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These Wilder Years

These Wilder Years(1956)

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The working titles of this film were Somewhere I'll Find Him, All Our Yesterdays and All Our Tomorrows. On January 31, 1955, a "Rambling Reporter" item in Hollywood Reporter noted that M-G-M wanted Susan Strasberg to play the role of "Suzie Keller." Hollywood Reporter announced on February 17, 1955 that the studio had purchased the story on 16 Feb, and that prior to that date, Helen Hayes and James Cagney had agreed to star. Hayes planned to give to proceeds from the role to the Mary MacArthur Polio Foundation, dedicated to her daughter. However, according to a March 14, 1955 Daily Variety announcement, Hayes never signed the contract and subsequently withdrew due to scheduling conflicts. Ralph Wheelwright, an M-G-M publicist, took temporary leave from his position in order to write the story, his first, for These Wilder Years, as noted in an March 11, 1955 Daily Variety article. In September 1955, Louella Parsons stated in her Los Angeles Examiner column that Debbie Reynolds had been cast as Suzie but, concerned about playing an unwed mother, planned to back out. Parsons suggested that actress Judy Jordon could step in for Reynolds.
       According to a March 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, some scenes were shot on location at the Kaiser Steel Mills in Fontana, CA. Although a Hollywood Reporter news item and production charts add Janet Lake and Don Burnett to the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Betty Lou Keim, Tom Laughlin and Michael Landon (1936-1991) made their feature film debuts in These Wilder Years. Landon appeared in several films in the late 1950s, then went on to co-star in the popular television series Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie.