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World Premiere of Tommy (1975)

Jim Ruddy

Sound | 1975

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  •  Fans gather outside the Inwood Theatre in Dallas to attend the world premiere of Tommy (1975) 
  •  Two performers swing in front of the theater marquee 
  •  Actress Ann-Margret arrives at the premiere 
  •  Ann-Margret plays a pinball machine in the lobby 
  •  A reporter interviews audience members about their reactions to the film (Check out that 1970s fashion!) 
 
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This unedited footage—taped by Jim Ruddy for KDFW 4 News, then the CBS affiliate in Dallas—captures the world premiere of Tommy at the Inwood Theatre in Dallas on March 13, 1975. Based on The Who’s 1969 rock opera album of the same name, the film stars Oliver Reed, Ann-Margret, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and The Who’s lead singer, Roger Daltrey. According to the Brownsville Herald, promoters chose Dallas as the site of the film’s premiere because the city gave Ann-Margret her start in show business with the film State Fair (1962), and because Dallas “is a new and unspoiled scene.” In this footage, fans line up in front of the theater hoping to attend the premiere. Some 2,000 hopefuls were turned away after the theater reached its 1,000-person capacity. Next, Ann-Margret arrives. Following the screening, a reporter interviews departing audience members about their thoughts on the film. Also included in the clip is Ann-Margret’s attempt (and failure) to play a pinball machine.