Posters of my yoot’: trick? Or treat?
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It’s not my earliest moviegoing experience (that golden moment belongs to the 1961 Steeve Reeves Thief of Baghdad), but Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster is the first movie I saw repeatedly in the theater. Sure, I’d seen some movies on TV over and over (our New York Chiller Theaters and Creature Features had limited selections), but the theatrical experience was a different gig. By 1966, I believed that The Bellmore Playhouse bought a print for their Saturday matinees, they showed it so often.
But not with Curse of the Voodoo. I never saw the bottom quarter of the poster until I bought the one-sheet in 1979 for ten bucks from a memorabilia dealer in San Francisco. Back in ‘65 and ‘66, the Playhouse (and, once or twice, the The Merrick Mall Cinema) paired Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster with anything but Curse of the Voodoo, and covered up that portion of the poster with a half-sheet from another movie. I remember seeing it with World Without End, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Terror from the Year 5000 and Horrors of the Black Museum. (FYI, the star of Curse of the Voodoo was Bryant Halliday, co-founder of Janus Films.)
On one occasion, the newspaper ad for the Merrick Mall Cinema said they were showing Frankenstein on Saturday. I got all excited, because I’d never seen the Boris Karloff Frankenstein. On TV I saw Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein, but not the original. When I got to the theater, there was this one-sheet staring me in the face again. Eegah!, thought I. By that time I could recite the dialog in Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, and I knew all the words to the song “To Have and to Hold” by the Distant Cousins:
You can read a review of the movie on my website. Please note that the actor who plays the head Martian (Nadir) is Lou Cutell, who essayed the role of Assman on Seinfeld:
As if to screw with my head, the frikkin’ Museum of Modern Art will be showing Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster on Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 1:30pm (matinee hour!) as part of their series, Nuts and Bolts: Machine Made Man in Films from the Collection. Unbelievable.
“He wasn’t a million dollar man, he was a three-ninety-nine special”
Meeting the Space Monster, Michael Zimmer’s short interview with Robert Gaffney, director of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster and Stanley Kubrick’s Monument Valley DP on 2001 (!):
The original trailer: