Thursday, July 28, 2016

Author Glenn Pearsall and I chat about the Civil War


     Families torn apart by the Civil War, a frantic writing process and maple sugar all found their way in as topics for my interview with author Glenn Pearsall this month in North Creek, New York.  He and I sat in front of an audience at the Tannery Pond Center to discuss his first novel Leaves Torn Asunder.  We spoke for more than half an hour, a live version of my "Author Visits" series.   
     We talked about plot, characters and history, but it was his writing process I found the most interesting. Glenn said he did not outline the book, but would instead frantically type the words and paragraphs as they came to him.  Sometimes he said the ideas would rush at him much faster than he could type.  The author also admitted he'd sometimes have whole Civil War battles playing out in his mind as he tried to engage in dinner conversation with his wife Carol!  His wife, by the way, acted as editor and critic during the creation of the novel.
     Board member of the Johnsburg Historical Society Suzie Anderson wrote after the event, "The interviewer, Paul Larson, and Glenn Pearsall easily moved from discussing broad themes, such as the specter of slavery hovering over the nation, to small details of the soldiers' daily life.  The audience appeared fully engaged in the dialogue between Larson and Pearsall from start to finish."
     It was an enjoyable evening that also included a slide show from Glenn showing real places and people who had inspired his work of Adirondack war fiction.  Glenn's showcase of photo concepts for the book cover that did not succeed, plus the one that did, revealed how many authors and book publishers also struggle over decisions about the visual representation of a book.
     Leaves Torn Asunder focuses on subjects rarely covered in Adirondack literature, those of farming families facing the horrors of war, on the battlefield and at home.
     The book release party in North Creek concluded with refreshments and a book signing by the author.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Enjoy two segments of the "Adirondack Journeys" series this week on Mountain Lake Journal.  

The series highlights tourist destinations throughout the region in all four seasons.  

Producer Paul Larson takes us to the Museum Without Walls on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh.  You'll learn how one monumental sculpture on the grounds encouraged others to sprout up around it. 

He also explores the Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation in Wilmington, New York, home to animals who can't survive in the wild and require care.  

Mountain Lake Journal airs Friday at 8pm, with repeats Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 10am, and Thursday at 1pm.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Iowan Memories of Gothic Horror

In 1982, thirty-four years ago this month, the Iowa Public Broadcasting Network was wrapping up a series of twelve Vincent Price films, presented in a unique way, with introductions and final thoughts presented by the actor himself.  He delivered his insight seated comfortably within the spacious rooms of Salisbury House, a Gothic mansion in my home town of Des Moines, Iowa.

Three years ago, I asked the powers that be at Iowa Public Television (as the network is now called) for their help to rescue the rare introductory footage of Vincent Price from almost certain disappearance, just in time for the release of some of the films on Shout! Factory's Blu-Ray disc set The Vincent Price Collection.

This month, I'm thrilled to unearth some other precious items from this era:  scans of newspaper clippings centering on the Vincent Price series in Iowa, and the time he spent in Salisbury House.  These press items come courtesy of, and I enjoyed the few hours I spent digging for all the printed publicity surrounding The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors.

From the damp vaults below The Des Moines Register emerge some exciting articles about Mr. Price in Des Moines.

Our discoveries begin with the very first images I saw of the Vincent Price series, from the Iowa TV paper that came out on Sunday, March 14, 1982, promoting the broadcast of the first film on Saturday the 20th.

This is the cover of "Iowa TV" that week.  I was hooked at first glance.

Inside the edition, a two page spread further convinced me that I'd be watching public television that approaching Saturday night.


Festival part 1: Larger print

Festival part 2: Larger print

Festival part 3: Larger print

When Saturday finally arrived, an ad ran on the stock pages, reminding readers of something I'd been looking forward to the whole week.

Finally, an article that my vivid memory refused to conjure up, because this news item had completely escaped my attention in 1982.  It's an article I had not seen until this month.  The piece reveals an interview conducted with Vincent Price while at Salisbury House in January of 1982, and it previewed the Gothic Horrors series two months before the first air date.  If only I had seen this article when it ran... I missed out on two full months of anticipation!

Monster part 1, Larger print

Monster part 2, Larger print

While looking at the newspaper scans, I also took note of the original air dates for The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors.  I had remembered that they didn't exactly run for twelve weeks in a row, but my memory did play a scary trick on me...  First, the air dates:

The Fall of the House of Usher    Saturday, March 20, 1982  8pm

Pit and the Pendulum    Saturday, March 27, 1982  8pm  (The Wizard of Oz began at 7pm on CBS... I had to make a major decision that night, but I chose to watch the Vincent Price film.)

Master of the World    Saturday, April 3, 1982  8pm

Then, a break from the series... Live from Lincoln Center:  Lucia Di Lammermoor  Saturday, April 10, 1982  7pm

Tales of Terror    Saturday, April 17, 1982  8pm

The Raven    Saturday, April 24, 1982  8pm

The Haunted Palace    Saturday, May 1, 1982  8pm

The Comedy of Terrors    Saturday, May 8, 1982  8pm

The Masque of the Red Death    Saturday, May 15, 1982  8pm

A second break from the series... Horowitz in London:  A Royal Concert  Saturday, May 22, 1982  8pm

The Conqueror Worm    Saturday, May 29, 1982  8pm  Oops!  Price had said The Tomb of Ligeia would be the next film, and it was skipped!  I have no memory of being traumatized by this.

Scream and Scream Again    Saturday, June 5, 1982  8pm

An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe    Saturday, June 12, 1982  8pm

The Tomb of Ligeia    Saturday, June 19, 1982  8pm   Ahh, I finally got to see the skipped movie a week after the series had its finale.  At least it still ended with Poe (and with Price mistakenly saying The Conqueror Worm would air next time).

My heartfelt thanks go to Iowa Public Television for this incredible series that was made ever so personal for Iowans, by inviting Vincent Price inside a treasure of Des Moines, Salisbury House.  I enjoyed the movies in 1982, and am enjoying sharing some memories with you from The Des Moines Register.
BUT... through all these years, my memory reassembled the series so that The Tomb of Ligeia had been broadcast in its proper place, and An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe was the final episode aired.  Guess my memory is the one that errored.  SCARY!
Paul Larson, Monster Kid of the Year, 2013