Tuesday, April 8, 2014


On display in "The Theater" at this year's MONSTERPALOOZA was a collection of masks, including the famous Don Post Tor mask accompanied the original mold from which the masks were cast.

Monday, March 31, 2014


A regular event at Eliot Brodsky's MONSTERPALOOZA in Burbank, CA is the arrival of the GIRLS AND CORPSES magazine "Corpse-Mobile", a 1969 Cadillac hearse appropriately age-worn and complete with casket containing a morgue-load of monster babe goodness ready to be unleashed on the slavering zombie hordes -- otherwise known as the paying customers!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Well, I'm taking a few minutes for a breather here at the 2014 MONSTERPALOOZA in beautiful downtown Burbank, CA. Still looking for that fabled land of milk and honey I keep hearing about, I came in to Bob Hope Airport yesterday from SeaTac and went from the land of rain (it was raining like proverbial cats and dogs when I left) to the land of earthquakes (there was a 5.2 temblor that centered around the town of La Habra at about 8:00 PM).

Just came back from a 90 minute presentation by Bob and Kathy Burns and the wonderful crew who worked on his legendary Halloween yard shows back in the 60s and 70s. Many of these were filmed and Bob says so much so that a lot of footage was edited out for sheer length.

The highlight of the weekend so far (outside of chatting with Bob, Scott Essman, Anne Serling, Carla Laemmle, Bill Stout -- well, you get the idea) was the special 60th Anniversary CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON tribute panel presented by Essman featuring very special guests, Ricou Browning, Julie Adams, and Bob Burns. The presentation included a number of slide shows that showed many rare shots from the productions, including a never-before-seen 8mm "home movie" that was taken during the filming of REVENGE OF THE CREATURE. My pointy hat's off to Scott Essman (who had moderated a panel on stop-motion animation the night before) for this assemblage of what he called "deities" of the monster motion picture business. I couldn't agree with him more.

Here are a few scenes from "The Museum" exhibit:

Reproduced painting from "Rod Serling's Night Gallery".

Homage to Ray Harryhausen.

Beautiful repro of Ray's imaginative work.

Everybody's favorite pin head
Ricou Browning's in the house! Getting set for his panel discussion.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Scott Essman, the Prince of Promotion, is reporting that the last of the great Universal monster movies, THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), will be screening in its original 3D version this Sunday at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, California. Playing with it Universal's THE MUMMY. A super double-feature! Tickets are available HERE.

Those of you who can't see it in L.A. and are going to MONSTERPALOOZA in Burbank the following weekend will have a chance to see it Saturday night, March 29, at 8:30 PM. Info is HERE.

Friday, March 14, 2014


In the absence of social media and other instant communication methods available with today's modern technology, early movie advertising relied on mostly printed materials to publicize their new films. One of the prime methods to convey an upcoming release was the movie herald. Usually a folded, four-page sheet, heralds advertised a film in a manner much like the large posters that were seen outside theaters. Emblazoned with titles and typefaces and dramatic photo elements, these promotional devices were designed to interest and excite the viewer into spending a few hard-earned pennies on a trip to the movies.

The 1931 FRANKENSTEIN movie herald shown here is a rare example. It's scarcity makes it highly sought after by collectors. This particular specimen is currently up for bid at Heritage Auctions. It is listed in Very Good/Fine condition, but the folds, creases, tears and missing paper makes it certainly seem more like a Fair/Good grading. Nevertheless, it is expected to end up selling for $500 - $1000.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Barely a decade after movies became "talkies", MOTION PICTURE magazine was saluting the silent era and the stars that put Hollywood on the map forever. The Thanks for the Memories photo feature in the February 1941 issue depicts a number of actors and actresses who played in films during the day of the title card. Lon Chaney is seen at the bottom left on the page below. The scene is from THE MIRACLE MAN (1919), co-starring Betty Compson, who paired with Chaney on several pictures in the 1920's.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Making the rounds on various TUMBLR posts is this advertisement for BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. From "Thrill" to "Terror", the copy asks: "How much can your nerves stand?" Pictured along with Karloff is Dwight Frye and a pre-unraveled Elsa Lancaster that looks like it is from the well-known promo shot of her on a break sipping a cup of tea.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Jack Pierce adds the finishing touches to his re-creation of a 3,000 year-old mummy, played by Boris Karloff in Universal Pictures' THE MUMMY (1932).

Ninety-one years ago, on 16 February 1923, archaeologist Howard Carter entered a sealed tomb in Thebes and discovered what was not only the most amazing find in Egyptology, but in the entire field of archaeology as well.

Carter had unearthed the resting place of non other than fabled boy-King Tutankhamen. The sarcophagus wherein lay the King was fashioned from solid gold! A huge treasure trove was found inside the burial chamber that included more gold, jewelry and other precious metals. It was the find of the century,

But it seemed there was a price to pay for the defilement of the ancient laws that guarded the dead in their rock-hewn burial crypts called pyramids. Not long after the discovery of Tutankhamen and the subsequent removal of his mummified body and the possessions meant for his afterlife, mysterious deaths seemed to surround some of the people that had entered unbidden, into the tomb. History has since proven that these deaths were more coincidence than curse, but nevertheless the thought remained that somehow bad luck had befallen Howard Carter and his crew. It was this so-called curse that fueled the headlines of papers across the world for a time. Still, it was not enough for the continued plunder of Egypt's noble and glorious past that continues to this day.

Ten years later, Hollywood picked up on the "mummy's curse" and capitalized on it, producing a film that expounded on an amplified "what if" idea that there was something truly otherworldly and supernatural surrounding the ancient tombs. Universal Pictures brought to life Im-ho-tep, the living mummy, who lusted after his long-lost love and whose soul resided in the body of a modern day woman. Thus was born the legacy of a series of films starring some of horror's classic stars, including Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr.

Making these men into 3,000-year old mummies was the work of Jack P. Pierce, then head of the Universal Pictures makeup department. He employed cotton and collodion, as well as yards of gauze and fuller's earth to create amazing recreations of the Egyptian walking dead.

Universal enjoyed the popularity and box office receipts from the franchise, but without the discovery by an intrepid archaeologist named Howard Carter years earlier, there would be no Ardath Bey and no Kharis. Another example of art imitating life . . . or is it death?

In this article from FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #92 (Nov. 1974), Jack Pierce is acknowledged as the genius behind the makeup. Although Pierce always deferred his work to the ability of the actors under the makeup, they still would have been far less convincing in the hands of lesser talent.

In this photo, Jack is seen giving Lon Chaney Jr. the "brush off". Jack was meticulous in his work and the application of complicated makeups like these took hours.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Today is International Pipe Smoking Day. The venerable pipe has been around in one form or another for centuries. From clay to corncob, to Meerschaum and briar, the handy instrument was probably the first hand-made implement ever used to burn and smoke tobacco.

Pipe smoking can be seen in many horror films of yesteryear. It was once a very popular form of smoking until cigarettes eclipsed its use with the its seductive cylinders that promised a quick, no muss no fuss smoke.

Below we see one of the actors who is identified with pipe smoking, Basil Rathbone. In a pensive mood, his pipe offers him something comfortable to hold in his hand while he ruminates upon his reading.

Rathbone is best known for playing the iconic Sherlock Holmes. In a series of films for both Universal and 20th Century Fox, Holmes battled all sorts of mysterious monsters, from the legendary Hound of the Baskervilles, to the murderous Hoxton Creeper (played by cult favorite Rondo Hatton). With magnifying glass in one hand and his pipe in the other, Rathbone's Holmes solved many a' puzzling case.

In these days of militant health warnings about smoking, it is worth noting that pipe smoking -- while not entirely without its risks -- is a much safer alternative to cigarettes. With a wide variety of tobaccos and blends, the pipe smoker can pick from an almost endless array of flavorful and aromatic experiences.

So, I doff my deerstalker to fellow pipe smokers today. If the weather allows, I will be on my deck, puffing away with a bowlful of McClelland's Deep Hollow in my favorite briar.

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