A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde

Interviews with 62 Filmmakers


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About the Book

In this jam-packed jamboree of conversations, more than 60 movie veterans describe their experiences on the sets of some of the world’s most beloved sci-fi and horror movies and television series. Including groundbreaking oldies (Flash Gordon, One Million B.C.); 1950s and 1960s milestones (The War of the Worlds, Psycho, House of Usher); classic schlock (Queen of Outer Space, Attack of the Crab Monsters); and cult TV favorites (Lost in Space, Land of the Giants), the discussions offer a frank and fascinating behind-the-scenes look.
Among the interviewees: Roger Corman, Pamela Duncan, Richard and Alex Gordon, Tony “Dr. Lao” Randall, Troy Donahue, Sid Melton, Fess Parker, Nan Peterson, Alan Young, John “Bud” Cardos, and dozens more.

About the Author(s)

Tom Weaver of Sleepy Hollow, New York, has been interviewing moviemakers for 35 years. The New York Times called him a leading scholar in the horror field and USA Today has described him as the king of the monster hunters. Classic Images said he was “the best interviewer we have today.” A frequent contributor to film magazines, he has written many books about American popular culture and is also a Blu-ray audio commentator.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Weaver
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 412
Bibliographic Info: 214 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2019 [2010]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7828-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5831-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
Preface      1
1. Jimmy Lydon on Robert Armstrong      5
2. Joanne Fulton on John P. Fulton      15
3. Memories of Serials House Peters, Jr., on Flash Gordon (1936)      33
Frankie Thomas on Tim Tyler’s Luck (1937)      38
4. Jean Porter on One Million B.C. (1940)      44
5. Memories of Boris Karloff Jo Ann Sayers on The Man with Nine Lives (1940)      50
Herbert Rudley on On Borrowed Time (1946)      54
Tommy Ivo on On Borrowed Time (1946)      58
Henry Corden on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and The Black Castle (1952)      63
Fintan Meyler on Thriller’s “Well of Doom” (1961)      66
6. Michael A. Hoey on Dennis Hoey      70
7. Memories of Bela Lugosi Earl Bellamy on The Return of the Vampire (1943)      86
Alex Gordon on Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)      88
Herman Cohen on Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)      92
8. Memories of Lon Chaney, Jr. Karolyn Grimes on Albuquerque (1948)      98
Mickey Knox on Of Mice and Men (1948)      100
Irving Brecher on The Life of Riley (1949)      102
Barbara Knudson on Born Yesterday (1950)      103
9. Richard Kline on Sam Katzman      108
10. Sid Melton on Lost Continent (1951)      118
11. Memories of Five (1951) William Phipps      123
Arthur L. Swerdloff      131
12. Marilyn Nash on Unknown World (1951)      136
13. Diana Gemora on The War of the Worlds (1953)      140
14. Fess Parker on Them! (1954)      148
15. Rosemarie Bowe on The Golden Mistress (1954)      152
16. Memories of Bel-Air Productions Paul Wurtzel      159
John G. Stephens      172
17. Pamela Duncan on The Undead (1957) and Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) 178
18. Marsha Hunt on Back from the Dead (1957)      184
19. Herbert L. Strock on Blood of Dracula (1957)      189
20. Peggy Webber on The Screaming Skull (1958)      191
21. Lisa Davis on Queen of Outer Space (1958)      196
22. Troy Donahue on Monster on the Campus (1958)      209
23. Nan Peterson on The Hideous Sun Demon (1959)      212
24. Richard Erdman on Face of Fire (1959)      222
25. The Calvin Beck–“Norman Bates” Connection      226
26. Roger Corman on House of Usher (1960)      235
27. Alan Young on Jack P. Pierce      240
28. David Whorf on Thriller’s “Pigeons from Hell” (1961)      243
29. Alex Gordon on The Underwater City (1962)      248
30. Arch Hall, Jr., on Ray Dennis Steckler      259
31. Arnold Drake on 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing) (1963)      264
32. Tony Randall on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)      268
33. Frederick E. Smith on Devil Doll (1964)      272
34. Memories of Tickle Me (1965) Edward Bernds      276
Merry Anders      278
35. Ib Melchior on Lost in Space (1965–1968) and Lost in Space (1998)      282
36. Memories of The Wild Wild West (1965–1969) Whitey Hughes      290
Richard Kiel      307
Kenneth Chase      314
37. Burt Topper on Space Monster (1965)      318
38. Peter Marshall on Edgar G. Ulmer      325
39. Tom Reese on Murderers’ Row (1966)      331
40. Richard Gordon on Protelco Productions      335
41. Nick Webster on Mission Mars (1968)      347
42. Gary Conway on Land of the Giants (1968–1970)      350
43. Memories of Nightmare in Wax (1969) John “Bud” Cardos      366
Martin Varno      369
44. Jan Merlin on The Twilight People (1973)      373
45. Robert Pine on Empire of the Ants (1977)      382
46. Ken Kolb on Sinbad Goes to Mars      386
Index      395

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Another fabulous interview book by Tom”—Classic Images
  • “Weaver steps back and simply lets the memories flow. These are not Q and A interviews, but lengthy, fascinating essays compiled by Weaver based on the lengthy, detailed comments of the subjects. It is most effective…this reviewer can offer his highest recommendation”—Rogue Cinema
  • “I recommend this book enthusiastically”—Monsters from the Vault
  • “A winner”—Classic Images
  • “Tom Weaver has enjoyed a lengthy career writing about the horror genre through his reference guides and countless magazine contributions. His interviews are thorough and informative but presented conversationally, as though he is simply visiting with an old friend. Weaver expertly guides the talk in a way that allows him to ask his questions in an informal manner, and likely he received a more detailed answer than if he had approached the subject as a journalist would”—horrortalk.com
  • “One of Weaver’s best books to date—jam-packed with penetrating conversations about movies we love”—Western Clippings
  • “62 Interviews!! When you think how long ago many of the films and television series covered in this book were made, it’s hard to believe that many people would still be around? And if anyone can find them, Weaver can. And it seems like with each new edition, the illustrations are even better and rarer. No one does these interviews books as well as Tom Weaver. Can there be more? Knowing TW, the answer is probably yes!”—Little Shoppe of Horrors
  • “Tom Weaver has long been the doyen of writers about the more esoteric areas of genre cinema, and his single minded devotion to tracking down many a neglected talent has borne impressive fruit in recording the reminiscences of creative personnel otherwise neglected by interviewers. A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde is a highly entertaining collection which covers many years and many filmmakers and is crammed full of piquant anecdotes”—Crime Time.