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Saturday, January 31, 2009


Avenida Rizal circa 1960/

See: Señor Enrique's Wish You Were Here

Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries

Lining the stretches of Avenida, Escolta and Quiapo during the glorious days of Philippine cinema in the 50s and 60s were movie houses, theaters, opera houses, music studios, movie production outfits and entertainment centers.
“The owners of these establishments tried to outdo one another by hiring the country’s best architects (National artists Juan Nakpil, Leandro Locin, etal) to design their buildings, which were constructed when Art Moderne and the earlier Art Deco architectural styles reigned.”
Most of these movie houses were exclusive homes of Hollywood movie production outfits. Ideal theater, for example, carried only MGM movies. Likewise, Avenue showed movies made by Paramount and Lyric, only movies by Warner Bros. Other first-run theaters like Capitol, Ever, Galaxy, Universal, Odeon, State, Roman Super Cinerama, and later Maxim and Miramar in late 60s were only showing Hollywood movies.

Tagalog movies then were assigned to only four theaters--- Life, Dalisay, Center and Globe. Life was the home of Sampaguita Pictures; Dalisay for LVN Pictures; Globe and Center for Premiere and other movie studios. A total of 10 screening days were allotted to a movie shown. A movie was shown only in one theater at a time, unlike today where a movie could be shown simultaneously in over 60 theaters.

See: Inquirer's "Preservation, Modernity come together in Manila"
See: Manila's Movie Theaters by Senor Enrique

Updated detailed location map of Manila's theaters/cinemas:
courtesy of our good friend Rod Samonte

It’s always been a delight and wondrous sight to see the wonderful theater logos everytime we browsed the newspapers’ movies sections. Hopefully, seeing these logos again could bring back memories of the golden years past.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Alembong (1958)- Stars Leroy Salvador, Lita Gutierrez (Launching Movie), Linda Roxas, Rey Ruiz/ Featuring Reycard Duet/ Directed by Fred Daluz

For Maria Dolores Gutierrez of Laoag, Ilocos Norte, stardom came by way of a visit to the LVN publicity office in 1955. She was sixteen, just out of high school. She had come to Manila to find a job and had been hired as a receptionist in the office of a movie magazine. She and another girl from the magazine went to LVN one day to get publicity stills for the latest film of Nida Blanca.

Doña Sisang was puttering in the garden when she saw them and expressed interest in the Ilocana mestiza. “I had kinky hair then and was very chubby,” Ms. Gutierrez remembers. Language proved to be her undoing, however, for when the Old Lady asked her how good her Tagalog was, she couldn’t tell a lie. She was told to brush up on her Tagalog, and come back when she felt she knew enough.

“I was afraid, I had no confidence,” says Ms Gutierrez of that first meeting with Doña Sisang. Meanwhile, she quit her magazine job and went to work at the Bureau of Public Libraries for a year, all the while dreaming of a movie career. Sometime then she went to the Tropicana Studios in Malabon, which the stars patronized, and had her best angles taken. She sent a copy to Doña Sisang.

In a few days a talent scout was at her doorstep with the message that the LVN boss wanted to see her. She was given a three-year contract which promised her more than she could ever hope to earn from an office job. Two and half years after she signed the contract, Lita Gutierrez became a full-fledged star. The movie--- “Alembong.”

Alembong/ 1958- Lita Gutierrez in a sexy and tempting pose that gave her the nickname "Alembong" (meaning flirt). Also in photo were Leroy Salvador, Lucita Soriano and comedian Bentot.

Source: Doña Sisang Filipino Movies/ 1977

Easy Ka Lang, Padre! (1956)- Stars Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Lita Gutierrez, Willie Sotelo/ Directed by F.H. Constantino

Left- Ganyan Ka Pala (1956)- Stars Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Lita Gutierrez, Willie Sotelo
/ Directed by F.H. Constantino

Right- Kalyehera (1957)- Stars Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Milagros Naval, Lita Gutierrez/ Introducing Rey Ruiz/ Directed by Fred Daluz

Left- Phone Pal (1957)- Stars Nenita Vidal, Manding Claro, Lita Gutierrez, Val Castelo/ Directed by F.H. Constantino

Right- Sebya, Mahal Kita (1957)- Stars Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Lita Gutierrez, Val Castelo/ Introducing Rey Ruiz/ Directed by F.H. Constantino

Anak ni Waray (1958)- Stars Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Lita Gutierrez, Bernard Bonnin/ Directed by F.H. Constantino

Left- Teen-age Crush (1960)- Stars Tessie Quintana, Eddie Rodriguez, Lita Gutierrez, Manding Claro, Luz Valdez/

Right- Asiong Meets Alembong (1962)- Stars Joseph Estrada, Lita Gutierrez, Melinda Molina, Oscar Roncal, Vic Diaz, Vicente Liwanag/ Directed by Herminio 'Butch' Bautista

Lagay Muna (1962)- Stars Eddie Mesa, Lita Gutierrez, Linda Montesa and Chiquito/ Directed by Natoy Catindig

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


"The Day of the Trumpet" (1958)- re-released as "Cavalry Command"(1963)/ Stars John Agar, Pancho Magalona, Alicia Vergel, Richard Arlen, Myron Healey, Cielito Legaspi, Eddie Infante, Boy Planas, Vic Diaz, Max Alvarado/ Directed by Eddie Romero

"Merrill's Marauders" (1962)- Stars Jeff Chandler, Pancho Magalona, Luz Valdez, Ty Hardin, Peter Brown, Will Hutchins, Andre Duggan, Claude Akins/ Directed by Samuel Fuller

In the 60s, Pancho Magalona, one of the country's finest actors, barged into the Hollywood scenes with back-to back movies, Merrill’s Marauders (1962) with Jeff Chandler and Cavalry Command (1963) with John Agar. The latter was released locally as The Day of the Trumpet. Magalona was best remembered for his award-winning roles in Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig (1958) and El Filibusterismo (1962).

The two movies are available in DVD

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Kaibigan Ko'ng Sto. Nino (1967)- Stars Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales, Eddie Garcia, Renato Robles, Tony Cayado, Caridad Sanchez, Bessie Barredo and Bella Flores, Roger Calvin, Merci Molina/ Introducing Gina Alajar as Oreng and Roderick (Paulate) / Directed by Armando De Guzman

Gina Alajar (Regina Alatiit in real life) was only eight (b.1959) when she auditioned for Lea Productions' Kaibigan Ko’ng So.Nino (1967). She bested some 300 aspirants getting one of the four important roles (the role of Oreng) at stake.

Among her early films were Bandana (1968), a Susan Roces-Romeo Vasquez starrer; Donata (1968), where she played the titular role of the girl who grows up to be Gina Pareno; she would also play "Narda" to Gina Pareno’s “Darna” in the 1969 film Si Darna at ang Planetman (1969); she also portrayed the real-life character of Irene Marcos in Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969); she was one of the children in Lino Brocka's Wanted: Perfect Mother (1970) and one of the street children in Mga Anghel na Walang Langit (1970).

At age 12, Gina was tapped for lead roles in
Robina (1971) and Mag-inang Ulila (1971). In 1973, she did Cofradia, a remake of Gloria Romero starrer.

In the late 70s and 80s, Gina went on to star in many of the
Philippines’ most acclaimed films.

Gina won as Best Child Actress at the
Film Academy of the Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) for Kaibigan kong Sto. Niño (1967) and received a similar trophy from the Citizens' Council for Mass Media (CCMM) for Wanted: Perfect Mother (1970).

Gina received her second FAMAS award for Best Supporting Actress for
Biktima (1990). She was also Best Supporting Actress at the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for Brutal (1980). She has won the URIAN four times, as best actress for Brutal 1980), Salome (1981) and Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1985); and as best supporting actress for Biktima (1990). The Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) gave her the best supporting actress award twice, fo Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit (1984) and for Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina? (1990). At the 1991 Catholic Mass Media Awardss (CMMA), she scored an unprecedented feat by winning Best Actress for Biktima (1990) and Best Supporting Actress for Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina? (1990).

From: wikipedia

Left- Bandana (1968)- Stars Susan Roces, Romeo Vasquez, Lourdes Medel, Dante Rivero, Caridad Sanchez, Mary Walter, Nello Nayo and Gina Alajar ad Roderick Paulate) / Directed by Armando De Guzman

Right- Donata (1968)- Stars Lolita Rodriguez, Bert Le Roy, Jr., Gina Pareno, Bella Flores, Naty Santiago,Rey Tomenes, Lillian Laing and Gina Alajar as the young Donata/ Directed by Tony Cayado

Left- Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969)- Stars Luis Gonzales, Gloria Romero, Rosa Mia, Vilma Santos and Gina Alajar as Irene/ Directed by Eddie Garcia

Right- Si Darna at ang Planetman (1969)- Stars Vic Vargas, Gina Pareno, Boots Anson-Roa, Cesar Ramirez, Bella Flores, Boy Alajar and Gina Alajar as Narda/ Directed by Marcelino Navarro

Wanted: Perfect Mother (1970)- Stars Dante Rivero, Boots Anson-Roa and Liza Lorena/ with Caridad Sanchez, Mary Walter, Etang Discher/ Gina Alajar, Ariosto Reyes, Jr., Arnold Gamboa and Snooky/ Directed by Lino Brocka

Mga Anghel na Walang Langit (1970)- Stars Lorna Tolentino, Zernan Manahan, Gina Alajar, Roderick (Paulate), Salvador Jose, Beth Malongat/ Directed by Armando De Guzman

Robina (1971)- Stars Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales, Aurora Salve, Zandro Zamora, Rodolfo 'Boy' Garcia, Lucita Soriano, Von Serna and Gina Alajar in the title role/ Directed by Mar S. Torres

Mag-inang Ulila (1971)- Stars Gloria Sevilla, Aurora Salve, Zando Zamora, Bella Flores and Gina ALajar/ Directed by Jose de Villa

Brutal- (1980)- Stars Amy Austria, Gina Alajar, Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan, Johnny Delgado, Perla Bautista, Jonee Gamboa, Nello Nayo/ Directed byMarilou Diaz-Abaya

Left- Diboryada (1980)- Stars Gina Alajar/ Directed by Elwood Perez

Right- High School Scandal (1981)- Stars Gina Alajar, Sandy Andolong, Ting Jocson, Greggy Liwag/ Directed by Gil Portes

Wild (1981)- Stars Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar, Ricky Belmonte, Manny Luna, Jaime Fabregas/ Directed by Danila Cabreira

Left- Caught in the Act (1981)- Stars Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar, Amy Austria and Phillip Salvador/ Directed by Lino Brocka

Right- City After Dark (1969)- Stars Charito Solis, Alma Moreno, Lorna Tolentino, Rio Locsin, Cherie Gil, Gina Alajar, Orestes Ojeda, Bernardo Bernardo and William Martinez / Directed by Ishmael Bernal

I Confess (1981)- Stars Christopher de Leon, Gina Alajar and Alma Moreno/ Directed byRomy Suzara

Left- Playgirl (1981)- Stars Charito Solis, Phillip Salvador, Al Tantay, Gabby Concepcion, Jimi Melendez and Gina Alajar in the title role/ Directed by Mel Chionglo

Right- Salome (1981)- Stars Johnny Delgado, Dennis Roldan and Gina Alajar as Salome/ Directed by Laurice Guillen


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