior who seemed to be auditioning for "Physique Pictorial."
-- Sarita Montiel's dialogue was reportedly dubbed by none other than Angie Dickinson.
-- Meeker's climactic death scene is particularly gruesome. One of the Sioux warriors skins him alive. Sort of.
-- The pressbook recommends giving Meeker a "shock citation." Because of that death scene.
-- Some battle scenes for Run of the Arrow were filmed at St. George, Utah.
-- The "symphonic" music for Run of the Arrow was the final score of Victor Young, whose previous credits included Golden Boy (1939) For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Samson and Delilah (1949), Rio Grande (1950, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Johnny Guitar (1954) and Around the World in 80 Days (1956).
-- Run of the Arrow was written, produced and directed by Sam Fuller, a legendary moviemaker about whom much has been written over the years. For some reason Run of the Arrow rarely comes up in discussions of his work.

 

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown

1957

Director:
Norman Taurog
Cast: Jane Russell, Ralph Meeker, Keenan Wynn, Adolph Menjou, Fred Clark, Una Merkel

Notes on The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown
-- Jane Russell's husband-of-the-time, Robert Waterfield, was producer of the film, which was made for their own production company: Russ-Field.
-- Director Norman Taurog wanted Dean Martin for the role that subsequently went to Ralph Meeker.
-- The music score was by Billy May. In her 1985 autobiography, Jane Russell said that The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown started a trend for films scored by "pop arrangers."


 

Paths of Glory

1958

Director:
Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson, Timothy Carey, Suzanne Christian, Bert Freed

Still:
Ralph Meeker and Kirk Douglas

Notes on Paths of Glory
-- Paths of Glory is a stark anti-war film which has been acclaimed as a masterpiece by serious cineastes. It's actually kind of boring. It probably needed Technicolor and a few Jane Russell musical numbers to perk things up. (Just kidding)
-- Among other credits for director Stanley Kubrick: The Killing, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Ears Wide Closed, or whatever that thing was called. In other words, he has been lucky enough to work with Marie Windsor, Joanna Barnes, Sue Lyon, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, Gary Lockwood, Malcolm McDowell, and Shelley Duvall.


 

Ada

1961

Director:
Daniel Mann
Cast: Susan Hayward, Dean Martin, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Ralph Meeker, Martin Balsam

Still: Ralph Meeker

Notes on Ada
-- Ada is based on Ada Dallas, a 1959 novel by Wirt Williams that was supposedly about Louisiana politics. You can find the book in the Meeker Museum Library, which we haven't gotten around to putting online. Hold your breath.
-- Susan Hayward stars in the title role as a whore who somehow becomes Governor.
Only in the movies.

 

Something Wild

1961

Director:
Jack Garfein
Cast: Carroll Baker, Ralph Meeker, Mildred Dunnock, Jean Stapleton.

Still: Ralph Meeker

Pressbook feature: Ralph Meeker Stars In 'Something Wild'

Pressbook feature: 'Baby Doll' Baker Brutally Treated in 'Something Wild'

Notes on Something Wild

--Director Garfein was Carroll Baker's husband. We have a photo of Carroll Baker in our Potpourri Lounge. We think she deserves an entire website.
--The original score for Something Wild was written by Aaron Copland, composer of the "Appalachian Spring" and "Billy the Kid" ballets, among numerous other major works. Something Wild was his first film score since 1949's The Heiress.
--The film shares a title with a Jonathan Demme's 1986 Something's Wild, which starred Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liotta. The two films have nothing in common. For one thing, Ralph Meeker wasn't in the 1986 one, but Ray Liotta was.


 

Wall of Noise

1963

Director:
Richard Wilson
Cast: Suzanne Pleshette, Ty Hardin, Dorothy Provine, Ralph Meeker, Simon Oakland, Murray Matheson

Still: Ralph Meeker, Ty Hardin, and Suzanne Pleshette

Notes on Wall of Noise

-- Meeker and Pleshette play husband and wife in Wall of Noise.
-- This was Ralph Meeker's eighteenth film. It was Suzanne Pleshette's fifth film and the one she did immediately after The Birds. It was Ty Hardin's fourth film as "Ty Hardin." He did, however, appear in some films as "Ty Hungerford," notably I Married a Monster From Outer Space.
-- In one scene, tough lady Suzanne Pleshette flips her cigarette in a gesture of contempt toward not-as-tough Dorothy Provine. In the cigarette flipping arena, we feel that Pleshette was out-done only by Gloria Grahame's cigarette flip in 1952's Macao.
-- We have photos of Suzanne Pleshette, Ty Hardin, and Dorothy Provine in our Potpourri Lounge.
-- The supporting cast includes Jean Byron in a fairly thankless role. She is perhaps better remembered for her roles in the sitcoms The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and The Patty Duke Show.
-- The director, Richard Wilson, had once been a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre and was involved in a number of his later film projects. He played bits in Citizen Kane and The Lady From Shanghai.
-- According to the pressbook, Wall of Noise was "made in California's sleek Hollywood Park" and "utilized scores of thoroughbreds and many actual racing-world figures."
-- Ads in the pressbook for Wall of Noise include this claim: "First Winner of Photoplay's Front-Cover Award for showcasing new talent!" Another item in the pressbook says "a main purpose of the 'Front Page' citation is to prove that the film business is not a dead industry." Anybody who has seen Wall of Noise may wonder what the hell they are talking about.
-- Wall of Noise was released in 1963 at about the time Phil Spector was perfecting his "Wall of Sound" recording techniques on records by the Crystals and the Ronettes. The two "walls" are not related.


 

The Dirty Dozen

1967

Director:
Robert Aldrich
Cast: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Robert Ryan, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland, George Kennedy, Telly Savalas, Ralph Meeker, Richard Jaeckel, Clint Walker, Trini Lopez

Notes on The Dirty Dozen
-- Twelve years after starring in Robert Aldrich's classic Kiss Me Deadly, Ralph Meeker is reduced to a minor supporting role in this "classic" Aldrich film,
-- During the credits, Meeker's name appears on screen over a shot of Jim Brown.
-- This was the third time Meeker and Bronson were co-starred.
-- This is the only Trini Lopez movie we know about, but there must be others. In fact, we know of at least one made-for-TV film that co-starred Mr. Lopez AND Mr. Meeker. (SEE The Reluctant Heroes, TV section).


 

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

1967

Director:
Roger Corman
Cast: Jason Robards Jr., George Segal, Ralph Meeker, Jean Hale, Clint Ritchie, Frank Silvera, Joseph Campanella, Bruce Dern, John Agar, Jack Nicholson

Notes on The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
-- Ralph Meeker played Bugs Moran.
-- Jason Robards played Al Capone.
-- Blink and you'll miss Jack Nicholson.
-- At one time or another, director Roger Corman has worked with practically everybody who was anybody in the movies.
-- We have a photo of John Agar in our Potpourri Lounge.

 

Gentle Giant

1967

Director:
James Neilson
Cast: Vera Miles, Dennis Weaver, Clint Howard, Ralph Meeker, Huntz Hall

Notes on Gentle Giant
-- Gentle Giant
was the basis for the TV series Gentle Ben.
-- Previously, Ralph Meeker and Vera Miles co-starred in "Revenge," the premiere episode of TV's Alfred Hitchcock Presents, directed by Hitchcock himself.
-- We have a photo of "Native American" Vera Miles in our Potpourri Lounge.
-- Huntz Hall was a former East Side Kid/Bowery Boy etc.
-- Clint Howard is Ron Howard's brother.


 

The Detective

1968

Director:
Gordon Douglas
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Jacqueline Bisset, William Windom, Al Freeman, Tony Musante, Robert Duvall.

Notes on The Detective

-- Jacqueline Bisset's role was originally intended for Mrs. Sinatra -- Mia Farrow.


 

The Devil's Eight

1969

Director:
Burt Topper
Cast: Christopher George, Fabian, Tom Nardini, Leslie Parrish, Larry Bishop, Cliff Osmond, Ross Hagen, Ralph Meeker

Notes on The Devil's Eight
-- According to the pressbook, The Devil's Eight was filmed at a "picturesque village" in the San Bernardino Mountains about 80 miles from Los Angeles. The site had been constructed in 1876 by Mormon loggers, and in 1969 was occupied by the Assemblies of God organization. (Note: I have no idea where I got this information, but I couldn't have made it up. -- Jack Stalnaker)
-- Everyone in Hollywood should do at least one Fabian movie.

 

I Walk the Line

1970

Director:
John Frankenheimer
Cast: Gregory Peck, Tuesday Weld, Estelle Parsons, Ralph Meeker, Lonny Chapman, Charles Durning
Score: Johnny Cash.

Notes on I Walk the Line
-- Ralph Meeker's appears as the father of Tuesday Weld's character.
-- Portions of I Walk the Line were filmed on location in rural Tennessee. Certain persons connected to the Meeker Museum, never mind who, attempted to meet Tuesday Weld by crashing the film set in 1969, but were turned away. When we met Estelle Parsons in New York City in the mid-70s, we told her about this incident and she told us that none of her own I Walk the Line scenes were filmed in Tennessee.
-- We have a photo of Tuesday Weld in our Potpourri Lounge.


 

The Anderson Tapes

1971

Director:
Sidney Lumet
Cast: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Margaret Hamilton, Christopher Walken, Garrett Morris
Score: Quincy Jones.

Notes on The Anderson Tapes
-- The Anderson Tapes was the first of two films in a row with both Ralph Meeker and Christopher Walken in the cast. To the best of our understanding, Mr. Walken has never done a Fabian picture.
-- Garrett Morris is somewhat famous for being a member of the original Saturday Night Live cast.
-- Margaret Hamilton is more than legendary for her role in The Wizard of Oz ("I'll get you my pretty...and your friggin' dog too!"). We have some photos of Margaret Hamilton in our Potpourri Lounge.


 

The Happiness Cage


1972

Cast:
Christopher Walken, Joss Ackland, Raph Meeker, Ronny Cox

Notes on The Happiness Cage

-- Alternate title: The Mind Snatchers.
-- Video title: The Demon Within.
-- in 1972 Ronny Cox also co-starred in the somewhat more acclaimed Deliverance.

 

Love Comes Quietly

1974

Cast
:
Ralph Meeker . . .

Notes on Love Comes Quietly
-- We know nothing about this movie. However, somebody in Europe once tried to sell us some stills from it and like fools we never got around to ordering them.


 

Brannigan

1975

Director:
Douglas Hickox
Cast: John Wayne, Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Vernon, Mel Ferrer, Ralph Meeker, Lesley-Anne Down.

Notes on Brannigan
-- Blink and you'll miss Ralph Meeker. Keep your eyes closed for 111 minutes and you'll miss all those other people too.


 

Johnny Firecloud

1975

Director:
William Allen Castleman
Cast: David Canary, Ralph Meeker, Frank De Kova, Sacheen Littlefeather.

Notes on Johnny Firecloud
-- This is a Sacheen Littlefeather movie; we repeat, this is a Sacheen Littlefeather movie! You may recall that Marlon Brando sent Ms. Littlefeather to the Academy Awards to reject his Oscar for 1972's The Godfather. From that spectacle we all got the impression that Ms. Littlefeather was some kind of an activist for Native Americans. Actually, she was just a minor actress who did films like The Trial of Billy Jack and Johnny Firecloud.

-- You're just not going to believe this, but Johnny Firecloud is one of the few Meeker films we've seen on DVD.

 

The Food of the Gods

1976

Director:
Bert I. Gordon
Cast: Marjoe Gortner, Ida Lupino, Pamela Franklin, John Cypher, Ralph Meeker, Belinda Belaski.

Notes on The Food of the Gods
-- This movie is "based on a portion" of the novel by H. G. Wells.
-- Meeker gets eaten by huge rats, which was maybe kind of symbolic of the state of his career at this point.
-- There used to be a Pamela Franklin website. We haven't checked lately.

 

The Alpha Incident


1976

Director:
Bill Rebane
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Stafford Morgan, John Goff, Carole Irene Newell

Notes on the Alpha Incident
-- This film's original title was Gift From a Red Planet.
-- Top-billed Ralph Meeker has little to do in the film. He doesn't even appear to be breathing.
-- Have you ever heard of any of those other people?



 

The Hi-Riders

1977

Cast
: Ralph Meeker . . .

Notes on The Hi-Riders

--What can we say?

 

My Boys Are Good Boys

1979

Director:
Bethel Buckalew
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Ida Lupino, Lloyd Nolan

Notes on My Boys Are Good Boys
-- This film's Executive Producer was Ralph Meeker. The Co-Producer was Colleen Meeker, his second wife.
-- This was Meeker's second film with Ida Lupino.
Both of them should have been ashamed.

Winter Kills

1979

Director: William Richert
Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone, Richard Boone, Ralph Meeker, Toshiro Mifune, Eli Wallach, and Elizabeth Taylor
-
Still: Ralph Meeker

Notes on Winter Kills
--
The film was reissued in 1983 with a "restored" ending.
-- Director Richert had a featured role in 1991's My Own Private Idaho.

 

Without Warning

1980
Director:
Greydon Clark
Cast: Jack Palance, Cameron Mitchell, Martin Landau, Ralph Meeker, Sue Anne Langdon, Neville Brand, Larry Storch

Notes on Without Warning
-- Alternate title: It Came Without Warning.
-- It's not inconceivable that an actor could appear in something like this and go on to win an Oscar. Ask Martin Landau.


RALPH MEEKER

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MEEKER MUSEUM

©2002 The Meeker Museum Collection
Jack Stalnaker

meeker@neosoft.com.