By BEN TINSLEY
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Before the late Jack B. Tinsley (above) became
the award-winning executive editor of the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram, he played a police officer in the
sci-fi movie, the 4D Man.
Official poster for the 1959 movie
4D Man, starring, among others,
JACKSONVILLE — I have, for most of my life, been haunted by a 1959 movie titled “4D Man.” It stars such cinematic giants as Lee Meriwether and Patti Duke – and, believe it or not, my father, the late Jack B. Tinsley. I have only recently been able find a copy of it to watch.
My Dad – a former Fort Worth Star-Telegram Executive Editor who led that paper to two Pulitzer prices in the 1980s – had told me since I was a small child how he had a part as a police officer in this movie.
Every time Dad told me about the flick, I would pester him with incessant questions. After all, I always found the coolest part to be that my Dad had actually appeared in a movie.
A MOVIE! A MOVIE! A MOVIE! Dad was a member of the cast of a movie! How awesome was that?
“Wow, Dad,” I would constantly say. “Do you have a copy of it? Can I see it? What else can you tell me about the movie? Why didn’t you go on to become a Hollywood star?”
This barrage of questions would usually prompt my Dad to back out of our conversation, providing me with none of the answers I sought.
My head would usually be about to explode at this point. Why couldn’t Dad tell me any more?
Now, I had seen Dad perform as an actor before. Before he graduated from Sam Houston State University (before I was born,) he majored in Theater there. And actually, years later, Dad would return to SHSU and deliver a monolog or two during some type of theater alumni command performance.
To me, a movie was the next logical progression for “My Dad The Actor.”
Finding the 4D Man film became more and more important to me after my Dad died of an aortic aneurysm in 2004.
I could find no copy of the film among Dad’s effects, so I went online and started scouring the Internet for it.
4D Man, which was reissued at some point under the alternate title “Master Of Terror” was a 1959 independent film with an original screenplay written by Jack H. Harris. It was directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.
The plot revolves around a scientist who builds an amplifier that allows any object to transition into a 4th dimensional, or “4D” state.
The upside to being in this state is you can walk through walls like a ghost.
The downside is, while you’re walking through walls, you’re also losing your life force at the same time. This forces the villain of the piece to begin sucking life force out of innocent people – like some kind of vampire.
As you probably can imagine, the story doesn’t end well.
It took me nearly 40 years to find a copy of this film. I finally found it, purchased a copy online, and watched it.
And savored it.
Dad played a cop in just one scene. He didn’t have any lines. But he was very prominent. He looked great in his uniform.
There’s no doubt it was him. Dad always had movie star looks as a young man. He had this amazing square jaw, and not an ounce of fat on his body.
The camera loved Dad. It lingered on him all throughout this scene. (Which was weird because other people had lines, but it was like Dad was the most interesting thing on which the cameraman could focus.)
Somebody else must have thought so, too. Despite being pretty much a glorified extra, Dad is specifically mentioned as a cast member on the imdb.com website.
Here’s a portion of the cast list:
• Jack H. Harris – man in Nightclub (uncredited)
• Dean Newman – Dr. Brian Schwartz (uncredited)
• Jack Tinsley – Policeman (uncredited.)
So basically, my Dad stole an entire scene in a Patti Duke movie primarily on the strength of his good looks. He had no lines. He said absolutely nothing during the movie.
But he still ended up listed as a member of the cast on IMDB.
Good JOB, Dad!
Ben Tinsley is a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter with over 25 years in the journalism industry. He can be contacted by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or called at 903-586-2236.