|"The Man From Frisco": Film Highlights World War II Shipbuilding Achievements in Richmond
July 15, 2010
National Park Service to Screen “The Man from Frisco”: Film Highlights World War II Shipbuilding Achievements in Richmond
Join the National Park Service on Friday, July 23, for a special screening of The Man from Frisco (1944), an event sponsored by Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park and the Richmond Museum of History Association. The film is a fictional portrayal of the massive shipbuilding efforts spearheaded by Henry J. Kaiser during the war. A copy of the film was located after a world-wide search by Kaiser historian Steve Gilford.
When: 7 pm – 8:30 pm (6:30 pm boarding)
$5 donation to board ship
Directions to ship: In Richmond, take the Canal Blvd. exit off I-580 west.
The National Park Service will screen a 1944 feature film, “The Man from Frisco,” on Friday, July 23, on board the historic SS Red Oak Victory ship in Richmond, California. The film is a fictional portrayal of the massive shipbuilding efforts spearheaded by Henry J. Kaiser during the war. A copy of the film was located after a world-wide search by Kaiser historian Steve Gilford.
At the time of the film’s release, Henry J. Kaiser was already well known across the United States, and it was understood that this movie was actually a fictionalized account of his shipbuilding efforts in Richmond, California. Hollywood attention only added to the Kaiser mystique.
The screening on board the SS Red Oak Victory is particularly special because it takes place on board a victory ship built in the Richmond shipyards during World War II. The ship is part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, which celebrates the achievements of the men and women who worked in shipyards and other home front industries during the war, and is owned by the Richmond Museum of History Association, which is cosponsoring the film screening with the National Park Service.
The role of Kaiser was played by Michael O’Shea, an experienced actor who, although he never achieved true star status, had a busy career that lasted into the 1970s when, shortly before his death, he appeared in the TV series, Adam-12. The director of “The Man from Frisco” was a French import, Robert Florey. Florey’s lavish geometric dance production numbers in other films including the Marx Brothers’ 1929 film, The Cocoanuts, inspired Busby Berkeley. Florey’s influence on film was so great that in 1970 the French government awarded him The Legion of Honor for his contributions to the art of the motion picture. Unfortunately, there had been no place for a production number in “The Man from Frisco.” The other leading roles in “The Man from Frisco” were played by Gene Lockhart, Dan Duryea, and Anne Shirley.
“The Man from Frisco” screening comes during a separate World War II Home Front Film Festival that features six World War II-era films on board the SS Red Oak Victory. The festival is taking place through August 2010. Visit http://www.ssredoakvictory.com/calendar.htm for more information about the festival, or call 510-232-5050.
“The Man from Frisco” will be shown at 7 pm (6:30 pm boarding). The ship is located in historic Shipyard No. 3 (Port of Richmond) at the end of Canal Boulevard in Richmond. The film screening is free, and a donation of $5 to the Richmond Museum Association is requested as a boarding fee. Contributions go toward the Association’s ongoing restoration of the ship. Visitors can explore exhibits about the ship and enjoy snacks and beverages before the show. Historian Steve Gilford will provide an introduction before the film. For directions to the ship, visit http://www.ssredoakvictory.com/index.htm or call 510-237-2933.
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