Monday, May 14, 2018

Mr. Price & Our Date

If you know me personally, you know I haven't slept in years. Sleep is not my friend and I have a hard time getting zzzzzs. The other night I was up at 2:30 am and I got to thinking about my first horror crush...Vincent Price. I already wrote about my first girl crush Elvira. I guess this means I've always had creepy tendencies. I'm a creeper.


I was introduced to Vincent Price through my gram. I lived with her growing up and weekends were our time to watch movies. Fridays and Saturdays were filled with horror, and Sundays were for musicals. She loved musicals especially the ones based around wartime. I can't tell you how many times I saw Follow the Fleet or Stage Door Canteen and she sang along to all of the songs. As a result I watched lots and I mean lots of AMC when it was still old movies from the 1930s - 60s, not the aberration it is today. (Sorry Walking Dead fans, I'm over zombies.) While gram reminisced with her musicals I was only just beginning to explore the atmospheric horror created by the Edgar Allan Poe stories Roger Corman produced starring Vincent Price... House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven etc...I loved them all.


I'm a serial killer.

But what else was I watching? My Friday nights were for Friday the Thirteenth: The Series and USA Up All Night, which I watched on Saturday nights too or sometimes MonsterVision or USA Saturday Nightmares. I guess my not being able to sleep started at a young age. I remember days my mom would ask me what time did you go to bed last night, and I would mumble, "I don't know, 4:30?" I was impressionable and loved every minute of the old horror, camp, and sci-fi movies. I really grew up on them, found comfort in them, and they always made me feel that being an outcast is ok (I'm not going to say "was" because I'm still an outcast). My friends would make fun of me because I would rather spend Halloween watching House of Wax with Vincent Price than terrorize our neighborhood.


I lived for Friday the Thirteenth: The Series.

I have many fond memories of Vincent Price from when I was a kid. I'd be remiss if I left out his well loved appearance on The Muppet Show. Two things I absolutely love, and this really shows that Mr. Price doesn't take himself too seriously. Handsome AND a sense of humor is a WINNING combination. (If you were wondering, Kermit is my favorite muppet, he's a leader that keeps the motley crue of random fuzzies organized and on task.)



This is a Kermit/ Paleman Pin I bought myself for my Bday last year.

Then I heard my friends were scared of a voice in Michael Jackson's song Thriller ~ I didn't know what they were talking about. What voice in Thriller could have scared my young friends so much? Finally I made the connection, it was Vincent Price!


I remember seeing Vincent Price on TV and ~ it wasn't an old movie station ~ it was on one of the USA horror shows! The movie was Bloodbath at the House of Death from 1984. It's a terrible movie and a spoof of his better works from the 50s and 60s. At this point he was older but there was still an air of mystery about him. Honestly he's probably the best actor in the whole movie, aside from the ghost. I was about 9 or 10 when I saw it. I thought to myself why is he in this movie? He's SO above it.



When people ask if you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, I always will hope for a date with the late great Vincent Price. (He died Oct 25, 1993 from lung cancer). He's handsome, elegant, interesting ~ he brought class to horror. He has always intrigued me.

We would have so much to talk about and I know the dinner would be delicious because he wrote several cookbooks with his second wife, so his standards would be high. I have a copy of one of the original ones. Most of them have been reissued with a retrospective by his daughter Victoria. He even co-hosted a cooking show called The Taste of China in the late 80s and was a guest on Wolfgang Puck's TV show. We could talk about food, because I like to eat.


The Price cookbook in my collection.



Charming illustrations from the cookbook.

That brings me to his interest in art. Vincent studied Art History at Yale, and I have a Masters Degree in Modern Art History. It's like were were meant to be on a date! He was an avid art collector and donated 90 pieces of art to the East Los Angeles College which was the first art collection used for teaching owned by a community college in the US! Eventually they amassed 2000 pieces and more from the Price Family and named it the Vincent Price Art Museum. He also worked with Sears (yes, that Sears) from 1962 to 1971 selecting famous artworks to be made into prints and sold though their distribution. He felt that art should be seen by everyone to enjoy. I agree Mr. Price. You can see more about that collaboration here: Vincent Price and the Sears Art Collection.

Then over dessert, we could talk about all the cats that have starred with him. They always look so at ease ~ I trust the judgment of cats more than people, because cats are very judge-y.




Joyce Jameson, Peter Lorre, and Vincent Price audition cats for Tales of Terror (1962). You can tell by this picture that Vincent Price loves cats.



or that time he was in an ad for Smirnoff Vodka with a black cat...


Vincent Price has always been a levitating ghost floating in and out of my life. He truly shapes my world ~ even today. Dear readers I hope this has given you some insight to him and that you love him as much as I do. I'm determined to meet him someday. I will end with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe, The Premature Burial :

"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. 
Who shall say where ones ends, and the other begins?" 






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