When I worked a couple of days on the film Sideways (2004) I had an occasion to talk to one of the assistant directors. I had mentioned Vincent Price, and she immediately asked, what films did he make? That’s surprising for a person you’d expect to have been a film student. What happened to film history? Or even the drive of a student to learn everything about his/her trade? For my uninformed assistant director I dedicate this blog. If only she could read it!
An Evening Spent with Vincent Price by Tony Piazza
San Francisco had a film festival during the 1980s and one of its venues was “An Evening with Vincent Price.” Excited at the prospect of getting to see this motion picture legend in person, I wasted no time in purchasing a couple of tickets- one for myself and one for my girlfriend. Following a dinner at a nice San Francisco restaurant, we headed with great excitement to the Palace of Fine Arts and the theatre where the show was to take place. The event featured his talk, followed by a question and answer period, and then a short film which led to the screening of an Edgar Allan Poe movie that he’d made for American International Pictures. On the bill that evening was The Tomb of Ligeia (1964), directed by Roger Corman.
Vincent Price and Debra Paget. The Haunted Palace (1963).
Before the start of his talk he came out into he audience and personally greeted some of the crowd. I was surprised at how tall he was- well over six feet- and even before he spoke in his well-cultured voice, his presence commanded attention. He was very personable and instantly you could tell that the crowd loved him.
Roger Corman’s mighty three: Karloff, Lorre, and Price.
The program began a little late because of the number of people that wanted to press his hand, but after taking a seat he took us on a journey through his incredible career- stage, radio, films, and television with anecdotes regarding other actors along the way. He also shared stories concerning his love of art and cooking; Mr. Price was indeed a very educated, cultured, talented, well rounded individual (besides the fine actor that we have all seen up on the screen) and that all came across from his presence that evening on the stage.
Although I cannot remember everything that was said that night, the one comment he made that comes back to me when watching present day horror film entries is this: Mr. Price felt that films today reveal too much… that some things are better left to the imagination- that they are much more effective that way. I agree.
After finishing his talk he opened the floor for questions, and then introduced the “short” for the evening. It was a film made by an up and coming film student whom Mr. Price said we would be hearing a lot about in the years to come. The film was “Vincent”- a stop frame animation tribute to Mr. Price (which he did the narration) and its’ creator was Tim Burton!
Director Tim Burton. Vincent was his tribute to Price.
After the “short”, the film was run to the enjoyment of us all, and then the program ended.
It was a wonderful experience sharing the evening with such a talented man- and looking back, even more so, since he is a personality which we will never see the likes of again.
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His second novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was next released early 2012, and in July of 2013, his latest Tom Logan Mystery, “A Murder Amongst Angels” was published and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. A new Tom Logan novel has been completed and is scheduled to be released in 2015. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.
Tony Piazza is a member of three prestigious writer’s organizations: Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the SLO NightWriters.
The novels that started it all. The first and second novel in the Tom Logan mystery series have become audio books- read by actor James Romick, and is available on Audible, Amazon, and I-tunes.
The NEW Tom Logan mystery, “Murder is Such Sweet Revenge” is available in print, e-book, AND SOON, audio book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.
My earlier bestselling novels, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” and “Anything Short of Murder” now joins “A Murder Amongst Angels” and “Murder is Such Sweet Revenge” on Amazon’s Kindle at a new, low price of $2.99. Now you can have hours of adventure, thrills, mystery, and romance for the price of a cup of coffee- and just as stimulating! Look for it on Amazon. Print versions have also been reduced.
Also: The new Tom Logan mystery thriller, A Murder Amongst Angels .
Find them all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available for $2.99 on Kindle.