This Halloween season I’m covering those fierce women who graced the 1950s Science Fiction & Fantasy/Horror screen with their beauty, brawn and bravado! Like years past–I pay tribute to the Scream Queens of the 1930s & 1940s
MonsterGirl’s Halloween 🎃 2015 special feature! the Heroines, Scream Queens & Sirens of 30s Horror Cinema!
We’ve arrived at the 1950s decade’s deliriously dynamic dames… Who had to deal with mad scientists, gigantism, alien invasions and much more menace & mayhem!
Of course I plan on doing the 1960s and 1970s in the next year–and you’ll notice that I am listing some of our Queen B’s future films & television appearances of a supernatural or science fiction nature, and even a few scattered exploitation films that fit the bill. Added are a few photos to fill out the framework of their contribution to the genre. I’ve included honorable mentions to those who starred in at least one film and perhaps a few science fiction & horror anthology shows on television.
And I guess I should be super clear about this, so no one gets their hackles standing on end, not one actress who wound up only getting an honorable mention, (be it one of your favorites and believe me their are a few of mine on that smaller list), by any means does it imply that I think they have a less substantial participation in the decade’s genre.
All these actresses have performed in other types of films-other genres and dramatic roles and enjoyed a full career that transcends the science fiction & horror films they appeared in.
Allied together they created the fabric of the 1950s decade, colored by their unique and valuable presence to ensure that science fiction & horror/fantasy will live on to entertain and enamor a whole new generation of fans and aficionados.
Collectively and Individually these women are fantastic , and I feel very passionate about having put this wonderful collection together as a tribute!
I can’t begin to describe the admiration I’ve developed over the past several years, by delving into Beverly Garland’s long impressive career as a popular cult actress. All I can think of saying– seems crude– but it’s what truly comes to mind… Beverly Garland kicks some serious ass!!!
From historian/writer Tom Weaver-“For most fans of 50s horror there are just no two ways about it. Beverly Garland is the exploitation film heroine of the period. A principal member of Roger Corman’s early stock company, she was the attractive, feisty leading lady in such Corman quickies as It Conquered the World, Gunslinger, Naked Paradise, and Not of this Earth. In between Corman assignments she braved the perils of the Amazon River on writer-director Curt Siodmak’s Curucu, Beast of the Amazon, and a less harrowing Hollywood backlot swamp in Fox’s the Alligator People. Her 1960s film work included Pretty Poison, The Mad Room and the multi-storied Twice Told Tales with Vincent Price. Overall, this list of titles is unmatched by any other ’50s genre actress.”
The diverse, dynamic and uniquely sexy Beverly Garland was born in Santa Cruz, California. She studied with dramatics teacher Anita Arliss, sister to Hollywood actor George Arliss. Garland also worked in radio actually appeared semi-clothed in various racy shorts, until she made her first feature debut supporting role in the taut noir thriller D.O.A (1949) starring Edmund O’Brien. Beverly started out doing small parts in science fiction/horror films such as The Neanderthal Man 1955 and The Rocket Man 1954. But her cult/exploitation status was forged when she signed onto to work with legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, the first film takes place in Louisiana called Swamp Women. In 1983 Beverly Garland received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She worked right up until 2004 and sadly passed away in 2008.
There are so many credits Beverly Garland has under her belt, I can only list the few that are memorable for me, but here she is linked to her massive IMDb list of credits for you to peruse. One of the roles that stands out for me is her groundbreaking role in the late 1950s as Casey Jones a policewoman for NYC in the series called Decoy (1957) Garland finds herself in diverging & dangerous situations where she not only uses her sexy good looks but her smarts and her instincts to trap criminals from all walks of life. It’s a fabulous show and it shows not only how diverse Beverly Garland is but the show was a historical first for a woman starring in a dramatic television series.
Beverly Garland has performed in drama’s including a musical with Frank Sinatra directed by Charles Vidor The Joker is Wild (1957) Film Noir (The Miami Story 1954, New Orleans Uncensored 1955, Sudden Danger 1955, The Steel Jungle 1956, Chicago Confidential 1957, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adventure, Exploitation, Westerns and Crime dramas & Thrillers like Pretty Poison 1968. For the purposes of The Last Drive In tribute to this magnetic actress, here are those performances in the genre I’m featuring both film & television series!
“The Memories of working with Roger Corman are pleasant because I got along with him very well. He was fun to be around and work with. We always did these films on a cheap budget, and people were always mad at Roger because he’d hardly feed us! And no matter what happened to you, your worked regardless… You could be dead and Roger would prop you up in a chair!”-Beverly Garland
From Beverly Garland’s Interview in “Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup” by Tom Weaver (McFarland 1988).
In The Mad Room (1969) her character was pregnant–so was she at the time, with her son James.
[referring to her 1950s Roger Corman cult films] “It’s funny today because it’s so ridiculous. But at the time, it was very serious! We were just actors doing our best, I think. None of us overacted. I’m not saying we weren’t good. We didn’t do it tongue-in-cheek. We really meant it. We gave our all. We were serious, good actors and we played it seriously.”-Beverly Garland
“Maybe I do come on strong, and people sense in me a strength and a positiveness . . . It’s really the way I look and act, not the way I am . . . Once you cut through the protective coating, I’m strictly molasses.”-Beverly Garland
Audrey Dalton– “I noticed you wrote a bit about Beverly Garland. She was such a dear friend of mine. She was in Pretty Poison with Noel Black who just passed away last year. Bev died years ago and even though she remained active in the Scarecrow and Mrs King for so long, she loved acting in “B” films the most.”
Waitress Nola Mason in The Neanderthal man 1954, Ludine in The Rocket Man 1954, Vera in Swamp Women 1956, Claire Anderson in It Conquered the World 1956, Dr. Andrea Romar in Curucu the Beast of the Amazon, Nadine Storey in Not of this Earth 1957, Joyce Webster in The Alligator People 1959, Ellen Winslow in Stark Fear 1962, as Alice Pyncheon in Twice-Told Tales (1963) Mrs. Stepanek in Pretty Poison 1968, Mrs. Racine in The Mad Room 1969, Science Fiction Theatre (TV Series) Katherine Kerston / Sally Torens– The Other Side of the Moon (1956) … Katherine Kerston– The Negative Man (1955) … Sally Torens, The Twilight Zone (TV Series) Maggie- The Four of Us Are Dying (1960) , Thriller (TV Series) Ruth Kenton– Knock Three-One-Two (1960)
Tom Weaver – “In your Corman movies you yourself generally played plucky, strong willed, sometimes two-fisted types.”
Beverly Garland- “I think that was really what the scripts called for. In most all the movies I did for Roger my character was kind of a tough person. Allison Hayes always played the beautiful, sophisticated “heavy” and I played the gutsy girl who wanted to manage it all, take things into her own hands. I never considered myself much of a passive kind of actress-I never was very comfortable in love scenes, never comfortable playing a sweet, lovable lady. Maybe if the script wasn’t written that way, then probably a lot of it I brought to the role myself. I felt I did that better than playing a passive part.”
Swamp Women (1956) An undercover policewoman helps three female convicts escape from prison so that they can lead her to a stash of stolen diamonds hidden in a swamp. Co-stars Marie Windsor, Carole Mathews, Mike Connors, Susan Cummings and Ed Nelson!
Also in Swamp Women 1956, Garland was expected to do her own stunts, even dropping out of a 20 foot tree. Roger Corman told her “When you’re killed you have to drop” Roger planted three guys underneath the tree to catch Beverly when she let’s go. “And when they killed me I just fell-dead weight on these three poor guys!” Roger told her “You’re really one of the best stuntwomen I have ever worked with.”
Even after breaking her ankle in Gunslinger 1956, Beverly was a trooper, she did all her fight scenes and worked to finish the film for Roger Corman, even though she couldn’t walk for weeks after that!
As Ellen Winslow, Garland takes a courageous role as a non-victim of abuse and assault, she pushes back head on against the grain instead of wilting from the trauma she prevails. The film showcases the gutsy quality Garland herself tried to portray in all her performances. in the darkly psychological Stark Fear (1962) A sadistic husband mentally tortures his wife, while eventually planning to murder her. Although no one believes her, she gets help from an unexpected source.
Beverly Garland recalls making Swamp Women co-starring Marie Windsor with Tom Weaver-“Swamp Women! Ooh that was a terrible thing! Roger put us up in this old abandoned hotel while we were on location in Louisiana- I mean it was really abandoned! Roger certainly had a way of doing things back in those days-I’m surprised the hotel had running water! I remember that we each had a room with an iron bed. Our first night there, I went to bed and I heard this tremendous crash! I went screaming into Marie Windsor’s room, and there she was with the bed on top of her-the whole bed had collapsed! Well, we started laughing because everything was so awful in this hotel. just incredibly terrible, and we became good friends.”
Carole Mathews, Marie Windsor and Beverly Garland in Swamp Women
Beverly Garland not only exuded a gutsy streak in every role she took, she shared the notable distinction of starring in one of Boris Karloff’s THRILLER episodes called Knock-Three-One-Two co-starring with the wonderful character actor Joe Maross who has a gambling problem and will be beaten to a pulp if he doesn’t pay his bookie. So he enlists the help of a psychopathic lady killer to murder his wife Beverly for her tightly held purse and large savings account!
Tom Weaver asks Beverly Garland if she enjoyed working on Twice-Told Tales (1963) — “Oh, I love it because I loved Vincent Price. He is the most wonderful sweet, adorable man! I don’t remember much about the movie, I just remember working with Vinnie and how wonderful he was.”
Tom Drake, Bill Elliott, and Beverly Garland in Sudden Danger (1955)
On working with Roger Corman on Gunslinger (1956) after Allison Hayes another seasoned actress and a bloomin’ trooper who broke her arm during filming. The working conditions were dismal but Beverly Garland isn’t a woman you can keep down. “I always wondered if Allison broke her arm just to get off the picture and out of the rain. It poured constantly. But what I adored about Roger was he never said, ‘This can’t be done.’ Pouring rain, trudging through the mud and heat, getting ptomaine poisoning, sick as a dog–didn’t matter. Never say die. Never say can’t Never say quit. I learned to be a trooper with Roger. I could kid him sarcastically about these conditions and laugh. That’s why we got along so well. On Gunslinger, I was supposed to run down the saloon stairs, jump on my horse and ride out of town. Now we never had stunt people in low-budget films. Riding, stunts, fights–we all did it ourselves and we all expected it, and we all just said it was marvelously grand. I told myself just to think tall. So my first take I thought tall and sailed right over the saddle and landed on the other side of the horse. The second take I twisted my ankle running down the stairs– a bad twist.”
About working with Roy del Ruth on The Alligator People–“He was sweetheart of a guy and a good director. The Alligator People was a fast picture, but he really tried to do something good with it. And I think that shows in the film. It’s not something that was just slapped together. It as such a ridiculous. story…).. I felt when I read the script and when I saw the film, which was a long time ago, that it ended very abruptly. It all happened too fast; it was kind of a cop out. But there really was no way to end it. What were they going to do-were they going to have us live happily ever after and raise baby alligators?”
On first seeing the cucumber creature that Paul Blaisdell designed for It Conquered the World–“I remember the first time I saw the It Conquered the World Monster. I went out to the caves where we’d be shooting and got my first look at the thing. I said to Roger, ‘That isn’t the monster…! That little thing over there is not the monster, is it?’ He smiled back at me , “Yeah, Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?’ I said, ‘Roger! I could bop that monster over the head with my handbag!’ This thing is no monster, it was a terrible ornament!’ He said, ‘Well don’t worry about it because we’re gonna show you, and then we’ll show the monster, back and forth.’ ‘Well, don’t ever show us together, because if you do everybody’ll know that I could step on this little creature! Eventually I think they did do some extra work on the monster: I think they resprayed it so it would look a little scarier, and made it a good bit taller. When we actually filmed, they shot it in shadow and never showed the two of us together.”
Beverly Garland as Clair talking on the radio to IT– “I hate your living guts for what you‘ve done to my husband and my world, and I’m going to kill you! Do you hear that? I’m going to kill you!”…) “So that’s what you look like, you’re ugly…) You think you’re gonna make a slave of the world… I’ll see you in hell first!“
Tom Weaver asks —“Do you ever look back on your B movies and feel that maybe you were too closely associated with them? That they might have kept you from bigger and better things?
Beverly Garland —“No, I really don’t think so. I think that it was my getting into television; Decoy represented a big turn in my life. Everybody did B movies, but at least they were movies, so it was okay. In the early days, we who did TV weren’t considered actors; we were just horrible people that were doing this ‘television’ which was so sickening, so awful, and which was certainly going to disappear off the face of the earth. Now, without TV, nobody would be working. No-bod-y. But I think that was where my black eye came from; I don’t think it came from the B movies at all.”
Tom Weaver-“Which of your many horror and science fiction roles did you consider your most challenging?”
Beverly Garland–“Pretty Poison. It was a small part, but it had so much to say that you understood why Tuesday Weld killed her mother. I worked hard to make that understood not a surface one, but tried to give you the lady above and beyond what you would see in a short time.”
The bewitchingly beautiful Audrey Dalton was born in Dublin, Ireland who maintains the most delicately embroidered lilt of Gaelic tones became an American actress of film in the heyday of Hollywood and the Golden Age of television. Knowing from early on that she wanted to be an actress while studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts was discovered by a Paramount Studio executive in London, thus beginning her notable career starring in classic drama, comedy, film noir, science fiction, campy cult classic horror and dramatic television hits!
Since then I’ve had the incredible honor of chatting with this very special lady whom I consider not only one of THE most ethereal beauties of the silver screen, Audrey Dalton is a versatile actress, and an extremely gracious and kind person.
Read More about this lovely actress Here: MonsterGirl Listens: Reflections with Great Actress Audrey Dalton!
Audrey Dalton’s made a monumental contribution to one of the biggest beloved 1950s ‘B’ Sci-Fi treasures and she deserves to be honored for her legacy as the heroine in distress, pursued by a giant bunny killing Mollusk “That monster was enormous!” –Audrey commented in her interview with USA Today.
Gail MacKenzie in The Monster that Challenged the World 1957, Baroness Maude Sardonicus in William Castle’s Mr. Sardonicus 1961 Boris Karloff’s Thriller (1960-1962)- Norine Burton in The Prediction, Meg O’Danagh Wheeler in The Hollow Watcher and Nesta Roberts in Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook.
Barbara Rush appeared in director Martin Ritt’s turbulent suburban drama No Down Payment 1957 with ex-husband Jeffrey Hunter though they weren’t married to each other in the film.
Barbara Rush, Possesses a transcendent gracefulness. She moves with a poise like a dancer, a beautiful gazelle stirring in the gentle quiet spaces like silent woods. When I see Barbara Rush, I see beauty personified by elegance and decency. Barbara Rush will always remain in my eyes, one of the most gentle of souls on the screen, no matter what role she is inhabiting. She brings a certain kind of class that is not learned, it’s inherent.
She was born in Denver, Colorado in 1927 and began at University of California. Then she joined the University Players, taking acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse. Paramount scooped Barbara up and signed her to a contract in 1950. She debuted with The Goldbergs (1950) as Debby Sherman acting with Gertrude Berg as Molly Goldberg -a popular television program that follows the warm, human story of famous Jewish Bronx radio & TV family the Goldbergs, and their everyday problems. Co-starring David Opatoshu and Eduard Franz.
Before joining the Goldbergs she met the strikingly handsome actor Jeffrey Hunter who eventually became a hot commodity over at 20th Century Fox. Barbara Rush and Jeffrey Hunter fell in love and were married in December of 1950. They became Hollywood’s most gorgeous couple, and the camera seemed to adore them. Their son Christopher was born in 1952.
During her time at Paramount, Barbara Rush appeared in the science fiction catastrophic end of the world thriller directed by Rudolph Maté —When World’s Collide 1951 co-starring Richard Derr, Peter Hansen and John Hoyt.
As time went on Barbara Rush co-starred with some of the most desirable actors in Hollywood, James Mason, Monty Clift, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman , Richard Burton and Kirk Douglas. Her roles ran the gamut from disenchanted wives, scheming other women or pretty socialites
Though Barbara Rush is capable of a range of acting, the one great role of a lifetime never seemed to surface for her, though what ever she appeared in was elevated to a higher level because of her presence.
Television became a wonderful avenue for Barbara Rush’s talent, she appeared in guest parts in many popular tv series of the 1960s and 1970s. She also co-starred in tv movies. One enjoyable character she played was a guest villain on the 1966 television series Batman as femme fatale ‘Nora Clavicle” Barbara Rush also played Marsha Russell on the popular television drama Peyton Place 1968-69
Barbara Rush also turned to work on the stage. She garnered the Sarah Siddons Award for her starring role in Forty Carats. Making her Broadway debut in the one woman showcase, “A Woman of Independent Means” which also subsequently earned her the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award during its tour. Other showcases included “Private Lives”, “Same Time, Next Year”, “The Night of the Iguana” and “Steel Magnolias”.
Barbara Rush still possesses that transcendent beauty, poise and grace. She will always be someone special someone memorable.
Joey Q: Did you ever imagine Jack Arnold’s “It Came from Outer Space” (1953) with you (in that black dress by Rosemary Odell) aiming that laser beam would become so iconic, and leave such a lasting impression on fans and film historians after all these years?
Barbara Rush: A: I’d never think that anybody who saw it needed to see it again, but if it left an impression, that’s fine. I loved the chiffon dress. It was too weird that these people that came from other space were too frightening to look at, so they took the form of regular humans. What I thought was interesting that these creatures didn’t actually want to be there and weren’t vicious at all. They were just trying to fix their ship and get it together. I remember thinking that with a lot of science fiction films; we were so afraid these creatures, but they were just trying to get away and weren’t threatening at all.
Joey Q: Is there a role you would have liked to play — let’s say in a Gothic thriller? Or was there ever a script for one that you turned down that you regret now? Were there any other high quality A-picture science fiction film scripts sent to you after “When Worlds Collide” (1951) and “It Came from Outer Space” (1953)?
Barbara Rush A: I don’t remember anything that was given to me to do other than those two pictures. That was all just orders from the studio. The science fiction film I admired the most was the picture E. T. – I just love that film and it is my favourite, but I never thought it was something I wanted to be in myself.
Joey Q: “The Outer Limits” is one of the most extraordinary anthology television shows of the 1960s. It was clearly ahead of its time, beautifully crafted and though-provoking. You star as the tortured Leonora in the episode “The Forms of Things Unknown” which is perhaps one of THE finest of the series written by Joseph Stefano, all due to the cinematography, lighting, and particularly the ensemble acting. Do you have any lasting impressions or thoughts about that role and/or working with Vera Miles, Cedric Hardwicke, David McCallum, and Scott Marlowe?
Barbara Rush A: I loved doing that show and loved Vera Miles. She was just the most wonderful person to work with. She was so funny. There was a scene where she had to run after me in the forest in the rain. After that miserable experience she told me:”Barbara, I promise you I’ll never chase after you in the rain, in the forest, ever again.” I thought the episode was very interesting, though.
Joey Q: In that same high calibre of dramatic television series, were you ever approached by William Frye, Doug Benton, or Maxwell Shane from Boris Karloff’s “Thriller” series or by Alfred Hitchcock for his anthology series? You would have been extraordinary in either television program! These shows were remarkably well-written and directed and I’m certain there would have been a perfect role for your wonderful acting style. Did you ever receive a script or were you ever interested in appearing on either of those shows?
Barbara Rush A: Unfortunately they didn’t really seem to want me. They never got in touch with me about anything. I would have loved to work for Hitchcock – I liked his films.
Joey Q: It seems that the early 70’s found you a niche in the macabre. Perhaps this is because you are such a consummate actress and the contrast of your gentility works well with the darker subject matter. In 1971 you co-starred with Henry Darrow in a short piece on Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery” – “Cool Air.” It was a Gothic romantic tale based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story about a woman who falls in love with a man who must remain in a refrigerated apartment dare something dreadful occur. Then, in 1972 you appeared in “The Eyes of Charles Sands” as Katherine Winslow co-starring Peter Haskell and Joan Bennett, a film about ESP and solving a murder. Then came “Moon of the Wolf” where you co-starred with David Janssen and Bradford Dillman, two very handsome leading men. Did you enjoy venturing into these uncanny story lines?
Barbara Rush A: I particularly enjoyed working with Bradford Dillman, who was a dear friend of mine. We more or less grew up together, in Santa Barbara. In one of these he played a werewolf and he’d have these hairy mittens as part of his costume and he’d come trampling in all the time – as a werewolf! I have a tendency to get very hysterical about how funny people can be, and he’d just make me crack up. We were shooting – I think in New Orleans or Mississippi, somewhere in the south – on location, so it was very hot. Poor Brad who had to walk around in those mittens.
IMDb trivia -Along with Leonard Nimoy, David McCallum, Cliff Robertson and Peter Breck, she is one of only five actors to appear in both The Outer Limits (1963) and The Outer Limits (1995) and the only woman to do so. She played Leonora Edmond in The Outer Limits: The Forms of Things Unknown (1964) and Barbara Matheson in The Outer Limits: Balance of Nature (1998).
Attended and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1948). She graduated from the Pasadena Playhouse School for Performing Arts in Pasadena, California.
Is mentioned in the movie Shampoo (1975), when hairdresser Warren Beatty says “I do Barbara Rush’s hair”.
Was separated from second husband Warren Cowan in 1969 at the time she learned of first husband Jeffrey Hunter’s sudden death following brain surgery after falling down a flight of stairs.
Appears in No Down Payment (1957) with ex-husband Jeffrey Hunter, they both portraying married characters, but not married to each other.
She is one of five actors to have played “Special Guest Villains” on Batman (1966) who are still alive, the others being Julie Newmar, John Astin, Joan Collins and Glynis Johns.
“I can safely say that every movie role I was ever offered that had any real quality went to someone else.”-Barbara Rush
As Joyce Hendron in When Worlds Collide 1951, as Ellen Fields in It Came from Outer Space 1953 Night Gallery episode as Agatha Howard in ‘Cool Air’ released on December 8, 1971 based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft and The Outer Limits as Leonora Edmond in episode The Form of Things Unknown written by Joseph Stefano released on May 4, 1964, as Karen Lownes in Kraft Suspense Theatre tv series ‘In Darkness, Waiting (1965), as Nora Clavicle and The Ladies’ Crime Club Batman Series 1966, Moon of the Wolf (TV Movie) 1972
as Louise Rodanthe, as Katherine Winslow in The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972), The Bionic Woman (TV Series) – Jaime’s Mother (1976) … Ann Sommers / Chris Stuart, 1979 Death Car on the Freeway (TV Movie) as Rosemary
Mara Corday was born Marilyn Watts in Santa Monica California. Corday started out as a showgirl with “Earl Carroll’s Revue” and did some modeling which garnered her enough attention to land her roles on television and bit parts in low-budget movies, signed to Universal. Mara Corday was a Playboy Playmate in 1958, and she gave up acting for her marriage and motherhood to likable actor Richard Long in 1957 lasting until his untimely death in 1974. Getting back into the business once again, she took roles in friend Clint Eastwood’s films.
Interviewed in “It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror Tradition” by Tom Weaver (McFarland, 1996).
[on Susan Cabot] “Susan was very weird, a strange little girl. She had this enormous head and then this little tiny body, and she was paranoid.”-Mara Corday
As Steve Clayton in Tarantula 1955, as Sally Caldwell in The Giant Claw 1957, as Teresa Alvarez in The Black Scorpion 1957 as Vera Parkinson in Girls on the Loose 1958
Born Lola Jean Albright on July 20, 1924 in Akron, Ohio. Her parents John Paul Albright and Marion Harvey, were gospel singers. Lola was a model before she took that familiar journey that young gals dreamed of–going to Hollywood in the mid-1940s. Lola Albright has a sensuality that is unique to her and one of the sultriest voices you’ll ever hear. she starred as Palmer with Kirk Douglas in the film noir Champion (1949). From 1958 to 1961 Lola played the smokey voiced heroine, and was in the popular television series as sultry nightclub singer Edie Hart in Peter Gunn.
Her popularity as sultry, dusky-voiced nightclub singer Edie Hart on the crime drama television series Peter Gunn (1958) inspired two music albums: “Lola Wants You” (1957) and “Dreamsville” (1959).
Won the “Best Actress” Award (Silver Bear) at the Berlin Film Festival for Lord Love a Duck (1966); there was a controversy because some members of the jury wanted to cite the three female leads of the movie (Albright, Tuesday Weld and Ruth Gordon), but other members felt that to give a “joint” award would diminish the award’s significance. (For example, the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival went to the female “cast” of Volver (2006), rather than just to Penélope Cruz).
[on her privacy] “I gave an interview . . . it was the first interview I ever gave, many, many, many years ago. More than I care to think. And I rue the day because it was on the front page, above the fold. I didn’t understand at the time how an interviewer could get at you. She would be so persuasive, and so sweet and so kind and make you say things you never should have said.”
She appeared as Francie Bennet in the noir gem, The Killer that Stalked New York (1950), as Carol Williams in the Tales of Tomorrow tv series ‘The Miraculous Serum’ 1952, as Poppie Masters in The Tender Trap (1955), and perhaps one of the most startling and well-acted performance as Lisa in Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode co-starring Charles Bronson in ‘The Woman Who Wanted to Live’ 1962, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series)
– Misadventure (1964) … Eva Martin – The Black Curtain (1962) … Ruth Burke and starred as Constance MacKenzie Carson in the television series Peyton Place 1965-1966, as the blackmailer Clare Daley in Columbo’s ‘Fade in to Murder’ co-starring William Shatner, and my favorite role of all, the nuanced Iris Hartford in director Alexander Singer’s underrated A Cold Wind in August (1961) co-starring Scott Marlowe.
For our purposes here we’ll pay tribute to the beautiful Lola Albright who was the lead role co-starring with Grant Williams (The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957) in one of the most undervalued science fiction films of the decade –here Lola plays the smart and steadfast Cathy Barrett in The Monolith Monsters 1957
“Frequently, my life has been likened to a Greek tragedy, and the actress in me cannot deny that comparison.” –Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal, had a very tumultuous and serious life. the Oscar- and Tony Award-winning actress, was born Patricia Louise Neal in Packard, Kentucky, but grew up in Knoxville Tennessee. Her father managed a coal mine and her mother was the daughter of the town doctor. After studying drama for two years at Northwestern University, she moved to New York City. Neal won the role of the teenage “Regina” in Lillian Hellman‘s play, Another Part of the Forest (1948), winning a Tony Award in 1947. Warner Bros. she Patricia Neal to a seven-year contract. In 1949 she starred opposite Gary Cooper in The Fountainhead. This began a three year long love affair with the handsome actor. Neal brought her classical good looks and husky voice to Robert Wise’s science fiction masterpiece The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) co-starring with Michael Rennie, which angered Warner Bros. who released her early from her contract and so she got her signed to Fox. Neal returned to Broadway garnering more kudos than her film career at the time, she appeared in Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour (1961), where she met writer Roald Dahl and remained married to him for 30 years. Patricia Neal won the Best Actress Oscar for Hud (1963)
In 1947, the first time that Broadway’s Tony Awards were presented, she won the Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) Award for “Another Part of the Forest”. Shared an apartment with Jean Hagen in New York City whilst working on Broadway. The role that made Neal a star, at age 20, was Regina in “Another Part of the Forest” in 1946 as one critic called her “a young Tallulah Bankhead. She was visited backstage by Tallulah Bankhead, who had played the middle-aged Regina in “The Little Foxes” and said “Dahling, you were as good as I was – and if I said you were half as good, it would have been a hell of a compliment!”.
From IMDb review by Jon C. Hopwood In 1957, she had one of her finest roles in Elia Kazan‘s parable about the threat of mass-media demagoguery and home-grown fascism in A Face in the Crowd (1957). Before she had appeared in the movie, Neal had taken over the role of “Maggie” in Tennessee Williams‘ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), the Broadway smash that had been directed by Kazan. Returning to the stage, she appeared in the London production of Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) and co-starred with Anne Bancroft in the Broadway production of The Miracle Worker (1962).
After appearing in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), she had what was arguably her finest role, as Alma the housekeeper, in Hud (1963) opposite Paul Newman. The film was a hit and Neal won the Best Actress Oscar. In 1965, she suffered a series of strokes that nearly killed her.
She was filming John Ford‘s film, 7 Women (1966), at the time, and had to be replaced by Anne Bancroft (who would later take a role she turned down, “Mrs. Robinson” in The Graduate (1967)). Neal was pregnant at the time. She underwent a seven-hour operation on her brain and survived, later delivering her fifth child. She underwent rehabilitation supervised by her husband.
After he played such a strong and devoted role in her physical and mental recovery from her paralytic illness, Patricia divorced her husband, writer Roald Dahl, after discovering his romantic affair with her close friend, Felicity (“Liccy”) d’Abreu Crossland
Alison Crawford in Alexander Singer’s taut psychological drama Psyche 59 (1964) She starred in In Harm’s Way (1965), as Maura Prince in the psycho-thriller The Night Digger (1971) Circle of Fear (TV Series) – Time of Terror (1972) … Ellen Alexander, as Cara Perry in the creepy Happy Mother’s Day, Love George (1973), as Fred Astaire’s dutiful wife Stella in the wonderfully macabre Ghost Story (1981),
She had turned down The Graduate (1967) as she had not recovered fully from her stroke. When she returned to the screen, in 1968 in The Subject Was Roses (1968), she suffered from memory problems. According to her director, Ulu Grosbard, “The memory element was the uncertain one. But when we started to shoot, she hit her top level. She really rises to the challenge. She has great range, even more now than before”.
“I think I was born stubborn, that’s all.”-Patricia Neal
[her immortal, earth-saving line uttered to the alien robot Gort in the classic sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)] Gort, Klaatu barata nikto.
Robert Wise’s science fiction parable is perhaps one of THE most significant contributions to the 1950s genre. Patricia Neal is memorable as Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951. She also played Susan North who falls in love with another alien in Imminent Disaster aka Stranger from Venus 1954
Anne Francis possesses an effervescent beauty that shines through no matter what role she’s in, maybe it’s that signature sexy beauty mark that holds all that charisma! Anne Francis got into show early on as a child. She started out as a John Robert Powers model at age 6 and then got into radio and television work in New York. By age 11, she debuted on Broadway playing the child version of Gertrude Lawrence in 1941’s hit “Lady in the Dark”. She was also attended New York’s Professional Children’s School at that time. Metro Goldwyn Mayer put her under contract as a bobbysoxer beauty , but Anne quickly got frustrated with these bit cheesecake parts. Anne head back to New York where she was cast in television’s “Golden Age” drama and found some summer stock work in My Sister Eileen. 20th Century Fox, signed by Darryl F. Zanuck who put Anne Francis under contract and cast her as a seductive juvenile delinquent in So Young So Bad (1950). Though she had hoped to land a few potentially high profile roles as the ingénue, it was MGM who gave her the leading lady roles in memorable films such as Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Blackboard Jungle (1955) and eventually landing the role as Altaira in Forbidden Planet (1956) a re-visioning of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Anne Francis would co-stars with such leading men as Paul Newman and Glenn Ford, Anne got tired of the glamour roles and wanted to take on more serious work, which led her to television where she made a strong impression and found a perfect niche for her untapped sense of humor and more serious side. She appeared in one of THE most popular and unforgettable episodes as Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone ‘The After Hours’ and then Aaron Spelling cast her in the cult classic series as the versatile and fearless Honey West (1965) Predating Charlie’s Angel’s, Honey West has an appeal for those who like glamour mixed with a dynamic sense of style, natural at throwing a wise-crack and an ingenuity that can hold up to any male private detectives! Actually took karate lessons while starring in the TV series Honey West (1965). She earned a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award nomination. in The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’s (1963) episode What Really Happened co-starring Ruth Roman and Glady’s Cooper as the vicious vindictive mother-in-law, Anne turns in an incredible performance as a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband.
“Most young blondes in those days [1950s] were not taken too seriously. I had wanted to work on a project [directing] all my own from beginning to end for many years. I had managers who said, “Look, you’re an actress. You’re not supposed to do that other business”. And now I look at all the women today who are doing it, and no one’s batting an eyelash.”–Anne Francis
Back on the big screen Anne got few parts that showed off what she could really do. Don’t get me wrong, Don Knott’s is one of my favorites and The Love God (1969) wasn’t too unbearable to watch since Don’s a joy to watch, it didn’t do much for Anne Francis’ career. in Brainstorm (1965) Anne plays the seductive & duplicitous Lorrie Benson married to Dana Andrews and manipulating Jeffrey Hunter into committing murder! It’s a highly underrated thriller.
IMDb trivia -Turned down the lead role in the film soaper Claudelle Inglish (1961). Diane McBain won the role but the film bombed. She later replaced actress Joan Hackett on the film The Satan Bug (1965).
Interviewed in Tom Weaver‘s book “They Fought in the Creature Features” (McFarland & Co., 1995).
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1611 Vine Street in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
As Altaira Morbius in Forbidden Planet 1956, Alfred Hitchcock Hour as Eve Raydon in ‘What Really Happened‘ Connie Breech in Blood Bargain 1963 and as Peg Beale in ‘The Trap’, film noir Rogue Cop 1954, The Blackboard Jungle 1955, The Rack 1956, The Twilight Zone as Marcia White in ‘The After Hours’ (1960) and television series Honey West, as Ann Williams in The Satan Bug 1965,as the conniving Lorrie Benson in the psycho-thriller Brainstorm 1965.As Annette Larrier in Haunts of the Very Rich (1972) tv movie, Columbo (TV Series) – A Stitch in Crime (1973) … Nurse Sharon Martin- Short Fuse (1972) … Valerie Bishop
The daughter of a noted surgeon, Dana Wynter was born Dagmar Winter in Berlin, Germany, and grew up in England. When she was 16 her father went to Morocco to operate on a woman who wouldn’t allow anyone else to attend her; he visited friends in Southern Rhodesia, fell in love with it and brought his daughter and her stepmother to live with him there. Wynter later enrolled as a pre-med student at Rhodes University (the only girl in a class of 150 boys) and also dabbled in theatrics, playing the blind girl in a school production of “Through a Glass Darkly”, in which she says she was “terrible.” After a year-plus of studies, she returned to England and shifted gears, dropping her medical studies and turning to an acting career. She was appearing in a play in Hammersmith when an American agent told her he wanted to represent her. She left for New York on November 5, 1953, “Guy Fawkes Day,” a holiday commemorating a 1605 attempt to blow up the Parliament building. “There were all sorts of fireworks going off,” she later told an interviewer, “and I couldn’t help thinking it was a fitting send-off for my departure to the New World.” Wynter had more success in New York than in London, acting on TV (Robert Montgomery Presents (1950), Suspense (1949), Studio One in Hollywood (1948), among others) and the stage before “going Hollywood” a short time later. The willowy, dark-eyed actress appeared in over a dozen films, worked in “Golden Age” television (such as Playhouse 90 (1956)) and even co-starred in her own short-lived TV series, the globe-trotting The Man Who Never Was (1966). Married and divorced from hotshot Hollywood lawyer Greg Bautzer, Dana Wynter, once called Hollywood’s “oasis of elegance,” now divides her time between homes in California and County Wicklow, Ireland. –Bio by Tom Weaver
Started her career working in the English theater. She was discovered there by an American agent who brought her back to the States to work. Dana Wynter was offered contracts by three Hollywood studios and chose a seven-year-deal with 20th Century Fox in 1955.
By the time she was 20 years old, Wynter was cast in bit parts in British films, including White Corridors (1951) with Petula Clark) and The Woman’s Angle (1952) with Lois Maxwell and Joan Collins). Leaving London for New York in 1953, Wynter found work in television and on Broadway.
Dana Wynter was offered contracts by three Hollywood studios and chose a seven-year-deal with 20th Century Fox in 1955.
Her first film for the studio was the drama The View from Pompey’s Head (1955) with Richard Egan and Cameron Mitchell, she was loaned out for the film to Allied Artists who were responsible for what he is most remembered by: the science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) with Kevin McCarthy and Carolyn Jones.
“There seems to be a wide-spread concern among women that they dare not have a line or crease in their face. If they do, they run to the plastic surgeon and their faces wind up looking like dinner plates…Life is an adventure, and time brings change. But women are terrified of aging for some reason. Everyone clings to blonde hair and white teeth. I think that undermines womanhood.”-Dana Wynter\
Suspense (TV Series) – The Pistol Shot (1954)- Operation: Barracuda (1954) as Patricia Richter, as Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm in The List of Adriann Messenger (1963), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series) – An Unlocked Window (1965) … Stella in one of THE most frightening well done terrors that’ll send shivers down your spine of the series, The Invaders (TV Series) – The Captive (1967) as Dr. Katherina Serret, as Julia Klanton in Companions in Nightmare tv movie 1968, as Ellen Whitlock in the controversial exploitation film If He Hollers, Let Him Go (1968) co-starring her pal in pod-ship Kevin McCarthy!, The Questor Tapes (TV Movie) as Lady Helena Trimble.
As Becky Driscoll in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
A product of Marysvale, Utah, Marie Windsor attended Brigham Young University and trained for the stage under Maria Ouspenskaya before she began playing leading roles in B pictures in the late 1940s. Her best work was in the “film noir” category, most notably her role as the manipulative, double-crossing wife of Elisha Cook Jr. in The Killing (1956) (which earned her “Look” magazine’s Best Supporting Actress award). Her favorites among her own films, in addition to “The Killing”, are The Narrow Margin (1952) and Hellfire (1949). -mini bio by Tom Weaver
She was one of the 500 stars nominated by the American Film Institute to become one of the 50 greatest American screen legends. The winners were revealed on a June 15, 1999, three-hour TV special on CBS, AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Stars: America’s Greatest Screen Legends (1999) .
Often cast as an adulterous wife, slutty girlfriend, female gang leader or gun moll, she proved so convincing in those roles that she often received Bibles in the mail with passages underlined that covered the “sins” she had committed onscreen, warning her that she would go to hell if she didn’t reform. Several of those types of letters dwelt so much on her “immorality” and “evil ways” that, unnerved, she turned them over to the police.
Profiled in “Killer Tomatoes: Fifteen Tough Film Dames” by Ray Hagen and Laura Wagner (McFarland, 2004).
One of the early acting jobs she had was working at Warner Bros. being a stand-in for Bette Davis in the mid-1940s.“[Stanley Kubrick] had a part for me in Lolita (1962) as Shelley Winters‘ best friend, but there was a problem in England with the EADY plan, and there was no way that they could squeeze me in. I haven’t seen him in a long time, but we exchange Valentine’s cards. I feel people have more time to think about it if they get a Valentine. Christmas is too crazy with other things.” –Marie Windsor“I’m 5’9” and there were two stars in my life who didn’t mind that I was taller than they–George Raft and John Garfield. Raft told me how to walk with him in a scene: We’d start off in a long shot normal, and about the time we got together in a close-up, I’d be bending my knees so I’d be shorter. I had to do a tango with Raft and I learned to dance in ballet shoes with my knees bent.” Marie Windsor
Marie Windsor has graced the screen with her snarky presence in a few of my very favorite film noirs, and assuredly one of yours as well, her role as the greedy and cunning Sherry Peatty married to poor schnook Elisha Cook Jr in Stanley Kubrick’s perfect heist noir The Killing (1956), as Mrs. Frankie Neall/ undercover cop in The Narrow Margin (1952), as Jean Darr in The Sniper (1952) as Lydia Biddel in City that Never Sleeps (1953), Julia Parry in The Girl in the Black Stockings (1957), and Gwen in The Unholy Wife (1957).
as Helen Salinger in Cat-Women of the Moon 1953, Science FIction Theatre 1955 “Time is Just a Place”. As Madam Rontru in Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy 1955,as Josie Nardo in Swamp Women 1955, as Clair Fielding in The Day Mars invaded Earth 1963 and I have to mention the fabulous noir masterpiece directed by Stanley Kubrick co-starring Sterling Hayden- The Killing (1956), as Eva Miller in director Tobe Hooper’s tv movie adapted from the Stephen King novel Salem’s Lot (1979)
Faith Domergue contributed to two of the finest and most memorable staples of the 1950s science fiction genre It Came from Beneath the Sea and This Island Earth both from 1955 and in each Domergue portraying a strong , intelligent scientist, who didn’t wince from giant Krakens or Mutant pants monsters from Metaluna! With This Island Earth, I have to keep telling myself that the cute little orange tabby cat gets away before the house on Earth explodes. Yes, I’m ridiculous about these things but I can’t help it, I’d just like to watch a great flick without worrying if the little dog gets away from The Blob (1958) or maybe that poor cat was just stunned by the electrical short in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Sultry, brunette Faith Domergue was born in New Orleans, part Creole, but primarily of Irish and English extraction. She was adopted when she was six weeks old. In 1927 her adoptive parents took her to live in California, where she was educated at Catholic schools in Santa Monica. She had her first flirt with the acting profession while still at school, on stage at the Bliss Hayden Theatre. Just after her graduation she suffered a disfiguring injury during a car accident when she was thrown into a windshield, and spent 18 months undergoing intensive plastic surgery. Still in her teens, she was briefly married to Acapulco night club owner and bandleader Teddy Stauffer.
By 1941 she was properly back in circulation. “Discovered” by a Warner Brothers talent scout, she was signed to a contract and her name streamlined a la Hollywood to “Faith Dorn”. Sometime at the end of May that year young Faith found herself at a studio party (it was not unheard of for underage ingénues to be thrown together with rich or influential men) given on board the Southern Cross, a yacht owned by billionaire Howard Hughes. Hughes, 21 years her senior, became quickly infatuated with the teenager and bought out her contract from Warner Brothers for $50,000, then signed her to the studio he owned, RKO Pictures. He also mollified her adoptive parents by buying them a house, and he paid for Faith to take lessons to perfect her diction and acting. The romantic affair continued on-and-off until mid-1943, and was eventually scuttled by Hughes’ various indiscretions with stars Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth.
In 1945 Faith reclaimed her original name, Domergue (insisting it be pronounced “Dah-mure”) and, by the following year, made her screen debut in Young Widow (1946), a film starring another Hughes find, Jane Russell. Hughes then spent the extravagant–for the time–amount of $3.2 million on Vendetta (1950), the picture that was to catapult Faith to stardom. Three directors went to work on the project, only to be fired in quick succession: Max Ophüls, Preston Sturges and Stuart Heisler. Faith’s lack of theatrical training also proved to be a detriment. The picture was eventually completed by Mel Ferrer, but not released until 1950. When it finally arrived in cinemas, it–like Hughes other fiasco, the Spruce Goose–failed to take off. An earlier effort, the film noir Where Danger Lives (1950), was also released at this time. It starred Domergue in the role as a homicidal femme fatale, opposite Robert Mitchum as the lover she manipulates into taking the blame for her murdering millionaire hubby Claude Rains. In spite of another huge publicity campaign, with Faith featured on the cover of “Look” Magazine and articles in numerous other publications, this film also performed indifferently at the box office and caused Hughes to lose interest in his erstwhile protégé.
During the next few years Faith began to freelance at other studios, appearing in westerns: The Duel at Silver Creek (1952), with Audie Murphy; The Great Sioux Uprising (1953), with Jeff Chandler; and Santa Fe Passage (1955) with John Payne at Republic. In 1955 she starred in the first of a trio of sci-fi/horror outings for which she is chiefly remembered. In This Island Earth (1955), shot in Technicolor at Universal, she played a scientist kidnapped by aliens and, with her colleagues, pressed into service defending their world against interplanetary attack. Helped by a clever script and make-up artist Bud Westmore‘s $24,000 creation of a bug-eyed mutant monster, the film was a huge success and has become a cult favorite. Faith essayed yet another scientist engaged in destroying Ray Harryhausen‘s giant octopus (six-tentacled, because of the minuscule budget) in It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955). In Cult of the Cobra (1955), Faith replaced Mari Blanchard in the role of the high-priestess of a cobra-worshiping cult who assumes the shape of a serpent in order to kill six GIs who have witnessed a secret ceremony.
Following her separation from Argentine writer/director Hugo Fregonese, Faith made three films in England, most notably as queen of the London underworld in Vernon Sewell‘s Spin a Dark Web (1956) (aka “Spin a Dark Web”). During the 1960s she concentrated on television and appeared in everything from Bonanza (1959) to Combat! (1962), from Perry Mason (1957) to Bronco (1958). After making several films in Italy (and getting married for a third time, to assistant director and theatrical producer Paolo Cossa in 1966)) , she revisited the horror genre in the cheap but cheerful The House of Seven Corpses (1974), as the emotive star of a horror movie who awakens the deceased after reading from the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”.
Faith Domergue never quite made it as a major star, unlike Jane Russell. She did, however, acquire something of a cult following because of her involvement in the seminal This Island Earth (1955), as well as her other science-fiction films from this period. Ironically, Faith later confessed that she never much cared for the genre. –bio by I.S. Mowis
IMDb trivia -She was signed to a movie contract by Warner Bros. while still in high school. Howard Hughes met her at a party on board his yacht when she was 15 and bought her contract.
[on making This Island Earth (1955)] “I was black-and-blue, from shoulder to feet, when I was battling [the Metaluna mutant] . . . that man in the monster suit really had me beaten up!”-Faith Domergue
Robert Mitchum was in real trouble with this femme fatale psychopath in this classic obscure film noir Where Danger Lives 1950, as Prof.Lesley Joyce in It Came from Beneath the Sea 1955, as Dr. Ruth Adams in This Island Earth 1955, as Lisa Moya in Cult of the Cobra 1955, as Jill Rabowski in The Atomic Man 1955, as Dr. Marsha Evans in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet 1965,as Millie Hartman in So Evil, My Sister or Psycho Sisters 1974 co-starring Susan Strasberg, Blood Legacy 1971, as Gayle Dorian in House of the Seven Corpses 1974.
Gloria Talbott was born in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, a city co-founded by her grandfather. Growing up in the shadows of the Hollywood studios, her interests inevitably turned to acting, with the result that she participated in school plays and landed small parts in films such as “Maytime” (1937), “Sweet and Lowdown” (1943) and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945). After leaving school, she started her own dramatic group and played “arena”-style shows at various clubs. After a three-year hiatus (marriage, motherhood and divorce), Talbott resumed her career, working extensively in both TV and films. Her sister is actress Lori Talbott.-mini bio by Tom Weaver
Interviewed in Tom Weaver‘s book “Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers” (McFarland & Co., 1988).
“My acting days are behind me now. I saw Audrey Hepburn on TV the other night, and talking about her career she said, ‘I did my thing. Let the kids do it now.’ And that’s how I fell. Thank God I don’t have that burning desire that some people really have-I think that’d be horrible to live with… My Emmy’s and my Oscars are my children, and I like it that way.”-Gloria Talbott
Tom Weaver-“I Married a Monster from Outer Space gave you your most dramatic sci-fi role. How did you enjoy the experience?
Gloria Talbott- “I loved working at Paramount, I was very much at home there; the money was terrific, and I did like the role , although in a sense it really was written one-dimensional. I tried my best to put some dimensions into her. I think there could have been more of a character development, and I was anxious to play with it. One scene I liked was when I was trying to seduce Tom Tryon into bed.; I was trying to be flippant and cute, and I was getting nada. So there was a chance in character there. And there were lots of scenes where I was scared-and I can really play scared. I’ve been frightened in my life–horribly frightened! When I was a kid I had an older sister who was gorgeous, and the boys would follow her home and peek in our windows. We had six years of peeping toms scratching at our windows, but we were so poor we didn’t have a phone to call the police. It was like living in a horror movie–scary as hell!”
Talking about working with Thomas Tryon and his writing, and I completely agree with Gloria Talbott about this- “He is a writer, of course-he wrote The Other which is still one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. That movie haunts me, I though it was wonderful. So he is very introspective, very into himself, but always professional, always gave 100 percent.”
Tom Weaver on working with the cast of The Leech Woman?
Gloria Talbott-“Grant Williams was a very interesting fellow-another one of those ‘inside -himself’ people. I would come on the set and he would say, ‘Oh, God-pure woman!’–and then leave it at that! He was always easy to work with. Coleen Gray, was wonderful . I remember that as we were getting ready to shoot the fight scene, she said to me, ‘I’m little, but I am strong!’ Well, about two weeks before I’d had a fight with Steve McQueen in one of his Wanted: Dead or Alive episodes –he grabbed me, I tried to get away from him and I really gave him a fight. It was fun because I wanted to see if he could hang onto me–it was a twirling fight where I actually picked him up on my back at one point and went around in a circle, which he couldn’t believe. So when Coleen Gray said that , I thought to myself, ‘Well, if I can almost outdo McQueen, I can sure handle you lady!’ But, by God, this little bitty person wasn’t kidding! She picked me up, threw me in the closet–incredible! But she was very much a lady. I liked her and she was very good to work with.”
As Susan Winter in The Cyclops 1957, as Sally in The Leech Woman 1960, as Janet Smith in Daughter of Dr. Jekyll 1957, as Marge Bradley FarrelI in I Married a Monster from Outer Space 1958
No matter what you do, you can act your heart out, but people will always say, “Oh, Julie Adams – Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).”-Julie Adams
Born in Iowa, Betty May Adams grew up in Arkansas and made her acting debut in a third grade play, “Hansel and Gretel”. When she grew up and decided to become an actress, she moved to California, where she worked three days a week as a secretary (to support herself) and spent the remainder of her time taking speech lessons and making the rounds at the various studios’ casting departments. Her first movie role was playing a starlet, appropriately enough, in Paramount’sRed, Hot and Blue (1949), followed by a leading role in the Lippert Western The Dalton Gang (1949). Over a period of five weeks, she appeared in six more quickie Lippert Westerns. Adams’ first big show biz break was at Universal, when she appeared in a screen test opposite All-American footballer Leon Hart, a Detroit Lions end. It was Hart who was being considered by the studio, but the gridiron star flopped while Universal execs flipped over Adams. The studio changed her first name from Betty to Julia (and later to Julie).-mini bio by Tom Weaver
IMDb trivia –Universal Pictures publicity in the 1950s claimed that her legs won an award as “the most perfectly symmetrical in the world” and that they were insured for $125,000.
Interviewed in Tom Weaver‘s book, “They Fought in the Creature Features” (McFarland & Co., 1995).
Was honored with a Film Career Achievement Award at CineCon. 
Had to perform most of her own stunts in Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
Julie Adams idol was actress Vivien Leigh.
Not only is she friends with Marsha Hunt they share the same birthday but Marsha Hunt, is nine years her senior, currently in 2018 Marsha Hunt is 101.
[on Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)] Oh, it was a real shock when we saw the Creature. And you can see from the pictures in the book that I look a little awestruck, kind of taken aback when I saw it at first. I thought it was quite wonderful, extraordinary, and a little scary which of course is exactly what it was supposed to be.-Julie Adams
[on Creature from the Black Lagoon “(1954)] I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the Creature. We feel for him and his predicament and where he is and so on. I think that’s a very positive thing really. I like that we feel sympathy for the Creature.”-Julie Adams
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) – Summer Shade (1961) … Phyllis Kendall – Dead Weight (1959) … Peg Valence- Little White Frock (1958) … Carol Longsworth, Night Gallery (TV Series) Gay Melcor (segment “The Miracle at Camafeo”), Kolchak: The Night Stalker (TV Series) – Mr. R.I.N.G. (1975) … Mrs. Walker, Dr. Laura Scott in Psychic Killer (1975)
And one of the most recognizable poster girls for the fabulous sci-fi genre is Julie Adams as Kay Lawrence as the iconic Juliet to the scaly Romeo in Creature from The Black Lagoon 1954
Yvette Vickers was born on August 26, 1928 as Iola Yvette Vedder. She attended UCLA for three years in their film and theater arts department. In the mid 1950s she was cast in commercials as the face of the White Rain Girl, but returned to the West Coast cast in various television series until her first feature film directed by James Cagney as Daisy in Short Cut to Hell (1957). Then she was cast as the promiscuous husband stealing hussy Honey Parker in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) and then Bruno VeSota’s slovenly wench of a wife in Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
Stephen King, in his book “Stephen King: On Writing”, cited her as one of his movie matinée idols.
Interviewed in the book “Invasion of the B-Girls” by Jewel Shepard.
on another creepy end to a iconic cult actress of the genre Yvette Vicker’s dead body was discovered in her home by neighbor Susan Savage in April 2011. Its condition suggested that she had been dead for close to a year.
“I always knew I wanted to try for a career in pictures, so I studied drama and worked in little theaters. But I was impatient for a talent scout to discover me. When I was 16 I bleached my hair as a bid for attention. I didn’t know how to go about this and made many mistakes. Instead of taking weeks, I applied peroxide and ammonia three times in seven days and my hair got just like straw. My scalp had sore places all over. Even the color was horrid – an artificial orange that was unbecoming. It is interesting to me how much hair influences your personality. Men expect a blonde to be more frivolous and less intelligent.”– Yvette Vickers
As Honey Parker in Attack of the 50 ft Woman (1958), as Liz Walker in Attack of the Giant Leeches 1959 as Roxy in Reform School Girl (1957), Yvette appeared in Hud (1963), Curtis Harrington’s What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971 and Curtis Harrington’s television movie as Miss Adrian in The Dead Don’t Die (1975)
Allison Hayes no doubt has earned herself a fierce cult following, not just for her GIANT role as the 50 ft. woman Nancy Fowler Archer, but for her myriad of appearances in classic television, cult B films, horror & Sci-fi guilty pleasures, crime dramas and westerns. In the 1950s the voluptuous raven haired beauty became a leading player in B grade productions, though her enigmatic beauty and adeptness at working that sex appeal helped her transcend all genres to become a goddess. Born Mary Jane Hayes on March 6, 1930 in Charleston, West Virginia, she began her career at Universal. The studio seemed to push her in front of the fast moving train of B movies. She debuted in Francis Joins the WACS in 1954 co-starring with the talking mule. She appeared in Roger Corman’s The Undead (1957) as the temptress Livia, and in one of my favorite guilty pleasures she stars with John Carradine in The Unearthly (1957) and in one of my favorite cult horror & noir directors Edward L Cahn’s atmospheric cheapie The Zombies of Mora Tau (1957).
Hayes starred in the exploitation cult classic The Hypnotic Eye (1960) with Jacques Bergerac and Merry Anders. Other of her varied roles include a guest appearance on the television series The Untouchables (1959), General Hospital 1963-64, Krafft Mystery Theatre, 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, Michael Shayne, Bat Masterson, Richard Diamond Private Eye, Death Valley Days, and in films like Sign of the Pagan (1954) with Jeff Chandler, Count Three and Pray (1955) with Van Heflin, Chicago Syndicate (1955), obscure film noir The Steel Jungle (1956), Gunslinger (1956), The Disembodied (1957), A Lust to Kill (1958), Hong Kong Confidential (1958), Counterplot (1959), The Crawling Hand (1963).
Allison Hayes died in 1977 after a long bout with leukemia, her health declining throughout the 1960s. According to actor Mel Welles who worked with Allison Hayes on The Undead –“Allison Hayes was a great person to work with because she was very loose–earthy and relaxed. She was a very pretty, attractive lady, I liked working with her because she had no pretenses or ostentation.”
As Nancy Fowler Archer the abused and spurned wife and 50 ft. woman in Attack of the 50ft Woman 1958, as Livia the Witch in The Undead 1957, as Tonda Metz in The Disembodied 1957, as Mona Harrison in Zombies of Mora Tau 1957, as Grace Thomas in The Unearthly 1957, as Justine in The Hypnotic Eye (1960) as Donna in The Crawling Hand (1963)
Allison Hayes might have been geared toward becoming the raven haired idol who would appear in some of the more popular exploitation cult, Sci-fi, horror and television classic series, this enigmatic goddess immortalized the role of Nancy Fowler Archer in director Nathan Juran’s (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad 1958, The Brain from Planet Arous 1957, Land of the Giants 1968-1970, Lost in Space 1965-1968, The Time Tunnel 1967, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1965-1966) Jack the Giant Killer 1962, First Men in the Moon 1964) Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958). Notably Juran was the art director for How Green Was My Valley (1941) and Harvey (1950).
Hayes was a very dynamic and versatile actress who gave her all to any role she approached. While the depth of her character Nancy wasn’t fully realized in the script and the film with it’s ramshackle appearance will always have a beloved following because Hayes literally tore the roof off that role with curvy vivacious verve! Nancy Fowler Archer, heiress to a fortune and married to philandering louse Harry (William Hudson) who has the town floozy Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers who gets all the great lines in the film) stashes away in a ‘flea bag’ hotel, yet shamelessly flaunts his affair at Tony’s Bar for the whole town and Nancy to see. Nancy has already been sent to a private sanitarium after Harry threatened to leave once before. She also has her butler Jess (played by busy character actor Ken Terrell) who is her loyal friend and the only one who shows Nancy any kind of compassion. Harry can’t leave again or get a divorce because as he says-“I couldn’t pry one nickle out of her. Man hasn’t got a chance.”
Honey starts talking to Harry about plotting to kill his wife Nancy or at least get her permanently committed to the sanitarium. Honey-“Unless the wife dies… what I didn’t say anything.” Harry-“Yeah, but you were thinking it.” Honey-“It’s not the same thing. Did you say she was in a nut house. She’s on the brink and you know it! Once she’s in the booby hatch, throw away the key!”
Honey-“You know what the trouble with us Harry is we both got the same disease… money. You just hide out and let her blow up like a balloon.”
Nancy used to booze it up because of Harry’s emotional torment and betrayals, she is unsure of herself and totally dependent on him. But when she storms off after finding Harry in the arms of that tramp Honey, she drives her car into the desert on Route 66 and has her first encounter with a giant bald hairy knuckled alien who lands his ‘red fire ball’ satellite in the middle of the road. He tries to grab Nancy’s pendant, the Star of India diamond, but she manages to run away and make it back to town. Of course no one believes her story, they all assume she’s gone off on a bender again. She convinces Sheriff Dubbitt (George Douglas) come take her back out into the desert to find the alien. Of course there is nothing there, but the Sheriff tells his deputy, since she’s paying all the taxes for the town he has to go along with her.
“I won’t stand for your two-timing, back door romances,’my husband’, ‘my gigolo’ You’re a miserable parasite!”
Nancy frustrated comes back to the house, finds Harry drunk on the couch throws a bottle of booze through the television set after a newscaster ridicules her on public television and drags Harry back out to the desert again to find that bald giant. And of course they do, but when the giant once again goes for Nancy’s throat to get the diamond, Harry hops in the car and strands Nancy there. Exposed to the radiation, Nancy is found on top of the pool house in a coma. She is brought up to her bedroom by her psychiatrist and the doctor, who are keeping her dosed on some kind of serum. In a very well framed scene, after Honey has dared Harry to give Nancy an overdose, he skulks up the stairs like a fiend, evoking that moment in Nosferatu when the vampire’s shadows slinks up the stairs towards his victim. Before Harry can inject Nancy, the nurse puts the lights on and in the big reveal, we see a large plaster hand, the nurse screams, “Something’s happened to Mrs. Archer!” Doctor Cushing (Roy Gordon) exclaims “Astounding Growth”
in the 1950s, with the preoccupation with gigantism, and a slew of Attack of films, Gila Monsters, Giant Leeches, Crab Monsters. Bert I. Gordon’s Colossal Man and Jack Arnold’s giant Tarantula, the idea of ‘transformation’ was as rampant as the feature’s antagonists and anti-heroes. Another aspect of the appeal these flicks had for the teenage audience is their being able to relate to bodies that are out of control and wreaking havoc with their hormones.
While Colonel Manning’s transformation was a bit more reflexive, and as he awoke to find himself growing out of control, he pondered his disorientation and alienation in his new world, Nancy Fowler Archer, merely wakes up and runs amok. Having been chained down with yards of thick chain and meat hooks, it is symbolic once again of women being restrained. Breaking those chains, is Nancy’s ‘Giant Rage’ metaphor, running around in her sheet rigged bra and slip yelling for Haaaarrrry!!!!!!!!
Ronald Stein’s music is pure cheesy moody atmospheric B movie magic including the ‘bleep bleeps’ that the satellite orb omits when it appears in the desert. And while shabby and sparse in terms of production values, there are quite a few well framed and memorable moments in this cult classic. The scene inside the satellite when Sheriff Dubbitt and Jess explore and find the diamonds suspended in crystal orbs, magnifying their faces.
The scene as Allison Hayes stomps through the town ripping signs off the hotel and scaring the crap out of teenagers necking in a car. (okay perhaps appalling special effects as the gigantism is represented by either a giant plaster hand or superimposed transparency of the alien and Allison) and of course the indestructible finale with Allison smashing up Tony’s bar, killing Honey and carrying off Harry in her massive clutches.
Attack of the 50 foot Woman depending on who’s looking at it- scholar, historian or fan fanatic the film works as either a misogynist rant, male sexual paranoia or as a proto-feminist anthem and revenge fantasy. Emblematic, iconic and immortalizing Allison Hayes forever as the manifestation of ‘giant, female rage’ A rage that is unleashed against men’s fear of women becoming too big, too powerful, and literally ‘rising up’ against her oppression.
Ultimately Nancy is brought down by a riot run, electrocuted by high tension wires while clutching Harry in her giant fist, falling to the ground still crushing him in her grip. “Well she finally got Harry all to herself.” It’s unfortunate
It is a feminist revenge fantasy, smashing the roof off the patriarchy! As Welch Everman says, “The movie suggests that, if a woman happens to come by a bit of power she will use it to destroy the local community and crush her lover to bits.”
She was one of a bevy of sexy blondes shuffled about in 50s films, thrust into the limelight by ambitious movie studios as possible contenders to Marilyn Monroe‘s uncooperative pedestal. Almost none of these ladies managed to even step up to the plate when it came to the powerful allure of “La Monroe” and starlet Carol Ohmart managed to be no different.
Armelia Carol Ohmart was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 3, 1927, the daughter of a dentist father (Thomas Carlyle Ohmart, a one-time actor) and an abusive Mormon mother (Armelia Merl Ohmart). Raised in Seattle and a baby contest winner as an infant, she was on stage from age 3 in a vaudeville act with her uncle. She then lived all over the place with her mother after her divorce from her father, attending high school at Lewis & Clark High in Spokane. A radio singer back in Salt Lake City, Carol won the “Miss Utah” title (then a brunette) at age 19, coming up fourth runner-up when she segued into the 1946 “Miss America” contest (came in 4th). The attention she received led to a modeling, commercial and magazine cover career.
In the early 1950s Carol found TV and commercial work and on stage on Broadway (in the ensemble of “Kismet” and also as Joan Diener‘s understudy) and summer stock. Paramount took interest after a talent agent caught her in “Kismet” and signed her in 1955, billing her, of course, as the “next Marilyn.” But Carol came off more hardbitten and unsympathetic than the vulnerable, innocent sex goddess, and when the knockout blonde’s first two movies The Scarlet Hour (1956) and The Wild Party (1956) tanked at the box office, she was written off in 1957. Only a few more film offers came her way, including director William Castle‘s gimmicky House on Haunted Hill (1959) (her best known); the campy horror _Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told (1968)_; and her last, The Spectre of Edgar Allan Poe (1974). She had steadier work on TV with guest appearances on “Bat Masterson,” “Perry Mason,” “Get Smart,” “Mannix” and “Barnaby Jones,” but by 1974 she was pretty much history.
Carol wed three times. The first, to radio actor Ken Grayson, lasted two years before it was annulled. A second brief two-year marriage in 1956 was with cowboy actor Wayde Preston (ne William Erskine Strange), who starred in the rugged “Colt .45” TV western. In the late 1970s, she married a third time to a non-professional (fireman), which lasted. After a particularly depressing period dealing with medication addiction and disability, a recovered, spiritual-leaning Carol found a helpful avenue outside the Hollywood scene in the 1970s studying metaphysics, delving also in oil painting, gardening, poetry and writing.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh
According to Laura Wagner, who wrote an article on Carol in “Films of the Golden Age”, Issue #81, Summer 2015, Carol befriended Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, who promised her the prostitute role in From Here to Eternity (1953). However, he eventually gave it to Donna Reed, who went on to win a Supporting Actress Oscar.
“When I left Hollywood back in the 1970s, I didn’t want to slam the door and padlock it. I was happy there in the early years. I was a star and flamboyant. I was successful and popular. I left because I was tired and wanted to find me. I’ve spent a decade being a quiet, ordinary person. I’ve found my peace, my secret garden . . . My life is not serene and I’m healthy in body, mind and spirit. And my talents are actively at work in many areas. I’ve never, never reviled Hollywood. I love the people, the talents, the joy of making movies much too much.”-Carol Ohmart
As Pauline ‘Paulie’ Nevins in The Scarlet Hour (1956), as Liz in Born Reckless (1958) As Annabelle Loren in House on Haunted Hill 1959, as Marion Allison in The Scavengers 1959, as Madge in Wild Youth (1960) as Emily in Spider Baby 1967, as Lisa Grimaldi in The Spectre of Edgar Allan Poe 1974
The daughter of a United Press executive, Mala Powers attended theMax Reinhardt Junior Workshop as a kid and fell in love with acting the first time she set foot on a stage. She made her film debut in Universal’s 1942 Tough As They Come (1942) before actress Helene Thimig (Max Reinhardt‘s wife) convinced her to continue studying rather than become a child actress. Powers worked in radio (“Cisco Kid”, “Red Ryder”, “This Is Your F.B.I.”, “Lux Radio Theater”, “Screen Guild on the Air”) and met actress Ida Lupino while working on the latter show; Lupino auditioned and approved Powers for the top role in Outrage (1950), made by Lupino’s Filmmakers production company. Powers’ promising career was derailed by illness in the early ’50s; when she resumed work, it was as the “B queen” of Westerns and sci-fi flicks (and much TV). For many years she has been lecturing on and teaching the Michael Chekhov acting technique throughout the U.S.-bio by Tom Weaver
IMDb trivia- Best remembered film role was playing the lovely Roxanne opposite Oscar winner José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). Also known for playing a rape victim in the landmark Ida Lupino film Outrage (1950). A sensitive subject, rape had not yet been given such a frank treatment in films, due to censorship.
Howard Hughes took a strong interest in Powers and put her under contract at RKO in the early 1950s. When her film career declined, she continued on radio, stage and TV.
[from a 1990 interview] “No, I’m not pleased with my career; yes, I am pleased with my life. I just loved good roles: I would love to have done great big roles in great big “A” pictures, roles that had meat in them. Would any actress not like to play Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939)? From a career standpoint, of course that’s what I would like to have done. It never quite happened for me that way, but I had some wonderfully satisfying experiences, I learned a tremendous lot, I had a marvelous teacher, and who knows what’ll happen at this point? I don’t necessarily know that I’ve finished with acting.”-Mala Powers
Mala happened to appear in two of my favorite quiet science fiction films, both particularly atmospheric, disturbing on several levels and just quite interesting creepy story telling. John Howard and Paul Richards co-star with Powers in The Unknown Terror. Powers plays Gina Matthews a woman leads an expedition into a remote jungle to find her long-lost brother, but instead finds a mad scientist Dr. Ramsey (Gerald Milton) who has created a fungus monster that feeds on the local inhabitants. In The Colossus of New York A brilliant surgeon Dr. William Spensser (Otto Kruger) encases his dead son’s brain (Ross Martin) in a imposing humanoid body, with dangerous results…
As Julie in Edge of Doom (1950) as Ann Walton in Ida Lupino’s Outrage (1950) as Gina Matthews in The Unknown Terror 1957, as Anne Spensser in The Colossus of New York 1957, as Marlan Wood in Man on the Prowl (1957), Thriller (TV Series) – The Bride Who Died Twice (1962) as Consuelo De La Varra, as Meg Stone in Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting (1969)
Hazel Court’s the red headed green eyed beauty has two nicknames–they are The Queen of Scream & The Gothic Fox
Born in Birmingham, England, Hazel Court carried on a love affair with the world of movies and make-believe that made her a leading student at her hometown’s School of Drama and later helped her land a contract with the J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Graduating from bits to supporting roles to leads, Court worked in English films from the mid-’40s until the early 1960s, when she relocated to Hollywood. The flame-haired Court was married to Irish actor Dermot Walsh before she married American actor-director Don Taylor.-bio by Tom Weaver
IMDb trivia-Twice in her career, Hazel Court played women whose bucolic vacations were interrupted by unfriendly space aliens, first in the feature film Devil Girl from Mars (1954) and, a decade later, in The Twilight Zone (1959) episode, The Twilight Zone: The Fear (1964), (released on 05-29-64)).
While she had a substantial acting career both in England and on American TV, Court was perhaps best known for her work in such films as 1963’s The Raven (1963). She co-starred with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre in a Roger Corman take on the classic Edgar Allan Poe poem. Like other “scream queens” of the era, Court’s roles often relied on her cleavage and her ability to shriek in fear and die horrible deaths. Premature Burial (1962), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Devil Girl from Mars (1954) helped propel her to cult status and brought her fan mail, even in her later years. Court had finished an autobiography, “Hazel Court – Horror Queen”, which will be published in Britain, said her daughter, Sally Walsh.
According to friend Ingrid Pitt, Court was Hammer Films’ first major star.
One of Court’s biggest fans was writer Stephen King who mentions her in his various novels.
She and her second husband Don Taylor both appeared in Hammer films made during the 1950s. She appeared in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) while Taylor appeared in The Men of Sherwood Forest (1954).
“Just in case I should pop off to heaven in the night, I always remember to wash up, punch up the cushions and straighten up after a dinner party. I wouldn’t want everyone to come in and find it a mess. It’s very English of me.”-Hazel Court
“I always thought [Edgar Allan Poe‘s] work were wonderful, and I loved Gothic tales–so I guess I was a natural for those films-to-come . . . I used to stand in line with my parents at the local theater.”-Hazel Court[on The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)] “The producers just said, We would like you to do this scene, where Anton Diffring is sculpting you, and we would like to make it a nude scene. Would you do it?” It would only be shown in the European version, not in England. It really was just a lovely scene with him sculpting me, and I had no objection to that. But that nude scene is in the European version–out there, somewhere!”-Hazel Court[about her roles in the early 1950s] “It’s very funny. In those days we did it all as a job. it was our job to go out and do the very best we could. We’d take each film as it came. Then analyze it, work on it, and do it. Never any tantrums . . . You enjoyed doing it, and you didn’t ever think of yourself as special. We were all just actors, together; we were glad of a job, and we did it.”-Hazel Court
As Ellen Prestwick in Devil Girl From Mars 1954, as Janine Du Bois in The Man Who could Cheat death 1959, as Elizabeth in The Curse of Frankenstein 1957, as Margaret Thornton in Ghost Ship 1952, as Nurse Linda Parker in Dr. Bloods Coffin 1961, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) 1958-1961- The Pearl Necklace (1961) … Charlotte Jameson Rutherford– Arthur (1959) … Helen Brathwaite– The Avon Emeralds (1959) … Lady Gwendolyn Avon– The Crocodile Case (1958) … Phyllis Chaundry, Boris Karloff’s THRILLER- The Terror in Teakwood as Leoni Vicek, as Emily Gault in Premature Burial 1962, as Lenore Craven in The Raven 1963, The Twilight Zone series 1964 “The Fear”, as Juliana in The Mask of the Red Death (1964)
Susan Cabot was born in Boston and raised in a series of eight foster homes. She attended high school in Manhattan, where she took an interest in dramatics and joined the school dramatic club. Later, while trying to decide between a career in music or art, she illustrated children’s books during the day and sang at Manhattan’s Village Barn at night. It was at this same time that she made her film debut as an extra in Fox’s New York-made Kiss of Death (1947) and worked in New York-based television. Maxwell Arnow, a casting director for Columbia Pictures, spotted Cabot at the Village Barn, and a co-starring role in that studio’s B-grade South Seas drama On the Isle of Samoa (1950) resulted. While in Hollywood Cabot was also signed for the role of an Indian maiden in Universal’s Tomahawk (1951) with Van Heflin. Subsequently signed to an exclusive contract by Universal, Cabot co-starred in a long string of films opposite leading men like John Lund, Tony Curtis and Audie Murphy. Inevitably, she became fed up with the succession of western and Arabian Nights roles, asked for a release from her Universal pact and accepted an offer from Harold Robbins to star in his play “A Stone for Danny Fisher” in New York. Roger Corman lured her back to Hollywood to play the lead in the melodramatic rock-‘n-‘roller Carnival Rock (1957) and she stayed on to star in five more films for the enterprising young producer-director. After a highly publicized 1959 fling with Jordan’s King Hussein, Cabot divided her time between TV work and roles in stage plays and musicals.-mini bio by Tom Weaver
IIMDb trivia In 1957 Susan returned to films after signing an exclusive contract with producer Roger Corman. The two briefly dated as well.
Her personal life included a well publicized relationship with King Hussein of Jordan in 1959, which ended when he found out that she was Jewish.
In 1968, she married her second husband, actor Michael Roman, but the marriage broke up in the early 1980s, in part due to Cabot’s increasing mental fragility and paranoia. Cabot had reportedly been taking a growth hormone prescribed for her son, possibly a factor in heightening her mental illness.
More bizarre than anything Roger Corman could have cast her in, Susan Cabot’s death is horrific… I would have loved to see Black Oasis filmed, especially with Rose McGowan in the feature role as Cabot.
In 1964 she gave birth to her son, Timothy, who suffered from dwarfism. He bludgeoned her to death with a weightlifting bar while she slept in the bedroom of her Encino (CA) home. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter but cited years of mental and physical abuse by her as his defense. He received a three-year suspended sentence and was placed on probation for the crime.
“[about Roger Corman] He gave me a lot of freedom, and also a chance to play a lot of parts that Universal would never have given me. Oddball, wacko parts, like the very disturbed girl in Sorority Girl (1957) and things like that. I had a chance to do moments and scenes that I didn’t get before.” -Susan Cabot
As Janice Starlin in The Wasp Woman (1959), as Sybil Carrington in War of the Satellites (1958)
Marla English was born Marlene Gaile English in San Diego, Califonia, on January 4, 1935. She was the daughter of Bertha Lenore and Arthur H. English, and Marla was the nickname given to her by friends of the family who took care of her when her mother fell ill in 1939. She began modeling at the age of 12, and became a member of San Diego’s Globe Theatre while a sophomore in high school, and played roles in their productions of “Mad Woman of Chaillot” and “Cricket on the Hearth” while continuing her modeling career. Paramount Pictures signed her to a contract in the fall of 1952, and she had parts in five Paramount films.-Mini Bio by Les Adams
Girl at Songwriter’s Party (uncredited) in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), As Patty Winters in noir favorite Shield for Murder with Edmund O’Brien (1954), As Marilyn Blanchard in Voodoo Woman 1957, as Andrea Talbott/ Elizabeth Wetherby in The She-Creature 1956, as Audrey Barton aka Lola Marshall in Runaway Daughters (1956) as Vicki Craig in Three Bad Sister (1956)
Louise Lewis was born on October 18, 1914 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA. She was an actress, known for I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), True Confessions (1981) and Ben Casey (1961). She was married to Jerry Lewis, Robert H. Harris and Jerry Rosenthal. She died on September 11, 1996 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
As Principal Ferguson in I was a teenage werewolf 1957, as Miss Branding in Blood of Dracula 1957, as Mrs Miller in The Vampire 1957. Lewis made many appearances in television shows such as The Adventures of Superman (1955)series, Climax! (1955) series, Public Defender (1955) series, Dragnet (1956) series, Lux Video Theatre, Studio 57, Leave it to Beaver (1957), Mike Hammer (1959) series, M Squad (1959) series, The Eleventh Hour (1963) series, Perry Mason (1963), Ben Casey (1962-64), The Streets of San Francisco (1972), as Nurse Bascomb on Medical Center (1969-1975), The Rockford Files (1975) series, Charlie’s Angels (1979), Quincy M.E. (1979-1983) V tv series (1985), Columbo (TV Series) – Murder in Malibu (1990) … Mrs. Gompertz (as Louise Fitch)
Gloria Castillo was born on July 2, 1933 in New Mexico, USA. She was an actress, known for The Night of the Hunter (1955), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) and Reform School Girl (1957). She was married to Ellis Kadison. She died on October 24, 1978 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
As Joan Hayden in Invasion of the Saucer Men 1958, as Kathy North in Teenage Monster 1958, as Donna Price in Reform School Girl 1957, Ruby in Night of the Hunter (1955),Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) – The Return of the Hero (1958) … Lili
Carolyn Jones was born April 28, 1930 in Amarillo Texas. Her father took off on her mother and sister Bette. Too sick from Asthma to go to the movies, Carolyn would listen to Danny Kaye and Spike Jones on the radio and read fan movie magazines. She had always wanted to attend the Pasadena Playhouse and she was lucky enough to have her grandfather play for her classes because she had won so many awards at school for her speech, poetry and dramatics lessons. In 1947, she was accepted as a student at the Pasadena Playhouse. She began working in summer stock theater and graduated in 1950. Carolyn put herself through the rigors even getting plastic surgery on her nose. Ironically, she played a very serious role as Evy Schaller on Dr. Kildare’s ‘The Mast Makers’ about this very subject. Jones deserved an Emmy for her emotional performance of a woman coming to the point of a breakdown when she isn’t quite ready to become the object of men’s desires and lose her inner identity in the process.
Discovered by a talent scout at Paramount and given a screen test, which was a success. Her first role was in The Turning Point (1952), and she was given a 6 month contract, but Paramount let it lapse because the film industry was feeling the hit from the advent of television. Carolyn Jones joked “They let me and 16 secretaries go!”
Jones started working in television but kept busy on stage also, where she met Aaron Spelling and the two became an item. Her big breakthrough came with the release of House of Wax (1953) starring Vincent Price in 3D. The film got excellent reviews. Spelling and Jones married in April of 1953. She made the decision not to have any children, having to make a choice between them and her career.
Columbia Pictures had seen her and wanted her to test for the part of the prostate Alma Burke in From Here to Eternity (1953), but lost out to Donna Reed when she got severely ill with pneumonia. Reed won an Academy Award for the role.
Next she appeared in the science fiction classic we’re talking about here, Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) perhaps one of the top ten quintessential films of the genre to date, remade with it’s own pretty creepy vibe in 1978. Body Snatchers was definitely a not so coded allegory about the dangers of McCarthyism and the fear of communism that was rampant in the 1950s. Alfred Hitchcock cast her in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) co-starring James Stewart and Doris Day.
Carolyn is the one who pushed Aaron Spelling to become a writer, helping to promote his scripts, and he was eventually hired by Dick Powell. She appeared in The Bachelor Party (1957) “just say you love me-you don’t have to mean it” She dyed her hair black and cut it short, giving herself that signature stunning look and she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance. Then she was cast in Marjorie Morningstar (1958) after that starred with Elvis in King Creole (1958) and then a more serious role in Career (1959)
Carolyn and Aaron had an amicable divorce in 1964 as their careers went in separate directions. It was soon after that she would carve out the role, she’ll be remembered for the most—the seductive vamp Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (1964) with episodes that were an exposition of the lurid chemistry between Morticia and her husband Gomez played by John Astin. Though the show was a huge success they decided to cancel it after only 2 years. Carolyn Jones had already been typecast, though her fans were many, and I’m certainly one of them!
In The Addams Family TV show, she also played the female version of Thing Lady Fingers and also played her own twin sister Ophelia Frump.
“I’m in love with everything about show business. The only thing that ever came easy to me in life has been acting.”-Carolyn Jones
“The best thing about me is that I am generally very honest – not hurtfully honest, but honest. The worst thing about me is that everybody can make me feel guilty. I feel responsible about things that don’t even concern me.”-Carolyn Jones
She died on August 3, 1983 from terminal cancer. Carolyn told her sister that she wanted her epitaph to be “She gave joy to the world.” And that she did, for so many of us who enjoy her bright eyed brand of individuality.
As Theodora ‘Teddy’ Belicec in Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956, various film noir, Eaten Alive 1976, Kolchak: The Night Stalker (TV Series) as The Registrar- Demon in Lace (1975) Circle of Fear (TV Series) Martha Alcott– The Summer House (1972) Batman (TV Series) Marsha, Queen of Diamonds 1966-67,The Addams Family (TV Series)
Morticia Addams / Ophelia Frump / Lady Fingers
Ann Doran is one of those character actors that is ubiquitous. You’d have to look at her extensive IMDb credits beginning in silent films she’s appeared in hundreds of silent films, motion pictures and over 1000 television programs –to get the full picture of her contribution to film and television. She’s appeared in 3 of my favorite science fiction films and so she deserves a place here. A few favorites-Blind Alley (1939), The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) His Gal Friday (1940) Mr. Skeffington (1944), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Fear in the Night (1947), The Snake Pit (1948), The Accused (1949), Lonely Heart Bandits (1950) The People Against O’Hara (1951), Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and on an on…
As an the uncredited child psychiatrist in Them! 1954, Mrs.Ford in The Man Who Turned to Stone 1957, as Mary Royce in It, The Terror from Beyond Space 1958
Jean Willes was born Jean Donahue in Los Angeles on April 15, 1923 and is best known as a B movie actress in the 1950s and 60s, and her foray into television. She’s voluptuous and seemingly kindhearted, though she often played the tough girl persona. She reminds me a bit of Barbara Nichols who also has a sweetness, though she’d play harder edged blondes. Both I find so incredibly likable to watch. In 1942 she starred in comedy film shorts for Columbia using her real name Jean Donahue. She often played the sexy compliment to comics like Eddie Foy Jr and The Three Stooges. Willes married a professional wrestler in 1947 and began using her married name co-starring in Reveue Agent (1950) with Douglas Kennedy and in one of Johnny Weissmuller’s ‘Jungle Jim’ features, though she didn’t give up on her comedic shorts.
Being blonde and buxom Willes gained cheesecake status in Hollywood, in film and television. She got cast with Bob Hope in the comedy Son of Paleface (1952) and in the war drama From Here to Eternity (1953).
Then she got to play Nurse Sally Withers in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) who falls pray to the alien pod conspiracy and in another wonderful role, she plays one of the four outstanding actresses competing for Clark Gable’s affections in The King and Four Queens (1956)
After getting fewer roles in the 1960s She appeared in the occasional film, a small part in Ocean’s 11 (1960), The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) and Bite the Bullet (1975) She retired in 1976. Willes died of liver cancer in 1989, and she never really got the chance to rise to the level of start that she was capable of or deserved.
“I seem to get along with everybody and that helps because in TV it’s always a tight schedule. You’ve heard the crack about the TV producer who got impatient because some actress wasn’t satisfied with a scene. “Look”, he shouted, “I don’t want it good–I want it Thursday”. Well, that’s the way it is in a lot of these TV series.”-Jean Willes
The King and Four Queens 1956 with Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker- Above she appears with Barbara Nichols another wonderful underrated blonde beauty and Jo Van Fleet.
As Venusian Captain Olivia in Abbott & Costello Go To Mars 1953, as nurse Sally Withers in Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956, as tough gal Tracy in The Man Who Turned to Stone 1957, Science Fiction Theatre (TV Series) Virginia Kincaid- The Stones Began to Move (1955) –The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series) Eva- Death of a Cop (1963) The Twilight Zone (TV Series) Ethel McConnell– Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? (1961)
Sally Fraser was born in Williston North Dakota on December 12, 1932. She moved to Southern California with her family, the youngest of five. When she was young she wanted to sing and joined her church choir while taking voice lessons. She was spotted after singing on a local TV show, and so she was encouraged to take some drama lessons where she got experience in local and summer stock plays, including William Inge’s Bus Stop with Marie Wilson, and Separate Tables with Don Porter and Signe Hasso.
Sally got a bit role in films with her debut in All I Desire (1953). Then came her female lead opposite Edmund Gwenn in the fantasy It’s a Dog’s Life (1955) Then she found herself cast in low budget science fiction films like Roger Corman’s It Conquered the World (1956) where she plays Peter Graves wife who becomes taken over by the aliens invading the Earth. She appeared in War of the Colossal Beast in 1958, and a very small part as a mother protecting her baby from the menacing spider in Earth vs The Spider 1958. Then came Giant from the Unknown 1958, and the exploitation film Roadracers 1959. Sally did appear in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest 1959 and another small role in Elmer Gantry starring Burt Lancaster.
IMDb trivia –Was the original “Betty Anderson” on “Father Knows Best” in the pilot. They went with Elinor Donahue in the series because they wanted someone younger.
Peggie Castle was originally cast in It Conquered the World (1956) but had to pull out of the movie. Roger Corman asked for Sally but she was already several months pregnant. Corman saw her, thought she would be fine and worked around her scenes with close-ups. The movie took five days to shoot.
“People are still interested in many of [my] films. Anyone can watch Giant from the Unknown (1958), for example, and still find it a pleasant and fun way to pass an hour or so, and I am proud of that.”– Sally Fraser
It has to be said that Sally Fraser earned the right to claim cult status, a beautiful blonde menaced by giant spiders and insidious aliens. She left her imprint on the science fiction genre of the 1950s