Friday, March 29, 2013

Forgotten Books: Monsters: A Celebration of the Classics from Universal Studios - Roy Milano, et al.

As I've mentioned before, I was a regular viewer of NIGHTMARE, the Saturday night monster movie showcase on Channel 11, the only independent TV station in our area when I was a kid. (As proof of how ancient I am, we got four TV stations back then . . . five on a good day when the extremely low-powered "educational TV" station in Dallas, Channel 13, could get a fuzzy signal all the way to our little town on the other side of Fort Worth.)

Anyway, that's how I discovered the classic Universal monster movies. And boy, did they scare me. But I watched 'em anyway and developed a real fondness for them.

MONSTERS: A CELEBRATION OF THE CLASSICS FROM UNIVERSAL STUDIOS is a coffee table book about that very subject that came out back in 2006. I missed it entirely and didn't know it existed until I recently came across a copy at the library. It starts with the silent version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA starring Lon Chaney Sr. and has sections covering Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man (my favorite movie monster!), and The Creature From the Black Lagoon. There's also a section about the series of movies in which Abbott and Costello ran into many of those supernatural creatures, and of course I'm a big A&C fan, too.

As you might expect, there are a lot of photographs in this book: stills from the movies, publicity pictures, movie posters, behind the scenes stuff, etc., all of them interesting. But there's also quite a bit of informative text in each section by Roy Milano, as well as essays by descendants of Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff, as well as directors Stephen Sommers and John Landis, make-up artist Rick Baker, and others.

MONSTERS is a fascinating book, and it's really rekindled my interest in watching some of these movies again. Or in rare cases for the first time, as there are some that I've never seen. Will I find the time to get around to them? Who knows? But if you're a monster movie fan and missed this book like I did, it's worth seeking out.

1 comment:

Charles R. Rutledge said...

For me it was Channel 17 (which would eventually become Ted Turner' TBS) and a show called Friday Night Frights. This is where I saw the Universals, the Hammers, King Kong, Forbidden Planet, the Time Machine, This Island Earth, th Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and all the other old classics for the first time.