Posts Tagged ‘Vincent Price’

Something (Truly) Evil’s Lurking In The Dark

So… what is a has been, reclusive, much ridiculed performer to do with any shred of dignity he has left to him? Revisit his heyday and make a Broadway musical of it, of course.  For the first time in a few years, Michael Jackson has reemerged (or at least given a statement) that he will be working with the prestigious  Nederlander Organization on a fully realized musical adaptation of the iconic tune and music video Thriller (Oh, help).  The tale of boy meets girl, boy and girl go to a scary movie, and boy has a big, dark, hairy secret.  Wacko Jacko will be involved in the entire production in what capacity has yet to be  released.  This will probably depend upon the performers willingness to come out of his plastic bubble (oops… that was another story).  Is it just me or does it seem that even Broadway is going back to the 80s along with all other forms of entertainment?  The British stage show, Thriller Live, (a musical based on the life of Jackson… HELP, AGAIN!) has been playing to audiences across the pond since 2006.  Let the bashing (or support… I do not wish to alienate any legitimate readers) begin.  I wonder how far into the story the British extravaganza goes.  I wonder if Thriller will come up with a clever way to resurrect Vincent Price (not only his voice)… that would be a thrill.

Happy 5-0, Jack-o

Today marks the half-century mark for one of the strangest, most celebrated (in his heyday), and most controversial performers ever to dance across a stage. At one time, the mere mention of Michael Jackson’s name sent teenage girl’s hearts a-flutter. Now, it seems that it sends chilling thoughts of child abuse charges, skin color changing, surgical mask wearing, and sleeping with chimpanzees. I do remember when he was rightfully given the moniker “The King of Pop,” but 1983-84 was some time ago and most people born just a few years after that would wonder what all the fuss was about. In fact, they frequently laugh at the mere mention of his name (as most people do… even most of his fans wonder what happened).

I remember vividly my experience with most things Thriller: the album itself (still the world’s largest selling of all time), the video, the sequined glove, the marketing, and the introduction of the Moonwalk during the 25th anniversary of Motown. I remember seeing the video while staying overnight with my cousin. My uncle stayed up with us as he was a fan going back to the Jackson 5 days. At the time, it was on of the scariest things I had ever seen. A tribute to the old creature features of the 50s and 60s. Zombies, werewolves, creatures rising from graves. Even Vincent Price’s voice made an eerie appearance in a “rap” toward the end of the 14-minute movie. Days later, the video was banned from network airwaves and was only allowed to be played on MTV after 10pm.

In 1984, the phenomenon sparked the “Victory” reunion tour of Michael and his brothers. While visiting our relatives in Texas that summer, the group was performing in Dallas. And not forgetting the hair-burning incident during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.

Although Wacko-Jacko is now almost in total seclusion, at one time he was a powerhouse of performing dominance seemingly invincible. However, his success with Thriller was never surpassed as rumors began to take control of his life just as its popularity was at its peak.

Same Cat Time, Same Cat Channel

Batman has undergone several transformations in the 70 years of his creation. One of the most debated is the television series that ran on ABC television from 1966-1968. It was an all-out camp version of the Dark Knight that at first delighted fans and was an instant smash, in fact it spawned a theatrical version that did not do well. Stars Adam West and Burt Ward were forever typecast in the roles of the dynamic duo.

The formula for the first season of Bat-episodes was the same throughout. One of Batman’s colorful adversaries would commit a heinous crime. Commissioner Gordon would use the red bat-phone to call the caped crusader for help. Bruce Wayne and his “youthful ward” Dick Grayson slid down the batpoles to the mysterious Batcave in the catacombs beneath Stately Wayne Manor to instantly change into the crimefighters. Then would race in the Batmobile to police headquarters and learn what problems had befallen the good citizens of Gotham City. Shortly thereafter, the heroes would follow the clues to the hideout of the villain of the week which usually led to a cartoonish Bat-fight full of “Biff”s, “Bam”s, and “Crash”s. Then, the villain would place the duo in a seemingly unescapable trap and leave. TO BE CONTINUED. In the conclusion, the heroes would escape the deadly trap with the aid of their utility belts, hunt down the evildoers, and stop their dastardly plot.

By the mid-point of the 2nd season, the formula was becoming weak, the creators of the comic book were becoming increasingly embarrassed by the campiness. Batgirl was introduced, but she did little to improve things (although Yvonne Craig did fit the costume very well, thank you very much) and the series was soon canceled.

The best thing about the series was the rogues gallery of supervillains who would attempt to bring chaos and destruction to the fair metropolis 😀 . The Riddler, The Joker, Catwoman, and The Penguin were the main adversaries carried over from the comic book adventures. During its heyday, several stars of the 60s wanted to cash in on the series popularity and new (often forgettable) villains were created. Dastardly nogoodnicks like Egghead (played with egg-cellent deliciousness by Vincent Price), King Tut, Shame, Bookworm, and Liberace (?) as Chandel are but a few of the one or two time villains of the week.

Then we had the ridiculous phrases uttered by the Boy Wonder… “Holy (…), Batman!” Some of the more ridiculous utterances:

Holy uncanny photographic mental processes

Holy one track batcomputer mind

Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods

Holy interplanetary yardstick

In total, the Boy Wonder made 356 of the goofball, but at times timely, observations.

Only the theatrical Batman movie has ever made it to DVD. However, if you follow one of these two links, you two can have hours of entertainment or at least a few laughs at the campiness that was Batman of the 1960s.

Your one stop shop for Batman, Superman, and more –!