Kevin Geeks Out About Vincent Price: a recap

Friday’s show was one of our best geek-outs yet. The 2-hour tribute to America’s favorite horror icon included trailers, TV and movie clips, and rare footage of Vincent Price. The night's co-host, Tom Peyer (comic book writer of Silver Age: Doom Patrol, Tek Jansen), shared some stories and clips of VP playing Egghead on Batman. During out salute to Vincent Price: The Gourmet (which featured the wine-tasting contest from Tales of Terror) Lisa Beebe served TWO kinds of Vincent Price cupcakes (portrait cupcakes as well as “fly” cupcakes with a plastic fly caught in a web of icing).

Writer Eric Drysdale (The Colbert Report) edited down footage from the promotional film for Sears' Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, followed by clips from a Price-hosted instructional VHS tape that came with the Nishika 3D Camera. (At the end of the segment, an audience member won said camera!)

Playwright Bob Satuloff screened scenes from two essential films that bookend Price's career as a horror star: House of Wax and Theater of Blood. Actor Arthur Anderson provided a video-interview where he reflected on working with Price in Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater, and he showed photos from VP’s wedding. Nathaniel Wharton (fromThe Jim Henson Legacy) shared rare musical footage of Vincent Price on The Muppet Show (featuring a song that wasn’t released on the season one DVD.) And Media Historian Heather Hendershot (dressed as one of VP’s tragic dead movie wives) read a thought-provoking essay about VP’s on-screen persona being compared to a hysterical woman. (read the essay here – scroll down, it’s a post-script following her piece about Don Knotts being a reluctant sex object.)

In the middle of the show, audience members got to share their personal memories about Vincent Price: we heard tale of VP’s verdict on an early Michael Jackson trial; we learned the real reason one professor never finished his academic art history book with Vincent Price; and we heard a first-hand account of a teenage boy writing a fan letter to Vincent Price (promising him a role in a horror movie) – which was met with a heart-warming hand-written reply from the 82-year-old actor.

The video-variety show also included some of Price's finest audio recordings: First we heard Price reading the poetry of Percy Shelley. And later, one lucky audience member got to perform a scene from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest”, thanks to the audio-magic of the record CO-STAR WITH VINCENT PRICE (Price released a high-concept album where he delivered half the dialogue in dramatic scenes, the consumer would read the script and play the other parts. Kind of a non-ironic version of Albert Brooks' Comedy Minus One.) The night’s audience was a who’s who of geek super-stars, we had a writers from The Daily Show, DreadCentral.com, DC editors, AMCtv and indie filmmakers.

Plus the good folks at Trailers From Hell let us screen Josh Olson’s commentary track for Witchfinder General. Our friends at Blue Water Comics gave everyone in the audience not one but TWO issues of "Vincent Price Presents..." And all audience members received a complimentary pencil mustache, courtesy of super-producer M. Sweeney Lawless. Meg also crafted a first-class paper-program that featured Vincent Price haikus, Price’s recipe for Pump Room Chicken Hash, and a collection of quotes with VP talking about everything from Dracula to expressing love.
Super-producer Jay Stern edited together thematically arranged footage, like "Vincent Price Murders his Wives", "Vincent Price Drug Freak-Outs", "Vincent Price Mourns His Wives" and "Vincent Price Out of Context." And if that's not enough, we included Vincent Price tributes (a Bugs Bunny cartoon and a short subject film by Tim Burton.)

Sorry you missed it? That could be YOU munching on a humorously-decorated cupcake while watching Price play Dracula's cousin in an episode of F-Troop.

Come to our next event – KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT DUMMY DEATHS, Friday November 20 @ 8pm


Download the Vincent Price Jukebox

VP's Shrunken Head kit

Another look at the Nishika instructional video.

More Trailers from Hell:
Adam Rifkin on The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Mick Garris talks House of Wax
Joe Dante loves Confessions of an Opium Eater
Mick Garris shares House on Haunted Hill

please note: all show photos by Matthew Glasson Photography.

For more about Kevin Geeks Out, visit our official page at the 92Y Tibeca website.


Vincent Price Impressions

Nowadays less people know Vincent Price and more people know Bill Hader's impression on Saturday Night Live. (Honestly, I love period-media comedy, and I like Bill Hader, but I think his voice is a little off. At times, his cadence and delivery sound more like Percy Dovetonsils. But I digress.)

Hader is the third Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Player to play the part. First was Dan Aykroyd in 1978. Host Carrie Fisher did a sketch that parodied the American International Pictures' Beach movies (which is a nod to VP's cameo in 1963's Beach Party). Aykroyd played him as a swishy playboy hosting a BBQ to Garret Morris' Chubby Checker. Years later, Michael McKean delivered my favorite interpretation. (Photo unavailable) He appeared in a PBS fundraiser parody, with Price reading from a cookbook (with ghoulish gusto) and promoting an upcoming appearance in some Hanna-Barbera project. This impression was my favorite interpretation, it was on YouTube, but it's since been removed, so now it's as though the sketch never happened. McKean did the gag when he hosted in 1984 and again when he became a regular cast-member in the 1990s.

Sadly Price himself never appeared on the SNL. Kind of surprising for a guy who did so many variety specials and game shows. (Hey die-hard fans, DO check out his 1972 appearance on The Dating Game where he appeared dressed as Dr. Anton Phibes, plugging the sequel and questioning some bachelors on behalf of a young lady. But don't bother with the ABC Comedy Special John Ritter: Being of Sound Mind and Body.)

One of the better Vincent Price tribute/impressions is in the 1952 Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Water Water Every Hare". You've seen Bugs go up against a Peter Lorre-esque villain, but here he faced that delicate mad scientist who sounds just like Vincent Price. For the record, that is not Mel Blanc doing the voice, but a Looney Tunes bit player named John T. Smith. As far as I can tell he never did the Vincent voice again.

But the best Vincent Price homage is still Tim Burton's 1982 animated short Vincent. A few years ago when Nightmare Before Christmas was re-released in DVD, the loving tribute was also shown (in 3D!) before the feature. Let's hope they do it again this season.

And if you feel like paying tribute to that fiendish fop, come by Kevin Geeks Out About Vincent Price!


Vincent Price and the Chocolate Factory

As the host and curator of a monthly video series, I do a lot of research. To borrow a cliche, I will eat, sleep, breathe and endlessly blog about that month's theme, whether it's robots, Batman, or Frankenstein. A few nights ago I started having Vincent Price dreams (in honor of this Friday's VINCENT PRICE Night!
But last night's was the best to date: Price was playing the title role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I only dreamt the first scene, where he sings about "Pure Imagination" and the kids go bonkers eating mushrooms and oversized gummi bears. It was splendid. (especially compared to the nightmares i had while getting ready for last month's Werewolf night)

So what led my mind to create this nocturnal mash-up? Here are some ideas:

1. Price was a gourmet. He wrote cookbooks. He'd be at home as a chocolate tycoon.

2. Last night I'd posted a video on this blog, featuring Adam Rikin's commentary on The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Rifkin also recorded commentary on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

3. Both films were made in 1971.

4. The two movies feature lavish, colorful sets.

5. In Phibes, Price plays a mad genius who exacts revenge on the doctors he holds responsible for killing his wife. His revenge plans dramatize the seven plagues of the old Testament. In Wonka, the Candy Man uses dramatic means to teach lessons to the greedy, gluttonous, selfish, arrogant children.

6. Wonka is assisted by his faithful Oompa-Loompahs.

While Phibes is joined by a beautiful, mute woman named Vulvania.

7. Both Anton Phibes and Willy Wonka are reclusive eccentrics with a wild sense of fashion. (Note: in Tomb of Ligiea Vincent Price sports a top-hat similar to Wonka's. But it's black, naturally.)

8. The last connection I can make is that Tim Burton re-imagined Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, he'd also made a delightful short about VP titled Vincent. (which may or may not be screened at this Friday's show.)

In the dream-movie where Price plays Wonka, it's safe to assume the children do not survive the furnace, juicing room, etc. Also, we have to assume there'd be some tragic backstory about the late Mrs. Wonka. Perhaps the candy experimentation roo would boast a peculiarly salty boiled-sweet known as "Angela's Tears."

That's all I've got. What do YOU think? Leave your analysis in the comments section of this blog.

Also, KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT VINCENT PRICE is this Friday. Buy your tickets here.


My Man Adam Rifkin talks Vincent Price

A few months ago I did an on-camera interview with Adam Rifkin at the Backseat Film Festival. We hit it off, he loved Puppet Rodeo and he screened a very funny caveman comedy called "Homo Erectus" (aka National Lampoon's The Stoned Age.)

Months later Adam started doing commentary tracks for Trailers From Hell. His are some of the best on there. Like this video of Adam discussing Vincent Price as The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

We'll feature some classic and hard-to-find trailers this Friday at Kevin Geeks Out About Vincent Price!

Recipes NOT Found in the Vincent Price Cookbook

At Friday's Vincent Price Night we'll pay tribute to the many faces of Vincent Price: mad scientist, fiendish fop, leading man, self-parodying guest star. But we'll also take a moment to honor the man who loved fine arts and gourmet food.

Vincent Price cupcakes will be served. (I have to mention this after we got so much press from last month's Werewolf Cupcakes!) And the program will include a recipe from one of Mr. Price's many cookbooks.

You might be surprised to learn that Mr. Price authored several cook-books. But what's even more surprising is that he didn't use the medium as a platform for his signature self-parody.

Here are some Dishes NOT Found in the Vincent Price Cookbooks.

Masque of the Red Velvet Cake
Ice Cream and Cream Again
The Beef Brisket of Dr. Phibes
Meatloaf to Heaven
Beans of Wax
The Five-Alarm Chile on Haunted Hill
The Pit and the Portabella
The Flank Steak of the House of Usher
The 6-course meal loosely inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe vignette
The Last Manwich on Earth
Wife-Mourning Casserole
Egghead's Eggstrordinary Quiche
Lemon Ginger "Hollywood" Squares
Edward Scissorham

thanks to M. Sweeney Lawless for some titles.

Now click here to buy advanced tickets (no service fee) for VINCENT PRICE NIGHT

Joss Whedon and Dr. Goldfoot

Joss Whedon’s DOLLHOUSE imagines an underground organization where the filthy rich can hire brainwashed beauties to fulfill their deepest desires.

I wonder if any part of this was inspired by Vincent Price’s DR. GOLDFOOT movies. In 1965 and ’66 he made two films about an evil genius hellbent on making a fortune by using bikini-clad robot-women to kill wealthy men (and their wives, natch) and keep their money.

The character was originally named “Dr. Gold-toe” in a blatant nod to the then-popular movie villain “Goldfinger”. The films feature some low-rent James Bond style espionage, with the “secret agents” played by matinee favorite Frankie Avalon in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and teen idol Fabian in the sequel, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs.

What’s really surprising is that the first film was scripted as a musical. When AIP bailed on making a full-out singing and dancing spectacular, they padded the movie with an endless chase-scene. The songs were later used in a bizarre promotional episode of Shindig!, with Vincent Price appearing as Goldfoot in a half-hour musical story. Ironically, for all the hype around the “bikini machine” girls, the TV special only shows girls in one-piece swimsuits.

I hope Joss Whedon goes whole-hog and does a musical episode of Dollhouse before it gets cancelled.

You can watch Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machinein its entirety on Hulu. Or catch Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs.

And you can buy tickets for this Friday's Vincent Price Night here.


Vincent Price Night!

October is here and we’re GEEKING OUT about an icon of horror…. Mr. Vincent Price. This month’s show is a 2-hour tribute to the Fiend’s fiend.

We’ll feature hard-to-find footage, great guest speakers, Vincent Price cupcakes, and complimentary VP comic books (from our friends at Blue Water Comics.

The show will include clips from countless movies and TV appearances, showing Vincent Price as Mad Scientist, Action Hero, Sinsiter Villian, Jealous Lover, Self-parodying Guest Star, gourmet and art-collector.

October’s co-host is Tom Peyer (writer of TEK JANSSEN, HOURMAN, SILVER AGE: DOOM PATROL, GALVESTON, and plenty of other geekworthy comics.)


Media Historian Heather Hendershot compares Price and Don Knotts

Legendary actor Arthur Anderson talks about his colleague Vincent Price and their days at Orson Welles’ Mercury Players!

Playwright/film journalist Robert Satuloff examines the dark side of Price.

Emmy-winning comedy writer Eric Drysdale looks at Price’s TV legacy

All this plus: inter-active Vincent Price drama, trivia contests, rare recordings of Price reading Percy Shelley, and a free pencil-moustache with every admission!

Friday, October 23 @ 8:00pm
92Y Tribeca
200 Hudson Street

Buy tickets HERE (no service charge)

Geek Out with Me

Each month I host a video-variety show called KEVIN GEEKS OUT!
It’s a comedy show with rare videos and guest speakers looking at a specific theme. (you can find more details on this site, previous shows included Werewolf Night, Batman Night, Robot Night, Bigfoot Night, etc.)

Between shows I like to share other things I geek out about. Here’s some fun stuff:

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead: The Board Game.

The Dog's Breakfast: Pre-Spinal Tap rock parody by Christopher Guest.

101 Robot T-shirts.

Photographic evidence.

10 Worst Comic Books Based on TV Shows.

Oh crap. Snake with a foot.

Brief essay on Muppets and Gnosticism

An album of poetry by the late Henry Gibson.

Did I just blow your mind?

Just let them put it in a little....

I am filing a restraining order against this billboard.

It's like McDonald's knows there's "more than one way to your stomach."

It reminds me of a marquee I saw outside a Friendly's restaurant, it read "YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT"

We're living in troubled times when fast-food chains adopt the rhetoric of date-rape.

thanks for making WEREWOLF Night so rockin'...

Thanks to everyone who attended WEREWOLF Night! (aka KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT WEREWOLVES.) The 92Y Tribeca is a wonderful new home to the show. And the guests all brought their A-game. We only had one awkward moment, where I had to ask the tweens in the crowd to step outside when we screened a clip from Werewolf in a Women's Prison.

the full line-up included footage from:

THE MONSTER SQUAD tv series (1976)
IDEL ROOMERS (3 stooges short with a Lupe Man) (1943)
WOLF (1994)
I WAS A MIDDLE-AGED WEREWOLF, episode of Highway to Heaven ( 1987)

Plus: Readings from the wonderful WEREWOLF’S GUIDE TO LIFE by Ritch Duncan and Bob Powers

Actor Matt Mitler did live audio-commentary during his werewolf scenes in DEADTIME STORIES.

Radio Director Craig Wichman performed live audio with a view-master reel CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF

Also werewolf Q&A, a howling contest and werewolf cupcakes.

Later, I lost the mailing list -- so I apologize if you signed-up but haven't gotten any emails.

For those who missed it, we have some exciting shows coming up:

In October, Kevin Geeks Out About Vincent Price!

In November, Kevin Geeks Out About Dummy Deaths!

And in December, Kevin Geeks Out with a Holiday Grab Bag!