Portsmouth Premieres Hollywood Film
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

Bette Davis as Catherine the Great /SeacoastNH.com
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Historic Portsmouth #251 

It is rumored that seacoast author Dan Brown might hold a private screening of "Angels & Demons" at the Portsmouth Music Hall next month. Brown is an executive producer of the movie based on his novel. That reminds us of a star-studded Hollywood premiere here half a century earlier. (continued below)


In 1959 the film "John Paul Jones" opened at the Colonial Theatre in Market Square. Despite rumors, neither hero Robert Stack nor his co-star Bette Davis showed up for the gala event, the first major fundraiser for the newly formed Strawbery Banke Inc., Davis sent her soon-to-be-divorced husband Gary Merrill instead. The two had previously starred in the film "All About Eve". Merrill shocked and delighted the Portsmouth elite when he appeared onstage in a tuxedo and short pants. Singer Jerry Vale performed and Gov. and Mrs. Wesley Powell attended. The black-tie event raised over $5,000. Today that figure might not cover the bar tab. (Courtesy author’s collection, Columbia Pictures poster)

VISIT OUR John Paul Jones section

John Paul Jones poster 1959/ SeacoastNH.com

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John Paul Jones poster 1959 / SeacoastNH.com