Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Culture of the 1960s & 1970s by Scott StineTrashfiend: Disposable Horror Culture of the 1960s & 1970s by Scott Stine

Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Culture of the 1960s & 1970s

byScott Stine

Paperback | January 29, 2009

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Two glorious decades of low-budget monster movies, horror comicbooks, glow-in-the-dark model kits, sci-fi trading cards, television horror show hosts, 8mm film reels and more!From low-budget horror films to grisly comic art, from lurid movie magazines to late-night creature features, from campy monster toys to exploitive poster art, Trashfiend takes a loving look at "disposable" horror culture from the 1960s and 1970s. Packed with reviews, trivia, rare illustrations, exhaustive technical information, and written with a humorous but insightful flair that is sure to engage both hardcore fans and the curious alike, author Scott Stine picks up where his self-published Trashfiend magazine left off for a fun, albeit critical look at an often overlooked genre that is considered trash!Includes over a hundred reproductions of rare ad art, as well as vintage books, toys and magazines from the era, with eight pages of glorious, garish color.
Title:Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Culture of the 1960s & 1970sFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:January 29, 2009Publisher:HeadpressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1900486660

ISBN - 13:9781900486668

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The Ghouls Go West: The Horror Westerns of William Beaudine My love for westerns didn't manifest itself until I was well into my thirties. Granted, I had gained an appreciation for Sergio Leone's films in my teens, but the genre as a whole held little interest for me. As a child, though, there were two exceptions, two films I saw back to back one Sunday afternoon that convinced me cowboy flicks could be cool. How? Simple. Throw a monster or two in front of the Old West backdrop, and let them duke it out with the resident cowpokes and gunslingers. Even though these two films did little more than hitch one wagonload of clich s onto another, it was enough to keep a young horror fan like myself enthralled for the entirety of the four-hour time slot, including commercials. These two films from 1966--Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter--were the last two films directed by the prolific William "One-Shot" Beaudine (1892-1970), so named because of his legendary refusal to shoot a second take. It is of little surprise that the man behind these attempts at cinematic gene-splicing had already plundered virtually every genre during a career that included over 250 films as a filmmaker. (He celebrated his fifty-year anniversary making films while on the set of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, this event being used to promote the film further.) At the age of 17, Beaudine was given his start in show business functioning as a prop boy for D.W. Griffith. Within a few years, he began directing two-reelers--mostly comedies--for New York's Biograph Studios, and had moved up to full-length features by 1922. Working with the likes of Mary Pickford and W.C. Fields, Beaudine soon made a name for himself as a formidable Hollywood director, despite the penchant that earned him his nickname. In 1934, he had the opportunity to shoot a series of films in England and took it. Although these films were critical successes, the director would rue the day he accepted these jobs. When he finally returned to the United States, Hollywood--with its short-term memory--had simply forgotten him. Beaudine found himself having to start from square one, accepting offers for quickies from the likes of Monogram and PRC, companies known primarily for poverty row efforts that were made on the cuff to fill the second half of double-bills. Amongst fans of low budget cinema, Beaudine is most well known for these films, which were his bread and butter during the forties. A few of these efforts starred horror legend Bela Lugosi, and marked the actor's descent into B-film cinema as well. Still something of a commodity when he starred in Beaudine's The Ape Man (1943) and Voodoo Man (1944), films that exploited his image more than his talents, Lugosi was eventually reduced to such bargain-basement outings as the same director's Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952), a "horror" comedy that featured Martin and Lewis impersonators Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo. This was only a year before the aging morphine addict hooked up with the infamous Edward D. Wood, Jr. and secured trash film notoriety with such Z-grade fare as Glen or Glenda? (1953), Bride of the Monster (1955), and the posthumous swansong Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). During the 1950s, Beaudine's theatrical films thinned, and so he soon found himself directing episodes for such television series as Spin and Marty (1955), Broken Arrow (1956-1960) and Lassie (1954-1974). (The latter show was eventually handed over to his son, William Beaudine, Jr. (1921-), who had previously functioned as assistant director on such genre films as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Queen of Blood, 1956 and 1958 respectively.) Beaudine continued plying his trade in this new medium, his last television stint being an episode of The Green Hornet, shot only a year before he directed the two gunslingers in question. Beaudine's exhaustive catalog of films is just that, and run the entire gamut from exceptional to downright shoddy. Whereas some of his early efforts are minor classics, his later films are dated affairs displaying threadbare production values, and were considered bottom of the barrel even in their heyday. Although some of Beaudine's later films are sub-par, his last two "trash" films are adequately competent (at least when compared to the gunslinger pics being produced in the previous decade). Not unlike exploitation film mogul Roger Corman, Beaudine had mastered the tools of his trade early on and could more often than not produce a marketable film on the most miniscule of budgets; even those productions that were of the lowest caliber occasionally exceeded their tired scripts and nearly destitute production values. Beaudine wasn't the first to cross the western and horror genres, but his two attempts were probably the most successful to do so. (The only other American films to do this as well--Mexico had been churning out supernatural westerns for years--were Jacques Marquette's Teenage Monster (1957) and Edward Dein's The Undead (1959), the latter of which was another gunslinger vs. bloodsucker outing that borrowed equally from the respective genres.) As far as cult status is concerned, part of the films' success can be attributed to the inspired billing and subsequent promotion. Most double-bills make for awkward bedfellows, but by their very nature Beaudine's films complimented each other perfectly. By capitalizing on the familiarity of Stoker and Shelley's characters (by way of Universal Pictures), this two-for-one special undoubtedly had every underage horror fan clamoring for tickets. If these boys were also into the cowboys and Indians shtick, then their presence was guaranteed. Like many of the low-budget horror films of the sixties, promotion was ultimately vital to the film's theatrical success. In addition to the eye-catching "Shockorama" double-billing campaign, Beaudine and the Embassy Pictures marketing department concocted a slew of gimmicks to draw attention to their films. A giveaway that was made available to participating theaters and their patrons from "The Grisly Gore Warranty Company" (better known as National Screen Service) was a "warranty" that "Hereby declares that the bearer, upon attending a performance of Shockorama, is guaranteed to have palpitations, goose pimples, spine-tingles, perspiration, suspiration, desperation and consternation." Theaters were advised to hold "Coffin Contests" or set up a convenient first-aid station that selflessly offered "special assistance to all patrons suffering from shock" after seeing the movie in question. Local retail outlets were also invited to participate by employing any one of a variety of cross promotion tactics in order to drum up business, although whom it would benefit the most is obvious. It was suggested that restaurants serve "Shocktails" or offer a free cup of coffee to calm the nerves of rattled theatergoers, and that beauty parlors furnish free color treatments to any Shockorama patrons whose hair turned white from fright. The possibilities were endless. Although the Shockorama campaign was moderately successful, William Beaudine called it quits with these two features. Considering that--at 74 years of age--he was the oldest active director working in Hollywood, one can easily sympathize with his decision to retire. William "One-Shot" Beaudine passed away four years later, only a few short years before one young boy caught his swansongs on television one Sunday afternoon. Since then, it seems that these films above all of his others have secured a place in the hearts of trash fiends who, as children, undoubtedly sat entranced by these rustic horrors, either in front of the silver screen or from the comforts of their own living room. Once when asked to rush a film (sources conflict as to exactly which quickie it was), Beaudine reportedly quipped, "You mean someone out there is actually waiting to see this?" Despite his apprehensions about his later output, it is safe to say that not only were some of us waiting to see his films, but have repeatedly gone back for more.Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula (1965)Circle Productions, Inc. [US]DIR: William BeaudinePRO: Carroll CaseSCR: Carl K. HittlemanDOP: Lothrop B. WorthMUS: Dr. Samuel Hoffman and Raoul KraushaarSTR: Roy Barcroft, Marjorie Bennett, Harry Carey, Jr., Olive Carey, John Carradine, William Challee, Virginia Christine, George Cisar, Chuck Courtney, William Forrest, Leonard P. Geer (aka Lennie Geer), Walter Janowitz (aka Walter Janovitz), Max Kleven (aka Max Klevin), Hannie Landman, Melinda Plowman, Richard Reeves, Charlita Roeder, Bing Russell and Jack WilliamsApproximately 73m; Color; UnratedVHS: Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula[Embassy Home Entertainment; 72(73)m; FS; NTSC]ADL: "The World's Deadliest Gun-Fighter! The World's Most Diabolical Killer!" A stagecoach picks up an immigrant bloodsucker, and its passengers are taken aback by his devilish appearance. When everyone aboard stops off for a bite to eat, their unexpected guest decides to snack on a local squaw. Not knowing who or what is responsible, the natives decide that it's better to be safe than sorry and attack the stagecoach, killing everyone on board. Everyone, that is, except for the one responsible. Having already made himself scarce, Dracula looks up the daughter of one of the women killed in the massacre, and--posing as the young girl's uncle--makes himself comfortable at the ranch she has now inherited. Unfortunately for him, one of the hired hands--the heiress' boyfriend--is also the infamous Billy the Kid, making an attempt to go straight. Threatening to reveal the stranger's true identity is a couple of superstitious immigrants invited to work and live at the ranch, whose daughter was also killed by the Count. Having last played the regal bloodsucker in Erle C. Kenton's House of Dracula (1945), Carradine reprises the role, now sporting a top hat and Mephistophelean goatee, dressed more for handing out Faustian contracts than tearing open someone's jugular. As every person who has ever reviewed this movie has pointed out, John does look quite feeble, but what truly pains the viewer is his insistence on chewing the scenery instead of taking a more subtle approach. (Worse yet, he spends at least half of his screen time fawning over his "young and pretty" niece; even a stage actor like Carradine must have found it a challenge to read what is essentially the same lines over and over again whilst trying to make the delivery sound fresh each time.) Of course, when one takes the script into consideration (undoubtedly written with exclamation marks concluding each and every sentence like the horror comics of yesteryear), one can be forgiving. Especially when the lighting crew illuminates Carradine's face with red filters and lets him do what he does best. Namely, playing the part of a very adequate bogeyman for six-year olds. Like its predecessor, the production values are clean, but with no embarrassing props littering the set this time out. The characters are likable enough, but aside from a crusty doctor (described by someone as "a backwoods female pill-swinger,") all of them are too flat to escape their stereotypical mediocrity. The hero and heroine are painfully shallow, and the newly hired hands with their one-size-fits-all European accent could have been struck from any number of films. More so than Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula glamorizes its titular outlaw, turning a homely, buck-toothed murderer into an "aw, shucks" blonde teen who would look more natural playing volleyball on a beach with Annette Funnicello. On the flip side, had the scriptwriters been more historically accurate in their portrayals, their interpretation of Bram Stoker's cinematic progeny would have been a heck of a lot more sympathetic. The film takes a fair amount of artistic license with its supernatural threat as well, at least in reference to vampirism as it had previously been portrayed onscreen. In this world, vampires have no problem with sunlight, and apparently they only sleep during the day because it's more convenient. Curiouser, wolfsbane is the vampire deterrent of choice, not garlic. (Apparently, this mythicized relative of monkshood was a lot more prevalent in the south than Garlic; even those who don't know anything about botany will realize I'm being facetious.) Curiouser still, bullets have no effect on the undead, but one can easily knock them unconscious by bouncing a pistol off their forehead. Despite its earnestness, the film can't help but instigate some unintentional laughter. The sad looking rubber bat that Carradine turns into looks even more weathered, more fatigued, more listless than the actor himself; one has to assume it is a supernatural manifestation, otherwise the poor thing couldn't stay aloft on its own accord. Best of all, the character of Mrs. Oster is referred to as "Mrs. Olson" on numerous occasions during the film, which coincidentally is a character that the actress portrayed in a long series of commercials promoting Folger's coffee. And lest we forget yet another bone-chilling theremin score; alas, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter was spared this musical subjugation.Although most of the cast had spotty or short-lived careers, usually outside of the genre, a few of the older, more prolific actors weren't unfamiliar with the genre. The prolific Carradine (1906-1988), on the other hand, is known to anyone who has ever watched a trashy horror flick. Of lesser note are Russell (1926-2003) had uncredited appearances in Tarantula (1955) and The Deadly Mantis (1957), and later appeared in the made-for-TV shocker Satan's School for Girls (1973). He played police officers in all three films. Like Russell, Forrest (1902-1989) appeared sans credit in several fifties sci-fi features, including Flight to Mars (1951) and Invaders from Mars (1953). Unlike Russell, Forrest was usually in a military uniform. Although uncredited in The War of the Worlds (1953) and The Giant Claw (1957), Cisar (1912-1979) actually got billing for his participation in The Werewolf (1956) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959). When he wasn't playing cops, he was playing bartender.Of particular interest, Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula is the very last film scored by theremin virtuoso Hoffman (1904-1967), whose credits include It Came From Outer Space (1953), The Mad Magician (1954) and The Outer Limits (1963-1965). (Sure, I give the theremin a hard time, but admitting that I find the damnable thing pleasing to the ear is unthinkable.)Curiously, Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula was not given the same treatment as Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter when it was finally released by MGM on DVD a few years back. Since the only sightings of Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula since Embassy released it on videocassette in the early nineties have been through public domain outfits, one would assume that it was a matter of rights, but why one and not the other is a complete mystery.Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1965)Circle Productions, Inc. [US]DIR: William BeaudinePRO: Carroll CaseSCR: Cal K. HittlemanDOP: Lothrop B. WorthMUS: Raoul KraushaarSTR: Rayford Barnes, Earl C. Craver (aka Cal Bolder), Roger Creed, Jim Davis, William Fawcett, Istv n Gyergyai (aka Steven Geray), John Lupton, Mark Norton, Narda Onyx, Nestor Caetano Paiva, Estelita Rodriguez, Paul Slattery, Fred Stromsoe, Felipe Turish, Rosa Turich and Dan WhiteAKA: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein Jesse James Vs. la Hija de Frankenstein [Jesse James Vs. the Daughter of Frankenstein]Approximately 88m; Color; UnratedDVD: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter[Alpha Video; 88(83)m; FS; NTSC R0][Elite Entertainment; 88m; WS; NTSC R1][MGM/UA Home Video; 88m; FS; NTSC R1]VHS: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter[MGM/UA Home Video; 88m; FS; NTSC]ADL: "Roaring Guns Against Raging Monster!" Frankenstein's grandchildren, Maria (Onyx) and Rudolf (Gyergyai), have set up shop in an abandoned monastery overlooking a quaint little Mexican village called "Mission," dragging with them the last artificial brain produced by their late grandfather. The locals head for the hills--quite literally--after several children mysteriously die from what they are told is a fatal disease, leaving behind no one to supply the mad scientists with their necessary specimens.Meanwhile, the remnants of Jesse James' outfit (namely, JJ and his muscle bound sidekick Hank Tracy) hook up with the Wild Bunch in order to knock over a stagecoach to the tune of a hundred grand split five ways. Thanks to a Judas among them, the outlaws are ambushed, and Hank (Bolder) is wounded. With the Marshall in pursuit and his oversized sidekick in tow, Jesse (Lupton) makes his way to Mission, aided by a razor-tongued seniorita named Juanita (Rodriguez). As a last ditch attempt to save Hank's life, Jesse drags his wounded butt up to the Frankenstein's chop shop, unaware of just how desperate Maria is for human guinea pigs. Save for the mad scientist shtick, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter looks and moves like a typical B-grade western, albeit one made in the previous decade. (Geez, it's difficult to imagine this was made in the same year as Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More.) Aside from an addle-minded, bone-headed script, the film is reasonably competent,, and the characters ingratiating. (Too ingratiating, in the case of the outlaws; anti-heroes walking a fine line between right and wrong is one thing, but making Jesse James into a gentlemanly, kind-hearted chap may be stretching it a bit.) Even though most of the players ham it up, they ham it up well.Despite the material given them, the actors are able to retain their dignity throughout. Until, that is, some of them are forced to don a silly metal hat that is used to carry electrical currents into the body. (Painting a World War II helmet with green, yellow and red stripes and attaching a lightning rod to it may have worked in the days of the Buster Crabbe serials, but is truly embarrassing for something concocted in the sixties.) But the dime-store props don't end there. The control panel in the Frankenstein's laboratory is nothing more than a studio mixing board. Furthermore, the doctors are apparently forgetful as to exactly which chemicals are toxic, as someone has taken great pains to label a bottle of poison (a beaker, actually) with a huge, intricately drawn skull and crossbones. It takes an hour before the "good" stuff actually kicks in, when Frau Frankenstein finally excavates Hank's brainpan and does the old switcheroo with Granddad's synthetic brain. Her new slave, dubbed "Igor," is an impressive figure with his stitches, shaved head and oiled muscles. (How he still manages to retain some of his earlier memories, having had his own gray matter scooped out and discarded, is beyond me.) Many of the other staples one would expect or hope for from a Frankenstein flick are present--as diluted as they are--including the ever-reliable lightning storms. (According to the creepy siblings, Vienna was no longer dependable for electrical storms, thus necessitating that they move to Central America in order to continue their dodgy experiments.) The monastery in which they have made themselves comfortable looks to be a castle matte painting recycled from another dime-store creature feature. And where would a sixties horror film be without its timely orchestral hits? (Especially when one has been lulled to sleep with stock music.) Unlike Beaudine's follow-up, the humor herein is more intentional, albeit dry. (In one running gag, whenever Jesse is asked how his partner was wounded, he insists with a straight face that Hank "shot himself cleaning his gun," to which everyone offers a nod of disbelief.) Much fun can be had from watching actress Narda Onyx chew the scenery as Frau Frankenstein, who would be just as comfortable playing the wardeness of a nazi prison camp with her kraut accent and sadistic fervor. And although Beaudine may have been able to always get his films in under budget, he finally found one thing he couldn't reign in on one of his sets, namely, Miss Estelita Rodriguez' lips. This woman--unable to utter a sentence without turning her entire pie hole inside out--makes Rosie Perez seem absolutely quaint with her exaggerated Hispanic delivery. If ever there was anything truly scary about this film, it's the fear that she might cut loose and accidentally slap one of her co-stars to death with her kisser. The same material--sans the cowboy shtick--was handled, shall we say, more explicitly five years later in Ernst von Theumer's lurid La Figlia di Frankenstein [The Daughter of Frankenstein] (1971), which actually does live up to the title by including the famous doctor's daughter and not his granddaughter (and grandson) as Beaudine's film does. (Since no one adheres to Shelley's novel anyway, why they just didn't make them Victor Frankenstein's children is beyond me, as the script in no way demands that they be another generation removed.) With over one hundred television appearances to his credit, star Lupton (1928-1993) also appeared in Paul Bartel's Private Parts (1972). Even more prolific an actor, Gyergyai (1904-1973) also made an appearance as a doctor--albeit uncredited--in the American-produced tacked-on footage for The Evil of Frankenstein (1964). A regular in Roy Rogers' westerns, Cuban born actress Rodriguez (1928-1966) died the following year of influenza. Prolific actor Davis (1909-1981) also appeared in several Al Adamson and Sam Sherman outings, most notably as Sgt. Martin in Dracula Vs. Frankenstein (1971). Fawcett (1894-1974) also appeared in The Neanderthal Man (1953) and The Return of Dracula (1958). Versatile character actor Paiva (1905-1966) has done more to endear himself to us than anyone else in the cast, thanks to his work in Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), Revenge of the Creature, Tarantula, The Mole People, They Saved Hitler's Brain (1963), et al.Interview conducted via e-mail July of 2003.For some time I had been wanting to do a piece on the horror westerns of William Beaudine, if only so I had a legitimate excuse to watch them back to back without thinking of them as guilty pleasures. Shortly before I made this bold venture, I was contacted by a friend of mine who is an award-winning editor for a local newspaper. Seems that one of his reporters had tracked down actor "Cal Bolder" and interviewed him for their Halloween special. Without hesitation, I followed his lead and contacted the retired performer by mail, which soon led to a phone conversation and a promised interview. It was a pleasant and insightful experience, as Mr. Craver had no shortage of interesting stories with which to regale. Although Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter was Mr. Craver's only genre effort, I was insistent on interviewing him for Trashfiend. Talking with him would also gave me an opportunity to question someone who had worked with director Beaudine, and hopefully I could get a little behind the scenes information on one of Beaudine's two horror western outings. Unfortunately, by the time the interview came about, Craver was knee-deep in other projects, so his responses were short and sweet, with many questions left unanswered. Unfortunately, I discovered just prior to this book going to press that Earl had passed away on January 19, 2005 from cancer; suffice it to say, I am saddened that he didn't live long enough to see this interview published.Born 1931 and raised in Elkhart, Kansas, Craver enrolled in Wichita University with the aid of an athletic scholarship. There, he focused on football until 1951 when, at the height of the Korean War, he enlisted in the Marines. While stationed in California, he met his future wife Billie, whom he married in 1954. In 1958, Craver was working as a motorcycle officer for the Los Angeles Police Department when things took an unexpected turn and he was given the opportunity to be in motion pictures. Born Earl C. Craver, the burgeoning actor was dubbed "Cal Bolder" by his manager. Due to his impressive stature--six-foot-four at 240 lbs--Craver was usually given the role of the heavy, and had no shortage of supporting roles in television westerns during his ten-year career, but the big break at stardom never came. In 1968, Craver and his wife moved to Washington, where he lived until his passing.What was the first horror film you saw as a child? What kind of impression did it leave on you?The early mummy and Frankenstein movies were the first, as far as I can remember. I was probably affected as any young child would have been.Are you much of a horror fan yourself? What do you see as the most noticeable differences between modern day horror films and those being made when you did Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter?I like many horror and mystery films. The most noticeable difference in today's films is the use of computer graphics.Have you seen both of William Beaudine's horror westerns, namely Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter? What did you think of them?Yes, I have, and thought they were both well done. Of course, you know which one is my favorite!How did you secure the part of Hank Tracy in Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter?The producer saw me in an episode of Bonanza called The Ape (airdate December 17, 1960), and called me in to do the part.Your character was undoubtedly the most sympathetic player in the film. Despite his outlaw status, he was portrayed as the kindest of souls, and due in part to his trusting nature he was turned into a virtual killing machine. How did this role differ from the characters you usually portrayed? In retrospect, what would you have done differently in your portrayal if given the opportunity to stretch your wings?Hank Tracy was a little more mentally challenged than some of the other characters that I've played, but I thought I nailed the part down pretty well.Did you have to shave your head for the role? Was it worth it to get an impressive third billing?Yes, I had to shave my head for the part, but the studio made me a custom wig so I could still do auditions. However, when people saw me bald it actually helped get me parts in other shows.What was it like working for William Beaudine? How did he differ from the other filmmakers with whom you had worked?He was a good director, but all business.In your experience, did William "One-Shot" Beaudine live up to his nickname? If so, can you recall a time on the set of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter in which he was actually forced into a second take?Yes, he did live up to the name. I can't recall any instances, but the film was shot in one week, so there wasn't much time for second takes.Do you recall Beaudine's attitude towards horror films? Do you know if it was his choice to meld genres, or a necessity to adapt in light of the fading interest in the old-style gunslinger pictures?It was obvious that he enjoyed making films. Whether it was his choice or just an opportunity to work behind the camera, I don't know.Outside of a few silly gadgets, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter looks fairly slick despite its threadbare budget. Where was it filmed, and for how much? How did the limited budget affect the production?The film was shot on location in the San Fernando Valley, for how much I don't know. Other than whom they had as actors--a bigger budget might have bagged better-known stars--it had little affect.In light of the recent multiple DVD releases of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, how do you feel about your film reaching a new generation of fans?I think that's great. The more people who see it, the better.How did you get started in acting?I was working for the Los Angeles police department, and I stopped a talent agent for speeding and gave him a ticket. He was impressed with my size and asked me if I ever considered an acting career. I said, "No, not really, but I'm wiling to give anything a shot," and pretty soon he was sending me on interviews.What was that experience like working on the cult television series Star Trek, where you played the part of "Keel" in the Friday's Child episode? (Airdate December 1, 1967.)The experience was great, but that was before the show had much of a cult following.What was your favorite role as an actor, and why?The role of Arnie in the Bonanza episode The Ape, mostly because the director and all of the actors were very easy to work with.As an actor, what was your greatest regret?In 1964, a film agent asked me to go to Italy to shoot a string of western movies. I was doing fairly well with the agent I had; I had already done four or five things, including a couple of leading roles. I hated to just go to my agent and say "I'm leaving town," so I decided, "No, I think this guy is doing me all right" and stuck with him. And so Clint Eastwood was offered the chance to go over there, and, you know the rest of the story.Why did you give up your acting career in 1968?It's difficult to hold down a regular job to support your family and still get time off to do a movie. I never worked steady enough to support my family with movie work alone.Having read an interview with you in The Wenatchee World, it came to my attention that you are a writer of crime fiction. What have you had published so far? What do you currently have in the works?I wrote a suspense thriller called Last Reunion, which was published (as a print-on-demand book) through I am currently about three hundred pages into my second novel, Swift Justice.What do you think about the thinning line between crime fiction and more outright horror literature, with books like Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs? What authors have influenced your writing the most?I prefer the suspense genre where the reader is always skirting trouble. Patricia Cornwell and Tami Hoag are two of my favorite writers.In closing, what do you want the epitaph on your tombstone to read?Family always came first.

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