Tuesday, 7 June 2016

#TOOCOOLTUESDAY : MEETING VINCENT PRICE ON THE SET AT ELSTREE


#‎toocooltuesday‬: WEDDING DAY, Birth of your children, Their graduations...aside, the day I had the opportunity to spend time with the one and only, Vincent Price, is up there! ..please don't let my wife read this... If you dislike tales of reminiscing, clumsy name dropping... you are excused now!


IT CAME AROUND by default. In 1980, make up artist Roy Ashton rang me...no I didn't have a hot line to him or any stars, we spoke once in a while, he was lovely... he was ringing to tell me he was making plans to start work on a film for Amicus films producer Milton Subotsky, starring Vincent Price at Elstree studios, in two weeks time...AND that it looked like Peter Cushing had signed up too! As it worked out, he hadn't. But that's another story. By the end of that day, through sheer luck, and by Milton Subotsky's and Roy's invitation, I had an invite to join them for the day on the set of 'The Monster Club' at Elstree studios!


BY THIS TIME, through sheer cheek and through what became known as 'the Cushing Connection' I had met and interviewed around 30 to 40 actors who had worked with Peter. Just the mention of his name, opened doors to the kindest of people and their generosity. Milton Subotsky was a fan at heart, a shy man who loved to talk books, comics and films. we certainly wasn't on buddy-back-slapping terms, but he was always friendly, loved to talk shop and the kind that, if he could help you, he would suggest he could... both he and Michael Ripper, validated my application for my Actors Union, Equity card!... and so, on this day he made the meeting happen.


MEETING VINCENT PRICE was a blast, Milton introduced me during a break in shooting. Vincent peered around Milton to see me and announced, 'Peter Cushing's WHAT? Ap-prec-iation Society?' I sheepishly nodded. 'How is the OL GOAT?' he said laughing. I took this as my cue, and stepped up. He pointed at an empty canvas chair, with name on it and...I sat next to him and John Carradine for the next FOUR hours, only wandering off during lunch.



AFTER THE FIRST HALF an hour, I indicated to Subotsky, that should I now...'come over there' and leave them in peace?.. Milton came over and asked if there was a problem. When I asked him again, he just smiled, 'No. It's fine. You can stay there'. Vincent over heard our stage whispers and bellowed, 'Just don't touch ANYTHING or fall over the CABLES!


I HAD A SMALL CASSETTE  tape recorder with me which I used for a short interview, which eventually strayed into relaxed conversation...his love of chocolate,Peter, Whitstable oysters...he was talking to me, but also playing to everyone else too. I changed tapes three times! It was all very funny and entertaining.


I HUNG ON EVERY WORD, joke, aside and anecdote. Both he and Caradine were called away several times, after the stand in's had helped set up their shot, the dressers brushed their clothes, someone fussed with Vincent's hair, he blew his nose and off they went filming the 'Family Tree' scene, sat at their coffin table, with Roy Ward Baker directing. Then they came and sat back down in their canvas chairs.


AFTER THE FIRST HOUR OR SO, it just seemed the most natural thing in the world to be sitting and chatting... he was very fond of Peter, loved Christopher Lee and as a joke, kept telling me 'We have birthday's on the same day you know. Now it's that strange? Peter is the day before us! Did you know that?'... after the third time he told me, he laughed out loud,'You KNEW that didn't you!' He was a kidder. He was extremely kind to me that day, and it's an experience I will never forget. I have never told this story before. I don't dine out on or make a habit of recalling ' and then Robert Quarry said to me' stories, I never had a little black book of contacts either! I was just a fan, a very lucky one, Now... isn't that just...TOO COOL? : Marcus Brooks


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