By the mid-50s, CinemaScope had done what it set out to do — help bring back some of the audiences lost to television. With TV still black and white and mono, 20th Century-Fox decreed that all their CinemaScope pictures would be color and stereo. The stereo rule didn’t last all that long, but they stuck to the color one.
B producer Robert Lippert approached Fox with the idea of having his Regal Films, Inc. produce a series of second features for the studio — two black and white CinemaScope pictures a month. Lippert wanted to combine the economy of black and white with the draw of CinemaScope. To get around Fox’s no-color, no-‘Scope policy, and to work around Fox’s fear that these low-budget films would damage the prestige of CinemaScope, a new name was cooked up: RegalScope.
RegalScope is black and white CinemaScope, nothing more. Lippert made around 50 RegalScope features between 1956 and 1959 — all of them cheap, most of them Westerns. These Westerns star folks like John Agar, Jim Davis, Beverly Garland and Forrest Tucker. One, Ambush At Cimarron Pass (1958) gave Clint Eastwood an early role.
Of course, eventually Fox would drop its color-‘Scope policy, paving the way for terrific black and white CinemaScope films like Forty Guns (1957), Sink The Bismark! (1960) and The Innocents (1961). And the RegalScope pictures? They’re hard to find, and when you do, it’s usually a pan-and-scan transfer that looks just awful.