Lee Sholem

Active - 1949 - 1972  |   Born - Jan 1, 1900   |   Genres - Action, Adventure, Western, Drama

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Lee T. Sholem joined the film business before World War II and emerged as a director of features immediately after the war. An action movie specialist who could shoot quickly around the worst personal and budgetary obstacles (hence his nickname, "Roll 'Em Sholem") who treated even the most juvenile story seriously, Sholem never aspired past B-movies and television, but had several opportunities within these restrictions to direct material that was widely seen, especially by younger viewers. These included the Sol Lesser-produced Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949) and its sequel, the theatrical film Superman and the Mole Men (1951), starring George Reeves as the Man of Steel, and numerous early episodes of the subsequent television series (Sholem and Tommy Carr were the two best directors the series had -- Phyllis Coates, who played Lois Lane, vividly recalled Sholem's directing of the episode "Night of Terror," in which she was accidently knocked out cold by an actor and revived by the director, so they could finish here scenes before her face swelled up), the Jungle Jim features Cannibal Attack and Jungle Man-Eaters (1954), and the science fiction thriller Tobor the Great (1954). His biggest cast was probably The Redhead from Wyoming (1952), with Maureen O'Hara and Alexander Scourby. Film work slowed down considerably for Sholem in the '60s, and he worked much more in television throughout the decade (his sole theatrical credit of consequence was Catalina Caper a 1967 comic thriller highlighted by some great performance clips of Little Richard). His last film was The Doomsday Machine (1972), an ultra-low-budget science fiction thriller starring former silent leading man Henry Wilcoxon.

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