Sunday, March 14, 2010


A week ago today the 2009 Academy Awards took place. A long-running tradition of the ceremony is to include a montage of those prominent motion picture artists who passed away during the year.

This segment is always a bone of contention for Oscar viewers that also happen to be classic movie aficionados. Inevitably, noteworthy omissions are made. Many pop culture blogs then buzz about it in the days to come. It's become an annual discussion at Mark Evanier's excellent site in fact (although I suspect the brevity of his recent posts on the subject signal he's fairly talked-out on the subject).

Here at Scared Silly, we would like to make note of horror-comedy contributors that didn't make the cut.

Jane Randolph

First and foremost is the lovely Jane Randolph of "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein." While her career was short, the amiable actress made an indelible mark in films ranging from entries in the "Falcon" mystery series, literally being "In Fast Company" rubbing shoulders with the Bowery Boys, and appearing in two of the great Val Lewton-produced psychological horror-fantasies, "Cat People" and its sequel "Curse of the Cat People." She also served as an uncredited ice skating model that the animators based their drawings on for the Disney classic "Bambi." You can read more about this wonderful actress by clicking here.

Paul Naschy

Spanish actor-screenwriter-director Paul Naschy (Naschy being his Hollywood name - in his native Spain he was known by his birth name, Jacinto Molina) spent his career playing just about every famous film monster imaginable... from Dracula to hunchbacks to mummies, and of course, werewolves. His most famous character in fact was a werewolf named Waldemar Daninsky. A lot of Naschy's films had humor (some of it unintentional) and perhaps the most famous is "Assignment Terror," a monster mash-up with Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, a werewolf and a mummy. But Naschy also dabbled in horror-comedies, playing Fu Manchu in the 1990 comedy short "The Daughter of Fu Manchu" and a werewolf in "Good Night Mr. Monster," a musical horror-comedy aimed at children. Read more about Paul Naschy by clicking here.

Ray Dennis Steckler

Another director-screenwriter-actor who achieved cult status was Ray Dennis Steckler. From low-budget horrors to more exploitive fare, Steckler's unbridled enthusiasm powered his projects even when funds were virtually non-existent. His more popular titles include the psychotronic horror-rock romp "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living & Became Mixed-Up Zombies" and the amusingly goofy Batman & Robin spoof "Rat Pfink a Boo Boo." 1965's trio of short Bowery Boys spoofs were spliced together into a feature called "The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters" complete with high doses of horror-comedy as the "Kids" met a mummy, an alien and a vampire lady. Read about Ray Dennis Steckler when you click here.

Sammy Petrillo

Last but not least, how could we ever forget Jerry Lewis-impersonator Sammy Petrillo? The epic (at least to me) horror-comedy "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla" has cemented Petrillo's memory in my mind for featuring one of the most audacious performances I've ever seen. Sammy didn't do much movie-wise after this - a bit part as a photographer in the low-rent (and low-taste) "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" and a couple roles as comic relief in some salacious sex farces were it after his fateful encounter with Bela. But Sammy had a lot of neat showbiz stories (he also worked in TV and on stage) and apparently was a heck of a nice guy. I met him once so I know that's true - read about my encounter with Sammy by clicking here.

...and revisit Sammy's antics by watching this:


  1. Thanks for the link, and for this much needed corrective to the Academy's warped priorities!
    Love this site, by the way...

  2. Thanks Matt - I'm enjoying your Monogram Week on your Carfax Abbey blog as well, and intend to check out your Marx Brothers site, too. :) Thanks for the support!