Saturday, October 31, 2020

Vincent Price

 A few of you are old enough to remember Vincent Price.  He starred in some of campiest films of the 1950s and 1960s, often Edgar Allan Poe stories done by Roger Corman before the remake of Little Shop of Horrors made Corman respectable among the filmerati.  I always enjoyed how well Price did these absurd parts with the right mix of serious acting and just the faintest hint of "I'm not taking this too seriously, neither should you."  The decision to have his distinctive narration at the start of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video was an inspired opening to an inspired video by an inspired creep.

SteynOnline tells a heartwarming tale of Vincent Price's very classy behavior at the low point of his career:

New makeup, new costume, same perfect delivery, hour after hour.

Finally, it was time for a break. The weary yet exhilarated crew turned off the cameras and lights.

Then they looked around and realized that Vincent Price had disappeared.

Oh well, they said to each other, what do you expect? He's a big star and all. Plus he's, like, 60 years old, so he probably went for a nap...

The studio door opened a few minutes later.

It was Vincent Price and a cab driver, hauling "two-fours" of beer from the nearby Brewer's Retail.

He handed cold stubbies out to the cast and crew and regaled them with tales of old Hollywood, his days working with Karloff and Peter Lorre and Gene Tierney and Cecil B. DeMille and all the other greats he'd known.

Then he posed for photos with everybody individually.

On an overnight rush, these were blown up into 8 x 10s, which Price personally autographed for everyone at the station.

Over the course of four days, taping over 400 of these interstitials, Price never complained, blew a line or missed a mark.

In an era when standards of conduct were collapsing, Vincent Price insisted on behaving like the well-bred gentleman he so often portrayed on screen.

It was a role that came easily to him. After all, he'd been born into considerable wealth, graduated from Yale, and owned a multimillion-dollar art collection.

Yet unlike many people who come from privileged backgrounds, Price didn't treat the guys at the local station like disposable underlings and hired help.

Over those four days in Hicksville, Vincent Price earned every cent of that $12,000 — a measly sum for him, even with his career on the wane, but he knew it was a fortune for CHCH.

In those days, that was probably the annual salary of some of the fellows behind the cameras. Maybe.

Price had probably pictured himself, early in his career, performing Shakespeare and other classics, maybe winning Tonys and Oscars — not flying up to God-knows-where at sixty years of age, wearing stupid hats and taping silly poems for a show everyone figured only a bunch of little kids would ever see, that would soon be forgotten.


  1. I have fond memories of that Canadian TV show. It was broadcast in the mid 70’s in the Los Angeles market. Probably Ch 13 or 11. I, and my grade school buddies, loved it. There are many complete episodes on YouTube.

    Price could sure bring class to Schlock. Dr Phibes is one of my favorites.

    Zane who did most of the characters was hilarious on Frightenstein.

  2. He came to speak at my college in 1985. Those 2 hours were swallowed up in seconds. What a kind, generous man!