Today marks the 20th anniversary of Vincent Price's passing. I wanted to share this YouTube video, a tribute to the iconic actor in celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday (May 27th). It being the Halloween I have had plenty of Vincent Price movies to watch, especially since he is TCM's featured actor for this month.
And, well, I also had to include this video of Vincent Price reading Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.
You can't talk about classic horror movies without mentioning Boris Karloff. He has been my favorite horror movie actor since I was a kid. This video is a little long but, hey, he had a long career. Most people of a certain age know about his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster, but what is your favorite Karloff film?
Hey, it's one more week until my favorite holiday! My DVR is filling up fast with all the movies that TCM has shown so far. I think this weekend is going to be a horror classic marathon. I enjoy the classics, no matter how many times I've already seen them.
Bela Lugosi is one of my favorites. Oh sure, he was a ham, but most actors from his era were. They came originally from the stage and/or from silent films. The sound film was a new thing and some actors never quite got over it.
Lugosi made movies right up to his death in 1956 and most of them were pretty awful. But the early ones, well, they always will have a place in my heart.
October is my favorite time of the year. I always feel more creative when the weather turns cooler. The fall colors are just starting to emerge here in Wisconsin, the mornings are cool and crisp. But that's not the biggest reason I like October so much.
It's because Halloween is coming! And that means an abundance of horror movies on TV. I favor the classics, personally. I grew up watching Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price. Even the cheesiest films that Hammer Productions turned out still hold a place in my heart. Oh sure I've seen most of them countless times. I can watch them all over and over.
When I was growing up, one of the channels I watched quite often was St. Louis station KPLR, channel 11. It was an independent station that showed old movies late night and on weekends. Sundays were my favorite day to watch, though From noon until 2 it would be a Abbott and Costello or Bowery Boys movie. From 2 to 4 it was horror, and then from 4 until about 6 it was Charlie Chan or Mr. Moto. Now you know why I love all the old movies.
Today I am reminded of all those movies. And it being October and almost Halloween, I have decided to have my own horror movie marathon. I have a small stack of DVDs perfect for the occasion. The first on my list? Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price and Barbara Steele.
Do you like scary movies? Is Halloween one of your favorite time of the year?
What is your favorite scary movie?
Even better, what's the first movie to give you serious nightmares? Here's the trailer for mine:
The seedling of my world view was nourished by a combination
of visionary cynicism and abject poverty.
My first place away from home was a decrepit mobile home precariously
nestled on the edge of a four feet deep drainage ditch that was home to group
of anti-social raccoons and muskrats.
I subsisted on red beans and rice, store brand coffee and
hand rolled cigarettes. There are only
so many ways to prepare red beans and rice.
To this day I still can't look at a plate of beans and rice without going
Oh and there was port.
Cheap, sweet, dark, wonderful port.
I drank it on ice and told myself it was grape juice. It never contradicted me.
Behind the trailer park there was a wooded area and a field
of scrub grass that had once been considered an abandoned lot. We were all fair game to the field mice that
nightly invaded our dubious shelters.
Every morning I would see tiny scratches, claw marks, in the congealed
bacon grease that had congealed in the iron skillet on top of the tiny gas
For some reason, though I ate poorly myself, I felt I could
afford to feed a cat. His name was
Henry and he was a pathetic mouser. We
have domesticated our cats too much perhaps.
Their instincts have been dulled beyond anything that doesn't look like
And there were cockroaches.
Not your run-of-the-mill standard American cockroaches. These were the Asian variety. Huge.
There was a group of seven
Laotian exchange students that lived in the trailer next to me and I assumed
the roaches had clandestinely come over with them. I may have been judgmental,
but eventually the cockroaches decided they needed more space and moved into my
place while I was asleep.
They were nothing I had ever encountered before. They had wings, functioning wings. My cat was even afraid of them. The field mice moved out almost the next
day. Mice, as you may well know, are
This left me with a bit of a dilemma. I could spray for the roaches and hope for
the best. But then the mice, seeing the
coast was clear, might be emboldened to move back in. I sat on the couch smoking a cigarette, trying to decide what to
do. A cockroach crawled onto my hand
and tried to knock the cigarette from between my fingers. My choice was suddenly clear.
I put Henry in his crate and placed the crate and as many
belongings as I could in the back seat of my car. I pulled away and parked the car down the street. I walked back and torched the trailer. I sat on the hood of the car and watched it
burn. It wasn't long before I heard the
sirens. Nosy neighbors.
Weeks later I got a letter from my former landlord thanking
me for burning the trailer down.
Decrepit as it was, he had it insured to the teeth.
I have recently become a big fan of Turkish coffee. Oh, I
like coffee of all kinds: French press
brewed, espresso, cold-brewed iced, coffee with chicory, name it. Except instant. Never, ever, ever instant, which if I believed in such things I
would think was a sign of the anti-Christ.
I don't but I can't think of a better analogy.
All those aforementioned ways of serving and drinking coffee
pales in comparison to the pleasure that is sipping a Turkish coffee. And drinking it is only part of the
fun. The process of brewing a cup or
two of Turkish is, well, quite meditative.
It is not for the push-a-button Keurig owners or even the "I can
brew my coffee while I am half asleep because I have an automatic drip coffee
maker" crowd. It requires
attention that borders on diligence.
And takes very little special equipment except for a heat
source and an ibrik (also called a cesve).
Which looks like this:
photo from wikipedia
You can find one of these at any Arabic or Turkish market or
even on, you guessed it, Amazon.com.
The coffee itself is ground into a fine powder, sometimes
plain, sometimes ground with spices such as cardamom and cloves. Coffee and water are put into the pot along
with sugar, which makes a kind of slurry.
Then the mix is put on the burner and brought to a boil. Careful.
This is where your attention span is put to the test. The coffee slurry is brought to a boil,
taken off the heat and stirred. It
comes to a boil quickly so despite the whole "a watched pot never
boils" adage, you have to keep an eye on it or it will boil over.
The coffee is brought to a second boil, stirred, and then a
third boil. What you have now succeeded
in is Turkish coffee. Let it cool a few
It's not quite a Japanese tea ceremony but it is or can be a
meditative process. And a very
rewarding one at that. A little taste
of Nirvana? Did I say that?
Not ready to commit?
Still curious? Go to your local
Mid-Eastern or Turkish restaurant and see if they serve Turkish coffee. Try it.
You may just want to get rid of your Keurig.
Few adults ever know where their liver is until it is too late --Gore Vidal
The liver is located so close to the brain
the two of them are often mistaken for twins.
What soothes this one afflicts that one,
and preserving either jeopardizes the other.
The kidneys govern by default, like Congress.
The stomach throbs and pulses with bureaucracy.
The overriding function of the reproductive organs
has top priority. Despite its low intelligence,
the penis has a strong will, to the point of brutality.
(The uterus is lined with shelves of ancient books.)
Every other body process is subordinate.
The heart works like hell: four rooms and a bath,
where ends can barely be met, with no view at all.
The eye is the largest organ; it contains the world.
The spinal column is proof we were meant to be
The lungs censor whatever floats in the air.
The mind produces torment as if it were a hormone,
but is itself illusory, a phenomenon of the brain
as insubstantial as a promise. The rest is offal:
the pancreas, the spleen, the tongue and the lips.
This might be a silly question, but did you have a favorite book as a small child? One that you would read or have a parent or sibling read until the book became tatters? Was it a Dr. Seuss? Or maybe it was an Eric Carle. I was heavily influenced in my choice of reading material, even as a fledgling reader, by two things. One was a set of Childcraft encyclopedias that were my older brothers. It contained a volume of short stories, one of Aesop Fables, one of Art, and many others. It was definitely a foundation of learning. My other influence? Captain Kangaroo, of course. He would read to me (and thousands of others) at least once a week. The books of course were illustrated so I would get to look at the pictures while the Captain read. Captain Kangaroo? I guess you have to be a certain age to know who he was.
But my favorite book? My favorite book as a child is by Aldous Huxley. Yep, that's right. I bet you didn't know Mr. Huxley wrote a children's book, did you? He wrote it for his niece, Olivia, who lived with the Huxleys at times in their home in the Mojave Desert. Due to Huxley's death in 1963 and a house fire that destroyed the original manuscript, the book might have been lost forever. Fortunately, Huxley had left a copy of the manuscript with his neighbor. The book was originally published in 1967, wonderfully illustrated by Barbara Cooney. I found this video of a reading of Crows of Pearblossom on YouTube. Perhaps you remember having this book as a child....
Sadly, the version with the original illustrations is long out of print. I found a copy years ago, by mere chance, at a used book store.