In the drive to develop an invisible army, a crazed ex-Major and a scientist under duress must first corral an unusual and unpredictable army of one. Don’t miss “The Amazing Transparent Man” (1960), showing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Friday, June 4 at 7 p.m. As a special bonus, Mr. Amazing has vowed to appear, invisibly and in person, at this performance!
Douglas Kennedy plays safecracker Joey Faust, “the nation’s most daring criminal,” who gets help breaking out of prison, then turned transparent in order to help steal sufficient fuel for the Major’s invisibility ray. Kennedy appeared in many westerns and detective thrillers in the early 1940s, often as a villain. Following a career-disrupting stint as an operative in the OSS and US Army Intelligence during World War II, Kennedy returned to Hollywood to satisfy his true calling ― appearing in low-budget films. He is perhaps most fondly remembered for two roles: as the lead in the TV series “Steve Donovan, Western Marshal” (1955), and as one of the policemen taken over by the Martians in the sci-fi classic “Invaders from Mars” (1953).
Marguerite Chapman plays Faust’s wisecracking moll, Laura Matson. A former telephone operator from White Plains, NY, Chapman’s striking good looks led her to modeling and then the big screen, debuting in “Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum” (1940). She appeared in approximately 20 movies over the next few years, but her big break came in 1942 when she was cast in the lead female role in the 12-part adventure film serial “Spy Smasher,” considered by many as one of the best serials ever made. Although she appeared in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955, with Marilyn Monroe), Chapman’s career wound down quickly in the ‘50s, and “Amazing” was her final film. Almost four decades later she was asked to appear as “Old Rose” Calver in James Cameron’s “Titanic” (1997), but she was too ill to accept. Chapman passed away in 1999, but she later received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Director Edgar G Ulmer shot “Amazing” back-to-back with “Beyond the Time Barrier,” on the grounds of the Texas state fair, in only two weeks. These were his last American films. Ulmer was a cult favorite for his early work directing “The Black Cat” (1934) starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and film-noir classic “Detour” (1945). But an ill-advised affair with the wife of a Hollywood producer forced Ulmer to spend most of his directorial career making B movies at Poverty Row production houses.
View the “Amazing” trailer at http://www.archive.org/details/amazing_transparent_man
The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to wander through eye-catching exhibits, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live bluegrass music. Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30 pm) for renowned potter Ben Owen III, whose show “Earth, Water and Fire: Works in Clay” will be on display June 4 – August 1 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.
The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is located in downtown Raleigh at 11 West Jones Street. Free evening parking is available in surface lots and along Wilmington and Edenton streets.