The first day of Fall this year is on Monday, September 23rd…or 10 days from today!
For Billy Bump the first day of Fall could not come quick enough. He was excited about playing the Creature from the Black Lagoon in his cousin, Gene’s, home movie. Gene was a monster aficionado and an adept researcher of all things horror. He subscribed to Forest J. Ackerman’s Monster Magazines and had collected a room full of professional monster masks. Gene could tell you anything that you wanted to know about the original Dracula movie with Bella Lugosi as it’s star, or spin behind the scenes movie yarns regarding, Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein for hours on end!
Gene knew the co-stars of the monster and horror movies going back to the 1930’s and had a ready knowledge of the production problems that the various movies had undergone and the rationale for why Dracula transformed into a bat.
The monster movies seemed all the more real to Billy B. as he sat next to the fireplace in the living room, with twelve foot ceilings, in the first home that he and his mom, and his dad….for awhile…lived in on Illinois Avenue across from El Dorado High School. The old house creaked and groaned as the night winds blew. As Billy’s dad shook the clinkers down from the coal furnace in the basement…a billow of black smoke would emanate from the heating vents, covering the furniture and Billy B. in soot!
Carl, Billy B.’s best friend, was going to be in the production, as well! He wanted to be Frankenstein and had been practicing his lumbering walk for weeks. Carl was so pumped about his role in the flick that he had talked his mother into purchasing some large boots, like Frankenstein in the movie, as well as clothing that was eerily similar to the clothes that the creature wore.
On the day of the filming, Gene was to operate the camera and Billy B. and Carl…would be the primary performers. The supporting cast were several bull-frogs and a great blue heron. The Old Strip-Cut was to be the filming location and plot was the apprehension of Frankenstein by the Creature from the Black Lagoon…all on an eight millimeter camera and a film reel of three minutes!
Now, Frankenstein had one line and it was, ‘Me Frankenstein…you come with me!’
Frankenstein, or rather Carl in the mask and big boots, was to physically pick up the Creature, or Billy B., and throw him into the Strip Cut! A production values issue that had not been fully fleshed out was that Carl and Billy B. were about the same size and weight.
As Gene called out; Action…the melee…began! Frankenstein lumbered toward the Creature, both in full masks…and Frank…in costume. When the undead monster started to lift the, heavy Creature, he fell into the Strip Cut and pulled the fish-man in with him!
An underwater camera…would have been nice! The thrashing and gulping in of water…was cinematic! Gene dropped the eight millimeter…silent film…camera and dove into the October water! As he pulled the sputtering actors out…a clap of thunder peeled out and a bolt of lightening struck 50 feet from them!
Frankenstein lost his boots in the Cut. The Creature lost his pants…and his dignity!
The masks had shrunk in the cold water….and although they originally fit tight…they now were impossible to remove! Arriving at Gene’s home…he cut them off with a sharp pair of scissors. He then regaled them with scary music on his pump organ…..
All seemed well and right with the world after some hot cocoa and laughs about the mishaps of the filming…and sadness concerning the destroyed professional monster masks.
The next morning Billy B. and Carl arrived at their second grade classroom…whereupon Mrs. Blackwell instructed them to remove their halloween masks….when they looked into the cloak room mirror…there was Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon….looking back at them……………..
Note: Photos are courtesy of Google search.