Cast & Crew
Woodland Tavern owner George Madison resides in a house nearby his modest business with his wife Clara and their two children, seventeen-year-old Ruth and young Jimmy in Portland, Oregon. Under pressure from salesmen Spud Lennox, George installs pinball machines at the tavern. Although the city is known for its safety, a violent crime syndicate with ties to big-city bosses has moved into town to start a gang war with rival pinball and gambling operators. Having beaten up the former crime boss' lackey, syndicate thugs Larry and Joe report to their boss, Phillip Jacman, the names of businesses containing the pinball machines. After Jacman orders them to pressure George to put more pin ball machines in his tavern, the syndicate pickets his establishment until Larry and Joe threaten to throw acid in Ruth's eyes. He then agrees to run the business under Jacman's direction and split the profits fifty-fifty. A short while later, the tavern is crowded with business each night thanks to the machines, but Clara does not approve of the gambling and begs George not to let the hoodlums ruin their business or their lives. To rid his business of gang involvement, George arranges a police raid at the tavern. However, the police arrive early and find nothing wrong in their routine check. Desperate, George goes to Portland's former crime boss, who explains that the new syndicate, once established, will expand their business to drug trafficking and prostitution. Meanwhile, outside the Madison house, when Ruth refuses to go to a club or into the woods alone with boyfriend Benny, the frustrated young man forces her to kiss him. Ruth runs from the car, bumping into Joe, who tries to rape her. Alerted by Ruth's screams, George punches Joe and in the ensuing struggle takes his gun and prepares to shoot the rapist, but Larry stops him. Ruth has run to the house, where Clara comforts her and then demands to George that the family move away. George orders her to take the children to her mother's and decides to remain behind and uncover the criminal ring. Meanwhile, Jacman, fearing that Joe will talk, orders Larry to kill Joe. Within a few days, as Clara and the children prepare to leave, Benny visits. Ruth thanks him for his apologetic letter and promises to return to town for the fraternity dance in a few weeks. Learning that union labor leader Alfred Grey is organizing an investigation into the ring, George meets with him and reporters Speed Bromley and Ted Carl, who place a wire on George to record evidence to use against the gang in a grand jury hearing. After Chapman tests George by sending him on a narcotics pick-up, George is accepted into the syndicate and assigned to make collections. After he delivers the taped conversations back to Grey and the others, George receives numerous warnings from them about the dangerous nature of the job, but George is determined to collect enough evidence to destroy the whole syndicate. One night, when Clara calls George to warn him that Ruth is coming to the house to attend a party, George hangs up on her before she can finish. Worried about her husband and daughter, Clara returns to Portland immediately. That night, George attends a party for Mrs. Stoneway, who has just been flown in to run a high-end escort service. Meanwhile, prostitute Iris, having felt the wire on George while dancing with him, informs Chapman of the surveillance. Chapman sends his men to search for the tapes at George's house, where they find Ruth and kidnap her. George is then abducted and taken to the warehouse headquarters. Meanwhile, Grey and the others play the tapes for a large group of union labor men who decide to raid the warehouse that night. Back at the warehouse, George refuses to give Chapman information despite repeated beatings. However, when the thugs bring Ruth before him and threaten to blind her with acid, George tells them that he has buried the tapes. As the thugs untie him, George runs with Ruth into the darkened warehouse and hides. The unionists arrive just in time to fight the thugs, enabling Ruth and George to return home to safety, with the promise of the city's peace restored.
Francis De Sales
John H. Burrows
Bertha H. French
Lloyd L. Garnell
Fred H. Messenger
Lindsley Parsons Jr.
Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)
He was born on April 5, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a family of modest means, his father was a railroad worker and mother a homemaker. His childhood impressions of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney paid off when he won a local talent contest at 17, and that led to his first gig at 17 at a the prize was a one week engagement at Jackie Heller's Carousel night club, Pittsburgh's hottest downtown spot in the day. The taste was there, and after high school Frank enrolled in the Carnegie-Mellon Tech School of Drama did hone his craft.
His career was interrupted briefly when he entered the US Army in 1953. He spent two years in Special Services as an entertainer. Once he got out, Frank tried his luck in Hollywood. He made his film debut in a forgettable William Holden vehicle The Proud and Profane, but his fortunes picked up soon when he and when he hooked up with American Internation Pictures (AIP). With his charasmatic sneer and cocky bravado that belied his slender, 5' 7" frame, Frank made a great punk villian in a series of entertaining "drive-in" fare: Hot Rod Girl (1956), Dragstrip Girl, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and of course the classic Portland Expose (all 1957).
By the '60s, he graduated to supporting roles in bigger Hollywood fare: Where the Boys Are, Bells Are Ringing (both 1960), Ring of Fire, and his biggest tole to date, that of Iggy the bank robber in Disney's hugely popular That Darn Cat (1965). Better still, Frank found some parts on television: Naked City, Combat!, The Untouchables, and this would be the medium where he found his greatest success. Little did he realize that when his skeletal physique donned those green nylon tights and cackled his high pitch laugh that Frank Gorshin would be forever identified as "the Riddler," one of Batman's main nemisis. For two years (1966-68), he was a semi-regular on the show and it brought him deserved national attention.
By the '70s, Frank made his Broadway debut, as the star of Jimmy, a musical based on the life of former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. He spent the next two decades alternating between the stage, where he appeared regularly in national touring productions of such popular shows as: Promises, Promises, Prisoner of Second Street, and Guys and Dolls; and nightclub work in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
He recently found himself in demand for character roles on televison: Murder, She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and film: Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995), and the quirky comedy Man of the Century (1999). Yet his biggest triumph was his two year stint (2002-2004) as George Burns in the Broadway smash, Say Goodnight Gracie. It ran for 364 performances and he received critical raves from even the toughest New York theater critics, proving undoubtly that he was a performer for all mediums. He is survived by his wife Christina; a son, Mitchell; grandson Brandon and sister Dottie.
by Michael T. Toole
Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)
Voice-over narration introduces Portland as the "city of rose," untouched by organized crime until a syndicate tries to infiltrate the lives of citizens. Narration also closes the film, explaining that after Senate Permanent Subcommittee Investigation hearings headed by Sen. John McClellan exposed the syndicate, peace was restored in Portland. As noted in the Variety review, the hearings had been held earlier in 1957, involving prominent members of the Pacific Northwest.
Hollywood Reporter news items state that Barry Sullivan was considered for a role and add Dale Van Sickle, Evelynn Eaton, Fay Roope, Hugh Lawrence, Charles Maxwell, Ralph Newton, Carol Lund, Maxine Gates, Kort Falkenberg and Robert Crosson to the cast; however, their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Memoes found on the PCA file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library stated that direct references to prostitution and abortion should be removed from the film. In the released film, women portrayed as prostitutes instead are referred to as "B-girls."
Portland Expose was shot on location in Portland, Oregon. According to a August 13, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, after nearly twenty Washington and Oregon exhibitors refused to show the film, citing pressure from interest groups, producer Lindsley Parsons contacted Sen. McClellan. The outcome of any further investigation is unknown.