Several months ago here at Bright Lights After Dark, co-blogger Alan Vanneman was at pains to recall the name of a 3-D Western he saw some 50 years ago in which a character spat tobacco juice into the audience. After much diligent research, we are happy to report an answer to Alan’s question. The following is from Michael J. Weldon’s Psychotronic Video Guide, and refers to the 1953 production, Fort Ti:
“George Montgomery stars as a captain during the French and Indian War. This is the first 3-D film in which an actor spits at the audience (The Charge at Feather River, released a few months later, has a similar scene). The Columbia release also used the first 3-D matte paintings, and spears, muskets, cannons, and tomahawks seem to fly out of the screen. It’s not a great western but has some of the best 3-D effects.”
Yes, there is still some uncertainty over whether Alan saw Fort Ti or The Charge At Feather River, but in either event we owe our thanks to Fort Ti‘s director, William Castle (above), who came up with the tobacco juice idea first. Herr Castle went on to direct many more experiments in audience interactivity (Mr. Sardonicus, The Tingler, 13 Ghosts) for which we are, indeed, eternally grateful.