Sunday, October 31, 2021

Dell Comics - The Universal Monsters Series

During the Halloween season, several television stations ( and streaming channels ) have been broadcasting the classic Universal monster movies. These include The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon. These films are considered classics because they were responsible for launching the entire "horror" movie genre.....or at least, they made the genre popular at the box office. And unlike most films of the 1930s and 1940s, they were brought back to the theatres every decade to be re-introduced to new generations of fans. 

During the 1950s and 1960s, most movie-going youngsters devored comic books, so in 1962 comic publisher Dell, hit on the brilliant idea of releasing a series of comics based on the Universal monster movie classics. They were issued under their "Movie Classics" series and featured some really top-notch cover art. 

The comics are collectible today and luckily, not overly rare. They can be easily found on auction sites and at various vintage comic shops. We don't have any full issues to share with you, but we do have some great pics of the covers that you can enjoy!

The Mummy ( Movie Classics #211 ) - Issued Nov. 1962

Dracula ( Movie Classics #212 ) - Dec 1962

The Creature ( Movie Classics #302 ) - Feb 1963 

Frankenstein ( Movie Classics #305 ) - May 1963

The Wolf Man ( Movie Classics #308 ) - Aug 1963

Happy Halloween to our readers! 

Friday, October 29, 2021

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Whooooo could be playing spooky music on this old organ? Someone with super-smooth hands, that's who! See if you can guess what movie this screenshot was taken from and then share your guess in the comment box below. This is an easy one so don't overthink it!

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules of the game or the prize, simply click here.


Congratulations to DespinaV for correctly identifying this screenshot from William Castle's The Night Walker ( 1964 ). In this scene, a wax mannequin plays the organ as Barbara Stanwyck reluctantly heads down the aisle to marry her Dream Man. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Hold That Ghost! ( 1941 )

Gas station attendants Chuck ( Bud Abbott ) and Ferdie ( Lou Costello ) happen to be present when gangster Moose Matson ( William Davidson ) is shot by the police during a car chase. His last will and testament leave all that he owns to those who are present at his death, hence the boys inherit Moose's fortune which happens to be a rundown roadhouse in the outskirts of town. While checking out the property they inherited, they get stranded there on a stormy night with an odd conglomerate of travelers from the cab they were sharing. Moose's old cronies believe that Matson hid a fortune in the roadhouse and so they attempt to frighten Chuck and Ferdie and the other guests away from the house so they can search for the loot. 

Hold That Ghost was the fourth of 35 films that the comedy team of Abbott and Costello made during the 1940s and 1950s and it ranks as one of their best. It has all the spooktacular features you would want to see in a haunted house comedy plus the added bonus of a great cast. Scream-queen Evelyn Ankers joins the duo as one of the guests at the roadhouse, as does Richard Carlson and slapschtick sensation Joan Davis. Marc Lawrence, one of the most famous film gangsters of the era, plays Charlie Smith who turns up stiff. Also making appearances are Shemp Howard, Mischa Auer, Bobby Barber ( who later played Stinky on The Abbott and Costello Show ), and Ted Lewis and the Andrews Sisters. 

Abbott and Costello never needed any help from supporting players to add to their comedic fun, but Hold That Ghost is a real treat because of the presence of Joan Davis. This marvelous comedienne made a number of films as a leading star but her best performances were in films where she had a supporting role. In Hold That Ghost, she plays a fellow passenger who is stranded at the inn. Ferdie ( Costello ) finds her annoying and it is in the scenes where the two banter that most of the humor is found. They also share one of the best dance scenes put on film. Davis should have reteamed with Costello in their second mystery-comedy Who Done It? ( 1942 ) but instead that film featured Mary Wickes.

"You boys ready to leave?" - Joan Davis

"I was ready to leave when he put the key in the front door!" - Lou Costello

From its wonderful animated opening credits to its peppy closing number ("Aurora" sung by the Andrews Sisters ), Hold That Ghost never lets up on the laughs. Many of the routines that Abbott and Costello would perform in this film, such as the moving candle trick, were later reused in future films and television episodes. The duo had skyrocketed to stardom after their first picture was released just a year earlier and it is amazing how quickly they had to be able to come up with comedy routines thereafter. Universal Studios had screenwriters penning scripts for them and the boys were busy filming month after month. In 1941 alone, four Abbott and Costello movies were released. 

Hold that Ghost, originally titled Oh, Charlie!, was slated to be released right after Buck Privates but when that film became a blockbuster hit for Universal, the studio decided to put Oh, Charlie! on the shelf to give them time to make another service comedy in the vein of Buck Privates. In the Navy was quickly put into production and released right after completion. Since the Andrews Sisters had appeared in both films, it was decided that they would make a great addition to Hold That Ghost as well, so Abbott and Costello were brought back to the studio to film a new opening and closing that featured the singing threesome. 

In spite of the popularity of both Hold That Ghost and Who Done It?, Abbott and Costello did not return to the mystery/horror genre until 1948 when they made Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which not only brought them back to the top of the box-office charts but launched a series of similarly themed monster comedies....unfortunately, none of which were as good as this gem. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Addams Family Mugs - The Mystery of Charles Addams' Halloween Mugmates

Back in 1964, the Pan-American Coffee Bureau released an ad that featured some eye-catching custom-designed mugs by Charles Addams. As most television fans are well aware of, Charles Addams was a cartoonist whose bizarre and yet amusing characters "The Addams" became the basis for a popular 1964 television series, The Addams Family, starring John Astin and Carolyn Jones. 

I first saw this ad in a graphic design book about 15 years ago and liked the mugs immediately. Every year when Halloween came around, I remembered the mugs and thought how nice it would be to find them at a second-hand store or rummage sale....but no such luck. So I finally searched for them on eBay and, again, came up with no results. That's when I decided to look at that graphic design book again and read the ad more closely. It appears that Mugmates were blank mugs that you could draw on. The ad was not promoting a set of Charles Addams mugs to purchase but rather giving you inspiration if you wanted to create your own matching coffee cups. "How interesting!" I thought. "I wonder what other famous artists created Mugmate designs?" That was another thought that led to a dead-end because I was not able to find other custom-designed Mugmates. But what I did discover was a very interesting radio broadcast from another curiousity-seeker that shared of the story of these Mugmates. Believe it or not, there was even a song written about them! 

Check it out here! 

The Mystery of Mugmates -

It remains a mystery as to where these particular Charles Addams mugs reside today, but if I had to bet money I would say the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation have the set tucked away in a box in their archives. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

From the Archives: The Wolf Man ( 1942 )

Poor Larry Talbot, all he wanted was to enjoy himself at the gypsy fair with his newfound sweetheart.  Instead, he got himself cursed and covered from head to toe with hair.....wolf's hair! In this publicity photo from The Wolf Man ( 1942 ), Lon Chaney Jr. dons the makeup of the wolfman and strikes this great pose with a bare tree. 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Clifton Webb's Bachelor Abode

In the 1950s there was a great film magazine called Film Show that released an annual book filled with articles written by the stars themselves or as they so aptly subtitled it "The Stars Tell Their Own Stories". Whether or not the actors really did write these articles does not matter because they are very entertaining to read regardless. One which we will share with you below is by Clifton Webb who decided to tell his fans a little bit about his "bachelor abode". This one does indeed seem to be written with the haughtiness/snobbery you would expect from Mr. Belvedere or Waldo Lydecker. 


When I first arrived in Hollywood to make Laura all I had was a solitary suitcase in my hand. With me were my mother and Earnest, my French poodle. 20th Century-Fox had persuaded me to sign a contract. They liked a test they had made of me for a part in Laura. Otto Preminger, who had seen me in "Blithe Spirit" when it played in Los Angeles, had suggested the test. While he was finishing the script of Laura I was still on the road tour of "Blithe Spirit". Word reached me that I was needed at 20th to begin work on Laura

Spring floods sweeping the Middle West disarranged all train schedules, and in the upset my six trunkfuls of wardrobe were lost en route. They caught up with me later, but in the meantime we settled in the house I had leased from Constance Bennett. It had twenty-two rooms, a tennis court, and a swimming pool. 

When I decided to settle in Hollywood, I bought my own place - a Spanish-style home [ Author's note: This house was located at 1005 Rexford Drive and was once owned by Grace Moore. Webb claimed it was haunted by her but we'll cover that story in another post ]. Eventually, instead of building a new house, I set about changing the architecture and some of the interior. What I have achieved is rather a mystery as far as style goes - perhaps it has some relation to Georgian, but it is just what I wanted as bachelor quarters. A new house could hardly have cost more. However, I think I have managed to make my home the setting for a civilized life. 

Clifton Webb's House - Image Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library
During my travels I acquired paintings that have interested several museum directors who have seen them. One, a painting of me as a youngster of thirteen, always attracts attention - not because I was the subject matter; it happens to be signed by the late George Bellows whose work is now coveted by collectors. In my collection, I have the works of artists who were more or less obscure when I bought their paintings. For instance there are examples of Fabrizzio Caricci, Buffet, Stumpfig, Pagliacci. I value highly several paintings by Bakst. Don't think I'm posing as a man of rare judgment, but I do feel there is real satisfaction in recognizing merit in the work of an unknown. I will admit, too, it is cheaper - much; to acquire the work of a popular and established artist takes money - lots of it. 

Portrait of Clifton Webb by George Bellows
My bachelor adobe is presided over by Maybelle - with charm; she's my invaluable friend - my mother. Around us are pieces of furniture and treasures gathered from various trips to Europe. Many things too, have come from friends. Some have interesting histories or recall pleasurable associations. For instance, beneath the Bellows painting of me is a marble-topped bench which I brought from my New York apartment which the late Lady Mendly, when she was Elsie de Wolf, helped me furnish. In those days she was a well-known interior decorator. 

On the bench are three vases, treasured because they were once the property of my very good friend Syre Maugham, a woman of great taste who was at one time the wife of Somerset Maugham. 

Many friends ask about a rather odd little chair with short legs that stands in the hall outside the living room. It's a Sixteenth-Century prie-dieu. It came from Hier, France, and those who have a knowledge of antiques have often tried to get it away from me. 

My most treasured possessions are the dining room table and chairs which I first had in a home in London while playing in the theatre there. The dining room is Georgian with a chandelier of crystal - it is elaborate and I like it. 

In the living room are overstuffed chairs covered with chintz to give an informal air, and a green sofa. I'm not dedicated to antiques or period furniture -in this room, there is a touch of California; in front of the sofa stands a long teak coffee table I designed myself. 

At times I wonder why I should have such a large house for just the two of us - or I should say four, Razor and Baci share it with us  - they are two lovable French poodles ( Earnest has departed ). But, through my years in the theatre and films, I have gathered many things and I like to have them around. Many are housed in the playroom which opens onto the swimming pool. There is a fire chief's helmet given to me by Philadelphia's Poor Richard's Club. The Lamb's Club in New York sent me a baton used by the late John Philip Sousa. The walls are hung with autographed photos of many stage and screen stars. 

Those who know me only by the type of role I play might not recit me with having much sentiment. I'm willing to admit I'm not a hundred percent the sophisticate. I'm a fellow who loves a home and garden - I am especially fond of camellias. I enjoy digging, pruning, and the hundred and one things that have to be done. It might be disappointing to some who visualize me only as a dapper man-about-town as my pictures would have you believe. At home, I'm just someone who has fallen for the dolce far niente life of Hollywood. 

The above article was reprinted from the 1952 issue of The New Film Show Annual.