Raymie movie 1960 starring David Ladd

Raymie (1960) – A Lost Movie Treasure Recovered!

I saw Raymie at the Busselton Drive-in when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I loved it. It is one of my most cherished childhood movie memories. Not once have I come across any trace of the film since. Not on TV, not on VHS, not on DVD. Then, a couple of months ago, a breakthrough!

I stumbled upon an “unofficial” Raymie home page: http://www.barthsburgery.com/fanpages/raymie60.htm

I zinged off an email to the Louisiana-based website owner, Troy, who it turns out is part of a web community devoted to preserving and archiving old films and TV series. Raymie is one of the films he has salvaged. He mailed me a DVD free of charge, adding that he had “a great story about the film” – and indeed he did. There’s no one better to tell it than Troy, so here it is, in his words:

A little history about Raymie (1960): Directed by Frank McDonald who did many westerns including some with Roy Rogers. It stars John Agar, Charles Winninger (one of my favorite actors), Julie Adams, and David Ladd as ‘Raymie’.

I remember seeing Raymie (1960) when I was a kid sometime in the late 1960’s. I saw it on television.

I’ve always been a great fan of films and television shows and when the Internet came into widespread use, I found a large community of other people who were fans of film.

With the advent of VHS tapes (and later DVDs) up into the 1990s, most movies had now become available to enjoy. Television shows were a different story. Most television shows have not been released (especially the early shows) and they probably never will be commercially released.

On the Internet, we shared information about old films and remembered our favorites and we created a list of films that were not available. Raymie (1960) was one of those ‘favorite childhood films’ of mine. Check it out on IMDb. From the director and crew, down through the cast members, this is Hollywood Gold!

Based on the research I’ve done, I believe the reason the film was never released [on VHS or DVD] was because of a dispute between the estate of Jerry Lewis and the estate of the Ladd family (and also the studio) over the music rights to the film. None of the parties have acknowledged this fact, so we can’t say for sure. But they have ‘hinted’ that this was the reason.

I began setting up web sites in honor of these old films and television shows to get the word out for anyone who had information about a film or knew where to get a copy. The web sites have been very successful in locating films and receiving information about them.

A little history:
Back in the late 1960’s and 70’s, movies were passed around between television stations on 16mm film. The television stations had a machine called a Telecine that would play the film ‘live’ and broadcast it over the air. Do you remember watching movies during that era and the movie would stop playing and a message would come up on the screen, “Technical difficulties – we’ll be right back”? Usually that would mean the film got jammed (or worse broke) in the machine and the tech had to re-thread the machine and get it started back up. The good old days!

Television station archive vaults would turn out to be a great treasure trove for old films and television shows.

In the early 2000s, a fellow who worked at a television station in New Jersey contacted me and said he had a 16mm print of Raymie (1960) that he had found while cleaning out the station’s archive room. The television station was doing away with the archive room because 16mm films were obsolete. (Movies at that time were being passed around between television stations via video tape. Today movies are passed around via digital transfer.)

To make a long story short, I acquired the film and sent it off to a friend in Michigan where it was digitally transferred. When I got the digital transfer back, I created the master for the DVD. This was back in the early days so this film is mastered in mpeg2. Due to the limitations of mpeg2 (in order to get the absolute highest quality) this film comes to you on two DVD-ROMs. Maybe one day I’ll get the film out and re-master it
in mpeg4 onto one disk.

Hope you enjoy the film as much as we do!

Raymie movie promo poster from 1960

Well, with over 50 years having elapsed since I saw Raymie as a kid, I watched it again last Saturday. Interestingly – actually, some might say depressingly – I have found when re-watching movies I loved as a child that the assessments of my young and old selves generally align! And so it was with Raymie.

I have always had a vivid recall of the beginning of the film. Raymie (David Ladd, son of Alan) scrawls his name in the seaside sand with a stick, and a wave then erases it (a startlingly predictive metaphor, in hindsight!). I put on the DVD and the scene played out just as it had in my head all these years. It was gratifying and reassuring to have a memory of something so distant and special verified like this.

My recollection of the rest was blurred and skeletal, but as I watched, the shape of the narrative and the mood of the film were as familiar as an old friend. Few reading this will have seen Raymie or will ever see it, so I won’t elaborate in detail. It’s a simple, endearing little tale of a fishing-mad kid who spends every spare moment on the local pier. He dreams of catching the legendary Old Moe, a 6 foot barracuda. When he finally hooks the great fish, it dawns on him that the dream was more important than its realisation. He does not want to end Old Moe’s life and destroy the legend, so he cuts his line. That was poignant for me as a child, and again all these years later.

I’ve often pondered on why I was so taken with the film. Sure, I identified with the Raymie character – that was obvious, since I, too, was obsessed with fishing and dreamt of landing The Big One. But why did it stay with me through the decades?

A second viewing 5 decades after the first and I now have my answer: the film is well written, performed and shot, and emotionally engaging. David Ladd is terrific as Raymie, irresistibly endearing. But he’s not a cutsie kid. He’s serious and earnest. He’s lost his father in the Korean War, which adds some pathos. The narrative is well put together. There’s a harmless villain to provide some conflict (a crotchety old fisherman who tries to have Raymie banned from the pier for being a nuisance). There’s a sweet, wise old elder to provide balance, who takes Raymie under his wing. There’s a bit of a love story as a side-serve to the main narrative involving Raymie’s pretty widowed mother and a Lothario whom she tames through valuing herself and refusing to compromise. This is one of several muted moral strands woven into the story. The takeaway values are self-belief, working to make dreams happen, and respect for others regardless of gender, age or colour. But most important of all, the movie has heart.

There’s some hokey stuff that would have sailed over my head as a kid. One of the pier fishermen hooks what looks like a school shark underwater, but in a subsequent cut appears to be a much larger and scarier Great White. Some of the small fish brought up the side of the pier by the fishermen are obviously dead. And poor Old Moe looks like a piece of wood cut to shape! If anything, these low budget elements only add to the charm of the film.

I thank Troy for retrieving Raymie from oblivion, and for his willingess to share his bounty with me. My yearning to be reacquainted with this luminous segment of my childhood aside, I think there is value in preserving cultural artifacts as Troy and his web community are doing. Raymie may be only one of a myriad family films of the 50s/60s and all but forgotten, but it reflects the innocence and values of its time and that’s worth something. Generations pass, but their art provides a permanent record of their view of the world. It matters. Movies and TV series form a vital part of our history and should be preserved where possible. History is our collective memory, our means of gauging change and following our progression to now. Compromise that, and our present makes less sense than ever.

PS: Troy is currently searching for a copy, in any form, of the 1977-78 TV series Thunder. If you happen upon this post and can assist, please contact me (or Troy direct – see link above).

PPS: Great news! Raymie is now available for free download from https://rarefilmm.com/2019/09/raymie-1960/

For complete list of film reviews published on this site see Movie Review Archives

21 thoughts on “Raymie (1960) – A Lost Movie Treasure Recovered!”

  1. Could I possibly get a copy of Raymie from you? Like you, I’m a huge fan of classic movies (the 1930’s – 1960’s), especially the sweet, family type. I’m also a fan of Alan and David Ladd. I’ve seen all of David’s movies he made as a child except Raymie. I love the Raymie theme sung by Jerry Lewis (I’m also a big fan of his) so I would love to have a copy of the movie, Raymie. Thank you.

  2. I live in Owatonna, MN. (Which is in south central MN.) Do you have any information about my getting a copy of “Raymie”? Anything you can tell me would be a great help. Thank you.


    1. Since you’re in the States, Deborah, probably quickest and cheapest for you to contact Troy, who resides in Florida (his Raymie fan site link is in my post above).

      A second option: keep an eye on https://rarefilmm.com/ – the site owner, Jon, tells me he’s going to be posting Raymie soon, and when he does you’ll be able to download it directly.


  3. Thank you so much for your much needed information regarding the movie, “Raymie.” You’re a doll! Take care.


  4. Aw – thanks Deborah (I think). I’ve been called many things, but never a doll!

    I’ll see if I can find out when Jon is making Raymie available for download and get back to you on that (just cos I’m curious to know what you’ll call me then!) 🙂

    Do let me know how you go getting a copy from Troy.


  5. Thank you again! I guess we’ll just have to see what name I’ll call you when I’ve found a copy of “Raymie.” I can assure you it will be something yummy! You’ve been a great help. And so kind.


  6. Hi again, Deborah. Just contacted Jon and he says he will be uploading Raymie to his site this weekend. So, you should be able to download it then!

    Do let me know whether you are able to download it successfully.


  7. Thank you so much for letting me know that Jon will be uploading Raymie this weekend. I will certainly let you know if I am able to download it. You are such an angel for helping me with this movie! Blessings!


  8. I would love to see this movie. I wasn’t born until ’66. But my parents saw it while dating… and well they decided to name me Ramie… after David Ladd’s character in this movie. My mom left out the Y as I have two in my last name. Great info. Sometimes I thought my parents had made the movie up!

  9. Back in the 1960s, my family lived in Mount Prospect IL, northwest of Chicago. A recent post to one of the online Chicago nostalgia groups to which I belong, recalled a popular program on WGN TV Channel 9 called “Family Classics” with host Frazier Thomas. The program featured films meant exclusively for family entertainment. My memories included this 1960 film, “Raymie,” which I had watched any number of times aired on this program.

    As I reflected on my memory of the film, having not seen it again in all these years since maybe 1967, I only recalled that toward the end of the movie, the boy, Raymie, cuts the line and sets the big fish free. I don’t remember experiencing any particular feelings of pathos, moral lessons, etc. at the time, only that the film had indeed left something of a positive impression on me, most notably for the ending.

    I went looking online for a copy of the film on DVD only to discover that this wonderful cinematic work was not to be found! I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the movie may have gone largely undervalued for the reason that for such a late film (1960), it had been filmed in black and white and neither produced in wide screen format, possibly intended for television more so than for theater release. In any event, I hope a copy might one day be found that is suitable for remastering and release on DVD.

  10. Hi Marshall. Thanks for relating your personal ‘Raymie’ experience!

    Yes, I suspect you’re right regarding the reasons this lovely little film slipped into oblivion, but at least it is now preserved for people to watch if they really want to (see Comments thread above).

    All the best!

  11. Hello R.

    Like you, I had not seen this captivating film in more than half a century, since the mid-1960s when I was in my very early teens, but watched it again from the link provided on the Rarefilm Website you posted.

    In your article above, you mentioned having pondered why you were so taken with the film and pretty much summarize by concluding that the film “has heart.” You couldn’t be more succinct and I couldn’t agree more for the film does indeed touch the heart and one is deeply moved by the subtlety, sensitivity and humanity portrayed on screen. After viewing the film again after all these years, I found myself in love with something within me which I can’t quite express in mere words. Only the theme song seems to touch on the feeling:

    “. . .So be filled with wonder and in your dreams
    When day is done
    You’ll know Raymie loves for


    By the way, while researching all things “Raymie” online, I happened upon a Website that rates baby names’ popularity over time. It charted the name, “Raymie” as having been popular from approximately 1961, peaking then and again around 1963 until about 1968–or thereabouts. Interestingly, this seems to coincide with my memory of having seen the film on television. Here is a link to that Website:


  12. Hi again, Marshall, and thanks for your heartfelt comments. I’ve come across very few people who have seen ‘Raymie’, but those that have all seem to have the kinds of responses you and I had on seeing it again decades after a viewing in childhood. It’s such a pity this little gem will probably never be seen by many folk. I think kids today, given the chance, would be just as taken with it as we were.

    Ta for the baby names link – has to be more than coincidence! Maybe a lot more folk of our vintage saw and were charmed by the film than might be expected.


  13. Hello again, Ross,

    Re the baby names link, by clicking on the chart at the peaks, one can obtain a readout on the year. These seem to have occurred in 1961 (the highest), again in 1963 and yet again in the 1966-67 period. 1961 makes sense where Raymie was first released in theatres in July, 1960. I found a timeline online for the television program, Family Classics which debuted in the greater Chicago WGN Television viewing area in September 1962 on Friday evenings and became hugely popular, notably due to the well known television personality and host, Frazier Thomas. Raymie was featured on the program on Friday evening, 14 Dec 1962. Family Classics again featured the film on Friday evening 1 Jan 1965. The program timeline unfortunately does not show any further airings of the movie after that date.

    It would indeed perhaps be most interesting and telling to know how many children were born to parents who lived in that particular viewing area during those times owing to the popularity of the program and the size of the audience.

  14. Well, through your research I guess we’re some way towards supporting the hypothesis that the showing of the film resulted in a mini-surge in kids named Raymie! Don’t suppose we’ll ever know for sure, but I buy it!

    Ta for posting your further findings, Marshall!


  15. Indeed, Ross. I was a bit puzzled that the film did not again show up in Family Classics’ listings past 1965, though the program continued even well past host Frazier Thomas’ unexpected passing in 1981. By that time, of course, many more homes were equipped with color television sets and black and white programming was beginning to fade away so that may account for it. Of course, too, the film itself may have begun to wear with repeated screening, handling and being passed from one television station to another.

    That notwithstanding I am hopeful that some of the “Raymies” out there may Google the origin of their name, find this Website in the process and share correspondence to shed some light on who they are, where they were born and perhaps their personal stories of how they came to be named “Raymie.”

    BTW, I forgot to mention earlier that have since I acquired a DVD copy of Raymie from the RareFilm Website.

    As I viewed this beloved gem of a film again after so many years, it occurred to me that if any film should deserve to be remade, this is it. Perhaps David Ladd, now 75, might play the role of R. J. Parsons, Raymie’s friend and mentor. On second thought, though, given Hollywood’s tendencies to “wokeness” and political correctness, I can only imagine with a tinge of horror at the thought of how the context might be reset, the
    characters re-imagined, the plot redrawn and the lines re-written so that I hesitate to even suggest the possibility.

    A dream, perhaps to remake the film as it was to those who remember and loved the original, but, in the end–given today’s cultural bent and corporate groupthink–like our celebrated film’s hero, I believe I would also cut the line.

  16. Hi again, Marshall, and ta for your interesting further comments.

    What a good idea, inviting other ‘Raymies’ to pop by and make contact. I wholeheartedly second your excellent suggestion.

    I also agree with your conclusion in relation to a current-day re-make that people who saw and loved the original would likely recoil in horror and cut the line (had to LOL at that!). I can’t even bear to think about what they’d do to this little treasure, which is very much of its time. It would be impossible now to recapture the innocence and basic moral values that underpin the original – any attempt to do so would likely come across as faux and unbearably sentimental in today’s world, or be subjected to the ‘woke’ treatment (yawn!). I reckon leave it as it is, but it would be wonderful if someone could come up with a pristine copy to be digitally remastered.

    I am certain that if kids today were to see ‘Raymie’ – even a colourised version if that had to be – most would be as enchanted as we were all those years ago.


  17. Hello Ross,

    It has been a while. That you may know, I periodically look online hoping to find one or more 16mm copies of Raymie to show up for sale. In the meantime, I downloaded a soundtrack copy of the Raymie theme song performed by Jerry Lewis from YouTube, converting it to Mp3 format and noted that where the film clip and song track in Mp4 is posted twice, together the two posts have hosted over 6000 views! I found that quite interesting.

    I’m no fan of the late Jerry Lewis. His comedy, to me, seemed silly and sophomoric. I’m not fond of Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell for the same reason. But on top of that, from what I have read of JL, he was something of an @$$hole in real life–not a likeable legacy.

    Still, the song itself is captivating, moving with a touch of mystery to its lyrics. Notably, advertising for the film in its day made much of Jerry Lewis having performed the theme song–I suppose he or his agent insisted upon his billing in the runup to the film’s release. There appears no evidence I have found so far of the soundtrack having been released as a single or as part of any album and I know of no other covers for the song since. I suppose the film’s budget only allowed for the one theme only and no other music of note appear throughout the movie–not enough material from which to release a full soundtrack album obviously. What is more, the song’s instrumental lead-in is somewhat lengthy and unremarkable while the main theme with lyrics is relatively short by any measure–no pun intended. Unfortunately, like the digital copy from the 16mm film itself, the clip’s ending note(s) are also truncated. Oh, well. Like you, I hope a more pristine copy of Raymie turns up one of these days–like a beloved but long lost friend. One can hope, anyway.

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