Earth vs. the Sci-Fi Filmmakers

20 Interviews

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About the Book

Back in the era of black-and-white horror and sci-fi movies, “we didn’t have special effects, or the money for ’em,” says Peter Graves, one of the genre’s most popular stars. “But in those days, an unlimited amount of money wouldn’t have gotten us much better special effects, because they didn’t exist. We had to go with the stories and try to make them as believable as possible, and flash the outlandish things by quickly, so the audience never got a good, in-focus look at them!”
Perhaps no films attracted more rabid fans and less critical acclaim than the genre movies of that era. The men and women who made the characters come to life are interviewed here, talking about their work, the behind-the-scenes action, and the impact the movies had on their careers. The interviewees are Gene Barry, Gary Clarke, Gary Conway, Merian C. Cooper, Robert Dix, Donnie Dunagan, Alex Gordon, Peter Graves, Gary Gray, Arch Hall, Jr., Stephen Kandel, Carolyn Kearney, Ken Kolb, Robert L. Lippert, Jr., Jan Merlin, Mary Mitchel, Elliott Reid, Stanley Rubin, Frankie Thomas and Burt Topper. Extensively illustrated.

About the Author(s)

Tom Weaver lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and has been interviewing moviemakers since the early 1980s. The New York Times called him one of the leading scholars in the horror field and USA Today has described him as the king of the monster hunters. Classic Images called him “the best interviewer we have today.” He is a frequent contributor to numerous film magazines and has been featured in the prestigious Best American Movie Writing. A frequent DVD audio commentator, he is the author of numerous reference and other nonfiction books about American popular culture.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Weaver
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 396
Bibliographic Info: 163 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9572-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8217-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Gene Barry      3

Gary Clarke      13

Gary Conway      31

Merian C. Cooper      45

Robert Dix      61

Donnie Dunagan      86

Alex Gordon on Day the World Ended      114

Peter Graves      133

Gary Gray on The Next Voice You Hear      149

Arch Hall, Jr.      161

Stephen Kandel on Chamber of Horrors      212

Carolyn Kearney      223

Ken Kolb      238

Robert L. Lippert, Jr., on Lon Chaney, Jr.      260

Jan Merlin on The List of Adrian Messenger      271

Mary Mitchel      292

Elliott Reid      313

Stanley Rubin on The Whip Hand      335

Frankie Thomas on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet      344

Burt Topper on The Strangler      367

Index      379

Book Reviews & Awards

“one of the leading scholars in the horror field”—New York Times; “a must have”—Little Shoppe of Horrors; “the king of the monster hunters”—USA Today; “another winner…a must-have…colorful, fascinating reading for all film fans. Weaver’s style is exceptional. What he draws out of his subjects is amazing.”—Classic Images; “riveting…fascinating…will hold you captive”—VideoScope; “Weaver’s hugely entertaining interviews offer a unique insight into film making in the golden age of schlock sci-fi movies”—The Guardian; “recommended”—Monsters from the Vault; “one of our foremost fantasy film historians”— Sight & Sound; “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; “extensively illustrated”—Monsters.com; “worthwhile”—Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest; “a real treat”—Associated Content; “extremely entertaining…detailed”—Shock Cinema; “Tom Weaver is legend…invaluable”—NC Flix; “well written and interesting…fascinating and insightful interviews…fascinating…the interviews are all interesting and give many behind-the-scene looks at the film production…highly recommended”—WFOS-FM.