Friday, October 12, 2018

Marshall Marshall Marshall!


starred in the 1965 movie

Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion.

Thompson played Dr. Marsh Tracy, a veterinarian who operates an animal
research center in East Africa. Cheryl Miller played Tracy's daughter Paula.

Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion served as the pilot for the TV series Daktari which ran from 1966 to 1969.

Marshall Thompson and Cheryl Miller reprised their roles as father and daughter on the television show and were joined by the popular animal characters Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion and Judy the chimp.


In the mid and late 50s Marshall Thompson developed a cult following
as the star of four science fiction horror films I saw as a boy.
Can you name at least one of those scary flicks?



In the mid and late 60s, Marshall Thompson starred in the children's
television series Daktari. In the mid and late 50s, Thompson starred in
four of my favorite sci-fi/horror movies. View the posters and trailers below.





Did you correctly guess any of them?

Thanks for the memories


Have a Shady day!


  1. here I am in silence, looking round without a clue, I find myself along again all alone with you. I can see behind your eyes the things I don't know, if you hide away from me, how can our love grow? One of my favorite songs from late 80's.
    I've never seen any of these movies but I heard of The First man into space. These all seem very fun and campy to watch.
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, Holli-berry!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for serenading me with a song and for taking my latest brain buster quiz. Although most of these films are uncharted territory, I 'm glad you enjoyed viewing posters and trailers of some of my favorite sci-fi horror movies of the 50s. They are indeed fun and campy to watch and made quite an impression on me as a boy.

      Thanks again for coming, dear friend Holli, and have a nice weekend!

  2. I wonder how he's feel about those films knowing both RiffTrax and MST3K had fun with them?

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for dropping by, good buddy!

      You pose a good question. Most of those sci-fi horror flicks of the 50s were low budget and the special FX were awful by today's standards, making them easy targets for RiffTrax and MST3K. However, it's all in the packaging. Did you watch that modern trailer for Fiend w/o a Face? It's impressive and might tempt younger audiences to watch it. Some of those goofy old horror movies were influential. Wiki sez: It! The Terror from Beyond Space was one of the two films that would later inspire the plot for director Ridley Scott's 1979 big budget feature Alien.

      Thanks again for coming, good buddy Alex!

  3. Shady, Shady, Shady!!! You crack me up!

    I remember seeing Marshall Thompson in quite a few films or programs, but just didn't know him by name! I saw parts of Daktari, and knew of Clarence,the Cross Eyed lion, but didn't spend much time in front of the TV during the mid to late 1960s. I'm afraid I couldn't name any of the films, BUT!!! I did see "Cult of the Cobra" a couple of times. What a strange was out of the norm for horror predators! Ordinarily, we've got a human lizard, or gorilla, and, don't forget "The Fly" and that one with, I think it was Steve McQueen? Some kind of 'slime' movie?

    "Fiend Without a Face" looks pretty interesting. I may have to check that one out sometime! But, I don't recall the other films you featured! Looks like Marshall stayed pretty busy during those times!

    I've wondered about you, Shady with the hurricanes soaring right and left out your way! Hope you are staying at least with daily necessities of electricity and drinking water, and holding on to your hat! This was a fun post...just goes to show how many of us were into the "Sci-fi" scene. My brother and sister both enjoyed "Science Fiction", but I was never very interested!

    It is good to see you, Shady and now we know what you did on rainy days when you were a kid, lol! I hope you are doing well. We have had some rain and expect to get more this weekend! Have a great weekend, dear friend! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      How are you, dearie? Thanks a lot for joining the fun as my parade of spooky posts for Halloween continues here at Shady's Place!

      Yessum, Marshall Thompson has been dead and gone more than 25 years now, but he racked up an impressive string of film and TV credits. His name might not have been well known, but many boomers will recognize his face and voice and remember him.

      I must admit that I was not a regular viewer of Daktari, nor have I ever seen Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion. 99% of the movies I went to were in the sci-fi and horror genres. My big brother took me to see a bunch in the early and mid 50s and, when he left home to join the Air Force, my parents took me to a bunch more.

      Here is my scoring system for this Brain Buster Quiz. If you correctly named all 4 horror films you get 4 points. If you also SAW all four, you get a perfect score of 8 points. If two or more readers are tied with a perfect score of 8, then Clarence and Daktari are the tie-breakers. If the score is still tied because two or more readers also remember and watched Clarence and Daktari, then the winner will be determined the way they do it on Survivor. The reader who is first to make fire - wins! :)

      Okay then, let's tally up your score. You couldn't name any of these films, but you have seen one of them - Cult of the Cobra. That means you take an early lead in the competition with one point! :)

      I saw all of these horror movies before I was age ten. Imagine my awe and wonder as I watched beautiful Faith Domergue transform into a killer cobra. (I've been called a snake in the grass, but that's a story for another day. :)

      As I told Alex (above), it's all in the packaging. The modern trailer created for a remastered version of Fiend w/o a Face is nicely done and makes the film more palatable for today's younger audiences.

      Fortunately for us, we were not in the path of hurricane Michael, a terrible, devastating storm that reminds us that the tropics are still active for several more weeks. I look forward to cooler weather and an end to the long and worrisome hurricane season.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Suzanne, and enjoy your weekend!

  4. Oh, man... after watching that trailer, I want to see Fiend Without a Face now!! :D

    I use to love Daktari and I don't guess I ever knew they made a movie about Clarence.

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thank you very much for coming over early on day one to partake of my latest batch of Halloween treats - four fright flicks that I saw before the age of ten!

      As I told two other readers, any old film can be made to seem more exciting and relevant to today's audiences when it benefits from audio/video remastering and a modernized trailer like the one embedded in this post. Don't get me wrong. Fiend w/o a Face is an exciting movie with or w/o a trailer and I urge you to see it. It is available free on YouTube (although not in remastered form) as is Cult of the Cobra.

      I didn't watch the TV series Daktari regularly. I am delighted to know you remember, watched and loved it.

      Thanks again for coming over, dear friend Kelly, and have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Oh I want to thank you for showing these great films that I often watched on a Sunday afternoon. I have to admit, I didn't guess one but I knew they were of this calibre. i actually did see the Terror from Beyond Space and would love to see it again. Oh good ole Faith is the Cobra Gal and one movie I have always wanted to to see. I am surprised Richard Long is in this, not sure why I am surprised but I am. I love that brain attacking humans...thank you for the laugh. You make a great snake charmer:) I never knew about the Cross-eyed lion! I surprise myself that i did not know about this film or the tv show resulting from this. I would have watched it if it ever played in reruns up here. Now I have to try to figure out what is wrong with my tablet. I can read everything on the blog but when I try to post, it doesn't take. I have to try to do it via my phone...ughhh

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thanks for joining the fun at Shady's Place, dear friend! You are a film connoisseur and I knew you would take an interest in this post.

      It's great to know you watched films like these on weekend afternoons and I am thrilled to learn that you saw It! The Terror from Beyond Space. As Wiki states: "The film's premise has been cited as an inspiration for screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's screenplay for Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien." You have seen "It" and that means you are now tied for first place in the contest with Suzanne (above). Question: How good are you at making fire? :)

      It doesn't surprise me that you, a veteran film buff, are familiar with beautiful actress Faith Domergue. In addition to Cult of the Cobra, Faith also appeared in two more of my favorite fright flicks - It Came from Beneath the Sea and This Island Earth - earning her a reputation as a movie scream queen. Faith died relatively young at age 73 or 74. Marshall Thompson was only 66 when he died and Richard Long only lived to age 47! Long, the handsome actor I best remember from House On Haunted Hill, had lead roles in the TV series The Big Valley, Nanny and the Professor and Bourbon Street Beat, was a regular on ABC's 77 Sunset Strip and played Tom Kettle, eldest son of Ma and Pa Kettle in that comedy film series.

      Yessum, the invisible brain and spinal cords in Fiend w/o a Face were just as scary as they were when they actually became visible later in the film, perhaps more so, because the sound FX used as they approached their victims were terrifying.

      I have not seen Daktari offered on any modern subscription services but I really haven't been searching for it. Maybe you can find it.

      Thank you again for your visit and for contributing to the discussion of these creepy old films, dear friend BB. Enjoy your weekend!

    2. I’m glad I can always visit and will look forward to future posts about these great movies. Faith was too young never mind Richard Long nor his very pretty wife, Suzan Ball, who died at 21 from cancer. I miss those Sunday afternoons watching all these films.

    3. Hi, Birgit!

      It was very nice of you to return to expand our discussion thread, dear friend. I always find it fascinating how many actors and actresses of the golden age of the silver screen died young. Jean Harlow is another that comes to mind along with Marilyn Monroe. The list goes on and on. Yet there are others who are now centenarians including Olivia de Havilland who is 102, Kirk Douglas who will be 102 in December and a big favorite of mine, Marsha Hunt, who will be age 101 this coming Wednesday. It's ironic that last October 17 I ran a post in honor of Marsha's 100th birthday entitled "Marsha Marsha Marsha" and this week I have a post entitled "Marshall Marshall Marshall." :)

      Thanks again for coming to see me, dear friend BB!

  6. I was a bit young for the movies in the mid fifties and scary ones wouldn't be on the radar for me but I sure enjoyed the trailers! I remember Clarence the cross eyed lion. I would be a bit nervous to be in a film with a lion but he looked pretty harmless! This is good pre-Halloween fun and I'm glad you shared it with us! Hope all is well with you and hopefully no harm came from the hurricane in your neck of the woods. Stay safe!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thank you very much for dropping in for more Halloween fun at Shady's Place, dear friend!

      Yessum, there is a slight generation gap between us and it becomes noticeable when I post about movies, TV series or music of the 1950s.

      As a general rule, at least as I remember it, not very many women and girls of the 1950s enjoyed sci-fi horror movies like these. I think that has changed a lot in the new millennium. I remember being ecstatic when, around 1980, I met a woman who enjoyed scary movies as much as I do. We became movie buddies, went to a number of horror films on dates with dinner and discussion afterward - a unique, completely platonic relationship which I still recall and appreciate.

      I'm happy to know you saw the Clarence movie. I haven't. Did you see Cheryl Miller riding Clarence in that Daktari show opener? She was braver than I would have been. I saw a few of Disney's films that featured animal actors including Old Yeller and The Shaggy Dog, but my main interest was horror. I saw a hundred or more movies of that genre before the decade of the Fifties came to an end.

      Thank you for the well wishes about our weather. The hurricane passed us by and we only experienced occasional heavy rain bands, nothing serious, and yesterday was bright and sunny.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend YaYa!

  7. … smiles hugs purrs woofs kisses and all dat jazz, friend Shady … I c U when I c U. Much love, cat.

    1. Hi, cat!

      How are you, dear feline friend? I'm happy to see you!

      I'm glad you weren't a scaredy-cat about dropping in this weekend as I present a sampling of the spooky films I loved as a kid (and still do). Funny you mentioned "all dat jazz" because All That Jazz, the 1979 Bob Fosse musical starring Roy Scheider, is one of my favorites. I have the movie on DVD!

      Thank you for your visit and comment, dear friend cat!

  8. Hey Tom,
    Wow oh wow, I'm am beyond wow'd by this post! First of all, I'm amazed that I don't know the film "Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion" or the TV series that followed "Daktari"! How is that possible?? Of course I was only 3 when the movie came out and between the ages of 4 to 7 when the TV series aired. But I'm wondering: did it run in syndication where I would've been able to see it in reruns? I'm not at all familiar with it, which really surprises me.

    I did read that Judy the Chimp was the same chimp who starred as "Debbie the Bloop" in Lost in Space, and I definitely remember her from that. I can vividly see in my mind Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson character) carrying around the chimp "Debbie." Lost in Space was one of my very favorite shows back then. (In fact I recently bought the boxed set of the entire series. haha).

    And THANK YOU for the introduction to your favorite boyhood SciFi films! Never saw any of those either (WTH??!). I would LOVE to see "Cult of the Cobra" and "Fiend Without a Face". I recognized Richard Long right away in the Cult of the Cobra trailer. I do remember him from Big Valley. He was such a good looking guy! Did you know that he was Marshall Thompson's brother-in-law? He was married to Richard Long's sister Barbara Long. (He also attended high school with Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe). (I love trivia!)

    As far as Marshall Thompson, I recognize him but I can't pinpoint from where. I looked up his bio on IMDB ( and learned some interesting things about him, but still wasn't able to pinpoint from where I recognize him. His filmography on Wikipedia gives just a partial list (albeit lengthy) of his 60+ films and 50+ TV roles. He was clearly a prolific actor!

    Another tidbit I learned but haven't yet been able to confirm is that he was "born on November 27, 1925, and named James Marshall Thompson after an ancestor, a famed Supreme Court justice." I was curious as to which SCOTUS justice he was named after so I looked up the list of all the justices and can't find which one it was that he was named after.

    I also found these little tidbits interesting: Did you know that one of your favorite movies as a boy, "It! The Terror from Beyond Space", was one of the two films that would later inspire the plot for director Ridley Scott's 1979 big budget feature "Alien"??
    Also from Wiki: "Thompson also starred in the short-lived (13-episodes) 1959 syndicated science fiction TV series "World of Giants." The drama follows Mel Hunter, a U. S. counter-espionage agent, accidentally miniaturized to just six inches in height, who must live in a dollhouse when not on missions."
    Are you familiar with "World of Giants"? THAT sounds like it would be a cool series to watch!

    Back to "Cult of the Cobra" and "Fiend Without a Face": Do you know where I can see these movies or if they're available on Netflix or Hulu or any of those services? Of course I can look them up but just thought I'd ask if you knew, since they're some of your childhood favs, I assume you've seen them over recent years.

    Speaking of scary movies: I am so thrilled to see Jamie Lee Curtis in the new Halloween movie! It opens this week. She was on The View the other day and I saw a clip. It's going to be great. Her interview with the ladies of The View was excellent too. Try to catch it somewhere. I have always liked Jamie Lee Curtis.

    Anyway, okay, the dogs got me up at 4am and now it's 7:30 so I guess I better get to feeding them...
    Then back to bed for a few hours. I have the weirdest schedule...

    talk soon.
    Thanks for this very cool post!
    Happy Weekend to you!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Thanks for coming over and joining the fun as I show you some of my Favorite Fright Flicks of the Fabulous Fifties. (Say THAT five times fast!)

      I don't see any mention of Daktari having gone into syndication but, if the series is of interest to you, the good news is that all four seasons have been released on DVD. Thanks for mentioning that animal actress Judy the Chimp also played the role of Penny Robinson's cuddly companion "Debbie the Bloop" on Lost in Space. How cool that you bought the Lost in Space DVD set! It was one of my favorite series, too.

      I'm not surprised you haven't seen these low budget horror and sci-fi movies of the 50s. I'm happy to know you remember handsome actor Richard Long from Big Valley. I best remember him from another favorite horror movie, House On Haunted Hill. His name was Long but, unfortunately, his life was short. Reportedly a heavy smoker and drinker, Richard died of heart problems at age 47. Thanks for adding those other pieces of trivia, that Marshall Thompson was Richard Long's brother-in-law, having married Richard's sister Barbara Long. I will add that Richard Long married Playboy Playmate Mara Corday who was featured in three more horror movies I saw and loved: Tarantula, The Giant Claw and The Black Scorpion. I have a framed poster of the 1957 movie The Black Scorpion on my wall. Imagine having gone to high school with the girl who evolved into silver screen sex goddess Marilyn Monroe!

      Yessum, Marshall Thompson wasn't exactly a household name, but he was a prolific actor and I enjoyed his performances as the calm, unshakable hero in these scary flicks.

      I can't help you with that question about Thompson's ancestry. Let me know if you find out. I didn't know until I read that same article this morning that "It" was one of the films that inspired the plot of the 1979 hit film Alien. I also read about Marshall T. starring in World of Giants, the short-lived 1959 TV series obviously inspired by the success of films like Attack of the Puppet People, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Amazing Colossal Man and War of the Colossal Beast. I didn't recognize World of Giants by name but, having just viewed that clip you provided, I must have indeed watched the series, because I vividly recall that scene with the giant cat. It was very well done, don't you think?

      I found a poor quality print of Fiend w/o a Face on YouTube along with a better print of Cult of the Cobra. If you were willing to invest in that Lost In Space box set, then I recommend that you look for any and all of these titles in remastered form on DVD because they are much more enjoyable after the audio and video have been cleaned up.

      I got a hoot out of Jamie Lee Curtis in the two seasons of the TV series Scream Queens. I am jazzed about seeing her return in the new Halloween movie. Thanks for reminding me!

      Thank you again for your early morning visit and all the effort you put into your comment, dear friend Michele. I hope you are catching some well deserved ZZZZZ by now and I wish you a safe and happy weekend!

  9. Tom,

    I don't remember "Clarence the Crossed Eye Lion" or the TV spin-off. For the most part, the only time I got to see big screen movies when I was little was when they came on TV. The TV spin-off would've been a show that I would've liked as a kid, though. I was young when it aired and I don't recall reruns of the program. My folks didn't have a television for years. The only time I got to watch TV was at my grandparents. I know we had a B&W TV set in the late 60s but I don't recall watching a lot of TV until the early 70s. Needless to say, I'm not at all familiar with the scary movies you shared but what fabulous fun! Thanks for sharing such a vintage collection!

    Saying prayers for the health of your loved one and hope things are improved. Blessings to you and Mrs. Shady!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for coming over on your Saturday, dear friend. I'm pleased to see you!

      Don't feel badly, Cathy. I had a TV set in my home but for some reason chose to watch something other than Daktari. I just checked the series' Broadcast history and Nielsen ratings and learned that, in the first year of its run, 1966 to '67, Daktari aired Tuesday at 7:30 pm and was one of the top 10 shows on TV, ranked #7 and tied in the ratings with Bewitched and The Beverly Hillbillies, two shows I did watch. Perhaps you favored one or both of those series the way I did. In Daktari's second season it fell out of the top 30, and in its third and final season, 1968 to '69, it aired Wednesday at 7:30 and did not make the top 30.

      I'm glad you had fun examining the posters and trailers for some of my favorite horror films of the 50s.

      Thank you for the prayers for our family member. I will keep you updated.

      Thanks again for swinging by, dear friend Cathy, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    2. Tom,

      Well...that explains a lot. I did watch "Bewitched" and "The Beverly Hillbillies". That might account why I don't remember Daktari. :)

      I'm trying to catch up after a long weekend away from Blogosphere. I hope to receive good mews with your next update. Have a pAwesome week, my friend!

    3. Hi, Cathy!

      In the 50s I enjoyed Westerns and action adventure series. By the mid 60s I was more interested in sitcoms, although I did watch Lost In Space which was a combination of science fiction, action and comedy. By the time Daktari started airing I was a regular at the Shady Dell and only saw portions of evening programs that came on the Ettline's TV set in the snack bar and another TV located in a separate section of of the dance hall. I remember watching Laugh-In and The Monkees at the Dell, but I don't recall what other shows I watched there, but I know Daktari wasn't one of them.

      Thank you again for your kind return visit and comment, dear friend Cathy!

  10. I did see Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion when I was a kid, and have heard of, but never seen, Daktari, but did not know the two were related. Flipper, Gentle Ben, there was kind of an animal show trend in sixties television.

    I watched It, the Terror From Beyond Space a few years ago. The parallels with Alien are pretty striking, except the latter had a sense of humor, which is rare in '50s horror films (unintentional humor doesn't count.)

    It's been pointed out that horror is a pretty conservative genre. Don't do this. Don't do that. Anything out of the ordinary, anything different, anything not tried and true, will GET you (ironically, I like horror films BECAUSE they're out of the ordinary. They actually play to my liberal sensibilities.) I thought of that as I watched the trailer for The First Man in Space. Basically, it seems to be warning you not to send someone into space (into the unknown) because something bad will happen. Maybe that's why Yuri Gargarin made his space debut about two months before Alan Shepard. They had no such films in Russia!

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Thank you very much for coming over to Bust your Brain on my latest Trivia Question!

      I agree that horror films with a sense of humor are a relatively recent trend and that most genre films of the 50s took themselves seriously. I can think of a few exceptions. The Thing From Another World (1951) was laced with humorous lines of dialogue, and two Vincent Price films, House On Haunted Hill (1958) and The Tingler (1959) were both a hoot.

      I like your line of reasoning, good buddy, and I have always liked horror films for the same reason, because they are out of the ordinary. It's too bad the genre got itself into a rut in recent years with blood and gore replacing good storytelling and suspense. The best horror films have always been those that leave a great deal to the imagination. Maybe that's why I liked Fiend Without a Face so much. The brain & spinal cord creatures were invisible. You saw the bushes rustle and the grass crushed flat under their weight as they crawled across the ground toward their victims, and your heard the strange, unsettling sound they made. It was terrifying fun for me as a young boy to watch that movie.
      First Man in Space also made quite an impression on me. In the film an astronaut experiences "rapture of the deep" in his space capsule, pushes the envelope too far and returns to earth a hideous monster, yet he still knows his buddy (Marshall Thompson) and calls out to him "Help me, Chuck!"

      Good news, Kirk! You have forged into the lead in this trivia contest. Like you, Birgit (above) has seen "It" and Suzanne has seen "Cobra." Since you have also seen the Clarence movie and they haven't, the tie is broken and you take over sole possession of first place!

      Thank you again for adding to the discussion, good buddy Kirk, and congratulations on taking the lead in the trivia contest. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  11. Hi Shady!
    I loved Clarence and Daktari as a kid ;-)
    I never saw or heard of the other shows, but the clips were a kick to watch. "Puny man matches his cunning against a monster from Mars..." Ha!
    This was highly entertaining, my friend!

    1. Hi, diedre!

      Thank you very much for coming over on a Sunday, dear friend. I am delighted to see you!

      I am mighty pleased to learn that you watched both Clarence the Lion and the TV series Daktari. I missed the film entirely and only watched a couple episodes of the TV show. By the time Daktari started airing I was hanging out at the Shady Dell every night a could only watch what the Ettlines had on their TV in the snack bar. :)

      I'm glad you got a kick out of the trailers for these low budget horror films of the 50s. I find them educational as well as entertaining.

      Thank you again for being a great friend and dropping by today, dear friend diedre, and have a wonderful week ahead!

  12. Hi dear friend,

    I'm sorry that I missed this over the weekend! The weekday has began again and it's time to get back to work... blog reading included. :)

    You have piqued my interest. I might have to check out this movie, it truly looks like a good watch. Thanks for posting these trivia tidbits and opening my eyes to different music and movies.

    Have a great evening, dear friend Shady!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thanks for joining the fun, dear friend! As a cat lover, you would most likely enjoy a movie about a cross-eyed lion, a lion tame enough for a young woman to ride. As a lover of Halloween thrills, you might also enjoy these four scary sci-fi horror films of the 50s. I hope someday you will be able to see one or more of them.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend JM!

    2. Hi, Shady!

      Maybe one weekend I might have to have a netflix and chill type weekend. I hope I can find these on Netflix!

    3. Hi, Jessica! I have browsed through the horror listings on Netflix and have not seen these titles listed, but a couple of them are available free on YouTube.

  13. I knew the TV shows but not the movies.
    You always come up with the most interesting posts. Would never have thought you would post about Clarence unless it was the name of a European Rock Group.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

    1. Hi, Gayle!

      Thank you for dropping in to sample the kind of entertainment I enjoyed most as a boy - science fiction and horror. That goes for comic books as well as TV shows and movies.

      I never heard of a European rock group called Clarence but if one exists I will probably find them on YouTube and post their music at some point. :)

      Thanks again for coming over for a visit, dear friend Gayle, and enjoy the rest of your week!


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