Thursday, October 30, 2014

76 YEARS AGO TONIGHT

THE INFAMOUS "WAR OF THE WORLDS" BROADCAST OF ORSON WELLES' "MERCURY THEATER OF THE AIR" SUPPOSEDLY PANICKED AMERICA! 

On the evening of October 30, 1938, a war-jittery U.S. became the fall guy for one of the most uproarious pranks every committed on them.  The Mercury Theater of the Air went on with the opening announcement that they would be presenting a dramatization of the famous H.G. Wells novel "THE WAR OF THE WORLDS" followed by an introductory monologue by show-runner/director/star Orson Welles.     After this, the show segued into what sounded like a music broadcast from the Meridian Room of the Park Plaza Hotel with Ramon Rocquello and his Orchestra performing a selection of dance music.  Various news bulletins (false ones, of course) began interrupting the programme reporting the appearance of explosions on the surface of the planet Mars and interviews with noted Professor Pearson (played by Orson) about what they could mean.  Announcements followed stating strange objects were falling from the sky; most notably (for our purposes ... and Orson's) landing on a farm at Grover's Mill, New Jersey.  Reporter Carl Phillips (former SHADOW Frank Readick doing his best Herb Morrison "Hindenburg reporter" impression) did the blow by blow on the scene reporting as Martian cylinders emerged from the crater and fried everyone with heat rays. 

Unfortunately for many listeners, they didn't hear the beginning of the programme because . . . well, frankly, Orson's MERCURY THEATER show wasn't very high in the ratings and not a lot of people listened to it.  The vast majority of the Sunday night listening audience tuned into THE CHASE AND SANBORN HOUR starring ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy.  After Bergen & McCarthy's opening comedy routine, a male singer came on and that's when most everyone switched to another station . . . and caught the already-in-progress WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast with it's faux news flashes.  The legend, of course, is that America was so scared they began heading for the hills.  In truth, the majority of those listening didn't panic but the phone lines WERE jammed with frantic calls to loved ones as well as calls to beleaguered CBS studios who were putting on the MERCURY THEATER broadcast.  Tales of mass panic, car crashes, suicides and accidental deaths caused by the radio  broadcast were largely apocryphal; however the media fallout the next morning was considerable for Orson, his Mercury Theater and the CBS network as reporters puffed up the urban legend aspect of death and destruction caused by Welles and his Halloween pranksters.   Welles gave a press conference appearing (apparently) contrite looking like an unshaven Christian martyr and parlayed the instant worldwide notoriety into a sweet movie deal from RKO to make CITIZEN KANE.  The panic broadcast has gone down in history of probably the most famous radio programme ever broadcast and three quarters of a century later it's still a really fun listen.  For perfect Halloween listening, I've provided the entire original radio broadcast in a youtube video below.  Also below (for as long as it lasts) is a video of the recent episode of the PBS documentary series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE dealing with the WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast; it can also be viewed (by clicking here) at the actual PBS site.

"War of the Worlds" 1938 Radio Broadcast


Documentary | American Experience War of the Worlds


WOMEN OF HORROR: DENICE DUFF

DENICE DUFF ENTERS THE PANTHEON THROUGH THE DARK FORESTS OF TRANSYLVANIA. 

With the exception of the first film in the series, Duff portrayed the doomed Michelle in Full Moon's SUBSPECIES movies.   I'm rather fond of this series as it takes me back to the video rental days when my friend Cheeks and I would visit the local Knockblister to find the new Full Moon Video on the shelf.  We enjoyed all of Full Moon's low-budget, direct-to-video releases because they were a lot of fun; however, I think the SUBSPECIES films are the best quality-wise the company ever put out amongst it's . . . shall we call it uneven output.  Vicious vampire Radu (Anders Hove) was a cross between Lord Byron and Graf Orlok and he wanted to make poor Michelle his "fledgling"; in this he somewhat succeeded as Michelle was vampirized.  Her struggles with her new vampiric state underscored all the SUBSPECIES films Denice appeared in.  

Poor Michelle! with Anders Hove's Radu
 
There's a lot at stake for Michelle in this scene
 
Family portrait with Radu and his beloved "Mummy"
 
Autographed photo for BLOODSTORM: SUBSPECIES IV
 
 
TODAY'S "WOMEN OF HALLOWEEN" TRACK ON MY AUDIO BLOG "BATHED IN THE LIGHT FROM ANDROMEDA" IS "MR. FOX" BY THE FOLKTELLERS

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THE COUNT

THE ORIGINAL ROBERT ADRAGNA ARTWORK FOR "THE MANY FACES OF CHRISTOPHER LEE" COVER FEATURE OF CALVIN BECK'S CLASSIC MONSTER MAG "CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN #2" IN 1962. 

Apparently, the artist was only 19 years old when he made this beautiful evocation of Hammer Horror!

WOMEN OF HORROR: KAREN BLACK

THE VOLUPTUOUS HORROR OF KAREN BLACK! 

Surprisingly, for someone whom many people associate with the horror genre, Karen Black didn't do all that much of it.  But what she did was so memorable!  She had other roles in spooky television and frightening films but it's really for her tour de force four roles in the Dan Curtis TV movie TRILOGY OF TERROR that we induct her into the women of horror pantheon.
  • CIRCLE OF FEAR "Bad Connection"  (1972)
  • TRILOGY OF TERROR  (1975)
  • BURNT OFFERINGS  (1976)
  • FAMILY PLOT  (1976)
  • CAPRICORN ONE  (1977)
  • HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES  (2003)
taking a call in CIRCLE OF FEAR "BAD CONNECTION"
 
as "Julie" in TRILOGY OF TERROR
 
sinister in BURNT OFFERINGS
 
with Elliot Gould in the paranoid CAPRICORN ONE
 
with Sheri Moon & Rob Zombie on the set of HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES
 
assuming the stance in the brilliant final scene of TRILOGY OF TERROR
 
 
TODAY'S "WOMEN OF HALLOWEEN" SONG ON MY AUDIO BLOG "BATHED IN THE LIGHT FROM ANDROMEDA" IS "DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE" BY THE SUPREMES.
 
 


A TRICK OR TREAT BAG OF VINTAGE HALLOWEEN MAGAZINE COVERS

AND AS WE REACH INTO OUT PLASTIC PUMPKIN PAIL, WE FIND A WITCHES ASSORTMENT OF TASTY TREATS!  To wrap up our vintage Halloween magazine celebration, we have for you a collection of fine frightening artwork from various vintage mags. 




















 
 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FRANKENSTEIN audio LP 1970 Peter Fernandez and Jackson Beck SUPER 8 MONS...


WHAT HAPPENED TO JEANETTE DEPALMA?

ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1972, A DOG RETURNED TO IT'S OWNER WITH A VERY STRANGE OBJECT:  A BADLY DECOMPOSED HUMAN FOREARM!   The dog's owner told the police that his dog frequently roamed around a nearby quarry.  Upon searching the wooded area up by a cliff in this quarry, the police found the decomposed body of an unknown female.  Dental records would reveal that the body was that of 16 year old Jeanette DePalma.

Jeanette had disappeared from her Elizabeth, NJ home the previous August on her way to work in Springfield.  Police conducted a search of several nearby towns with the help of the state police but no trace of the girl could be found.  Until this grisly discovery.  Due to the extremely poor condition of the corpse, no cause of death could be determined and, supposedly, the police took NO PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CRIME SCENE!  This would be the first of many odd aspects of the case.  Jeanette was found fully clothed and lying face down surrounded by logs which seemed to have been placed deliberately.  She was found on a rocky cliff area of the Houdaille Quarry on the Shunpike Ridge which was known locally as "The Dragon's Teeth" because the rocks jutting from the ground resembled the teeth of a skull.  A local groundskeeper named Red Kierra was questioned but no evidence linked him to the crime so he was cleared of suspicion.  Rumours quickly began circulating about local cult activity which had been going on recently.  Jeanette had kicked a drug habit and became quite religious; she worked with Rev. James Tate of the First Assemblies of God Church in Elizabeth, NJ to help other teenagers with alcohol and drug problems.  Locals and police both soon surmised that Jeanette's evangelical Christianity may have made her a target of a local occult group of possible Satanists and she may have been sacrificed in some sort of cult ritual.  The placement of the logs around Jeanette's body as well as alleged "occult symbols", wooden crosses made of sticks and a small stone altar found nearby soon reinforced the Satanic cult theory which was rampant in the 1970s.  With no clues or concrete evidence, the case soon went cold. 
Although, after four decades locals still are reluctant (and a little fearful) to talk about the case, there has also arisen a whispered suspicion that perhaps the police had known more about the murder than they revealed owing to some important person's involvement.  No evidence exists for this theory but you know how people talk.  The odd assertion that no photographs were taken of the crime scene is bad enough but then all the files relating to the case were destroyed in the early 1990s when Hurricane Floyd hit New Jersey.  Locals question why the evidence had been stored in the basement of a frequently flooded building.  Nowadays, we only have some newspaper reports which appeared in the New Jersey Star Ledger as well as some investigative articles which appeared in WEIRD NJ magazine to go by; there is precious little other information out there.  Another theory which has been bandied about is that perhaps Jeanette had become pregnant and, while meeting the boy out in the secluded quarry in order to discuss what was to be done, he had murdered her.  Of course, there isn't a shred of evidence supporting this supposition. 
Was Jeanette DePalma murdered by the homeless Red Kierra who, after being released and cleared, soon left the area and disappeared into the mists of history?  Did some well-placed political or social V.I.P. kill her who had the power and influence to cover up the crime with the possible collusion of the local police force?  Did the rumoured local occult activity of some satanic cult really indicate that Jeanette had been ritually sacrificed by some devil-worshippers?  After all these years, we still don't know.   

Villisca Ax Murder House, Part I


Bloody Benders


America's Hauntings: The LaLaurie Mansion


WOMEN OF HORROR: ANGELA PLEASENCE

THE DAUGHTER OF HORROR ROYALTY. 

Angela Pleasence is the daughter of one of horror's most beloved icons:  Donald Pleasence.  However, she is an accomplished actress in her own right.  She's married King Henry VIII as well as played his daughter Elizabeth I.  She's palled around with Sarah Jane Smith and been the ghost of Christmas past.  But the single role which inducts her into the pantheon of the women of horror is that of the meek-looking but deadly Emily Underwood in the "Act of Kindness" segment of Amicus' horror omnibus "FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE" where she is mesmerizing!
  • FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1974)
  • A CHRISTMAS CAROL  (1984)
  • DR. TERRIBLE'S HOUSE OF HORRIBLE "Scream, Satan, Scream!"  (2001)
  • DOCTOR WHO "The Shakespeare Code"  (2007)
  • THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES "The Curse of Clyde Langer Part 2)  (2011)
  • AMICUS:  HOUSE OF HORRORS  (2012)
  • WHITECHAPEL  (2013)

with Donald Pleasance in FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
 
A CHRISTMAS CAROL with George C. Scott
 
the blushing bride prepares to cut the cake in FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
 
Queen Elizabeth I in DOCTOR WHO: THE SHAKESPEARE CODE
 
as Mystic Mags in THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES
 
paying Diana Dors a visit in FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
 
 
TODAY'S "WOMEN OF HALLOWEEN" SONG ON MY AUDIO BLOG "BATHED IN THE LIGHT FROM ANDROMEDA" IS "MAD MONSTER PARTY" BY ETHEL ENNIS.


Dick van Dyke - A Ghost of A Chantz


Monday, October 27, 2014

THE SHADOW OF HALLOWEEN

HE HAS THE ABILITY TO CLOUD MEN'S MINDS SO THEY CANNOT SEE HIM.  He also has the ability to provide spooky covers to his pulp magazine of the 1930s and 1940s.  He is known as THE SHADOW and he has conjured this creepy gallery of covers for your Halloween enjoyment.