Vincent Price gallery at Creature Features. Photos of exhibit taken by Robert Kerr.
By John King Tarpinian: This weekend Creature Features in Burbank, California hosted a photo gallery retrospective of the career of Vincent Price from the David Del Valle archives. Lovely black-and-white photos of the man that gave us so much pleasure over the decades.
I have my own Vincent Price story. While in high school and college I worked at the Los Angeles Zoo. Mr. Price was a zoo patron and visited the zoo frequently. When he wished to be left along he would leave his hair at home and be wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, hard black shoes with black socks and garters. People would either look away or totally ignore the funnily dressed older gentleman. And as long as he did not speak nobody would be the wiser.
All the photos are by Robert Kerr. The white haired gentleman is Clu Gulager, best known for his role in The Virginian TV series.
Vincent Price was fond of reminding his fans that “If you limit your interests, you limit your life.” In a career that spanned nearly six decades, Vincent Price made films in nearly every genre. However, it was the horror genre that made him an icon – especially in the turbulent 60s, with the youth market ready to cross boundaries in every aspect of life and art.
In the 50s, Price was already well on his way to becoming the heir to stars such as Boris Karloff with films like House of Wax and The Fly. The showmanship of William Castle presented Vincent as the elegant host of the House on Haunted Hill, and then allowed him to reveal The Tingler — shocking teenagers senseless as they were electrified with buzzers hidden beneath their theater seats.
A young director named Roger Corman did the rest, creating eight films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Poe Cycle presented the Gothic master of horror persona that would remain with Vincent Price for the rest of his life.
The Importance of Being Vincent is an exhibit of the finest Price images to be offered anywhere. It represents my favorite actor in the world, showcasing every aspect of his career in show business.
For the rest of the month, the exhibition will be available for viewing during regular hours at the Creatures Features store, 11a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 11a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
I have been the Museum’s acquisition archivist for almost 26 years, and during that time over 3,200 archival collections have been entrusted to us. Most of these materials have been personally delivered or shipped, but it has sometimes been necessary for me to travel to obtain a collection, whether to California, New York, or South Dakota. Sri Lanka has certainly been the furthest I’ve travelled for a collection.
What emerges from a first review of his papers is a deeply thoughtful man shaped by and creatively responding to his time—with World War II and the first decades of the Cold War as critically formative. From his early 20s through the rest of life he possessed a remarkably consistent vision and purpose of what was important to him: to make sense of a world experiencing tremendous advances in science and technology, the result of which, in his view, augured potentially radical changes in the fabric of social and cultural life. In the years after the war, this dynamic seemed especially insistent, making the idea and reality of the “future” a critical problem in need of understanding. Through his career, this challenge led Clarke to advance his three laws of prediction (easily found via an internet search), an attempt to make serious the future as a shared, collective human concern but do so with a light touch.
From this vantage, Clarke’s interest in science fiction, as is evident throughout his papers, was not merely incidental but central: It was his essential tool, perhaps the best one, for sorting through and understanding this condition and educating readers about the time in which they were living.
(2) In a podcast for Creature Features, Walter Murch, writer and director of Return to Oz, “discusses the long genesis of the 1985 fantasy film, how personal a project it was for him, how tumultuous it became at times, and how happy he is with it after 30 years.”
I also ran off the program — about 250 copies of a single page, as I recall — for Dave Kaler’s NY Comic Convention, held in 1965 at the Hotel Broadway Central (an impressive pile in Theodore Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie”) on my Ditto machine.
(5) The University of Oregon Libraries will celebrate the acquisition of the James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon) literary papers with a two-day symposium at the Eugene, Oregon campus on December 4-5, 2015.
The acquisition of the Tiptree Papers enriches Special Collections and University Archives’ growing collection of feminist science fiction manuscript collections, which include the Ursula K. Le Guin Papers, the Joanna Russ Papers, the Sally Miller Gearhart Papers, and the Suzette Haden Elgin Papers.
The symposium will kick off with a keynote talk by Julie Phillips, author of the biography: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon (St. Martins, 2006), and will also feature a panel discussion with other writers who carried on lively and engaging correspondence with Tiptree, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas and David Gerrold.
SUVUDU: Updraft has some of the most original worldbuilding I’ve ever come across – could you tell us a little bit about your process for creating the details of this city built out of bone towers and its residents?
FRAN WILDE: That’s wonderful to hear! The city of bone towers was born late one night at a writing workshop following many cups of coffee. I realized that I wanted to write a story set in a living city with a focus on engineering and flight. (I wasn’t drinking Red Bull, I swear.)
What emerged from that writing session was a short story that had elements of Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Codex Seraphinianus, China Mieville’s short stories about living cities in Looking for Jake, and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities as ancestors. The story contained the man-made wings, bridges, and bone towers that exist today, but the characters and conflict were different. After reading it, Gordon Van Gelder of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine wrote me to suggest I look at other high-altitude megastructure stories like Steven Gould’s “Peaches for Mad Molly” and K.W. Jeter’s Farewell Horizontal as well.
So my process from the first draft involved a lot of reading. In the end, when the short story had grown into a novel, and the very spare sketch of bone towers and wings had grown into a world, the process also involved getting into a wind tunnel to go indoor skydiving, and talking to cloud and weather experts about wind shear near steep, high-altitude objects, and to biologists about bone growth. I also researched scarcity societies, high-altitude food production, and cephalopods, among other things.
Le Guin’s peculiar gift, though, is to make the ordinary feel as important as the epic: mundane questions about who’s cutting firewood or doing the dishes share space with rune books and miscast spells. Her Earthsea has less in common with Narnia, Hogwarts, and Percy Jackson’s Camp Half-Blood than it does with medieval romances and Icelandic sagas, where dragons and death keep company with fishing yarns, goat-herding woes, and village quarrels.
JP: And has it always been clear to you which category your books fall into?
UL: Oh no. When I started it was all mushed up together! My first three novels are kind of science fantasy. Rocannon’s World (1966) is full of Norse myth barely disguised. But I began to realize there was a real difference between these two ways of using the imagination. So I wrote Earthsea and Left Hand of Darkness. From then on I was following two paths.
In Left Hand of Darkness I was using science fiction to come at a problem that I realized was very deep in me and everybody else: what is gender? What gender am I? A question we just hadn’t been asking. Look at all the answers that are coming out now. We have really deconstructed it. We really didn’t even have the word “gender” back then. Just, “What sex are you?” So in some respects we really have come a long way, and in a good direction, I think.
(8) Gregory N. Hullender says, “No one seems to have commented on it yet, but I think the December 2015 Analog is unusually strong. After a really weak year, maybe they’re getting their act together.” He has more to say on Reddit.
They decided to collaborate on ‘Imaginary Fred’ due to a chance meeting in New Zealand.
“We were there for the Auckland book festival and we met up at a story slam competition,” Mr Colfer said.
“We were giggling like schoolboys at each other’s stories, and at the end of the night we said let’s do something together.”
‘Imaginary Fred’ tells the story of Fred, who becomes the imaginary friend of Sam, a boy in need of company.
The two embark on a series of adventures together, but when Sam meets Sammi, a girl with an imaginary friend of her own, Fred has to move on from Sam.
The story, unusually, is told from Imaginary Fred’s point of view.
“I like to do that with my books,” said Mr Colfer.
“To take what is often a secondary character and make them the main character because they’re a lot more interesting to me.”
(10) An event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Marion E. Wade Center on October 29 at 7 pm Central time will be livestreamed. The Wade is a focal point of Inklings scholarship. Featured speakers will include the Wade’s former director, Dr. Lyle W. Dorsett, poet Luci Shaw, and Dr. Leland Ryken, who is currently at work on a book length history of the Wade Center. The dedication of the new Bakke Auditorium will be part of this special evening. Watch the proceedings online via WETN.
Join us as we celebrate our newest Artist on the Stairwell! Illustrator George Cwirko-Godycki presents a limited edition poster show inspired by the works of Ray Bradbury. The show is the first in Vroman’s Artists on Authors series in the stairwell where visionary artists interpret the works of renowned authors. The first 25 attendees will receive a signed catalog of the exhibition that details the process of creating this unique show from start to finish. George is based in San Francisco where he provides concept illustration for the entertainment industry and teaches figure drawing at the Academy of Art University.
Ultimately, the neatest feature at Pathmark for a youngster may have been a huge paperback section featuring an amazing array of bestsellers and non-fiction books. Pathmark was where I bought some of my very first books on the history of movies, including, in my monster-loving youth, a biography of Boris Karloff!
From its inception in Franklin Square, Pathmark had tried to be unique. At the back of the store was a section invoking the classic Horn and Hardart cafeterias in Manhattan, famous for all the food, sandwiches and cakes and the like, being offered through slots in the wall protected by a glass cover. If you put coins in the apparatus, you could lift the cover and take your treat. Horn and Hardart was famous for the quality of its offerings, and for being a very affordable place for any New Yorker to put together a decent meal. More than one location also became known as a writers’ hangout, with some of the best-known reporters and talent of the era sitting for a long while, sipping their coffee, and enjoying the conversation.
Beginning in the 1970s, Pathmark also had a long running series of television commercials, starring James Karen. Most of us probably presumed he was a Pathmark executive, until he also began popping up as an actor in horror movies like “Poltergeist” and “The Return of the Living Dead.”
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but, when it comes to the best old-time radio horror, each word is worth a thousand pictures.
By using voices, sound effects, and snippets of music, masters of radio terror turned what could’ve been a disadvantage of the medium—we can’t see what’s happening—into their greatest asset.
Radio writers and actors spawned monsters that the technology of the time couldn’t have realistically portrayed on film. They suggested depravity and gore that screen censorship would’ve banned. And they could manipulate the imagination so that listeners themselves collaborated in the summoning of their worst fears.
In case you can’t tell, I adore old-time ratio (OTR) horror. After countless hours poring over archives of old shows, I’ve selected 31 bloodcurdling episodes, from 1934 all the way up to 1979, for your pleasure.
Millions of Star Wars fans may have eagerly devoured the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, due out on December 18, but William Shatner—captain of the starship Enterprise and star of the original Star Trek series—wasn’t among them. “To me there isn’t a controversy,” the actor tells Newsweek. “Star Trek is far superior to Star Wars.”
Fans of The Big BangTheory and Star Trek can rejoice because an upcoming episode the geektastic TV sitcom will feature a guest appearance from the son of Mr. Spock himself, Adam Nimoy! Plus, we have an exclusive first look at the episode, which airs on Thurs., Nov. 5 at 8/7! In “The Spock Resonance,” recurring guest star Wil Wheaton will appear alongside Adam, an accomplished writer and director in real life, who asks Sheldon Cooper to be in a documentary about his beloved father, Leonard.
The final progress report from World Fantasy was emailed to members this evening. It included the harassment policy, which is legalistic and is essentially useless. For posterity, here it is…
[Thanks to Bill Menker, Michael J. Walsh, Andrew Porter, Bill Burns, James H. Burns, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
Creature Features salutes the evolution of this durable franchise with an unprecedented multi-media group art gallery exhibit showcasing artists in the fields of film, television, fine art, comics, children’s book illustration and more, all paying homage to the APES universe.
Participating artists include:
Dave Bow, Anthony Carpenter, Lili Chin, Chloe Crossman, Ken Daly, Jesse D’Angelo, Ricardo Delgado, Frank Dietz, John Fasano, Jason Flink, Bruce Spaulding Fuller, Mark Hamer, Matt Hansen, Robert Lee Heckman, Megan Hutchinson, Noel ILL, Bob Lizarraga, Rebecca Lord, Ken Mitchroney, Ken Morgan, Eric Pigors, Jeff Pittarelli, Jeff Rebner, Eric Rose, John Rozum, Thea Saks, Shag, Mike Sosnowski, William Stout, Mark Tavares, Ben Von Strawn, Johnny Vampotna, Amy Watson, Paul Wee, Woody Welch, Zombienose.
There will be an opening reception Saturday, June 21 from 6–10 p.m. The show runs thru July 27.
Creature Features is located at 2904 W Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA.
By John King Tarpinian: Today, Sunday, I visited a little retail store in Burbank, CA, Creature Features (2904 W. Magnolia Bl., Burbank, CA 91505). The store boasts a great selection of knick-knacks of a science fiction nature. If you want an original Forrest J Ackerman bronze they have it. They do signings and hold classes, too.
The store also has an art gallery that changes on a regular basis. The theme of the current exhibit is my favorite Japanese import, Godzilla. To entice you to visit I took some snapshots of the “Godzilla All Art Attack”.
Featured artists include:
Zac Amendolia, John Bergin, Andy Carey, Jeff Carlson, Anthony Carpenter, Lee Copeland, Aiden Casserly, Jesse D’Angelo, Oliver Dear, Ricardo Delgado, Frank Dietz, Melissa Encinas, John Fasano, Thomas Fernandez, Sam Ford, Jake Geiger, Jesse Guiher, Kenneth J. Hall, Mary Hoffman, Emma Jacobs, Lee Johnson, Phil Joyce, Junkhauler, Tom Krohne, Jessica Lentz, Rebecca Lord, Russ Lukich, Chris Mason, Woody Miller, Ken Mitchroney, Aidan Monahan, Ken Morgan, Robert Negrete, Eric October, Eric O’Neill, Brad Parker, Jeff Pittarelli, Jason Profant, Alex Quntero, Sam Randazzo, Ken Ruzic, Jon Schnepp, Samantha Secor, Amber Skowronski, Rory Smith, William Stout, Eric Swartz, Matt Tames, Mark Tavares, Bryan Willette, Woody Welch, David Zeggart.
Godzilla 3D in metal.
My favorite piece.
Orange dot means SOLD.
I forgot the name of this Kaiju…
Godzilla v SharkConda.
I laughed out loud at Godzilla as Michigan J. Frog.
So scary I was shaking…and I am sticking to that story.
This is the shop I just discovered that has been around, in one form or another, for thirty some odd years. I was only in there for ten minutes but the shop has promise.
Creature Features hosted a signing of Outer Limits at 50 by David J. Schow on March 22 and is attracting attention with an Outer Limits themed gallery exhibit that will be open through April 12.
Tarpinian picked up a copy of the Schow book —
The book is a soft-cover coffee table book and the reason I just HAD to have it, other than the geek factor, is that a neighbor of mine, when growing up in Toluca Lake was on the back cover, Ralph Meeker…actually the episode he was featured.
The exhibit is an art tribute featuring newly commissioned paintings, illustrations and sculptures alongside original props and vintage memorabilia from the show.
Participating artists include Steve Bissette, Tim Bradstreet, Norman Cabrera, Monte Christiansen, Ken Daly, Ricardo Delgado, Frank Dietz, John Fasano, Wolf Forrest, Garrett Immel, Phil Joyce, Bob Lizzaraga, Rebecca Lord, Gregory Manchess, Ken Mitchroney, Kemo (aka Ken Morgan), Rafael Navarro, Greg Nicotero, Mike Parks, Jeff Pittarelli, Eric October, Tim Polecat, Mike Soznowski, William Stout, Woody Welch, and Bernie Wrightson.
Creature Features is located at 2904 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506. Regular store hours are: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.