Saturday, December 31, 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Brimming with mediocrity and punctuated with flashes of unintentional hilarity, AIPs 1974 monster romp, THE BAT PEOPLE (aka IT LIVES BY NIGHT, IT'S ALIVE, ANGEL OF FEAR, etc., etc.), is notable for one thing -- the makeup of the louse-ridden fliedermaus was created by Stan Winston! It was only his second monster makeup after the rather excellently executed work on ex-L.A. Ram, Bernie Casey in the 1972 made for TV movie, GARGOYLES. What happened here is anyone's guess, but I'd wager he'd have wanted this one back. Nevertheless, it has become a part of monster movie history, warts, lice and all.

That's it, folks. Hey, I'm in a giddy after-Christmas kinda mood and you'll not get another serious word out of me until after the first of the year!

Here is the nicely done one-sheet for the not so nicely done film and a synopsis and list of credits of the ones that didn't mind being named:

BONUS: THE BAT PEOPLE lobby card set:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


With a legacy of comic book and ACE paperback covers already to his credit, Frank Frazetta exploded onto the pop culture scene and into mass media consciousness when he began working for Lancer Publishing, another company that cranked out paperbacks by the carload. Similar to the artists that signed up for work with Marty Goodman's ATLAS/SEABOARD line a decade later (see recent MMW post HERE), Frazetta would not only make more money for his prodigious and exuberant talent, but he would also see the return of his art. Most noted during this period for his fantastic covers of the Lancer Conan series, his cover for the John Beynon Harris (nee John "Day of the of the Triffids" Wyndham) "Lost World" science fiction novel, "The Secret People", surpasses even some of the Conan covers for its vibrant depiction of imaginative fantasy.

The picture shown here is as it looked at auction in 2002, when it sold for $48,300.

Description of Lot# 7572:
"Frank Frazetta - Original Watercolor Painting, "The Secret People" (Lancer, 1964). Frank Frazetta began his career with ACE paperbacks in the early 1960s where he painted a series of covers based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Throughout these early years Frazetta was unappreciated by management, dismally underpaid, and, the ultimate indignity, not allowed to keep his original art. A call from the art director at Lancer Publications in 1964 changed all that. After being offered more money, a menu of widely diverse subject-matters, and the opportunity to retain his original art, Frazetta infused in these newer works an extra energy, power, and personal enthusiasm that was immediately apparent. The wondrous watercolor of "The Secret People" has been described as "The best science fiction paperback cover ever," and we offer no argument to that accolade. It was executed for John Beynon Harris's novel of the same name during this inspired period. John Beynon Harris was a pseudonym for John Wyndham, a well-known science fiction writer best known for The Day of the Triffids. In the image presented here, Frazetta demonstrates his consummate mastery of the watercolor (believed by Frazetta experts to be his very best medium). The scene of fantastic mushrooms and exotic peoples called for a delicate approach that only watercolor could provide. One immediately notes the subtle blending of delicate tints that are found throughout the composition: the fleshy mushrooms, the cavern walls, the reflections in the water, the deliciously clinging dress of the girl, and the mossy ground. The eye revels in all the tiny details and subtleties that Frazetta has presented the viewer. Consider the modeling of the hero's face and the strength it contains, his beautifully drawn jacket with intricate folds and convolutions, his gesturing/striding into this fantastic land of strange peoples. Consider also his female partner with her soft face. Delicate rendering lines add sensuality to her glance; her open lips, wild hair, and shining dress reinforce her erotic power and add considerably to the visual interest. Of course, the swirl of bats energizes the moment and charges the tableau with resonances of old mysteries and tales. Frazetta masterfully weaves all these elements into a design that is flawless and perfectly balanced. This painting is a wonderland of color and drama. It also establishes visual themes that Frazetta would employ throughout his career. For example, the placement of mushrooms to give a fantastic "touch" to the scene is seen many times in Frazetta's works. As is typical in great works from great masters, the viewer can literally spend hours unlocking all the secrets in this composition. Rarely do works of this outstanding quality come on the market. Nicely framed and matted, the piece measures approximately 18" x 24" overall, with an image area of approximately 10" x 16.25". It is accompanied by a copy of the paperback for which it was painted. The painting is in excellent condition and has recently been professionally and expertly conserved with its backing de-acidified to prevent fading."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Published on the same day that the film was released (November 21, 1931), the MOTION PICTURE HERALD featured a two-page spread announcing Universal's FRANKENSTEIN. Unleashed upon an unsuspecting audience, it immediately broke box office records and once again buoyed Junior Laemmle's movie studio with unanticipated stacks of cash. Hidden from reporters, including anyone but the cast and crew during production, Jack Pierce's masterpiece is revealed here in all of its intended shock and awe.

Monday, December 26, 2016


The dark genius of Charles "Chas" Addams is well known. His quirky, eccentric and sardonic humor gave birth to "The Addams Family", a culmination of all these elements.

Presented here are two rare original examples of the work he did for his long-time client, THE NEW YORKER magazine. Immediately apparent is the amount of detail that went into each panel. The descriptions below are spot on in that they identify later artists that were influenced by Addams' macabre humor.

Charles Addams - Single Panel Gag Comic Strip Original Art (c. 1930-40s). Like many of his pieces from The New Yorker magazine, this ink and ink wash creation has a bizarre quirk to it. It is easy to see how the work of Addams inspired other gag cartoonists such as Gary Larson (Far Side), and Dan Piraro (Bizarro). Of note with this piece is the incredible amount of meticulous detail in the background. This man knew how to sell a joke. The piece is matted with a opening of 12" x 10.25, with the punch line hand lettered on the mat below the aperture. It is then glass front framed to 21" x 18.5". Signed with his familiar "Chas Addams" in the lower right, this is lightly toned; however in Excellent condition.  

Charles Addams - Single Panel Gag Comic Strip Original Art (c. 1938). The wicked sense of humor of Chas Addams delighted many of the "upstanding" readers of The New Yorker, and of any other publications that carried the genius cartoonist's work. Here is a rather Hitchcockian image that is for the Birds! It is produced in ink and ink wash on paper with a matted image area of 11.5" x 12". The punchline is hand-calligraphed in ink just below the mat aperture. Signed in the lower right, and with just light toning on the paper, this piece is in Excellent condition.