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 newspapers.com, 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.
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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!
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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|