Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Latest HuffPost:2 More Starlets' Premature Demises!

Two More Starlets Who Met Tragic Demises!

Noted TV actress Inger Stevens and silent screen star Martha Mansfield are two female thespians who suffered tragic, premature deaths!

Inger Stevens (1934-1970): This Swedish blue-eyed blonde captivator (born Inger Stensland in Stockholm) starred in the doomsday epic, The World, The Flesh, And The Devil(1959), as Sarah Crandall, the survivor of a nuclear holocaust. A white racist (Mel Ferrer, who was a pianist with new hands in 1967's The Hands of Orlac) and a miner (Harry Belafonte, who was a Jewish angel named Alex Levine in 1970 The Angel Levine) joined her as the only other surviving humans on the planet. This dark, apocalyptic work had a surprise ending: after it appeared certain that one of the men would kill the other as they hunted each other through Manhattan's deserted canyons, the trio wound up skipping off hand-in-hand, determined to make the best of what fate had offered them.

Of course, Inger is best remembered for two superb 1960 episodes of The Twilight Zone. First in The Hitchhiker, she was Nan Adams, a woman who had what appeared to be a minor tire blowout on a turnpike. But, as she wended her way across country, she found herself being stalked by a creepy hitcher enacted by Lew Gallo (later seen as Vokar, a denizen of earth in the future in the 1967 "Time Tunnel" episode, Chase Through Time). Ultimately, she learned that she had actually been killed in the accident and that "Death" was pursuing her. In the final scene, she glimpsed him in her car's rearview mirror, seated in the back, where he stated, "I believe you're going my way."

Later that year, in the episode,"The Lateness of the Hour," she portrayed Jana, the daughter of Dr. Loren (John Hoyt, a veteran of numerous sci-fi/horror entries, such as 1958's Attack of the Puppet People), who had created a coterie of robotic servants. Ultimately, in a gut-wrenching scene, she came to realize that she, too, was an android, created as the perfect daughter for a childless couple, as she repeatedly slammed her fist against a stairwell to demonstrate that she was incapable of feeling pain. Dr. Loren then reinvented her as a servant with a new memory track!

Inger suffered from a lifelong bout of depression, with an apparently unhappy life off-screen. For instance, she had a brief, bitter marriage to her agent, Anthony Soglio, whom she wed in 1955. And, she attempted suicide on New year's Day, 1960, with an overdose of barbiturates which rendered her temporarily blind for two harrowing weeks. The next year, she secretly married a music producer, Isaac "Ike" Jones in Tijuana, Mexico. Despite steady work on both TV and in the movies, she was besieged by chronic melancholia.

Tragically, she reportedly died at just age 36 of an overdose of barbiturates on Thursday, April 30, 1970. Her death was ruled a suicide as opposed to an accident. But, close friends actually suspected murder as she was ebullient about her upcoming starring role in an Aaron Spelling TV series, The Most Deadly Game. Jones claimed her body, which was then cremated, with ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Ruehl Facts:

Inger fell in love with Bing Crosby on the set of Man On Fire (1957), but refused to accede to his demand to convert to Catholicism. Later, actress Kathyrn Grant did agree to convert and married him, devastating Inger!

She and actor Rod Steiger came close to being asphyxiated by carbon monoxide fumes while shooting a scene in a tunnel in 1957 for the movie, Cry Terror.

She was the last passenger to leap from an airliner that exploded upon landing in Lisbon, Portugal in 1961!

Martha Mansfield (1899-1923): Silent screen actress Martha Mansfield's best claim to fame was undoubtedly co-starring as Millicent Carew with John Barrymore in the 1920 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

After achieving success in New York City as a musical comedy star, the consummate beauty commenced her film career in the 1917 short, Max Comes Across. By 1923, she had amassed appearances in 28 films, mostly in secondary roles. An apparent major step forward in her career came in that year when she signed with Fox Studios for the lead role in the Civil War epic, The Warrens of Virginia.

On Thursday, November 30, she was attired in a bustling period gown on the set in Ft. Worth, TX. After a day of shooting, she was walking to her automobile when someone carelessly tossed a match that set her dress ablaze and engulfer her in deadly flames. Actor Wilfred Lytell, the film's co-star, tried desperately to save her, wrapping his coat around her to extinguish the fire. But, tragically, she died the next day at just age 24!

Ruehl Fact: Mansfield was born Martha Erlich on July 14, 1899 in New York City. She also used the name Martha Early.

So, once again, I ask if it is within the realm of feasibility that these actresses were victims of some type of a curse for appearing in works in the sci-fi/horror genre? Or, were these just tragic cases of ill fortune?

Was There Once A Female Pharaoh?

Monday, April 1, 2013

3 More Horor/Sci-Fi Films With Flubs!

GET UPDATES FROM Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.

More Flubs in Sci-Fi Horror Productions

Posted: 03/27/2013 5:27 pm

Flubs are endemic to movies and television programs of all ilks! Some are continuity errors caused by multiple shooting days. Some are so-called "revealing" mistakes where background props, crew members' hands, and the like are visible. Others are simple errors made by actors scrambling their lines. And, yet others are inconsistencies in fact and logic. Herewith are some intriguing examples from entries in the sci-fi/horror genre.

Terror Is a Man (1959)

On a remote island off of the coast of South America (actually filmed in the Philippines ), a surgeon, Dr.Charles Girard (Francis Lederer) is transforming a panther into a man through a series of intricate operations. An alert at the beginning of the film warned viewers that there would be a very horrific surgical scene, with a buzzer sounding for those with weak stomachs. But, when that alarm went off, all that was depicted was the doctor cutting into what appeared to be nothing more than a piece of foam rubber, one of the mildest operations ever shown in a film, after which the "all clear" alarm sounded, a scene lasting just a few seconds. Considering all the fanfare leading up to it, the producer should at least have shown some chicken entrails covered in ketchup!
Ruehl Fact: Francis Lederer (born Frantisek Lederer in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1899) was a handsome leading man in Europe before arriving in America in 1932. He portrayed Dracula in 1959's The Return of Dracula and on TV's Night Gallery (in the 1971 episode, "The Devil Is Not Mocked"). He made a fortune investing in real estate in California's San Fernando Valley , and died at age 100, yes, I said 100, in 2000, having lived in three separate centuries!

It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)

As the result of atomic testing, a gargantuan octopus is navigating the Pacific Ocean , ultimately scaling the Golden Gate Bridge and menacing San Francisco , But, due to funding limitations, creaturemeister Ray Harryhausen could only afford to appoint the beast with 6 tentacles instead of the requisite 8, creating, in effect, a hexopus! Through careful camera positioning, the creature's deficit was usually concealed.
But, instead of hiding this shortfall, the producers should have embraced it, stressing that it was indeed a bizarre six-tentacled mutation, or perhaps that it had lost two appendages in a battle with another undersea titan, paving the way for a sequel.
Whether it had six or eight tentacles, the creature's threat to the populace was indeed confined to the waterfront sector as it could not climb out of the water and plague the entire city as Harryhausen's dinosaur did in his previous film, 1953s The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

Ruehl Fact:
Contrary to what many fans think, perhaps due to his work on so many British films, Ray Harryhausen is not English...he was born in Los Angeles back in 1920. Sadly, the stop-motion pioneer's last film project was 1981's Clash of the Titans. However, he now regularly appears at cinematic conventions and invariably draws large throngs of fans.

The Mole People

A team of archaeologists led by Dr. Roger Bentley (John Agar) discover a Sumerian tablet in the Tibetan mountains, leading to a discussion of the Gilgamesh tablets. But, in a factual error, George Smith, the British Museum linguist who translated them in 1879, is credited as their discoverer when it was actually A.H. Layard back in 1839.
Eventually, they descend to the center of the mountain, encountering both a small surviving Sumerian populace, all albinos except for one normal human female, Adel (Cynthia Patrick), and an enslaved race of human-mole hybrids who slither through the earth. But, in a major error, the king's and high priest's chamber walls are inscribed in Egyptian hieroglyphics rather than Sumerian cuneiforms!
Ruehl Fact: In the finale, Agar and his comrades escape during an earthquake, taking with them Adel, whom Bentley has fallen for. But, surprisingly, she is crushed to death as they reach the surface, extirpating all traces of their find. For some inexplicable reason, she was called Adel during the film, but listed as Adad in the credits.