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Mike Todd and Around the World in 80 Days


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Mike Todd and Around the World in 80 Days

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Mike Todd and Around the World in 80 Days

  1. 1. 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 million. More than 40 famous actors make cameo appearances in the movie. Today’s audiences won’t know most of them. But in 1956 audiences
  2. 2. 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 in Hollywood.”
  3. 3. Elizabeth said; “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 Year award. 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: See it on Amazon Prime here: