Mike Todd and Around the World in 80 Days
“Many people have lost a horse race,” Mike Todd said. “I lost an
entire racetrack." At one point in his life, Todd bought the Del Mar
racetrack near San Diego. He got a hot tip on a horse, bet the value
of the track, and lost it.
Todd produced 17 Broadway shows, perfected Cinerama, then
produced his own 70mm filming process that he named Todd-AO.
After that, with no movie experience, using all of his money and
what he could raise, he produced Around the World in 80 Days.
Mike Todd said;
"During the many business risks I’ve taken, I’ve been broke many
times. But I’ve never been poor.”
At the Academy Awards, his movie was up for Best Picture
against, The 10 Commandments, Friendly Persuasion, Giant, & The
King and I. Sitting next to his bride of six weeks, Elizabeth Taylor
(age 24), Mike (47) heard his movie announced as the winner.
Is Todd’s movie the best film? Maybe not, but for sure it’s the
largest and most unique production. It ran for 15 months to full
houses at reserved seat performances in large cities, before its
general release. It cost 6 million dollars to produce and made 16
More than 40 famous actors make cameo appearances in the movie.
Today’s audiences won’t know most of them. But in 1956 audiences
did, making each scene a surprise because the unique, animated
credits, produced by Saul Bass (Psycho), were held until the end.
A Screen Actors Guild representative looked at the call sheet and
said, “Good heavens, Todd. You’ve made extras out of all the stars
“The first time I met Mike, he kept me waiting in an office for an
hour. Then came bursting in, grabbed my arm, rushed me down the
hall to another room, and plopped me into a chair. He stood over me
for an hour, pacing back and forth, telling me why we should be
married, never giving me a chance to speak. When he was making
his movie, I loved watching him talk on three telephones at once,
raising money for that week’s salaries on the movie.”
A year after the release of ... 80 Days, Mike flew on his private
plane, The Liz, from LA to New York, to receive a Showman of the
Kirk Douglas said;
“Since Liz had a cold and wasn’t going, Mike asked me to go with
him. My wife said she ‘felt strange’ about the upcoming flight, so I
didn’t go. Driving back from a party, we heard the news on the radio
that Mike’s plane had crashed killing Mike and three others. I pulled
over to the side of the road where we sat for 30 minutes in silence.”
When traveling in Europe with Liz,
Mike Todd said,
“It’s a great feeling producing the Best Picture of the Year and being
married to Elizabeth Taylor.”
I followed Mike Todd's example by risking all my personal funds to
produce Forbidden Power. It won 32 first-place, international
awards, listed here: bit.ly/2maFOAj
See it on Amazon Prime here: https://amzn.to/3dxcitp