Sunday, June 29, 2014

LON CHANEY'S LAST INTERVIEW


"Chaney's pictures are the only ones that don't get the raspberry." - Ex-convict working in Hollywood (1930)

The statement above refers to movies played for entertainment in the various correctional institutions of the day. "[Chaney] knows how a crook thinks, acts and talks," said the ex-con. In an article claiming to be the last interview that Lon Chaney gave before his death in August, 1930, writer J. Eugene Chrisman goes on to say that "Lon Chaney understands the underworld and its people because he has studied crime and criminals. He has studied them so long and so deeply as to be recognized by leading authorities as one of the finest amateur criminologists and penologists in the world."

Chaney was so popular with convicts that he was often asked by them to come and speak on the subject. In this interview, in the October 1930 issue of Motion Picture Classic, Chaney says that, "men on the inside of our jails are no more wholly bad than men on the outside are wholly good, and the line between the two is often faintly drawn."

Monster Magazine World readers may recognize the name J. Eugene Chrisman as the same author who appeared in a string of recent posts about Boris Karloff. Note the credit given to George Hurrell, the well-known Hollywood portrait photographer.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AURORA MONSTER SCENES BOOK JUST PUBLISHED


Big news for monster model enthusiasts comes in the form of a just-published book entitled, Aurora Monster Scenes: The Most Controversial Toys of a Generation. Written by Monster Scenes guru Dennis L. Prince and former Aurora Project Manager Andrew P. Yanchus, the book -- like the model series when it was first introduced in 1971 -- is "Rated X for Excitement"!

The 256-page book is packed with over 700 photos and illustrations and traces the history of the series of the kids models that were banned in many areas because of their inherent perverse and sadistic nature. Part of the problem was the fault of the manufacturer (who would ever think to have their kid's toys "Rated X" is astounding to begin with), but parents caught on to what might happen when their children devised games to be played with characters like "The Victim" and props like "The Pain Parlor".




Aurora Monster Scenes is a beautifully designed and printed oversized paperback. It is obvious that the authors consider this to be their labor of love as no detail is spared in the showing or telling. From concept drawings to photographs of built up models, all are presented in high quality images on glossy pages. The first section of the book should even appeal to 60s Monster Kids, as it covers the evolution of the Aurora Plastics Company, the monster model and toy craze, and the eventual release of the Monster Scenes series.

Aurora Monster Scenes could be the book of the year for monster fans and model hobbyists.

The book can be ordered HERE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GODZILLA SELFIE


Recently received in the mailbox here at the Mysterious Mansion was a pleasant surprise. J.C. from Los Angeles, the winner of the last Mystery Photo contest, sent a few photos of himself (at least we think that's him under there!) enjoying his prize.


Hey, wait a minute, 'zilla! You're supposed to listen to it, not eat it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

FAMOUS MONSTERS NO. 275 POTA COVER


One of the covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland's 275th issue has a very nice image from Planet of the Apes by Rondo Artist of the Year 2013, Jason Edmiston.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF BORIS KARLOFF


Accompanied by a photograph by Roman Freulich of Boris Karloff from his latest film, Hollywood magazine writer J. Eugene Chrisman provides readers with an insight into the private life of the horror film actor.

The article entitled, "Please Scare Us, Mr. Karloff!!" appeared in the July 1934 issue, just two months after the release of The Black Cat (7 May) which paired Karloff with Bela Lugosi for the first time at Universal.

Mr. Chrisman explains to fans that Karloff's offscreen persona is very different from the monsters he portrays. For instance, "He refuses to have a fly swatter in the house because he does not believe in taking life, even that of a fly". Chrisman also tells of Karloff's earlier years, as he struggled to make ends meet by "digging ditches, sleeping on park benches, hoisting heavy barrels of nails, and driving a truck". Using the name, Charles Edward Pratt, Chrisman states that the Karloff name comes from "a Russian ancestor somewhere on the feminine side of his family." He goes on to say that Karloff has a "distinctly Mongolian or Tartar complexion which increases his mystery and makes people wonder."

Embellishments aside, Chrisman paints a very respectable picture of Karloff in this early interview of an actor who would later become the venerable icon of classic screen horror.




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BORIS KARLOFF REPLIES


"I think perhaps children are my best fans"       -Boris Karloff

Sure enough, Boris Karloff replied to his friend J. Eugene (Gene) Chrisman (they had met on at least one occasion) in the very next issue of Hollywood magazine (February 1935). He mentions his acting inactivity since starring in Universal's The Black Cat and his preparing to once more don the monster's makeup in a "sequel" to Frankenstein, which, as any Monsterologist would know, could only be The Bride of Frankenstein.

Of great interest is his correction of Chrisman's statement of how he met Lon Chaney, Sr., and goes into some detail of their acquaintance. Always the gentleman, Karloff corrects Chrisman in a couple of instances in the kindest of ways. Also of note are his comments about, along with his friends, helping to bring the English games of cricket and Rugby to America.

There is much here in a short span that Karloff reveals about his interests, his acting, and his being content with playing monster roles. In fact, in 1935, Boris Karloff seems quite content with life in general. "A trip to England to refresh memories now and then," he says. "My home, my work, my friends -- What more I ask you, could even a Monster want?"



Look for another vintage Karloff Klipping, J. Eugene Chrisman's "Please Scare Us, Mr. Karloff!" tomorrow, right here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!

Monday, June 9, 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO BORIS KARLOFF


Eugene Chrisman's column in Fawcett's Hollywood magazine was in a clever "open letter' format, where he would ask a selected actor or actress questions that, should they care to answer, would reveal personal information about themselves. No doubt the letters were a set-up and the chosen individual received the questions in advance. No matter. It was a novel way to allow fans insight into their screen star favorites.

The January 1935 issue of Hollywood included a response to the previous month's questions posed to enormously popular child star, Shirley Temple. But the lead was "An Open Letter to Boris Karloff".

Chrisman lauds the work of Karloff, and in a kindly tongue-in-cheek manner, thanks him for ending his insomnia by giving him nightmares from his role as The Monster in Frankenstein. He goes on to compare his enduring makeups to that of the late Lon Chaney. While we know that Chaney applied his own makeup and Karloff's monstrous visages were the work of Jack Pierce, it does not diminish the fact that some of these makeups were quite uncomfortable and it would not be unreasonable to say that they suffered under them on more than one occasion.

More importantly, however, Chrisman acknowledges Karloff's early career struggles, rising from "the slime of ditches" to earn five dollars day. He astutely adds, "It had been a long, hard road, and now, at last you were there, because of a talent you never suspected, the flare [sic] for horror roles."

Would Karloff reply to Chrisman's request to tell fans more about himself? Find out in tomorrow's post right here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!



Friday, June 6, 2014

WAR AND A REMEMBRANCE


Thanks, Dad, for helping us to win.
John C. Navroth
1922-2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

VINCENT PRICE BRINGS FINE ART TO THE PEOPLE


As many of you know, besides being a noted screen actor, the late Vincent Price was a many-sided man. One of these was his interest in art. Here, in a short film produced by Sears & Roebuck in the 1960's, Price walks us through examples from the Great Masters of the Fine Arts. One might call this an early infomercial One can't help to be captivated by Price's trademark, one-of-a-kind voice.


Monday, June 2, 2014

MYSTERY PHOTO: WE HAVE A WINNER!


The winner of the MYSTERY PHOTO contest is J.C. from Los Angeles, CA. Kongratulations, J.C.!

The answers to the questions, who is the person in the photo and what movie is it from are: Forrest J Ackerman in The Time Travelers (1964). The photo is from -- where else? -- Famous Monsters of Filmland!

A bunch of you sent answers in this time around -- thanks for participating. Better luck next time around. Be on the lookout for another MYSTERY PHOTO contest from MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD real soon!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

GODZILLA'S GOT YOU COVERED


The return of Godzilla to the big screen has been a shot in the arm for real, honest-to-goodness monster movies. Even though it got knocked off the top of the box office heap after its first week by the latest X-Men franchise flick, it's radioactive afterlife is still glowing.

Monster mags have not wasted any time, either, in promoting Godzilla on their covers.And, why not? Godzilla offers both older and younger audiences something to watch, making this King of the Kaiju a monster for all seasons.







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