Cleveland's Hipp Theatre Mere Months Before Rock Arrived --- and Look At The Mob for U-I's Red Ball Express!
Cleveland Crowds for Rock Hudson and The Lawless Breed (1953)
What price stardom? Rock Hudsonmay have found out via hands shook numb by Cleveland crush of ardent fans wielding autograph books and "Free Photos" supplied by Hipp management. Hipp was short for Hippodrome, a Clevelandpalace known to generations old and new. It seated over 3500, was ongoing from 1907, and routinely drew crowds large as what crossed a parting Red Sea. ImagineCleveland teens Rock lured for starring western that was The Lawless Breed, best so-far of Universal pics in which he'd play lead. Note policy, doors open at 11:15 AM, shows throughout the day, then Hudson at 8:45 PM "to personally greet each and every one of you," which set up one H of an expectation poor Rock had to satisfy. The old truck driver job must have been precious memory after an ordeal hectic as this. Parallel with latter-day autograph meets abound: the star seated at a draped card table or less, throngs waiting, some polite, others not. Either way, after a first hundred, it's ag-o-nee, as Daffy used to say. Difference between then and now is Rock signing for free ... nowaday celebs want cash,sometimes lots of it. Would Rock Hudson have done hotel ballroom meets had he lived? Many of his generation did, including plenty once on U-I payroll. Few retired rich from that place.