We hope you will be entertained, educated, and encouraged to explore these movies, books, and sound recordings. Some of this material is readily available, some will fall into the collectible category. Bearing this in mind, we hope you will be enthralled by the material presented on this website.
RECENTLY ADDED on this page: Welcome to EddieWood, From the Video Vaults, FilmFax, Boris Karloff - More Than a Monster review #144
Most Evil II
by Steve Hodel
A Vireo Book/Rare Bird Books
www.rarebirdbooks.com First published 2016
There are enough true crime books to start a chain of libraries. One of my all time favorites is about to have it's first birthday. Most Evil II is Steve Hodel's definitive follow-up to his 2009 book Most Evil.
I first became aware of Mr. Hodel's work in 2004, a year after his compelling book Black Dahlia Avenger was released. It was for a magazine review assignment (which unfortunately was never published) and the minute I began reading it I was drawn in, something few books do for me these days. A dominant feature of Hodel's books is the feeling of being a ride-along participant in the investigations. Most Evil II is no different.
While it would be impossible to chronicle all the twists and turns of Mr. Hodel's investigation of the Zodiac case - and his father's involvment - in this column, the only thing I will disclose is, the key is in the cipher. All of Steve Hodel's writings are highly recommended. A personal favorite of mine is A Genius for Murder. A historical dramatization in three acts, this is a short form version of Hodel's Black Dahlia Avenger.
Coming in October from WordFire Press, Lady Sherlock is Brooks Arthur Wachtel's debut novel. The Emmy Ward Winning author's first installment, Circle of the Smiling Dead is sure to be steeped in classic mystery tradition. An illustrated novel, this has all the earmarks of a highly popular franchise, which will please readers for years to come.
Coming soon to your local newsstand is FilmFax Plus #145, featuring a celebration of the 80th birthday of Universal's Flash Gordon serials, plus interviews with Henry "The Fonz" Winkler, Tim and Jimmy Hawkins, and career profiles of Lee Van Cleef and Lenny Bruce.
As it says on the cover, "A five ounce ton of intelligent fun."
On September 3rd, MeTV sent The Adventures of Superman television show on vacation, with the showing of the episode, "The Seven Souvenirs." -- for those who are interested.
Welcome to Eddiewood
Hard to believe it's been over a half century since Bela Lugosi left Hollywood, let alone the planet. Today marks sixty years that Count Dracula hasn't been sighted on the streets and byways of Tinseltown. Boy would he be surprised!
Spring of 1967; I had a part-time after-school job at a poster shop on Las Palmas Avenue in the heart of Hollywood. The store was in the old Argosy Bookstore, a couple doors away from the Las Palmas Newsstand, which was the go-to place for monster magazines back in the day. Run by Gunther Collins, and Wood crony John Andrews, the store had opened the year before with more floor space than product. It’s amazing they could pay the rent!
One afternoon Gunther and John asked me if I wanted to meet Ed Wood. I wasn’t sure how to answer, as they pointed to the phone booth across the street where a man was having a heated argument with someone on the other end of the line. I took a pass on that one. It woodn't be the last time our paths wood silently pass.
A decade later I met a guy called Mike through my godmother, Cecil Elliot. He was, as she put it, "her biggest fan." Our common interests were The Adventures of Superman, horror movies, and Ed Wood films. So some time in 1980 we ended up at an Ed Wood film festival at the Vista Theater, adjacent to the old Monogram Studios. The guests of honor were Criswell, Paul Marco, and a host of other friends and coworkers of Ed's. At the intermission, my wife and I were at the snack bar with Paul Marco. I asked him what it was like to be Kelton the Cop. He replied, "It was just a job." Six years later, I would have no idea of how things changed.
In December of 1986 I interviewed Paul Marco for FilmFax Magazine (published in January 1987). For the piece, we used a lot of photos from Paul Marco's private archive. There were photographs of Kenne Duncan's wake at Ed Wood's North Hollywood home in 1972. I kept fixating on photos of the group of mourners. There was a guy with shoulder-length hair who I recognized as a chap that I used to see at places like Budget Films in Hollywood. I asked Marco who the fellow was. "Why, that’s Ed," he replied. I was dumbfounded. "We used to call that guy the Old Prospector," I gulped. Sure enough, it was Ed. Gone were his combination Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power movie star good looks. All this time I had been spotting Ed Wood without knowing who he was. Oh, well, as a wise sage used to say, "Go figure."
So now the windbag finally gets to the point!
It is a foregone conclusion that Gary D. Rhodes has covered all things Bela Lugosi in his multiple books since the middle 1990s. The documentary Hollywood Dracula is the icing on the cake. Now Mr. Rhodes has released two outstanding books on Tom Weaver’s franchise Scripts From the Crypt from Bear Manor Media.
Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster, and Ed Wood and the Lost Lugosi Screenplays provide a comprehensive look back at Lugosi's last days in Hollywood, and Ed Wood's realized and unrealized projects. Rhodes has brought a supporting cast of experts to augment these volumes, with insightful essays that shed new light on this transition period of Hollywood, when major studios lost their stranglehold on entertainment while television was stealing the audience. Contributors included Tom Weaver, Samuel Sherman, Stephen B. Whatley, Dr. Robert J. Kiss, Michael Lee, Leo Eaton, Lee R. Harris, and Robert Cremer (author of the superb Lugosi: The Man Behind the Cape).
These two volumes provide a new way of looking at Bela Lugosi and Ed Wood, and their adventures in long-gone Tinselttown.
Loaded with rare photos and archival material provided by Buddy Barnett and Lee Harris, these two books could be the last word on the Lugosi/Wood legacy.
Here's a book that slipped under by radar screen for five years. Thanks to Ralph Schiller (author of The Complete Films of Broderick Crawford we now can enjoy this magnificent tome authorized by his daughter, Sara Jane Karloff. Jacob's writing is crisp, informative, and highly entertaining. Myth and mystery are separated from the true facts of Boris' life through detailed research, shining a whole new light on the personal and professional of Mr. Karloff. From beginning to end no stone of "The King of Horror" is left unturned; punctuated by rare photographs and personal correspondence that fill in the blanks of Karloff's life.
Many books have been written about the actor's fifty-year career, but few have come close to the completeness of this five hundred sixty-eight page volume. As to the availability of this book, I would suggest one should troll used book dealers' websites. A truly stellar book.
FilmFax Plus Issue No. 144
Interviews with Tony Dow, Beverly Washburn, Tim and Jimmy Hawkins, and Bill Corso.
Warner Archives has released a triple bill DVD set of Charlie Chan films; The Red Dragon (1945), The Feathered Serpent (1949), and The Sky Dragon (1949).
Contact Warner Archives.com
Dancing madly backwards! I received a book for Christmas; several years ago I had contact with the author, Gene Freese. The book Jock Mahoney, the Life and Films of a Hollywood Stuntman brought back floods of memories about my adventures with Jocko', as the Breakfast Club knew him. It was thirty years ago this month that I made the acquaintance of this Hollywood legend - May 1986. I had just left a band, and had some free time on Saturday mornings, so I used to cruise over to North Hollywood to Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee to rent VHS tapes of old movie serials. While I was combing the shelves, picking my weekend entertainment, I struck up a conversation with a man named Herb Harris. Comparing notes on our favorite serials, Clumbia Serals was brought up, and Herb asked if I knew who Jocko Mahoney was. "Of course!" I replied. Herb pointed to a chap standing a few feet from us. "There's Jocko; you want to meet him?" "Hell, yeah!"
A short time later I met up with Herb, Jocko', and John Church at the now defunct Bob's Big Boy in North Hollywood, for my first breakfast with the Jock Mahoney Breakfast Club. Everyone but me ordered the breakfast buffet, while I ordered ala carte eggs sunny-side up. Big mistake! Jocko' sat down next to me, and we started talking about his career in films. He said, "Did you know I worked with the Three Stooges?" to which he let out his best Shemp Culy woo-woo-woo and two-fingered my two egg yolks, which I hadn't touched. We then were joined by Richard 'Captain Midnight' WEbb. No doubt, Jocko' was a practical joker. His next stunt that morning was rearranging the buffet. Talk about unauthorized breakfast items! It took the management a couple of weeks to catch on to Jocko's culinary experiments, and needless to say, they weren't pleased. Jocko' and I didn't talk on the phone or hang out at each others' homes. I'd get phone calls from Herb Harris to let me know where the Club would next convene. Sometimes the Sportsmen's Lodge, but the heyday was at an old Hollywood style restaurant in Studio City, not far from the old Republic Studios, called "Charlie's." Jocko' knew Charlie well, and so his sense of humor was tolerated and encouraged. Today, it's a CVS drug store.
Charlie's Bar and Grill was the western and serial actors' meeting place, with Jocko' holding court Saturday mornings. Gene Autry, Pat Buttram, Terry Frost, Peggy Stewart, John Agar, Pierce Lyden, Richard Webb, John Russell, to name a few, were frequent guests who came to hoist a cup of joe with Jocko'.
It is to Gene Frees's credit that he has perfectly captrued the essence of Jocko' in his bio-book. Here, stories that we were told at the breakfast table are fleshed out in detail, and examined to paint a complete picture of this larger-than-life man.
At a memorial roast for Jocko' at the Sportsmen's Lodge on February 6, 1990, Jocko's widow, Autumn, stated that Jocko' had lived five lives in one lifetime.
Published by McFarland, I found the book in the Oldies.com book catalog.
Also of interest:
Rocky Jones, Space Ranger
Legendary Lydecker Brothers
and the Crypt 39, Coroner's Case 45426, George Reeves. at Amazon Createspace and Kindle - your choice!
At last! Crypt 39, Coroner's Case 45426, George Reeves is now available in print, as well as Amazon Kindle!
Thursday of this week, June 16, 2016, marks the 57th anniversary of George Reeves' death. While half a century ago, this loss is still painful to many of us who grew up watching The Adventures of Superman.
To understand the path that George Reeves took to become Superman, and his unfortunate demise, I would highly recommend Lou Koza's Historical Archives books, in three volumes. It presents a clear and more accurate picture of the journey Mr. Reeves took through life.
While my newly released paperback novel, Crypt 39, Coroners Case 45426 George Reeves attempts to present a fictional scenario of the last ten years of George Reeves' life, Mr. Koza presents an accurate chronology of George Reeves' entire life in the Historical Archives books. Now we have an accurate chronicle of the beginnings and endings of Mr. Reeves life.
Say a prayer for a boy who couldn't run fast enough to save his own life.
It could be said that Lou Koza's 2012 George Reeves Historical Archives was a preview of things to come. Now in 2016 we have the three-volume research and reference guide, which is the most comprehensive source of George Reeves history to be offered to the public - A treasure trove of clippings, rare photographs, and insightful commentary to guide the reader through the life of George Reeves from beginning to the last fateful evening. Diagrams and illustrations are utilized to present all the various theories which have been expounded throughout the decades.
Mr. Koza treats the material with respect, and reveals many of the lesser players in this complicated half-a-century-old mystery.
So for all of those who think you know everything about George Reeves - you WILL, after reading these three magnificent volumes.
Jimi Hendrix said to an audience in the latter part of his career, "It's been a long time, hasn't it!" That could be applicable to this website. So onward and upward!
The first of the year saw two outstanding releases, the first being Ralph Schiller's book The Complete Films of Broderick Crawford from C.P. Books. This compelling read has several standout features that ensure audience appeal. Schiller's structure is new and innovative, insofar as the beginning of each essay utilizes production notes, running times, and technical info to set up the piece. This refreshing approach goes against the grain of IMDB and Wickipedia, where the information offered is not always accurate.
The text covers film plots with reminiscences from Mr. Crawford's costars, and makes this tome much friendlier than an exercise in academic film history. A complete list of television appearances and rare photographs make this three hundred thirty-one page book an indispensable volume for Brod Crawford fans.
Available from Amazon, Hulu, and CP books at www.cpentbooks.com
One would assume that once a book is published, the subject is over. Not so with Broderick Crawford. Here is something that Ralph Schiller discovered by accident that we thought we'd share - enjoy!
The incredible book The Glenn Miller Conspiracy by Hunton Downs reads like a lost episode of The Twilight Zone. Author Down interviewed three living people who knew the secret behind the real death of the famous bandleader. They were film star David Niven (an active duty Major with the British Army), Col. Otto Skorenzy (SS Commando in the Third Reich), and Broderick Crawford (on active duty as a U.S. Army Military Police Sergeant). Only Brod admitted that Miller was on a mission for General Eisenhower (the Supreme Allied Commander) that went wrong.
Brod called Glen Miller 'Mill' and they hit it off when they were both assigned by the army to Yale to make overseas broadcasts. Later, along with Major Niven, they spent most of the war in London. U.S. Army Air Corps Major Glenn Miller, who was born Mueller of German immigrants, made orchestra broadcasts to the Third Reich. Miller spoke fluent German and urged German troops to surrender and be well-treated. A secret pact was made between Ike and German General von Rundstedt that was kept secret from Hitler, Stalin, and the Russians. A gap would be left in the Allied front so three SS Panzer divisions would be led into a trap and destroyed. Von Rundstedt and his other generals would capture Hitler and negotiate a surrender to end the war in 1944 before the Russians could invade Berlin.
Miller was flown from Versailles (Ike's HQ) in an Army plane to a German airfield. He was to broadcast on the seized Berlin radio network and speak to the German troops to stop the fighting. Instead he flew into a gap and was captured by Col. Otto Skorenzy, the daring swashbuckling German commando. Miller was tortured to reveal Ike's whereabouts because Hitler ordered Skorenzy to assassinate Ike. Miller never talked and was flown back to the American airbase in a captured/repaired B-24 with an all-German crew that spoke fluent English and wore American uniforms. The injured Glenn Miller was taken off the plane on a stretcher and then transported via Army ambulance to a Bordello in Paris owned by the SS and tortured until he died. The famous bandleader's body was dumped outside the doorstep of the bordello to stain his reputation.
The author Hunton Downs, a WWII veteran, had every door slammed in his face by several governments and the Estate of Glenn Miller. David Niven never mentioned Miller in his two autobiographies but thirty-five years later Brod was still sad about it, since he watched his friend board that plane to oblivion. It would make for a great movie. One final note, Major Glenn Miller was officially awarded the Bronze Star by the U.s. Army, which by Federal law is only given out for valor in combat. A routine plane crash would only rate a Purple Heart.
Ralph Schiller, 3-14-16
That's the Twilight Zone for sure!
Also of interest:
Rocky Jones, Space Ranger
Legendary Lydecker Brothers
and the Kindle book, Crypt 39, Coroner's Case 45426, George Reeves.
It was a cold early December night in 1969. I was standing outside the Whiskey a Go Go on the Sunset Strip (soon to be infamous thanks to one Charles Manson). The marquee glowed with neon dreams and musical delights, and simply read "King Crimson December 3- 6th." Penniless, hippified, I was pulling one of my cheapskate tricks, standing outside the venue on the sidewalk and listening to the act non-gratis; keeping one eye on the West Hollywood Sheriffs, another eye on the front door in case the management got pissed at my loitering, possible preventing paying customers from entering the club.
Lo and behold, along came an old friend down the street. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "I'm hoping to hear some of the set by this new English band, King Crimson," I replied. "They sound like an evil Moody Blues," I added. My friend was the bass player with a band I had hung out with since high school, The Abstracts. They played a lot of Hollywood high school dances, and later on in their careers a I would play a small insignificant part in some unreleased recordings under their new name, The Hobbitt. My friend had free entrance to the Whiskey, and generously invited me to be his guest for the evening King Crimson performance.
I had no idea what I was in for. We took our seats to the strains of the 1969 hit parade played on the Whiskey's public address system. The lights dimmed and four gentlemen walked onstage and assumed their positions. Only the sound of the leads being plugged into their instruments was heard as the recorded music faded out. In what seemed like forever and a millisecond the band launched into "Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man" and blew my nineteen-year-old brain out of the top of my head. I had heard "Epitaph" and "In the Court of the Crimson King" on the Long Beach FM station KNAC, but nothing could have prepared me for the Twenty-First Century sonic assault. Needless to say the walk home that inter evening gave this enthusiastic, aspiring, would-be musician a lot to think about.
Two months before the Crimson Whiskey gig I had been given my first acoustic guitar for my birthday. When I got home in the early house of the morning, I put the Lyle Gibson knockoff guitar in the closet along with what was left of my brain for three months, while contemplated what I had seen and heard that evening, and what my concept of music had been up till then (musicians getting loaded and boogying). What Crimson presented was more than music, it was truly a way of doing things. Pardon an over-used phrase.
Flash forward forty-five years. My wife and I are motoring eastbound on Beverly Boulevard. It's October first and our destination is the Orpheum Theater. On the journey we reminisced about all the Crimson gigs we had attended. (She started her Crimson gig history in 1981, while I had seen all but one Crimson show since the Whiskey show.) The drive was smoother than expected, L.A. traffic being what it is in 2014. Soon we were pulling into the tiny car park across the street from the Orpheum Theater where the marquee read "An Evening with King Crimson September 30th and October 1st." We got out of the car and began our short walk. Downtown Los Angeles is now an architectural treasure trove of sights and different eras that blend together all in the space of a city block. A short wait in line, and into the newly restored Orpheum, which is a former movie palace and historical monument.
We found our seats and begin our admiration of the theater, when out of the corner of my eye, just to the right of the stage, a small door opened. A well-dressed gentleman appeared and proceeded down the small wooden rail less stairs to the aisle on the far right of the stage. A small group of audience members took no notice of this man as he made his way to the sound board at the back of the facility, and appeared to have a conversation with one of the techs. He then disappeared into the lobby where the merchandise tables were set up and doing a booming business. I kept asking my wife to look over my shoulder and tell me who she saw, but even she did not detect Robert Fripp passing through the theater. To my knowledge, neither did anyone else.
We then adjourned to the bar for refreshments. Returning to our seats with libation in hand, I noticed the unknown guitarist returned and reentered the stage door. This time my wife recognized the one member of King Crimson who had been in every incarnation since January of 1969. Gradually a small crowd of people (mostly men) gathered around our third row seats, snapping iPhone photos of Crimson's massive arsenal of exotic instruments (photos and amateur recordings of the band were prohibited). A nice gentleman of basically our age group introduced himself. He asked if I knew anything about King Crimson. My reply was, "a little." In the course of conversation he revealed that someone associated with the California Guitar Trio had recommended this Crimson gig as a must-see. I must admit that I found it refreshing that not only would someone of a certain age take a chance with music that they had never heard, but show up at a gig with no preconceived ideas about an unknown act and be open to new musical adventures. Surely that is what King Crimson has always been. The chap went on to say that he was a guitarist and that his friends who inspired him to attend this performance told him he should keep a special eye out for one Roger Fripp. I politely corrected him with, "It's Robert Fripp." It was hard for me to explain the Crimson experience to an uninitiated listener, but I tried the best I could with inadequate verbiage. The best I could muster was, "Crimson might change your view of music."
Suddenly a voice from the speakers began informing the audience that no photography or personal recording would be allowed. It was Robert Fripp. He advised the crowd to mentally vid-e the show, and to have fun and rock out. It became a group affair with the band members chiming in on the ills of recording and photography, which was delivered with much hilarity. Tony Levin plaintively announced he had a photo pass, which provided much laughter for the audience. The lights in the house dimmed and the front line of three drummers filed on to their kits, and began the finger piano Intro to "Larks Tongues in Aspic Part One."
For the next two hours, Crimson played selections from all phases of their career, with an intensity the younger bands would envy. All the players were on point, with Fripp’s playing being beyond description. Standing ovations followed every piece of music.
As we filed out of the Orpheum I wondered if our pre-show friend had his perception of music change. One can only hope.
Copyright Jan Alan Henderson 2014
From Cremo Studios
Questions by Steve Randisi
Answers by J.A. Henderson
Taken from a marathon phone call between the Left Coast and the Right Coast
SR: So why a book on Rocky Jones now?
JAH: Unfinished business, for one, and my brief friendship with Dian Fauntelle.
Courtesy of Steve Randisi
She saw the FilmFax issues on Rocky fifteen years after they were published, and called Mike Stein because we had mis-captioned Guy V. Thayer as Roland Reed. Mike gave me a call and explained the situation. This was a few months after you and I brought out Behind the Crimson Cape. She was terribly ill, but such a nice lady.
When I pulled up in front of her house, I remember it from being a kid in the late 50s, when my mother would take up collections for Community Chest and The United Way. I had met Dian in the late 50s, and not known who she was. Mike Stein and I decided to do a career retrospective on Dian; that way we could correct the photo captions without trying to go back fifteen years.
The minute I stepped inside her house the memories came flooding back. I started asking questions about neighbors who lived in the area who I had known in the 50s and 60s, who I had lost track of. Somehow we squeezed in a 90 minute career interview, but it was more of a reunion with an old friend. We stayed in touch when her health permitted.
SR: When we first spoke about this project you were looking for background information on Jack R. Glass?
JAH: Ah! The quest of Jack R. Glass. This guy was so far off the map it was next to impossible to even get a birth date or death date. I started with the Margaret Herrick Library, who had nothing. Then through Dana Winesmen I checked all the cinematographers and camera operators unions and societies. Nothing! From there I had writer Steve Hodel do some online searches and he came up with an ad from 1956 offering Glass's services for TV commercials. Still no vital stats. Colete Morlock came into the picture at that point. She is an amateur genealogist, and we ran down a lot of Jack Glasses, but never the right one. In November of 2012 I emailed Gregory Orr, a documentary film maker who produced, directed, and wrote a documentary for American Movie Classics, Hollywood Commandos, which featured Jack R. Glass. Months went by, and not a word. I kept running down leads, to no avail. I spent weeks on the phone to local cemeteries looking for Jack Glass - nothing. Colete Morlock found military enlistment records for a John R. Glass in Culver City, California, which listed his occupation as Photographer. We thought we hit paydirt, but still needed further confirmation. Out of the blue in March of this year, I received an email from Gregory Orr informing me of where he believed Jack R. Glass retired. In six hour s after that we had our second confirmation. What a workout!
SR: Do you focus on the rest of the crew?
Courtesy Tom Noel
JAH: Yes, there's a chapter called "An Out-Of-This-World Crew." A lot of those guys and gals were long time employees of Hal Roach Studios. Jack R. Glass and McClure Capps worked other Roach TV shows like Racket Squat, The Great Gildersleeve, and the unaired show The Veil with Boris Karloff. Warren Wilson, Marianne Mosner, and Francis Rosenwald wrote episodes for other productions on the lot. The same held true for a lot of the cast members who also worked on these shows under Hal Roach Jr. Superman fans will remember Jack Glass's optical effects on The Adventures of Superman.
SR: You interviewed Hollingsworth Morse in the mid-80s, didn't you!
JAH: Yes, there's an interesting story about how I got hold of him. Andy Anderson, who has been involved in all the Rocky Jones projects, gave me Morse's phone number, and warned me he wouldn't want to talk about the show. I spent some time trying to figure out how best to approach him. One day I decided to just call and roll the dice. If he didn't want to be interviewed, so be it. That might have stopped the project. Luckily he was very cooperative and gave me a great interview. Sadly, he passed away in January of 1988, so he didn't get to see the magazine piece.
As told to Harvey Kubernik c 2013
Photo courtesy of Gary Pig Gold archives
On Some Faraway Beach
Venice, California mid60s - two figures sit on the sand on a brightly lit California afternoon. It could have been a postcard, but years later it would be a phenomenon. The dark-haired one of the pair sings softly to the older and wiser one in the blinding sunlight. "Let's go to the moon ..." etc.
A tickle shy of four decades on May 20, 2013, Ray Manzarek left the planet. The older wiser one may be on another faraway beach with the retired Lizard King getting an earful of new tunes, and picking through a roster of musicians for some sort of heavenly blued band.
In this post, we have the extraordinary performer, producer, and songwriter Kim Fowley reflecting on Ray to veteran rock journalist Harvey Kubernik. Kubernik (a Los Angeles native) has been writing about popular music for four decades in periodicals, and has authored five books. His critically acclaimed Canyon of Dreams (The Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon) in 2009 published by Sterling, and A Perfect Haze : The Illustrated history of the Monterey International Pop Festival published by Santa Monica Press in 2011, set a new standard in Rock & Pop journalism. Look for Turn Up the Radio! (Pop, Rock and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972) in late summer of this year on Santa Monica Press.
Kim Fowley's remembrance of his friend Ray Manzarek to Harvey is touching, truthful, heartfelt, and a snapshot of the rock 'n' roll renaissance that shan't come this way again.
"Ray Manzarek was a rock 'n' roll scholar. Ray Manzarek was Goodbye Mr. Chips as a young man and he never grew old. Ray Manzarek was from Chicago. So he understood Studs Lonigan and he understood Chess Records and he probably understood Riley Hampton. Google him folks. Ray Manzarek understood Vee-Jay Records. He must have understood Calvin Carter. He knew who Jerry Butler was. Just as important, Ray Manzarek knew where Europe was, he knew where Asia was and he knew where he fitted into the solar system. Ray Manzarek from the very beginning to the very end was an immaculately attired gentleman. He had his own sound, his own worldview and his own perception of what was surreal, real and unreal. We always got along well. We never recorded together. But we would speak sometimes in the shadows about the sunlight that we weren’t missing. Ray Manzarek will be missed. Somewhere in heaven Ray is playing music and the band has already improved their sounds since he joined.
"I first saw the Doors when they were an opening act and unsigned band at Ciro’s on Sunset. There was a heckler in the audience who ridiculed the three musician Doors as they loaded their own instruments on stage and amps, and wanted to pick a fight with them. And he was doing a theatrical heckler imrov, and then jumped up to show them that he as an audience member could be a better singer than their missing singer who was probably hiding in the dressing room or outside in the street out of fear. And then Jim Morrison did 'Break On Through.' That was the first song. The place went wild. Because no one had ever seen them before.
Ray’s organ was a music box to a volcano. John Densmore was a jazz drummer. You also had a jazz keyboardist and a jazz guitarist all playing the blues with a great poet and actor fronting it.
"It was tremendous. It was theater. Jim could sing in pitch, he had the image and the poetry. He understood theater. Manzarek supplied a pulse, and Robby the guitarist is never given credit what he brought to the table in 1967.
"The Doors were not a rock 'n' roll band but gave you a rock 'n' roll feeling. And the only band that did that was the original King Crimson. 'Cause they weren’t a rock ‘n’ roll band, either. But when you heard 'Court of the Crimson King,' and Pink Floyd '67, they were the only bands who had some Wagner with a rock 'n' roll attitude.
"Earlier in 1965 I recorded a song 'The Trip' in one take in the middle of El Monte with a group of pickup musicians. There was a Farfisa organ on the record. My original version was released on Corby Records, which is a defunct label out of Oregon who put it out. It was later covered by Godfrey on the C Jam label. I put one of the 500 copies that were manufactured into the hands of Jesse, the manager, owner, bartender of the London Fog who thought it was a good song and put it into into the jukebox. When the Doors showed up a year later they used it as their 'break song.' Jesse would play it and it would be the signal for them to take their break from the bandstand. And if you hear a song for multiple weeks or months it will get into your subconscious and it will influence you.
"(Author and music biographer) Albert Goldman many years ago came to interview me when he was researching a book on Jim Morrison. Once of the things he mentioned to me, knowing I casually knew some of the band members, been on stage with them a couple of times, was that he obtained the BMI or ASCAP logged reports on 'The Trip' and the frequent airplays it received in 1965-1967 on the jukebox at The London Fog. He was a good researcher. Some people have cited that 'The Trip' might have had some influence on the Doors' 'Soul Kitchen.'
"I saw the Doors everywhere. I introduced them at the Devonshire Downs Music Festival in Northridge in 1967. Astounding. They had magic.
"In 1969 I was the MC of the Toronto Pop Festival at Varsity Stadium. The Doors followed John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. I introduced the Doors on stage. I said, 'Get ready for the Doors, who are coming on next.'"I had drunk some beer and on the original pressing of the live album you can hear someone saying, 'Kim! You’re always on the wrong mike. Kim!' And I fell off the stage into the pit. Then I jumped back on stage. The Doors had to follow this and this was the first and only time you had John Lennon and Jim Morrison in the same bill. I don’t think they met or posed for photos.
"The Doors started doing their thing. Around the third song of the set, out comes Chuck Berry, who saw the movie cameras, went up to approach Jim Morrison on stage and Jim Morrison stopped on stage and said, 'You don’t let young musicians jam with you when they've offered. Shame on you. You should jam with young musicians. So now we’re gonna continue our set. Get off our stage, Chuck.' The place went wild. Then the show continued. The best artist that night was Tony Joe White playing 'Polk Salad Annie.' He had Booker T. and the MG's behind him. That moment of Tony Joe White doing 'Polk Salad Annie' was like Elvis Presley.
"Ray and I both embraced and worked with punk rock musicians while many of our contemporaries then didn't. He produced X and I worked with the Germs. I financed the live Germs album from the Whisky a Go Go and Ralph Peer published the music. Ray and I were living in the future the whole time.
"As a DJ on Little Steven's Underground Garage channel on the SiriusXM satellite radio I play a lot of Doors. Because they are timeless. I’m a rock 'n' roll soldier and a radio actor on Little Steven's channel. It’s the dream radio gig we all wanted in high school. Where we could sit there and play music and influence our class mates and our buddies and the girls that we knew and have the power of putting needle to vinyl or the modern equivalent and changing someone's life with a series of musical combustion by creative sequencing. We put it all together from yesterday, today and tomorrow."
Forgotten Horrors: The Original Volume - Except More So
Michael H. Price and George E. Turner
Available from Amazon.com
Way back when the world was a less confusing place and there was no internet, you would actually go to bookstores to buy books. Can you imagine that! Things sure have changed, but the memory remains the same.
It's a bright, sunny spring day on Hollywood Boulevard in 1979, and I'm engaged in my usual ritual of hitting the bookstores and poster shops on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, before it became a mega-tourist trap. Perusing stacks of lobby cards and stills, I suddenly notice a nice-looking chap peering over my shoulder at a King of the Zombies lobby card. "Good show," the gentleman exclaims. "One of my favorites," I reply. That was my introduction to the legendary George E. Turner, author of the hugely popular The Making of King Kong (with Dr. Orville Goldner). We got to talking, and found we had much in common. George had just relocated from Amarillo, Texas, to take up a position in film effects in Hollywood. Growing up, George split his time between his home state of Texas and Los Angeles, and was well familiar and involved with the picture business.
During our first meeting, George mentioned his newest work with his collaborator and fellow team member, Michael H. Price, entitled Forgotten Horrors. Well, you can bet I was first in line to pick up this volume of forgotten lore when it hit bookstore shelves in 1980. George went on to do numerous projects (literary and cinematic) over the years, and this tome was reprinted two more times (the last one, sadly, on the eve of George leaving the planet in 1999.)
His writing partner Mike Price has gone back to the original unedited manuscripts which contained a treasure trove of films never presented in any of the other releases, and rebuilt Forgotten Horrors from the ground up. Some of the films included in the new Forgotten Horrors is the lost Edgar G. Ulmer flick The Warning Shadow, shot before the Karloff/Lugosi triumphant The Black Cat, Harold Lloyd's comedy spooker Welcome Danger, and a look at the first Bulldog Drummond from 1929. With fifty new chapters to keep the reader spellbound with thrills, chills, and the fear of what's through the next trap door, Forgotten Horrors: The Original Volume - Except More So will provide hours and hours of enjoyment, education, and a panoramic picture of these precious cinematic wonders.
In the past, naysayers have questioned what a "Forgotten Horror" is! So from Professor Webster, the definition is:
Comics and Stories
Just when you thought it was safe to go out of your house (Forgotten Horrors #5, The Atomic Age should have scared you silly), those wacky folks at Creamo Studios have unleashed another volume of forgotten lore - Forgotten Horrors; Comics and Stories.
You'll thrill to the further adventures of The Man From Planet X, Vampire Bat, Destination Moon, Tor Johson - Hollywood Star, Son of Ingagi, The Uncanny Return of the Blob, and Eraser.
You'll learn of that mysterious visitor from another zip code, "Mupersan." All this in one hundred forty-four pages of knee slapping laffs and hilarity.
Available now from Amazon.com
But seriously, folks! Don’t forget Forgotten Horrors #5, The Atomic Age; also from Amazon.com
By Michael H. Price, John Wooley, and Jan Alan Henderson, who are responsible for the aforementioned zaniness.
Available from Amazon.com!
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