Tuesday, January 31, 2023


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!