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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Magical Places Where Monsters are Born!

Here are a couple of rare stills from a negative strip I found in a box of old Forry Ackerman papers. They were labeled "Universal Studios Makeup Dept." These images represent the very type that got me most excited whenever they were featured in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine. Even today, pics like these inspire me to look deep into the frame to discover any clue to the magic that went on in the studio. I posted them here for you to explore and enjoy. Make sure to click on the images to enlarge them. Then you can pore over every detail, just as I have!

The luckiest Monster Kid in the world

I dreamt of being the man in the picture above, didn't you? Alone in the mad lab where all the creatures of my dreams were brought to life. If I were the man in that picture, I would sit there forever at my station and just work and imagine. And when my eyes got tired, I'd get up and run around the place like a loon, taking in all the familiar objects and mysterious scraps alike. I'd learn all I could. I would invite my friends to take a tour of the place. I would tell them, "Watch your step! Mind your head! Exercise your eyeballs! Oh, and TOUCH EVERYTHING!"

One man's junk, another man's treasure

The heap above looks like a landfill to most. But you and I know that it is composed of the precious relics of our obsession. Among the crumbling stacks of plaster molds and rubber flashing, some of our favorite monsters emerge. The Gillman from the Black Lagoon! A Mole Person! Bleached lifemasks of iconic faces and unknown players, side by side. These pieces of filmmonster history, cast-off. Never meant to survive past their use in the movies we love. Lucky for us, Forry and people like him just had to get their hands on this stuff and turn it into memorabilia.

A skylight reveals secrets in clay

Somebody was inadvertently looking out for us, even before we existed. If we'd been there ourselves, we would have definitely climbed up on a shelf or counter to get a picture of the sunny alcove above. The mother lode! Wow! Is that an early Gillman design? Do I see a Metaluna Mutant maquette or two. A T-Rex? From what movie? And whose faces are hanging on the wall? Is one Katherine Hepburn? If you recognize any of the objects of places in these pics, please post and share your thoughts with the rest of us. What was your first monster makeup? Hmmmm?

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