Thursday, June 30, 2011

Music of the Fears

For Welles he scored Citizen Kane
Worked for Hitchcock again and again
His memorable themes
Have the power of dreams
With their pulsing and sonorous strains.

David Cairns

Yesterday was the centenary anniversary of the birth of maestro Bernard Herrmann. Image source:


His experiment going awry,
this square was transposed with a fly
Now your garbage he'll buzz
--as that's what a fly does--
and he'll give you the over-sized eye

Patricia Owens, Al (David) Hedison, Vincent Price and Charles Herbert in The Fly (Kurt Neumann, 1958). Image source: DVD Beaver; Our 100th year anniversary tribute to Vincent Price continues.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flog Like an Egyptian

This slave-driving highborn Egyptian
was a sadist defying description
Surveying the Nile
each day he would smile
at the chance he could get a few whips in

Vincent Price as Baka, the whip-wielding master builder in The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille. 1956); with Debra Paget, Edward G. Robinson and John Derek. Image source:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Virginia's Ham

On his sandwiches toasted or cold,
he keeps condiments closely controlled
No mustard or relish
his subs shall embellish
Only Mayo his hoagies will hold

Vincent Price holds Virginia Mayo on the set of While the City Sleeps (Fritz Lang, 1956). This has to be one of the silliest limericks I've written--and that's saying something. Great movie, though. Image source: Quixotando

Monday, June 27, 2011

R.I.P. Mary Murphy

Live fast, but young starlet, be wary
The casting on couches is scary
And wolves promise rings
to pretty young things,
but dash their careers when they marry

Actress Mary Murphy died on May 4th. Murphy played the assistant to illusionist Vincent Price in The Mad Magician. Top: With Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Above: Live Fast, Die Young with Mike Connors.

Murphy was typically cast as the good girl, less convincingly as a femme fatale. She tamed Marlon Brando in The Wild One (53); She hit the Beachhead with Tony Curtis (54); Then kept Ray Milland company in A Man Alone, spent The Desperate Hours with Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March, and was stranded on Hell's Island (55) with John Payne; She pointed the Finger of Guilt (56) at Richard Basehart; She didn't want to Live Fast, Die Young with Mike Connors, or get static from The Electronic Monster (58) with Rory Calhoun. Perhaps sensing the downward trajectory, Murphy moved into television; She married in 1962 on the condition that she retire, divorced in 68, and returned to film for Sam Peckinpah's Junior Bonner in 72.

Hate Couture

Hell bent on revenge round the clock,
he invents gruesome ends bound to shock
No plate for mere fashion,
pure hate is his passion,
and he tends to be found in a smock

As The Mad Magician, Vincent Price once again dons his smock of vengeance, which he previously modeled in House of Wax (above). The head is Mary Murphy's. See? I knew I'd get back to House of Wax!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trouble A Head

He's mad at misplacing a head
(The cad it had graced is now dead)
It was tossed in a bag
which he lost (what a drag)
And man, is his face ever red.

Surly Hack and David Cairns

Vincent Price loses his head and becomes The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954); with John Randolph, Mary Murphy, and Patrick O'Neal. Image source: Movies at Midnight

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Disappearing Tract

The invisible dude would elude
the boys dressed in blue who pursued
So how he was beaten?
By the chow he had eaten
The Bobbies just followed the food.

The Invisible Man (James Whale, 1933). In the film, Claude Rains actually refers to his food being visible until it's digested. This classic airs tonight on Svengoolie on MeTV.


The faster his buzz-saw was spinning
the more ghastly this buzzard was grinning
One's armed with a smile
to charm and beguile,
but Don Gallico's wasn't so winning

Vincent Price is "Gallico the Great", The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954); with Donald Randolph. Image source:; Wrong Side of the Art. For those of you just tuning in, we're paying limerick tribute to Vincent Price on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Deceptive Detective

His manner polite, unassuming
He rambled, and slighted his grooming
He appeared absentminded,
so suspects were blinded
to murder indictments a-looming

Actor Peter Falk, beloved as television's detective Columbo, has died.

Depth Warmed Over

When a rival demands his creation
it denies him a standing ovation
But the tables are turned
and in Hades he's burned
as he tries his new brand of cremation

Vincent Price gets hot under the collar as
The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954). As illusionist Don Garrico, Price creates and executes both buzz-saw and crematorium stage tricks, the latter on rival magician "The Great Rinaldi", played by John Emery.


The fugitive watches and waits
in fleabags with hourly rates
Alone in his room
he's had it with gloom...
and that F-ing narration he hates

Radio veteran William Conrad provided the pithy and often downbeat voice-over narration for The Fugitive, a QM Production — starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, "an innocent victim of blind justice, falsely convicted for the murder of his wife... reprieved by fate when a train wreck freed him en route to the death house...freed him to hide in lonely desperation, to change his identity, to toil at many jobs..." It gets lonely here on Fugitive Fridays.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Using magic trick cyclic devices
he decapitates, slices and dices
Taking center onstage
is a vengeance-fueled rage
And such madness is priceless when Price's

Vincent Price is The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954). Yes, that's Price, in yet another disguise, levitating Mary Murphy. Thanks to David Cairns for using his head on the title.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Deranged Impersonation

In the ruse of this fiendish disguise
these fools won't believe their own eyes
With such clever deception
I'll sever perception
and cut all the thieves down to size

Vincent Price impersonates his first murder victim (his manager) to commit a second murder in The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954). The lobby cards were tinted in color, but this 3d follow-up to House of Wax was in black-and-white. Image source: Twisted Vintage; Wrong Side of the Art!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saw Loser

This magician is 3D-demented
And by marital problems tormented
Don't do the guy wrong
Or before very long
You'll be bodily buzz-saw segmented.

David Cairns

Vincent Price spins out of control as The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954); with Eva Gabor and Donald Randolph. David has written about MM on his own blog, Shadowplay. He even wrote another limerick about it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Magician

Done bad by ungrateful Gabor,
he's mad and can't take anymore
Her wagon he'll fix
with his bag full of tricks
From 3-D his poor eyes must be sore

Left by his wife (Eva Gabor) and sold out by his manager, a turn-of-the-century illusionist (Vincent Price) gets even as The Mad Magician (John Brahm, 1954). This was Price's second go round in 3D horror. Red and Cyan glasses won't lessen the eyestrain caused by the image below. If that's too much, you can watch the film in good ol' flat 2D on Youtube, here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Skin Deep Creep

She gives him some pretty good smacks
What she thought was his face starts to crack
At long last is revealed
what a mask had concealed
And she wished she could put it all back

Phyllis Kirk exposes Vincent Price in House of Wax (André de Toth, 1953). Speaking of at long last, most of you will be happy to know that our House of Wax marathon is in meltdown. But let us know if you are one of the stalwart few who are still enjoying our in-depth look at this 3-D classic.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bride and Gloom

Growing bored with with the running amok,
by amore the monster was struck
Though they stitched him a bride
he was fit to be tied:
He adores her, she thinks he's a schmuck

Elsa Lanchester screeches at Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935). This masterpiece of monster movies airs tonight on Son of Svengoolie on Me-TV. Tomorrow: Back to Vincent Price! Image source: Doctor Macro and Frankensteinia.

Friday, June 17, 2011

R.I.P. James Arness

Reluctantly, Matt pulled the trigger
and outlaws fell flat, mortis-rigored
No draw could dislodge
the lawman of Dodge
As sheriff they can't come much bigger

For twenty years on Gunsmoke, in black-and-white and color, James Arness was Matt Dillon, sheriff of Dodge City, Kansas. Also pictured: Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty Russell.

S.O.B. Story

To run and to hide he was free,
from the eyes of a prize s.o.b.
His hair color dyed,
from the spotlight he shied
And could never provide an I.D.

David Janssen runs on Fugitive Fridays.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Drips Ahoy!

Now this is a yarn I'd call ripping
It's both stereoscopic and gripping
Waxed bods in vignettes
break out in the sweats
And just wait till their faces start dripping

Paul Cavanagh and Vincent Price in House of Wax (André de Toth, 1953).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Deep in the Heart of Waxes

If only the customers knew
the show they were rushing to view

That figures displayed
a murderer made
by dipping in wax like fondue

Vincent Price in House of Wax (André de Toth, 1953). Our Norm Knott has mad titling skills.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Imitation of Strife

Simulations of torture and gore,
recreating the stories of yore
A gruesome rogues gallery
that gooses his salary
by making 'em crawl back for more

Vincent Price runs the House of Wax (André de Toth, 1953). Top: Charles Bronson and Phyllis Kirk. Above: Paul Cavanagh, Kirk, Paul Picerni, Carolyn (Joan of Arc) Jones and Price.