One of the first things people ask when they find out that I maintain a Vincent Price webpage is: "Why Vincent Price?" My reasons are many. To begin with, I'd have to go back to when I was 6 years old, in 1963. I vividly remember sitting on my backyard swing while a group of older neighbor kids stood and described the film they'd just seen at a downtown movie theater that day. I sat spellbound as they told me every delicious plot detail. It awakened a passion in me. A passion for horror. It would be several years later when I'd discover that the film my older friends had told me about was The Haunted Palace. This enthusiasm was solidified when I bought my first 'monster magazine' at our neighborhood grocery store. It was called Castle of Frankenstein. I began watching every horror film I could tune in on my family's TV. Horror and monsters became my Number 1 interest (much to my parents' chagrin).
I loved and followed the careers of primarily two actors back then: Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. Vincent, in particular, was easy to follow. He appeared all the time on TV in a lot of my favorite shows. He was on talk shows, game shows, and documentaries. His unique voice turned up on recordings and radio. Vincent Price was, basically, everywhere you happened to look! It wasn't until 1970 that I saw my first Vincent Price films on the big screen. My dad took my little brother and me to a rundown former downtown movie palace to see the double feature of The Conqueror Worm and The Oblong Box. The next year, he took us to the same theater to see Dr. Phibes Rises Again!
In 1972, I read that Vincent Price was coming to town. He was visiting a local college where he would be delivering a lecture about his career in films called The Villains Still Pursue Me. I was only 15, so my older cousin was enlisted to take me to see him. Following a showing of the film The Raven, Vincent Price himself came out on stage to deliver his lecture. I sat spellbound as I learned all about the man whose horror films had thrilled me for years. I learned of his love of cooking, his passion for the arts, his career on stage, and his promotion of native American culture. He was so much more than I'd ever expected him to be!
After that, I saw every Vincent Price film I could see. I wrote to him (and received a response). I watched for all of his many appearances on television. I wrote to him again, and again (and always received a reply). He came to Rochester two more times, once to present his one-man show as Oscar Wilde, Diversions & Delights. I attended both. On his last appearance, I waited to meet him after his performance. There were quite a few of us. Vincent Price stopped and talked with each and every person individually, giving them his undivided attention as they asked for autographs, asked him questions, and told him why they were a 'fan.' I remember when he finally got to me. He shook my hand and smiled. He gasped as I handed him an original souvenir program from his first major role, that of Prince Albert in the play Victoria Regina in 1936. "Where the hell did you find that?" he asked (this was before the ebay era). Price signed it for me and told me all about the artist who'd designed the program, and to look for the LIFE magazine with Hoover Dam on the cover to read a review of the play. Then I handed him a program from another stage hit of his (Angel Street), which caused him to give me an arched eyebrow. He was stunned to see this one, too. After chatting a few more seconds, I thanked him, shook his hand again, and walked away so he could thrill the next person in line. My 'hero' was a genuinely nice person.
I wrote him another letter around 1990, noticing that he'd gradually faded from the public eye. It was a letter that I never sent. Then, in 1993, as I was getting ready to leave for work at age 36, my mom called to say that Vincent Price had died. I cried. It was like losing a good friend. An inspiration had passed. Because my hometown newspaper had been so sparse in covering his passing, I wrote a letter to the editor. They published it.
In 1999, six years after his death, I created The Vincent Price Exhibit website. It was the first comprehensive site to explore all aspects of Vincent Price's life. The site has brought me great pleasure, and has introduced me to some truly wonderful people with a common interest in Price and his influence on all of us.
In 2007, I was contacted by a producer working with Fox/MGM on some 'extras' to be included in a 5-disc DVD set of Vincent Price films (including the never-before-released restored version of Witchfinder General). He asked me to participate in a couple of short pieces on Price, his coworkers and, specifically, Witchfinder General itself.
On April 10th, a film crew, along with film producer and NYU professor Cathrine Kellison came to our home for the interviews. What a thrill that was for a fan! My only regret is that the long sequences of 'talking heads' weren't broken up with the many images from my collection that I had scanned for the production. I was, however, humbled when I saw the other participants -- the gentlemen pictured below!
Then, in late 2010, I received a phone call from Tom Stockman in St. Louis, MO. Tom was planning a huge event in Price's hometown to celebrate what would have been the actor's 100th birthday - Vincentennial! He began by asking if I'd loan some of my memorabilia for a museum exhibit, and - a bit later - invited me to actually attend, as a guest of the Cinema St. Louis organization to introduce two of the films they planned to show! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and attracted hundreds of people from all over the world. And I met some truly amazing people there. In fact, I've come to know a lot of wonderful people through our mutual interest in Vincent Price!
So, why Vincent Price? Because he was a part of my life, all the way back to when I was 6 and sitting on that swing. He inspired me to vary my interests. He made me mindful of beauty in life and art. He helped shape my social conscience. And, above all, he entertained me, and my entire family.
So, please enjoy this site! May it remind you of all the reasons YOU love Vincent Price. And for anyone visiting who's not familiar with him, may this inspire you to become one of 'us.'
Copyright 2018-19 by The Vincent Price Exhibit