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Foreword to An Interview with Mike Todd, Jr.

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Roy Frumkes, Editor, Films In Review Date: January 9, 2004
Season's Greetings from Films In Review Magazine

WOW, here I am looking out at you, but the pages I'm looking out from aren't familiar...this isn't the size and print of my beloved Films In Review...?

Oh, yes...now l remember. There was that generous invitation from editor Bob King to contribute to Classic Images' special holiday issue featuring both FIR and CI articles. l thought it was a wonderful idea. Even though FIR is now on the world wide web, I'm sure many of you would enjoy the printed version, and it's a nice way to stay in touch with our readers while we continue to pull the publication out of dormancy. Plus, this is a good way to introduce many of our readers to another worthy, similar-minded publication. It’s a pleasure to be a part of CI for this moment in history - and it’s going to become a real collectible!

I've chosen an FIR article that l think will appeal to readers of both magazines. Let me preface by saying that I grew up in the 50's, and films such as “The Ten Commandments” and “Around the World in 80 Days” were among my introductions to the film going experience. My grandfather had been Houdini's agent, and my mother had done some film acting, so there was a respect for cinema when my folks took me to these movies. The souvenir books were like Holy Grails to me. And the large reserved seat tickets ended up neatly filed away in my top desk drawer. TV wasn't in color yet. There were no videotapes, no laserdiscs, no hundred-cable stations, no multiplexes. Dannon was still selling prune yogurt. It was a different world. And while I'm in love with the films of today, I'm always anxious to revisit that earlier, magical world, and share it with FIR readers who were growing up then, like I was, or with the more recent audiences who've only HEARD of those glory days.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Mike Todd, who gave movie-goers two of the most impressive film format experiences - Cinerama and Todd-AO - was not even a Hollywood producer. FIR was fortunate in tracking down Mike Todd, Jr. Through an interview over the phone, he gave us permission to open his father's file cabinets, located in a dark basement in White Plains, New York, which had been unopened for decades. lt had the aura of an archaeological dig. Among the findings were the original color acetate cels from the "Around the World in 80 Days" title sequence, all the contracts for the film, Todd, Sr.'s own souvenir books, and endless envelopes upon envelopes of 35mm still camera color prints of the “80 Days” shoot-all of them faded to pink. We sifted through thousands of stills and documents that day, and borrowed what you'll be seeing in the following pages.

Roy Frumkes
Editor, Films In Review
Further in 70mm reading:

"An Interview with Mike Todd, Jr."

Mike Todd, Jr. Obituary

Visiting Susan M. Todd

Internet link:

Films in Review
FIR Editorial


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Updated 07-01-23