Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Dracula- Broadway, 1977. Playbill signed by Frank Langells.

I was very lucky when I was a kid because I had various folks in my life who treated me very well. Lamenting the late Nick Wexler the other day, I was prompted to drag out my play bill of Dracula, the Broadway play Nick and my sister took me to see in 1977. It was my very first Broadway play, and what a fantastic experience it was to see Frank Langella in a role he was meant to have. I was 12 years old, and I was a Universal pictures freak, I grew up on the old Dracula and Frankenstein films. To go back to where it all started was the experience of a life time. My fondest memory was of Harker and Van Helsing wrestling down Dracula only to have him emerge as a bat from between the both of them. A simple trap door trick but my God it was so impressive. One of the stupider things I did in life was not accepting free tickets from my middle school teacher to see Raul Julia as Dracula. My thought at the time was that I had seen the play with Langella, how can you top that!? I think the woman who offered me the tickets was insulted, I wasn't being rude, just practical I guess. And yes, I did see the movie version with Frank Langella in 1979 when it came out. I had seen it at the Lynbrook theater, I liked it at the time, but I'd need to do a reassessment now. Anyhow, I wanted to share my signed play bill with all the Dracula and Langella fans, and thank the late Nick Wexler again for all the kindness he shared with me. It was a magical time and I never will forget it....

Friday, 1 April 2022

Happy 139 Birthday Lon Chaney Sr!

A Happy Birthday to the immortal Long Chaney Sr, who at 139 years old still creeps into our nightmares via his cinematic output with his partner in crime Todd Browning. This promo piece is original and from my personal collection.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

I was scanning this in answer to another post regarding Chained for Life, but decided to post on this myself. This is a promotional pamphlet for Chained for Life (1952) featuring Daisy and Violet Hilton of Freaks (1932) fame. It tells the story of their life right up to Chained for Life, it's a full ten pages from cover to cover, complete with many photos. It's signed by Violet Hilton but not Daisy, which makes very little sense in that they couldn't have wondered too far from one another. Looks like a fairly rare piece, I don't see a lot of these around, and being a Freaks fanatic it's one of my more treasured pieces....

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

A sad goodbye to Veronica Carlson

I just want to take a moment to give my condolences on the passing of Veronica Carlson. I met Veronica once, in 1992, during the golden era of the Exploitation Journal years. She was one of the sweetest women I have ever met, so good natured, very easy to talk to. Very proper and very British. Gods speed to her, and my deepest condolences to her family. This past week has given me some really heavy hits. First, losing Gary Brooker, who was one of my top Gods. Then losing Veronica. Sad week indeed!

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Goodbye to Gary Brooker- Serious loss to any Procol Harum fan!

I'm so saddened today to hear of the death of Gary Brooker, lead vocalist, piano player and co-writer of the music of Procol Harum. Harum is my #1 British group, in fact I used to annoy people telling them how much I felt the Beatles were overrated, but then carry on about how damn good Procol Harum was. It's obvious that A Whiter Shade of Pale was background music when I was growing up, that and the live version of Conquistador received quite a bit of radio play. But thanks to my best friend Paul Richichi, I became a full blown Harum fan when he turned me on to all the albums in the early 1980's. From there on, there was no stopping me from consuming anything Harum related. But why was I so infatuated? Because Harum was dark, gothic and moody. If you listen to Dead Mans Dream from the Home album, you might as well be watching a Lucio Fulci zombie movie. And this was recorded long before Fulci was messing with Zombies. Despite their Blues roots, the group was very British and didn't apologize for being that. They told stories of of being lost at sea (A Salty Dog) and subjected to the plights of lousy weather while afloat (The Wreck of the Hesperus). With Whaling Stories, they speak of a siege that "rots it all, and rots it clean". I'm a Long Island boy with strong British roots, why would I not love this! With Nothing That I Didn't Know, he speaks of the death of a young girl, most likely do to drugs (that's open for interpretation). But I've lost high school acquaintances to various means, so how could I not relate to all this. I was lucky enough to see Procol Harum at least 9 times over the past 30 years. While I was too young to see the classic line ups of the late 60's and early 70's, the reformed Harum which featured both Brooker and organist Matthew Fisher of the 90's and early 2000's was an amazing sight and sound. In fact the last show I had seen with Procol Harum was in 2019, I had taken a friend for his birthday. And I was never, ever disappointed with their shows, they were dead on every-time I had seen them. A few years earlier I was lucky enough to witness the group play the whole In Held Twas I. A complex number to say the least, they rarely did it live. I was blown out of my seat. I was counting on them touring again once all this Covid nonsense stopped. Looks like I wont be getting that show now. Gods speed to Gary Brooker, his voice defies description, and those Procol Harum albums will continue to bring me joy in the upcoming years. The photo below is myself with Gary Brooker at a Harum show back in 2014.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

An Article About My Past and Present!

Mike Reistetter of Messenger Papers Inc. Does an interview with me about my past, present and future. Dig in and find out what is going on. Click on picture for the article.

 

Monday, 17 January 2022

Carol Speed, Star of ABBY (1974) is Dead!

 

I'm just getting word this morning that Carol Speed has passed away. I'm certainly very sorry to hear it, though I'd also add that in many ways I'm shocked she lived as long as she did. To understand my relationship with Carol, we have to go back all the way to 2000, when Cinefear Video went cyber and I hooked up with the late Patty Mahlon. Patty, who passed away in December of 2019, was the webmistress of www.williamgirdler.com . She was one of the first, and most certainly the best of fan websites. I had released Abby (1974) on video tape. I had and still have a 16mm print of the film that I had acquired in 1990. Patty promoted the tape on her website. She had also interviewed Carol Speed, and she used to tell me that "Carol is way out there, but in a good way". Early on, I wondered what that had meant. By the time I found it out, the "good way" part had been removed, not so much by me but by Patty herself.
Here's what did it. Carol was alcoholic, the deeper you became involved with her, the more the problem showed itself. Conversations with her quickly became irrational. Huge bursts of paranoia followed crazed conspiracy theories and by the end of the conversation you often became the culprit. They had a William Girdler convention in Kentucky. Patty asked me to come down, hawk the video tapes and be a part of it all. My paranoia is heightened awareness. For some reason, I smelt disaster. I declined but I told Patty I'd send her a bunch of Abby cassettes to sell. I told her we'd split it with Carol and all would be cool. Patty was to hook up with Go Tread, Larry Treadway and the Brains on Film guys. Anyhow, thank God for my heightened awareness. Everyone has their view on what happened, but all agreed it was a nightmare. Carol got smashed. Tread said her hotel room looked like it had housed a frat party with a foot ball team, but the truth was that Carol was the only one in the room. Patty was selling the tapes and other paraphernalia. When all was said and done, Carol took all the cash and split. Patty was mortified. She personally paid me back out of her own money, and she was working freelance at the time, so that hurt.
Anyhow, I had already bargained a deal to feature Carol Speed in the latest issue of the Exploitation Journal. Patty deeply advised me to not do it. Too late. The interview is beyond comprehension, in fact, the guy who laid the issue out was Mark Bailey, and he couldn't believe his eyes at the interview. I had added a note to the article that stated "Mark, here comes the madness" and Mark accidentally transcribed it into the interview, making the whole affair far more insane than it should have been. And Carol wouldn't stop calling. There were days were she was somewhat subdued, and there were times she'd carry on for hours telling me crazy stories of Richard Prior, smoking the ashes of cremated people and then suddenly raging at me that I had made tons of money on Abby and I "owed her $150,000 dollars"....madness, pure madness....last time I spoke to her I think I told her "The check was in mail" and I blocked her number. Folks, as funny as this all sounds, after a while it's not funny. I come from a family of social workers and therapists, they were getting paid to do what they did, I wasn't. But let me tell you this, I've developed a third eye and I can see right fucking through you...Hence why I'm done with all this...I have no regrets, I met great people who I developed fine relationships with. Richard Gordon, Donn Davison, Norman J. Warren, Joseph Green, Al Adamson. Then there's the Joel M. Reeds, Carol Speeds, etc...I love 'em all, but sometimes you need to leave the playing field. Gods speed to Carol, I really mean that. And Gods speed to Patty Mahlon, who also learned the hard-way that fandom comes with a huge price tag...
PS- This issue is still available on the Exploitatrion Journal page of my website www.cinefear.com . Read it at your own risk...
 
The second to last issue of the Exploitation Journal to ever see the light of day. Features an insane interview with Carol Speed. Still available at the Cinefear website on the Exploitation Journal page. Gods speed Carol Speed!