Lessons on Being a Grown-Up from… Vincent Price?
A big movie star came to my hometown to shoot a cheesy local children's show. Here's what he accidentally taught me.
February 5, 2013 - 7:00 am
In 1968, Boris Karloff agreed to a brief cameo in upstart director Peter Bogdanovich’s first feature film, Targets. It’s about a Charles Whitman-type mass murderer whose shooting spree collides with Karloff’s character’s promotional appearance at a local drive-in.
Karloff essentially plays himself in Targets: a horror movie legend still recognized around the world by his last name alone, but whose career is in decline, reduced to cashing little checks for personal appearances (and, er, cameos in low-budget films).
His brand of harmless, campy scares no longer satisfies a jaded public that consumes real life horrors — Mai Lai, the Manson family, and, well, Charles Whitman — every day on the news.
A few years later, Vincent Price found himself in the same situation.
Older and “uncool” (despite receiving the imprimatur of another rising Hollywood director, Roger Corman), Price was out of fashion.
At the same time, CHCH had a limited budget, but wanted and needed some star power for their single camera kid’s show.
Who better to host this “monster mash” than Vincent Price, still one of the all-time great horror-movie icons?
The producers tracked down Price, who agreed to work for $3000 a day, one quarter of his usual per-diem appearance rate.
He loved children, he explained simply. And the gig sounded like fun.
CHCH checked their tiny budget. They could only afford Price for four days, tops.
Four days it would have to be.
Everyone signed on the dotted line.