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The following was e-mailed on 4/19/02:
From a Lucy Fan in Kankakee, Illinois:
Me again... Saw in the news that John Agar passed away last week. I met him at a nostalgia convention a couple of years ago, and he was very nice... He signed autographs, and I asked him if he remembered making "The Magic Carpet" with Lucy. He said she was a delight to work with, but that the movie was a real stinker!
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And he should know! The man made more "B" pictures than almost anyone... Yes, John Agar, Lucy's co-star in "The Magic Carpet," perhaps one of the worst movies of all time, died of emphysema on April 7, in a hospital in Burbank, CA. He was 81.
Agar went into the acting trade in the late 1940s after marrying Shirley Temple. The marriage did not last, but the career did, and Agar appeared in a handful of Hollywood classics, most of them Westerns with John Wayne. Among the most memorable are "Fort Apache," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," and the later "Chisum," "Big Jake" and "The Undefeated."
In between, Agar fashioned an entire career out of low-budget horror and science-fiction films such as "Revenge of the Creature," "Tarantula," "The Mole People" and "The Brain from Planet Arous."
In 1950 he was cast opposite Lucy in "The Magic Carpet," a fantasy adventure flick that was not supposed to be made at all. Columbia Studios president Harry Cohn reportedly assigned Lucy to make the film, knowing all along it was such dreck that she would never agree to do it. Her 1948 contract had called for the studio to star her in three films at a salary of $85,000 each. She had already completed "Miss Grant Takes Richmond" and "The Fuller Brush Girl," but S. Sylvan Simon, the producer of those comedies, had died suddenly, and Columbia did not have another good comedy in development. Cohn expected Lucy to reject "Magic Carpet," he could then cancel her contract -- and save $85,000! Lucy's friends tipped her off to Cohn's scheme (such practices were commonplace!), -- so she called his bluff and agreed to do the picture.
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