Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.
Host, 'Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion'
GET UPDATES FROM Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.
Intriguing Factoids From the Horror/Sci-Fi/Mystery Genre
Posted: 12/27/11 11:16 AM ET
Was actress Gloria Dickson fated to die tragically by a scene in her penultimate film? Did monstrous actor Rondo Hatton actually suffer from acromegaly, which gave him a grotesque head? Was raven-haired Vampira in reality a Scandinavian blonde?
These are just a few of the engrossing film factoids from the sci-fi/horror/mystery realm that we now disclose:
-Actress Gloria Dickson began her career as a loyal wife trying valiantly to save her wrongly convicted husband from execution in 1937's They Won't Forget (Lana Turner's 1st important role, as a murder victim), then appeared in a number of dramas and mysteries, such as 1938's Racket Busters and 1939's They Made Me A Criminal.
Undoubtedly, her most intriguing role was in 1943's Crime Doctor's Strangest Case, in which she was a woman of mystery who used 2 names and was married to a man (Jerome Cowan) who repeatedly tossed down lighted cigarettes which ignited fires. Less than 2 years later, on April 10, 1945, Dickson died tragically in a house fire in Hollywood, started by, as fate would have it, a lighted cigarette!
Ruehl Fact: After suffering from a nervous breakdown, Columbia rewarded veteran actor Warner Baxter (who had won an Academy Award as Best Actor for his role of "The Cisco Kid" in 1929's In Old Arizona) with the "Crime Doctor" series, of which he only had to make no more than 2 episodes a year. He starred in 10 entries from 1943 through 1949, but never recovered his health and died at age 61 in 1951.
-Rondo Hatton starred in 1946's Brute Man as a college football hero whose face was disfigured by a chemistry accident. This parallelled his true situation, where he had a normal face until being exposed to poison gas during WWI, which triggered the onset of the head-enlarging syndrome known as acromegaly.
He also essayed the role of "The Creeper" in 2 films, 1944's The Pearl of Death (a Sherlock Holmes entry starring Basil Rathbone), and 1946's House of Horrors (where he was exploited by an evil artist played by Martin Kosleck), but was not involved in 1948's The Creeper.
Off camera, he was a gentle, deeply religious individual who had a devoted wife. Sadly, he died shortly before turning 52 in 1946 from coronary thrombosis triggered by chronic myocarditis as a result of the acromegaly.
Ruehl Fact: Acromegaly brought on by experiments in gigantism afflicted a scientist (Leo G. Carroll, best known for his starring role in the 1953-55 Topper TV series about ghosts) and 2 of his associates in the 1957 creature feature, Tarantula (a Universal film starring John Agar).
-Long raven hair! A skin-tight black gown! Long, threatening fingernails! Piercing eyes capped by thin black brows! These were the tools that TV legend Vampira employed to both terrify and engage late night TV audiences of the 1950s!
However, the dark-haired femme fatale was actually a Scandinavian blonde who was born Maila Syrjaniemi in Petsamo , Finland back on December 11, 1921. That surname was later truncated to Nurmi. Indeed, the renowned multiple Olympic medal runner Paavo Nurmi was her uncle. She arrived in the U.S. as an infant, and travelled around the country as her father lectured on temperance.
As an adult, she was performing in Mike Todd's "Spook Scandals" when celebrated director Howard Hawks caught sight of the beauty and cast her in the cinematic version of the Russian novel, "Dreadful Hollow." However, Nurmi walked out on her contract after being utterly disillusioned by repeated production delays.
She then tried modeling and dancing, including a long stint with Earl Carroll's revues. Her breakthrough came when, for a masquerade competition, she costumed herself in the mode of Charles Addams' Morticia cartoon character. Not only did she win 1st prize, but also landed a contract with the local L.A. ABC affiliate channel 7 for a late night hosting gig for horror films for the 1954-55 season. Impressively, she was nominated for an Emmy for "Most Outstanding Female Personality," and was profiled in such mags as "TV Guide," "Newsweek," and "Life."
Fan clubs sprung up all over the globe as she became a quite recognizable figure, making guest appearances at store openings and judging contests. She was dubbed the "Queen of Horror," with songs composed to honor her!
Bela Lugosi was also a fan, and was delighted when she joined him as his dead wife in 1956's Plan 9 From Outer Space. Unfortunately, he died 2 weeks into production.
Vampira's fame quickly expired after that, with only a few scant film roles, such as in 1959's Beat Generation and 1960's Sex Kittens Go To College. She did engage in painting, creating some "Vampira" portraits, and made a final screen appearance in 1998's I Woke Up Early The Day I Died.
Ruehl Fact: Nurmi sued Cassandra Peterson, asserting that her "Elvira" characterization was a ripoff of "Vampira," but lost the case in court. She died January 10, 2007, in her sleep at the age of 86.
My video critique of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" featuring Vampira and Bela Lugosi:
Friday, December 9, 2011
December 9, 2011
2012 BLOG HUFFPOST HILL 2012
Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D..Host, 'Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion'
GET UPDATES FROM Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.
This Week's Realm of Bizarre News Top 7
Posted: 12/8/11 01:38 PM ET React Amazing
Follow Video , Dr.Ruehl , Mice Attack Cows , Realm Of Bizarree News , Use a Vacuum Cleaner Vs Fleas , Butter Attack , Cricket Sounds Deafen You , Weird News .
This Week's "Realm of Bizarre News" Top 7
- Ouch! Angry gal down in Collier County, Georgia got into a heated dispute with her roommate over who paid for which food. Finally, she hurled a stick of butter at him, striking him in the ankle! Surprisingly, she was later arrested for assault and battery (or, should that be "buttery?").
- Eek! Cows are being attacked by, of all creatures, ravenous mice down in South Australia! The starving rodents actually are hopping on the backs of bovines and chewing them up alive! One farmer has been spreading engine oil on the cows' bodies to protect them from the mice.
(Trivia Q: What is the term for the fear of mice? Answer below)
- Larry Fick of Auburn, Michigan won a $2 million lottery in June of 2010, yet still receives food stamps! Amazingly, this is completely legal because lump-sum payments such as his are not counted in assessing an individual's eligibility for food assistance!
- A most unusual phobia: Phoebe Tann, 19, of Maidstone , Kent , England is absolutely terrified of toilet paper! The problem began 6 years ago when her mom sent her to the market to purchase some TP and she freaked out! She has even undergone hypnotherapy to overcome her phobia, but to no avail. So, the TP in the bathroom must always be covered so she does not see it!
- Staffers at the SkyCity Casino in Auckland , New Zealand , are wearing pet flea collars around their ankles to ward off attacks by biting fleas! They have been complaining about the problem for months and finally resorted to this measure as daily cleanings of the floor have failed to deter the bugs.
- Incredible! A patient at the St.Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor , Michigan was emitting poison gas as a result of ingesting rat poison! To protect other patients and staffers, he was placed in isolation and even monitored by a Hazmat team! Thankfully, at last report, his condition was improving.
- Hold your ears! According to Dr,.Todd Rickettts, associate professor of hearing and speech at Vanderbilt University (Nashville,TN), the chirping(actually, love songs) of cicadas can damage human hearing as the sounds reach 86 decibels (85 decibels is the threshold for safety). This is especially worrisome as 17-year cicadas have just been emerging from their hiatus and are chirping away in Tennessee and 12 other states.
Trivia answer: The fear of mice is musophobia (aka muriphobia).
Follow Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drruehl
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
HUFF POST WEIRD NEWS
November 29, 2011
Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D..
Host, 'Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion'
What Is the Strangest Burial Marker in Existence?
Posted: 11/29/11 12:19 PM ET
A strong candidate for this title would be a stone cross dubbed the "Wolfstone" on a grave in the Fichtel Mountains of Germany. In the 18th century, a local shepherd hired a hunter to kill a strange, huge wolf which had been devouring lambs in his flock.
But, when the marksman took aim and fired at the predator, the bullets had no apparent effect although at least one hit the creature straight on.
However, the next day, the shepherd observed that an old woman, long suspected of practicing witchcraft in the area, was hobbling down the street, as though wounded. He deduced that she was a female werewolf, transmogrifying herself into a large wolf at night to attack his sheep.
So, he reported her to the local authorities who arrested her and chained her to the floor of a dingy cell. But, when they went to interrogate her the next day, she had mysteriously vanished.
Two nights later, while the shepherd was out in the woods with the huntsman searching for her, the killer wolf, who had been lying in wait, sprung at them!
Fortunately, the hunter had a silver knife with which he was able to slash the beast. As soon as its blood began to flow, the wolf, writhing on the ground in intense agony, morphed into human form, namely, that of the old witch, absolute proof that she indeed had been a female werewolf!
They buried her an unprecedented 20 feet beneath the ground and marked her grave with the Wolfstone cross in hopes of sanctifying it.
But, to this day, locals claim that eerie phenomena, such as enigmatic lights, are seen near that accursed site!
Ruehl Fact: Nina Foch starred as a female lycanthrope who inherited her affliction from her gypsy mother in the horror film, Cry of the Werewolf (1944).
My video account of the Wolfstone Marker:
Werewolves Are For Real:
Ancient Werewolf Accounts:
For additional fascinating information on lycanthropes and their strange cousins,I strongly commend you to Brad Steiger's "The Werewolf Book:The Encyclopedia of Shape-shifting Beings." Without a doubt,it is the most comprehensive work yet published on such strange entities,covering everything from ancient accounts to cinematic treatments of them!
Follow Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drruehl
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
My entry in the Doritos Superbowl Ad Contest is entitled,"Doritos Empowers My Magic Act!" The URLlink is:
Masy the Power of the Comsos,and of Doritos, be with You!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.
Host, 'Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion'
15 Intriguing Halloween-Related Factoids!
Posted: 11/3/11 02:22 PM ET
- Halloween's origins can be traced to the ancient Celtic festival known as "Samhain," which included a feast of the dead in both Pagan and Christian times, and marked the end of harvest and the commencement of winter!
- Jack-o-lanterns were once carved out of turnips, beets, or potatoes before the custom reached America and pumpkins were discovered...according to legend, Jack was a miser who could enter neither heaven nor hell, being forced to wander the earth carrying a lantern until Judgment Day!
- The Greek legend of King Lycaon of Arcadia being transmogrified into a wolf by Zeus after offending the god by serving him a meal of human flesh gave birth to the scientific term for werewolf, "lycanthrope."
- Prior to the 17th century, witches were depicted as riding brooms in the sky whose heads pointed downward, but thereafter, with the heads pointed upward (they also flew on cats, donkeys, goats, or even the Devil himself in animal form)!
- There was a real-life Dr.Dippel Frankenstein who engaged in alchemical experiments utilizing both animal and human cadavers at Castle Frankenstein in southwestern Germany in the early 1700s...Mary Shelley actually visited the castle in 1814, perhaps being inspired by Dippel's work to pen her famous novel!
- Surprisingly, the very 1st written account of a seance is contained in the Old Testament(Samuel I,Ch.28), wherein Saul enlisted a sorceress, the Witch of Endor, to summon the spirit of Samuel so he could consult with him about the ongoing war with the Philistines!
- In the 1922 German horror flick,"Nosferatu," the reflection of the vampire Orlok (portayed by Max Schreck) is clearly visible in a mirror in one scene...although based on "Dracula," that name was never employed because the producers had failed to pay for the rights to use it!
- Not a single defendant at the1692 Salem Witch Trials was burned at the stake...19 were hanged while a 20th, a man who refused to enter a plea, was crushed to death with heavy stones (medical historians have ascribed the bizarre behavior exhibited there to various causes, such as an outbreak of encephalitis or rye bread contaminated by the hallucinogenic known as ergot)!
- Godzilla's name in Japan is "Gojira"...after purchasing the rights to the film in 1956. American producer Richard Kay renamed the creature and added extrensive scenes with Raymond Burr of "Perry Mason" fame portraying a reporter named "Steve Martin!"
- No mummy's tomb is known to have been inscribed with a curse...the concept originated with a stage show in London's Piccadilly Circus in 1821, followed by Jane Webb's 1922 novel, "The Mummy" ("Little Women" authoress Louisa May Alcott also dealt with a mummy's curse in her obscure 1869 short story, "Lost In A Pyramid")
- Val Lewton, who produced such film noir classics of the 1940s as "Cat People" and "Curse of the Cat People," actually had an abiding fear of cats(a full-fledged ailurophobe)...he penned several film scripts under the pseudonym of Carlos Keith!
- The first chain-clanking ghost was described by the noted Roman writer Pliny The Younger in the 1st century A.D., who reported that the philosopher Athenodorus of Athens encountered such an entity who lead him to his grave where he had been buried alive in shackles...when the chains were removed and the body given proper burial, the spirit vanished, apparently finally at peace!
- Today, in a village in Germany's Fichtel Mountains, stands a large stone marker known as the Wolfstone Cross, placed above the grave of a female werewolf who, by day, was an old woman, but, who by night, was a murderous lupine ultimately dispatched by a hunter's silver blade back in the 18th century!
- To ward off the power of the Evil Eye, people around the globe have invoked many practices: Colonial Americans carried heart-shaped amulets, Turks wore eye-shaped brooches made of blue glass, and women in India painted black circles about their own eyes!
- Bela Lugosi was born Bela Blasko in 1882, but changed his name in 1903 in honor of his hometown of Lugos,Hungary, while Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in 1887, but assumed his new minacious moniker in 1909 while riding through Canada on a train!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
My letter to the editor defending "Plan 9 From Outer Space" was published in the Glendale News-Press. as follows:
Not the worst movie ever made
October 20, 2011 | 5:07 p.m.
Mesmerizing music. Solid acting. Intriguing plotting. These are among the surprisingly positive elements that comprise the oft-ridiculed film, “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (“Return to 'Plan 9 From Outer Space,’” Oct. 16).
While the movie admittedly is characterized by fourth-rate special effects, such as hubcaps for UFOs, and an illogical confusion of night and day in several scenes, it is an interesting film overall, with a cogent plot involving aliens resurrecting dead humans to act as their slaves.
And it should be noted that visually-engaging graveyard scenes were actually shot on location in a cemetery in the San Fernando Valley that was being torn down. The crew sneaked in and moved tombstones around to
achieve some definite eerie effects.
And, for horror film fans, it was a final opportunity to see Bela Lugosi on the silver screen one last time as he died a short time into shooting. Indeed, we appreciate his few scenes being repeated several times during the film.
Additionally, it was a pleasure to watch Vampira and Tor Johnson moving morbidly about throughout the production.
So “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is by no means the worst movie ever made.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Vampira, A Role Model For Some of Us!
Flowing locks of raven hair! A skin-tight black gown! Long, sharp, threatening fingernails! Piercing eyes capped by thin black brows! These were the tools that TV legend Vampira employed to both terrify and engage late night TV audiences of the 1950s!
Simultaneously minacious and alluring, Vampira drew viewers who might not otherwise tune into the low-budget horror flicks she was hostessing. Indeed, she was a captivating pioneer in this limited niche, being the very first to present such films on the little silver screen. And, she was an inspiration to other such hosts who would follow in her footsteps, including yours truly. Sadly, she passed away this past Thursday, January 10, in her sleep at age 86.
While, unfortunately, none of Vampira's TV hosting segments were preserved on film (as far as I know), she can be seen (although never heard) in her Vampira role as Bela Lugosi's dead wife throughout Ed Wood's much-maligned sci-fi entry, "Plan 9 From Outer Space."
Vampira was born Maila Syrjaniemi in Petsamo, Finland back on December 11, 1921. That surname was later truncated to Nurmi. Indeed, she was the niece of the renowned multiple Olympic medal runner Paavo Nurmi.
She arrived in the U.S. as an infant, and travelled around the country as her father lectured on temperance.
As an adult, she was performing in Mike Todd's "Spook Scandals" when celebrated director Howard Hawks caught sight of the beautiful blonde, and cast her in the cinematic version of the Russisan novel, "Dreadful Hollow." However, Nurmi walked out on her contract after being utterly disillusioned by repeated production delays. She then tried modelling and dancing, including a long stint with Earl Carroll's revues.
Her breakthrough came when, for a masquerade competition, she costumed herself in the mode of Charles Addams' Morticia cartoon character. Not only did she win 1st prize, but also landed a contract with the local L.A. ABC affiliate channel 7 for a late night hosting gig for the 1954-55 season. Impressively, she was nominated for an Emmy for "Most Outstanding Female Personality, and was profiled in such mags as "TV Guide," "Newsweek," and "Life." Fan clubs sprung up all over the globe as she became a most recognizable figure, making guest appearance at store openings and judging contests. She was dubbed the "Queen of Horror," with songs composed to honor her!
Bela Lugosi was also a fan, and was delighted when she joined him in "Plan 9." Tragically, he died two weeks into production.
Vampira's fame quickly expired after that, with only a few scant film roles, such as in 1959's "Beat Generation" and 1960's "Sex Kittens Go To college.' She did engage in painting, creating some "Vampira" portraits, and made a final screen appearance in 1998's "I Woke Up Early The Day I Died." And Nurmi made some news when she sued Cassandra Peterson, asserting that her "Elvira" characterization was a rip off of "Vampira."
Again, I thank you, Vampira, for your inspiring portrayal, and May the Power of the Cosmos be with You, wherever you may be now!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Brad Steiger Announces an Exciting New Monthly eBook Series:
A real nightmare occurs when you experience a frightening encounter with something strange and unknown, and you know without question that you are not asleep, that you are not dreaming. You know with every ounce of your being that the chilling encounter is real.
I first experienced real nightmares when I was a child, and ghostly visitors walked through our bedrooms nearly every night and kept us awake. Our farmhouse was built on the site of the old stagecoach stop, and it seemed that some other-worldly passengers were still trying to catch the last stage out of this dimension. Years later when our parents tore the old house down and built a new home on the same site, our spirit interlopers now appeared as shadows moving about the house and amused themselves by knocking on the walls, stomping about with heavy feet, and opening and closing doors. Growing up with real nightmares on a regular basis prepared me for the nights in my adulthood when I would investigate haunted houses with a team of paranormal researchers and encounter a wide variety of other-worldly beings.
For five decades now I have been devoted to exploring and examining unusual, unexplainable, and otherwise strange occurrences--and giving other people vicarious nightmares through my books and articles. I have written more than two thousand articles with paranormal themes and authored/coauthored more than 170 books, including Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside; Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places; The Werewolf Book; and with my wife, Sherry, the author/co-author of 43 books, Real Miracles, Divine Intervention, and Feats of Incredible Survival, Conspiracies and Secret Societies, and Real Aliens, Space Beings, and Creatures from Other Worlds.
The reviews of these books often have a recurrent theme of the readers “leaving the lights on” and being unable to sleep. While most individuals would probably be offended if someone accused them of giving them nightmares, I take it as a compliment.
Commenting about Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside, a reviewer wondered if Stephanie Meyer “…would ever have written the Twilight books” if she had read my book first.
Yet another warned that Real Vampires “…will keep you awake at night and you will want to sleep with the lights on, which I must warn you may be the only way that you will rest at all.”
Some of those who reviewed Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places also felt it was their duty to advise readers of possible nightmares as a result of reading the book: “There were several occasions where I had to stop and allow the chills to pass, but I still had to read with all the lights on.” Wrote another: “There are terrifying tales of ghosts and mysterious beings that will unnerve you.”
Real Monsters, Gruesome Creatures, and Beasts from the Darkside brought similar forewarnings from reviewers that readers may suffer resultant nightmares from reading the book: “Filled with gripping, nail-biting monster stories, be prepared to give up sleeping until you are completely finished with this book. You will have to leave the lights on to get even half-way through this book.”
And now, in an exciting new and unique monthly eBook series entitled Real Nightmares, Visible Ink is offering scary stories that readers have declared the most frightening, scary, and awesome—the ones that they had to leave the lights on to finish reading...the ones in which you may vicariously experience “real nightmares.”