Today, 27 May 2017, marks the 106th birthday of Vincent Price. So, let’s all raise a toast to the actor, art lover, Anglophile and all-round legend…
Here in the UK, The Vincent Price Legacy UK will be celebrating throughout the Bank Holiday weekend with two very special events happening – one in Birmingham on Sunday and another in London on Tuesday. The London event is sold out, but there is a handful of tickets left for Birmingham. GET THEM HERE
But today, we shall be following in Vincent’s footsteps and doing something that he would have loved… a trip to Portobello Road Market, the V&A and the British Museum.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Here’s some super pics of Vincent at Portobello Road with Jane Asher, his co-star in 1964’s Masque of the Red Death.
Birmingham-based culinary wizard Annabel de Vetten (aka Annabel Lecter) is cooking up a fantastic event on Sunday 28 May as her Conjurer’s Kitchen plays host to Vincent Price’s Birthday Bash at The Electric Cinema, starting 8pm. Tickets are selling fast, so book now!
Legendary horror actor Vincent Price is best remembered for his delightfully scary turns in such classic fright fests as House of Wax, The Fly and Theatre of Blood – and also being the voice of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and an inspiration for fantasy directors like Tim Burton.
But Vincent Price was also a Renaissance man with omnivorous appetite for life, art, travel – and fine food. In fact, in the 1960s, the ghoulish gourmand and his wife Mary published a number of celebrated cookbooks – including the lavish best-seller, A Treasury of Great Recipes, featuring a host of Mad Men-era treats, and Come Into the Kitchen, which was devoted to traditional American cuisine. Both of these gastronomic tomes have been given lavish reprints, while Cooking Price-Wise, based on the actor’s British 1970s TV show, will be back in print later this year.
Conjurer’s Kitchen is proud to celebrate the King of Horror’s culinary legacy by drawing from those tomes to call forth gastronomic ghosts of kitchens past iat Birmingham’s Electric Cinema, which will take place over the weekend on what would have been Vincent’s 106th birthday (he was born on 27 May 1911).
Special guest will be Vincent and Mary’s daughter Victoria Price, an author and inspirational speaker, who will pay tribute to her dad with a very personal presentation, and talk about his cultural legacy of inspirational living, dining, and exploring the world.
Expect classic clips, tasty bites, and a few surprises!
Whilethis American International Pictures horror classic was released in the US in the summer of 1963, it wasn’t until 21 February 1966 that UK cinemagoers got to enter The Haunted Palace.
In 1875, Charles Dexter Ward (Vincent Price) and his wife Ann (Debra Paget) inherit a mansion in the New England village of Arkham, where they find themselves shunned by the local townspeople who live in fear of a curse placed on them by Charles’ great-great-grandfather Joseph Curwen, a necromancer and warlock, who was burnt at the stake for practising witchcraft 110 years previously.
But, just as the Ward’s decide to pack their bags, Charles is taken over by the spirit of his evil ancestor who then sets out to wreak revenge on those who stopped his ‘work’…
Roger Corman’s sixth Gothic horror in his Edgar Allan Poe cycle, borrows its title from an 1839 poem by the macabre writer, but owes a huge debt to the nightmarish Cthulhu-verse of HP Lovecraft, as it is loosely based on the 1927 novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
With suitably atmospheric cinematography from Floyd Crosby, and probably one of the best film scores ever from Ronald Stein, this entry in the Corman/Price/Poe cycle is a true classic, while the restrained performance by Price in the dual role of the evil Curwen and the ineffectual Charles adds to the sense of underlying horror.
Along for the ride are some genre favourites, Lon Chaney Jr and Elisha Cook Jr (who adds being burnt alive to his many screen deaths), while this was the last film of Debra Paget, who quit acting soon after.
Over the years the 1970 sci-fi horror conspiracy thriller Scream and Scream Again has aged surprisingly well. Its seemingly unnconnected plots actually look quite hip in today’s channel hopping, attention deficit, age. And the horror thriller was certainly hip in its day, earning big at the box office for its producers, Amicus and American International Pictures.
Vincent Price gets top billing as cancer scientist Dr Browning, conducting mysterious research in a rural Surrey mansion; while Alfred Marks’ London detective is tracking down a homicidal sex maniac dubbed, The Vampire Killer, who is targeting girls in local nightclubs. Meanwhile, in some unspecified Eastern European totalitarian state, Peter Cushing gets bumped off by Marshall Jones’ Konratz (though everyone calls him Konrad in the film) as part of his climb to the top job, while back in Blighty, Christopher Lee’s British Intelligence official is trying to secure the release of a lost British pilot.
Vincent only really gets to shine in the film’s final reels – for a quick tour of his modern Frankenstein-styled lab – before an undignified acid bath death at the hands of Lee’s man from the ministry.
Still, Scream and Scream Again is one of the most unusual and unique British sci-fi’s ever made, and now that its available in HD on Blu-ray and DVD, with the restored the original soundtrack, including Amen Corner’s eponymous theme tune – its one to watch again and again…
To celebrate the film’s original cinema release in the UK on 8 February 1970 (it went on general release in the US on 13 February), check out our gallery of original US Lobby Cards from my own collection. CLICK HERE
The Theatre Guild and Joel Schenker
Vincent Price and Patricia Routledge
In a new musical
DARLING OF THE DAY Based on Arnold Bennett’s Buried Alive and his play The Great Adventure.
Also starring Brenda Forbes, Peter Woodthorpe and Teddy Green.
Composed by Jule Styne
Lyrics by EY Harburg
‘…thoroughly delightful. It has charm, tunefulness, humour, imagination, a good book, impeccable taste and a handsome production. Mr Price is convincing and charming as the artist in hiding… a superior musical comedy!’ (Richard Watts, The New York Post)
Darling of the Day is set in the England of 1905 – Edwardian and elegant – and it’s the story of a great and painfuly shy painter named Priam Farll (Vincent Price) who is summoned back to England after 20 years as a virtual recluse in the South Seas, to be knighted by his King.
After the death of his butler, Henry Leek, Farll assumes his identity, falls for a young widow called Alice Challice (Patricia Routledge) and they marry and settled in (what was then) lower middle-class Putney.
Life becomes complicated for Priam and Alice when his identity is unveiled and he ends up in court. However, when Farll warns that if there’s a ‘Butler in the Abbey’ the social structure of Britain will be shaken, the judge hastily rules that Leek must remain Leek…
Following Darling of the Day‘s pre-Broadway run, the York Theatre Company show had three previews before its premiere performance at the George Abbott Theatre (152 W. 54th St., New York, NY) on 27 January 1968. Following mixed reviews, the show folded after 31 performances, but it did earn Routledge the 1968 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
As the sun set on Camp Vincent 2016 and a supermoon rose over the Malibu coast on Sunday (13 November), I feel so blessed to have spent the past 10 days celebrating the life and legacy of Vincent Price with a wonderful group of friends – and it ended so beautifully.
But first, on a surprisingly hot Saturday morning, Victoria Price escorted us, plus a handful of new recruits, on a tour of her dad’s old haunts and former homes.
First up was Hollywood Forever Cemetery where both Vincent and Coral Browne (Mrs Price No3), had their funeral services, and where Coral’s were scattered amongst the white rose bushes by the entrance gates.
After catching up with old friends like Cecil B De Mille and Peter Lorre (whose funeral Vincent gave the eulogy), we headed out to Pinks, an LA institution for hotdogs (Vincent’s fast food of choice) and Koontz Hardware in West Hollywood (where he hung out daily).
Then it was up to the Hills where we drove past Vincent’s former homes as Victoria gave us an insight of what it was like growing up in the glare of the Hollywood sign, before decamping at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel for cocktails and cake.
In the evening, we were Carson bound to the Phantom Carriage Brewery, where a special dinner was held to celebrate the launch of the reprint of Vincent and Mary Price’s Come Into The Kitchen cookbook.
This took the form of a four-course meal paired with the brewery’s craft beers, accompanied by screenings of The Tingler and Comedy of Terrors, which were introduced by Victoria and myself, and some horror movie-inspired music. It was a super evening, where we all made new friends with some LA-based Vincent Price fans.
And so we come to Sunday. Following lunch at Paradise Cove in Malibu – the setting for hundred of films and TV shows, including the Beach Party films – and where the Price family enjoyed coming to to eat and fish, we headed out to Nicholas Canyon Beach.
It was here where Vincent Price once owned several acres and had a beach house where his children, Barrett and Victoria, spent many a summer before the land was repossessed under the Reagan regime.
At the bottom of some ruined stairs (the only reminder of where the house once stood) our group created an altar of flowers, shells, rocks, kelp, and a drawing done by the ever talented Gregg Buxbaum of a baby seal wearing Vincent’s favourite straw hat.
As incense and a sage smudge stick – bought during our Southwest travels were set alight – were set alight, we held hands and vowed to go out into the world with love and hope. Then, just as we finished, a flock of pelicans soared above us – very slowly – in a V formation. Now, was that a sign or what?
This year’s tour was an opportunity for fans to ‘Explore. Savor. Celebrate‘ life just like Vincent – something both Victoria Price and myself plan to continue for the foreseeable future, beginning with organising Camp Vincent 2017, which will take place in Madrid, Barcelona and Sitges in Spain in September, as well as some pop-up events in the UK and the US.
We are also working on some cool online swag. So, if you’re interested in hearing and seeing any of Victoria’s presentation, Vincent Price: Master of Menace, Lover of Life — then you can sign up right here to receive more information. There are lots of personal family photos and behind-the-scenes pictures and stories. But mostly, this gives you a glimpse of the glorious life philosophy of Vincent Price. We will also have a live virtual Q&A, which we plan to roll out in the new year.
In the tradition of classic dog stories like Anna Quindlen’s Good Dog. Stay. and JR Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip, Vincent Price shared the heartwarming tale of his 14-year love affair with his mischievous yet endearing mutt Joe in the wonderful 1961 memoir, The Book of Joe: About a Dog and His Man, which is now out on audiobook, narrated by his daughter Victoria Price.
On 21 May 2016, a live musical performance showcasing the velvet voice of Vincent Price was held at the historic King & Queen pub in Fitzrovia.
This collaboration between London-based band The Core and Peter Fuller, curator of the Vincent Price Legacy UK community project, took inspiration from the Master of Menace’s performances in his best-known 1960s Gothic chillers and Poe’s classic poem, The Conqueror Worm, to conceive of two ‘Poe-gressive’ compositions utilising sythns and Theremin.
Ahead of the group’s studio recording of these two compositions later in the summer, here are the live recordings of the ‘jam’ sessions.
Do feel free to share and if you’d like to hear us perform live again, then do let us know.