Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Happy Halloween, Scared Silly fans!
I hope you have been enjoying the tricks 'n treats of the Halloween season.
It's been a good year for horror-comedies on TV. Once again, Me-TV ran a half dozen Three Stooges scare comedies in a row. TCM countered with a triple feature of Abbott & Costello's HOLD THAT GHOST, THE LAUREL-HARDY MURDER CASE, and THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTERS. And I'm sure I've missed dozens more.
I had some nice opportunities to see some with friends, too, including the aforementioned LAUREL-HARDY MURDER CASE plus Stan and Ollie in OLIVER THE EIGHTH at a Sons of the Desert meeting; and at an informal bi-annual meeting of classic comedy pals, we watched Super 8 films including the Three Stooges in WE WANT OUR MUMMY, plus a short I hadn't seen before but is definitely one bound for inclusion in the Scared Silly book: Leon Errol in SPOOKY WOOKY!
The basic premise of the short is that Leon decides to move his family out to the country, far away from his daughter's boyfriend. The girlfriend wants to be close to her boyfriend again, so she, her boyfriend, and some of his pals conspire to scare Leon and his wife, the delectable Dorothy Granger in hopes that they'll consider moving back to the city! Hilarious scare comedy antics ensue, naturally.
Before I give you a treat myself, I want to encourage you to consider giving yourself a treat by picking up the blu-ray set, FLIP THE FROG: THE COMPLETE SERIES. These theatrical shorts featuring the animated amphibian created by Ub Iwerks (co-creator of Mickey Mouse) are full of 1930s black 'n white rubber hose cartoon goodness, including four fantastic horror-comedies: THE CUCKOO MURDER CASE, TECHNO-CRACKED, SPOOKS, and SODA SQUIRT. You'll have a blast!
Now, without further ado, here's that special treat I promised you, courtesy of the public domain, Jimmy Aubrey in HAVE A HEART. Happy Halloween!
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Greetings, Scared Silly fans! I hope everyone has been doing well.
This is just a quick announcement to let you know I'll be appearing this Saturday, July 15th at a brand-new convention called CATASTROPHICON.
What is CATASTROPHICON, you ask? Well, before I get into that, I should note two things:
1.) This will be a rare autographing appearance for me. As my stock of available comics and books has lessened over time, it's been tougher for me to appear at as many conventions the past few years as previously.
Not counting appearances at film screenings where I've been a guest-speaker, this will actually be my first "autograph signing" appearance of 2023, and potentially my only such appearance this year.
Therefore, if you're interested in chatting with me in person and getting a comic or book autographed, this weekend is the prime time to do so!
2.) Just for knowing me, if you pre-order your tickets online and enter promo code PAULC, you will receive 20% off the admission price. How great is that?!
Then if you attend you can grab one of my Archie's Weird Mysteries books or comics, the Vincent Price book to which I contributed a chapter, or any myriad of other comics and book projects of mine.
So, just what is CATASTROPHICON? Well, it's a whole new spin on fan conventions! A new and way-cool con with a rock music and horror theme, plus an overall pop culture focus.
In addition to autographs, I'll also happily discuss the upcoming Scared Silly book, and the upcoming Robot Monster graphic novel I'm working on for anyone who wants to ask me about those projects.
My pal Harold Buchholz from Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Unpacking Peanuts podcast, and Archie Comics will be joining me for this, too. He's also part of the Robot Monster graphic novel goodness.
ALL THIS, PLUS: Luminaries from the worlds of rock and horror/sci-fi films - some of your favorite stars! See the entire lineup at catastrophicon.com and order tix at catastrophicon.com/buy-tickets-now/
Oh, did I mention it's held in a castle?! That officially makes it THE COOLEST CON EVER!!!
It all happens this Saturday, July 15th, 2023 at Reid Castle, 2900 Purchase St, Purchase, NY 10577. Doors open at 9AM and the show floor for autographs remains open until 5PM. There are some rad concerts thereafter - again, consult the website for more details.
Now, enjoy this interview I did with CATASTROPHICON organizer and promotor Dave Hoffman - it's sure to whet you're appetite for what's ahead at the convention! Hope to see you there!
Sunday, March 26, 2023
Well, it's springtime again and that means three things: blooming flowers, baseball, and another round of Rondo Award nominations! The latest nominations (for achievements in horror entertainment, merchandising, journalism and fandom during 2022) were recently announced. And yes, for at least the twelvth (I think) time (!!!), this humble little blog about spooks and kooks, ghouls and fools, and creeps and clowns has been nominated for a Rondo award!!!
The Rondo Awards are the brainchild of David Colton. They are named after Rondo Hatton (you can learn more about Rondo Hatton by watching the video clip below) and are awards given to those who in some way are keeping the love for and appreciation of classic horror alive. You can learn more details about the Rondo Awards and view this year's ballot by clicking here.
"Scared Silly" has again been nominated in the "best website" category, so it is my hope that if you like this blog and the work I do, you will cast your votes for me.
Votes are due by April 23rd, 2023. All voting is done by email only so you must email your picks directly to David Colton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until then, here's popular horror movie host and pop culture historian Svengoolie giving us all a little backrgound on the life and career of Rondo Hatton (don't be fooled by the thumbnail showing Paul Benedict) - ENJOY:
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
A CYCLOPS, SOME DRAGONS, AND SKELETONS, OH MY!!! COME HEAR ME SPEAK AT A SCREENING OF 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD!!!
Greetings Scared Silly fans! As I mentioned in my previous post, the West Orange Classic Film Festival is back on again! In the past I’ve spoken there about vintage Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello films, but this year is a little different. This year we have a cohesive them and it is “Fabulous Fables & Magical Myths.”
Now, we were still able to throw some Abbott & Costello in there due to Bob Furmanek’s 3D Film Archives’ stunning 4k restoration of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, and man, did that go over great! Bob had his “Abbott & Costello in Hollywood” co-author, Ron Palumbo with him and both Jack Theakston (visuals) and Ray Faiola (sound) from his film restoration team. I got to introduce the quartet and a splendid time was had by all.
Since then, the festival has enjoyed further enthusiastic crowds at screenings of YELLOW SUBMARINE and Jean Cocteau’s live-action BEAUTY & THE BEAST, both with wonderful guest-speakers.
This Sunday, it’s my turn to speak again, and it’s a little bit of a departure for me. After all, I’m usually the “classic comedy guy” at these screenings. But this time I’ll be speaking at a screening of THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD, the spectacular fantasy-adventure featuring magnificent stop-motion animation by the legendary Ray Harryhausen.
In retrospect, this isn’t too much of a departure for me as I am a little bit of an animation historian and animation script-writer, too, and this film in addition to being a rousing romp is absolutely most noteworthy for its beyond-imaginative animated creations.
Likewise, my forays into both writing and editing comic books as well being a comics historian fit the same milieu. After all, comics are as filled with daring heroes and hideous creatures as mythology and fantasy literature! So unlike my favorite superhero, Plastic Man perhaps this isn’t such a stretch after all!
...but seriously, it does promise to be a wonderfully fun time and if you can make it out at all, I’d love to see you there. We’ll be raffling off autographed copies of my "Vincent Price" and "Archie’s Weird Mysteries" books, too, to help support the festival. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll win the books!
It all happens this Sunday, February 5th at 2PM, at the AMC Dine-In Theater at the Essex Green Shopping Center in West Orange, NJ. Tickets are only available on Eventbrite, so click here to order yours before they’re gone!
In the meantime, please enjoy this exciting featurette that was produced to help promote the film when it was originally released. It will definitely raise your interest in the wonders of Ray Harryhausen’s “Dynamation!”
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Greetings Scared Silly fans! It's that time of the year again... time for the West Orange Classic Film Festival once again! This year’s theme is “Fabulous Fables & Magical Myths” (click here to see the full array of films) and I’ll be participating in two of the screenings. One I’ll be hosting, and the other will feature me as a guest-speaker.
In years past, I’ve spoken at Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello screenings, but this year it will be a little different. This year we are showing an Abbott & Costello film, but instead of me speaking I’ll be introducing a wonderful group of guest-speakers: Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo, co-authors of the book, “Abbott & Costello in Hollywood,” along with two members of Furmanek’s team from his 3D Film Archives movie restoration team, Jack Theakston who handled the visuals and Ray Faiola who handled the sound.
The Bud and Lou opus being featured this year is JACK AND THE BEANSTALK. While not a horror-comedy per se, it does feature one heck of a (at least semi)-frightening giant! Best of all, it is being presented in a stunning new 4k restoration that restores the film to its original SuperCinecolor splendor.
Some quick facts about the film, courtesy of Mr. Furmanek: Production of Abbott and Costello's first color feature film, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK began on July 9, 1951 at the Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, CA. This is the famous studio where Hollywood's other legendary comedy duo, Laurel & Hardy filmed the majority of their movies. Taking a page from the famous WIZARD OF OZ, the film was noted for having short sepia opening and closing sequences that bookended a rousing, comedy-fantasy adventure in-between that was filmed in the vibrant colors of the SuperCinecolor process.
The final film was released in 1952 and distributed by Warner Brothers. Lou Costello's Exclusive Productions owned this film but sold off the rights in the mid-1950's. Unfortunately, the original 35mm master materials (camera negative, color separations, fine grain master positive) no longer survive, however Bob Furmanek and team were able to create a restoration mastered from archival 35mm SuperCinecolor positive print elements and released just in time for the film's 70th anniversary.
The film held its 1952 premiere at the Fabian Theater in Paterson, NJ - the birthplace of Lou Costello. Now, the restored version of the film also gets a New Jersey premiere at the West Orange Classic Film Festival on Sunday, January 15th at 2PM, at the AMC Dine-In Theater at the Essex Green Shopping Center in West Orange, NJ. Quite fitting, as Bud Abbott was born in New Jersey (Asbury Park), too!
Starring alongside Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the film is Buddy Baer as the giant. Baer was a championship boxer-turned-actor, just like his brother Max, and he was also the uncle of Max Baer, Jr. - "Jethro" on TV's THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. Other cast members familiar to fans of vintage films include Shaye Cogan, Dorothy Ford, Hank Mann, Joe Kirk, Bobby Barber, and in a special bit of casting, Mel Blanc, famous for voicing countless cartoon characters including most of the legendary Looney Tunes gang, doing the voices of forest animals.
Tickets for this are selling fast, and only available on Eventbrite. Click here to order yours now – these won’t last!
Quick plug for my other upcoming appearance at the festival: On February 5th I’ll be speaking at a screening of THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD, the spectacular fantasy-adventure featuring magnificent stop-motion animation by the legendary Ray Harryhausen. Check back here soon for more info on that.
In the meantime, enjoy this trailer for the 4k restoration of BEANSTALK we’re screening this Sunday. I’m sure you’ll find this stunning… and even better if you come by on January 15th to see it in all its glory on a huge screen, the way it was meant to be seen!
Sunday, January 1, 2023
Welcome to 2023... in the real world! Here in our world of reminiscing of decades past, welcome to 1950!:
No matter how much time marches forward, let's always remember to keep the very best of the past alive... especially when it comes to classic horror-comedy films!
HERE'S WISHING YOU EVERY BLESSING FOR THE NEW YEAR!