Saturday, November 30, 2013
March 5th of this year marked the 70th anniversary of Universal Pictures' release of one of the great "monster rally" films of all time, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN. Just five years later, the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello gave us every major monster that Universal had in their catalog (with the notable exception of The Mummy -- but they met him later on his own) in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. But FMTWM was tied together with the original oeuvre of Universal's gothic monster films in ways that A&C's version didn't, and ultimately was notable for being the film that marked the departure from the classic era that began with DRACULA in 1931.
Regrettably, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND never published a filmbook of FMTWM, but a photo feature appeared in the 42nd issue, dated January 1967 (the contents page shows 1966). However, a nearly wordless article leaves the reader with the impressions that they have seen much of it without the sometimes dreary text that accompanied some of the filmbooks.
The opening sequence, shot by cameraman George Robinson with the help of Art Director John Goodman and perhaps even John P. Fulton, is one of the most atmospheric ever to be lensed for a Universal horror film. That it came later in the series makes it even more notable.
The promotion for the film was considerable, as posters, stills and pressbooks heralded the newest of the Universal monster thrillers.
Years later, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN was a part of the Shock Theater package sold to network television.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Here is a lot of four masks from the collection of Forrest J Ackerman that was auctioned off after his death in 2009. Of particular note is the mask described as a "Mr. Hyde" mask. Technically, it could be called anything, as the mask has remained a bit of a mystery throughout the years since it first gained recognition after being worn by James Warren on the cover of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #2 in September 1958. The hands were Topstone's "monster hands", but identifying the maker of the mask is another story.
David Horne, in his indispensable guide to Warren Publications, Gathering Horror, identifies it simple as a "werewolf" mask. Mask-maker Pete Infelise on his blog states that Don Post Studios and Topstone were the two biggest mask-making companies at the time, but neither had this mask listed on their inventory.
The mask was also sold as an 8" X 10" sutographed "Werewolf Photo" in FAMOUS MONSTERS. It was smply a black and white photo of the FM #2 cover image.
Years later, in 2005, VXX-FX mask makers payed homage to this mystery mask by creating a likeness of the FM cover mask which they dubbed (maybe more appropriately) the "Devilman".
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
The time/space traveling Dr. Who is 50 years old this month. And just to prove how popular he still is, the 50th Anniversary special that aired on Saturday set a record for the most-watched simulcast of a television drama ever.
The DAILY EXPRESS TV program schedule insert, Saturday, included a brief intro to the upcoming show.
From the DAILY EXPRESS:
Doctor Who anniversary special sets world record as millions tune in to "Day of The Doctor"
DOCTOR Who set a new world record as millions across the globe tuned in to watch The Day of The Doctor, the show's 50th anniversary special last night.
By: Dion Dassanayake
Published: Sunday, November 24, 2013
The landmark episode, broadcast last night, has booked its place in the Guinness World Record book for the the largest ever simulcast of a television drama. A simulcast is a simultaneous broadcast across more than one medium. The episode was broadcast on TV in 94 countries and in 1,500 cinemas worldwide.
The episode also had an average audience of 10.2 million on BBC, which is the fifth highest rating figures since the show returned in 2005. The world record was presented by Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday to the show's executive producer and head writer Steven Moffat.
Mr Moffat said: "For years the Doctor has been stopping everyone else from conquering the world. Now, just to show off, he's gone and done it himself!"
Whovians lauded the anniversary episode, which brought Matt Smith and David Tennant together for the first time, as "phenomenal" and "incredible".
The landmark 75 minute show was broadcast on BBC One and cinemas around the world after weeks of celebration and build-up to the landmark moment. The episode also saw surprise cameos from Doctor Who legend Tom Baker and a brief appearance from the next Time Lord Peter Capaldi. The Thick Of It star was seen only briefly as she eyes looked towards the camera. While the show ended on a nostalgic note as past Doctor Whos lined up for a group shot and looked towards the camera just before the credits rolled.
Doctor Who - The Day of The Doctor was also shown in 3D in hundreds of cinemas across Britain.