Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Collection of Dennis Hollenbeck

From Dennis Hollenbeck (incidentally, a second cousin of Price's LAURA costar Clifton Webb), come the following wonderful scans. Dennis had the good fortune to meet VP several times over the years and has gathered some marvelous keepsakes. Here are a few! Thanks, Dennis!

A photo of Vincent Price by Dennis Hollenbeck in his dressing room following a performance of Diversions and Delights in San Francisco in 1978

Dennis recollects: "Memories: He also signed the cookbook, also shown here. He had a cookie cut-out of a star on his dressing room door, above his name! Mr. Price made sure that fans was always welcome to visit him after the play. Any one waiting outside at the theatre stage door requesting a autograph or just to meet Mr. Price was welcome back inside and taken to the dressing room! I had gone to the play about 7 times during its San Francisco run, and Mr. Price still welcomed us to visit him every time! He was so nice and took time to talk to each of his fans. A wonderful man was Vincent Price, the man who cared about his fans and friends."

"Price came back to San Francisco in 1978 to do 2 weeks (hold over 3 more weeks!) of D&D. Like in 1977, he always welcomed his fans. However it was not the same theatre, and the stage door guy at the door did not believe me that VP would welcome us to his dressing room. We were not able to get in during the 1978 run of the play. However VP later came out to meet us. First thing he said (to me? not sure) to us that he was so sorry we were not let in to see him! Seem this theatre don't let people in backstage. Must be true, because we had to wait for VP to come out after the play when I went again to see the play. In 1979 I saw and met VP for the last time. He did a reading of Poe's works at the San Francisco Opera House with the SF Symphony playing mood background music. After the program, we were able to come on stage to meet VP! By this time I was able to find a old copy of VP's book on his dog Joe. (In his hand-written letter the year before to me that you have put on the web site, Price said the book was out of print). However I was lucky to find a copy. When it was my time to meet him (the line was long! It was over a hour before my time came!), first time he said "You again this year! (with a smile) What another book? I did not know I wrote that many and you have them all!" (Not really. Wish it was so). Believe it or not, without saying another word, he signed the book and he remembered my name! He came back to the Bay Area in 1980 to do a reading at a college in Hayward, CA, just a few miles away from my home. However I found out too late and missed seeing the program and him. I wonder if he was thinking of me and where was I? I don't think so. But it did hurt missing him."

 "My walk with Vincent Price and the picture I took of him on the streets of San Francisco:

"After doing his one-man play on a Saturday afternoon in 1978. We met Mr. Price outside the theatre. He began autographing, talking and having his picture taken with and by fans. After about a hour, Price said good-bye and began his walk to his hotel. As he walks away I asked could I ask him why he have not made a movie for some time now. He said he must go, but I may walk with him alone. Price took out and lights up a cigarette with a sad face. He said he was not happy with Hollywood these days. He was let down with some bombs, but needed the money. He missed the old days of Hollywood. For now he is happy not making movies at this time in his life. Price wanted to return to the stage for a long time now, and now he is doing just that and doing well. The stage is for him. I then ask could I take one more picture before I leave him. Price said sure that I could. We stopped walking and I took his picture. And so that is the story behind my walk with Vincent Price."

One of several books Dennis asked VP to sign for him.

A typically polite and genuine letter from VP. How he found the time to respond to all of his fans while on the road I'll never know!

 "Signed first page of the free hand-out theatre program of Vincent Price's new one-man play as Oscar Wilde, DIVERSIONS AND DELIGHTS. Mr. Price signed this for me on the first night of his new play, July 16, 1977 in San Francisco, California!"

Scans and quoted narrative copyright Dennis Hollenbeck

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vincent Clarence Price: Baking Powder King

Vincent Price's grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, is widely credited as the inventor of baking powder, a product that has become a household staple.  Here, in contemporary documents, is the story of the man who became a millionaire.

The New York Sun, July 16, 1914

The Price Baking Powder Company lived on after its founder's passing.  This cookbook came out in the 1920s.

Monday, August 14, 2017


A simply beautiful portrait of Diana Rigg between scenes at Kensal Green Cemetery in London, during the filming of THEATRE OF BLOOD.

Quite coincidentally, I took the following photo from where Diana stands when I visited Kensal Green in 2014.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Day Vincent Price Switched Places With His Own Wax Figure

I've heard people talk about this happening, but it wasn't until today that I found proof!  From the Los Angeles Times, May 28, 1963.  Enjoy!

But first, for background, here's a 1962 postcard from the Movieland Wax Museum in Hollywood, showing the Vincent Price HOUSE OF WAX scene:

Now, on with our story...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pictura: Adventures in Art [Pictura Films, 1951]

PICTURA was Vincent Price's first screen opportunity to combine acting with his love for the arts. It's also one of his most unusual films.  A combination of discussions of famous works of art (narrated by a cast of famous voices) along with classic pieces of music, the film was shown in both mainstream theaters as well as in art galleries and arts centers.  Vincent was the only actor who appeared on screen, introducing each segment to a group of "students."

Vincent and his eager "students"

The film was well received and reviewed. This review appeared in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 8, 1952

Monday, August 7, 2017

Witchfinder General by Graham Humphries

The immensely talented English artist Graham Humphries created this stunning artwork for the British DVD release of WITCHFINDER GENERAL.  This signed print was given to me by Mr. Gary Smart.

Humphries also did the fantastic artwork for the British quad poster for Vincent Price's 1981 anthology film THE MONSTER CLUB.

This poster is not, alas, in my collection.

Click HERE to go to an interview with Humphries about the design of that poster. There are also links there to Graham Humphries' website as well as to other examples of his work.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Read, Write, and Draw

Vincent Price did several projects with the Walt Disney Company during the 1980s. Do you remember a 4-minute series called Read, Write, and Draw that aired on the Disney Channel during the late 80's?

If you don't, here's what D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has to say about it:

"Beginning in January 1987, Disney Channel asked kids 12 and under to send in endings to short stories that were published in the Disney Channel Magazine. Within a few months, short videos were made of Vincent Price reading the children’s submissions, and these aired at various times during the week until the fall of 1988."

Can you imagine having your child's story read by Vincent Price?  At any rate, it was a lot of fun seeing this softer side of the actor in his later years.

Here's one of the segments.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Vincent Price Brought Rembrandt and Picasso to Sears!

In the early 1960s, department store giant Sears-Roebuck undertook a major new enterprise. The store management wanted to add fine art to its inventory, so that everyday people could have real, unique artistic creations in their homes, instead of the mass-produced reproductions stores usually offered. To help plan and carry out this audacious marketing idea, Sears joined forces with Vincent Price.  Not only did Price find great merit in the idea, he also became instrumental in making it happen.  Sears gave him a generous budget with which to scour the earth for both classic, existing art as well as new works by unknown artists of merit.  Wife Mary actually framed many of the works that ended up in Sears showrooms.  Vincent would make good use of his time abroad filming by scouting for artworks for Sears.  The collection, called The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, was offered in select stores around the country, and at traveling exhibits to smaller stores.  By the time the program ended in 1971, more than 50,000 pieces of original art had been sold to the American public.

Many of the less-valuable pieces sold during the program show up on eBay for just a few dollars, more valuable as a reminder of this daring experiment.


Here is a piece I purchased on eBay for just a few dollars.  A printing block, mounted and framed (probably by Mary Price), with a brief description and identifying label on the back.

Following is a complete catalog from 1964 with an incredible array of offerings.  Note the prices, and consider how much many of these pieces would be worth today!

For those wishing to discover more about the Sears Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, there's a brief history at the Sears-Roebuck Archives site.