Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sparkling Stills.

No, this isn't a post about the least-loved member of CSN becoming a glitter queen.

Nor is it about the types of bottled water you can find in the UK.

I have a friend who has been a journalist on radio and television in the Midwest for a long time. He's one of those rare types who knows much about many different subjects, but has no real ego and only imparts knowledge if asked.

Though I am 31 years his junior, we have in common various social, political and philosophical beliefs, and enjoy discussing such things over drinks once in a while.

We also have in common a love for the great character actors of days gone by, and a profound respect and love for the great (and not-so-great!) films and serials from long ago.

He loves Westerns. I love the Monsters.

Recently he told me that in 1968 he was involved in converting an old UHF TV station in Dallas TX to a radio station, and while clearing out the detritus of the old station, came across a big box of promotional stills and materials from that older TV programming. He said he was told to just throw it away, but being the film lover he is, he took it home and figured it was treasure that couldn't be replaced, and one day he'd go through it all.

Well, the other day he began to go through it. And yesterday evening he brought the first batch of stills he thought would interest me. For me. For free.

These stills are on stiffening, sometimes cracking paper and are at least as old as 1967; KMEC-TV only aired for about 10 months in '67-'68, but it's conceivable that the promotional materials are older, some possibly by a decade. Many of them are in station folders with a typewritten synopsis of the film they represent (standard procedure for promotional and programming types in TV in those days).

Here are some of the real standouts!

There's no real need to identify these two fellas above, but the movie is
A-Haunting We Will Go (1942). Look at those iconic faces!

Nancy Davis (Reagan), Lew Ayres and Gene Evans study Donovan's Brain (1953).

If I have to tell you who this is, you aren't really Skull & Pumpkin
material! I was thrilled to find it, but with no folder or markings of
any kind, I can't say how old it is, or even why the station had it.

Tom Conway holding Frances Dee in
I Walked With A Zombie (1943).

Another still I was thrilled to find! Bruce Cabot, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong
pose for the publicity camera for King Kong (1933). Stunning!

Christopher Lee's Count Dracula comes to a crispy end in Hammer's
Horror of Dracula (1958). Originally titled 'Dracula' in its U.K. home,
the name was changed in the U.S. to avoid confusion with Lugosi's
iconic 1931 film.

Another stunner for me! Vincent Price holding Patricia Owens' hand in
The Fly (1958). When I was a child, this and King Kong were my favorites!

These are only a few of the dozens I received yesterday, and he tells me it's just the tip of the iceberg... that big box of stills has been in his keeping for over 40 years and he is ready to see what's really there!

The best of them will be framed and hung on the walls of this little old Skull & Pumpkin, in tribute to the men and women who created the films that started me on this ridiculous and happy road to monstrous ruin!


1 comment:

  1. What a treasure trove!
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Take good care of them--they'e wonderful.