Circa 1980's, purchased from the Vincent Price Estate
By Roddy McDowall, 1974 [in character from BAD DAY FOR BLUEBEARD]
By Herb Ritts, 1989
I had a small part in the film "HAUNTED PALACE." I am interested in learning if there are any posters available to purchase and wonder if you would have that information. Thank you for any assistance.
Thank you for asking. I played Hester (I believe Tillinghast), Prices' mistress, who was brought back from the dead. I have the film - I would like any poster I am on. I have other things I would like to have. Perhaps you can help.
...As to working with Vincent, he was a little upset with me, as the costume gal lent me a necklace he had given her. He got better later. He really had a good sense of humor and made a great joke about the pit the monster was in - the still cameraman had fallen in at one point (not hurt) and at some point in the script some discussion came up about the inhabitant of the pit and Vincent said “It’s George, the camera man!” (You had to be there) Debra [Paget] was very sweet - her mother was on the set every day and seemed a little out of it. Debra was marrying some millionaire and was seeing jewelry people everyday.
Lon Chaney, Jr. cooked Chili in his dressing room and it was quite pungent. It was a nice experience if you like making films in fourteen days. I had worked for Roger [Corman] in MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES and he really knew how to keep the budget down. I hope you can help me find some posters. It’s such fun to talk about the past.
I would love it if you could send the posters you have scanned as attachments and I will see if I am adept enough to download same. I was one of the belly dancers in the carnival scenes in "X-RAY." Yes, TOUCH OF MINK was the second thing I did - had a brief appearance when Doris Day wrecks the machines and calls [Cary] Grant in the restaurant. Almost the last time I worked. Grant did not like women to wear makeup and I didn't look too hot. Rumor on the set was he talked Doris Day into the no-makeup routine and when she saw the dailies she wanted to fire the cameraman. Even when you saw him socially he would request no makeup and gave quite a lecture. He, however, was never without a bronzer. Ray Milland in person was much more the screen 'Cary Grant' type. Lovely man. I have tried to update the movie base [IMDb] as to other credits, but apparently I am not credible.
I do appreciate your efforts poster wise. Are you in the industry, other than your Vincent Price site?
Rick, thanks so much for the poster web sites. They are much appreciated. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in bringing up your web page. Would you check that the address emailed is correct? I have made several attempts and checked the address carefully. Please hold off on posting any emails until I have an opportunity to review and consider. As I have been practicing law since 1981 and am in the most litigious state in the nation, I am cognizant of the potential for the most innocuous comments being fodder for litigation. In any event, hope you can help me find your site -----
Thanks Rick. I will attempt to pull it up. I am still trying to reach your site without success. Still trying. I appreciate your efforts and keeping me informed. Will let you know my success with eBay.
I actually found the site!...I...was very touched by the "Merchant of Menace" [the title of the page about her]. The text is very clever. My only complaint is the pictures. I have stills and shots on set (that are much more flattering to me). If you plan on keeping the inclusion in your site for any period of time I will provide them if you wish.
I do not mind you telling the "George the cameraman" story or Lon Chaney's cooking habits...Debra was as sweet and generous as she was pretty.
One point of interest perhaps [about THE HAUNTED PALACE]. An additional scene was shot which I believe was to be used as the final scene. Lon Chaney, and the wonderful character actor whose name escapes me [Milton Parsons], and myself were pulling the picture which had hung over the fireplace representing the ancestor, from the big fireplace. Roger's brother Gene was directing.
The fire was real. All our makeup was melting. Chaney was cursing and I was falling apart. If you notice, the dress I wore after the 'resurrection' was the same I wore in the earlier scenes, except there is some light-colored lace added on the neckline and cuffs. After the scene, the wonderful wardrobe gal, whose name I don't remember -- shame on me -- said the fireman standing by told her the lace was very flammable and if a spark had landed it would have been a shame. I was crying after the scene and we didn't quite do it to perfection. Lon Chaney would not repeat it. I think he was the one who had the clout to say, 'this is ridiculous.' I did a lot of work in the industry and that was one of the most frightening experiences.I guess the fact that we had to be on set at 6:00 and were there until 10:00 or so could have made our nerves raw doing Rogers '14-day wonder productions.' Also, the scenes were not shot in sequence. When Ward returns, all we ghouls had green makeup. You can't really see it on me, but Chaney appears tinged. I would have my makeup changed, as the shots were not in sequence, two or three times per day. It was quite an experience. I used to sing to Frank Maxwell [Dr. Willet] "what kind of ghoul am I" (apologies to Sammy Davis). You seem to have a deep fondness for Price. I would be so interested in how that developed.
How very gracious you are! You are very kind and I'm sure I would enjoy the poster tremendously. However, I want you to think about this as I am sure your Vincent Price memorabilia is very dear to you, even if not currently on display. I am most touched by the generosity and thoughtfulness of your offer.
Best Wishes, Cathie
I am very touched by your offer and gladly accept. The particular time of making that movie holds many memories for me. Not just of the film, but of many significant things occurring in my life. Thank you!
Again, thank you for your generosity,
Please forgive me for not getting back to you sooner. The dreaded flu bug struck here and I have not been at the computer. I received the poster intact and am so grateful. How kind of you to make this gift. Since I have been looking, not knowing anything of posters, I realize now how significant it is to have a poster actually used for display. You are very generous and it will bring me much pleasure. I hope we will keep in touch - please remember me to the family and if you are ever in Los Angeles I hope you will let me know and we can meet. Once again, thank you for your kindness - Much, much appreciation!!!
It was good to hear from you. Indeed I am enjoying the poster. I have my friends interested in posters to reminisce by. I am currently looking for one for a friend who was in BULLITT [Pat Renella] (he also didn't speak a word in the film - was the bad guy running from McQueen). I'm so glad you found a poster that doesn't bother your wife and still makes you happy.
I was interested to hear MGM bought the American International rights. Orion had purchased at least some of them and then did a Chapter 11 and the residuals were paid off pennies on the dollar. They're not much anyway, but every now and again I get something from the old films and TV things. I am glad people enjoyed any contribution I might have made to the site - you have put such a lot of work in it and it is very impressive.
I am getting ready to go to Italy and France in June. I am very happy as I have not been for years and figure now or never. And a respite from practicing law! What a sorry profession. How I envy people who enjoy their work, and from what I read about you, you seem to be one of the lucky ones.
I hope the flu is gone from your household for good. Give my regards to the family and please keep in touch. It is a pleasure to hear from you -
I visited the site and saw your picture and read your philosophy. I do not find it corny at all, but very admirable. You look like a nice guy and that is not a bad thing. Hope things are well with you and yours. Still enjoying the poster and thank you again
My very best,
Thanks so much for forwarding the letter. I will answer in the future and take you up on your offer to send same. I wrote you a long diatribe about life, the current political scene and personal feelings about life in general. AOL wiped it out - probably quite a cogent commentary on the content. In any event, I hope you and the family are well and surviving these troubled times. I will attempt to put a resume together, although that is like another life and will strain the memories and evoke others maybe best forgotten. I do appreciate your involving me in your web site and also appreciate the work you are doing. Will write with a hopefully appropriate answer to the letter soon.
I wish I could have your positive feeling about the future. I am pretty cynical and I am sorry about that. Skeptical is fine, but not cynical...In any event, we do live in interesting times. I will send something to answer the letter you have forwarded in the future. Things here are pretty hectic. I hope you and yours are well and enjoying life. It is so very short!!!!!
My best regards.
It's always so good to hear from you and about the family. I am not so much down as frustrated. Sounds like you guys have good "family values" if one will excuse the use of a perverted term by we-all-know-who.
I did not know about the DVD. I saw the X-Ray thing the other night and I thought 'no wonder Roger didn't let me speak.' Honestly, these were not my best two lines. I did study at Goodman, for God's sake, and have some ability. Joking, because I did almost every TV show in the 60's - early 70's with my day-player bits and was really quite good. Breaks and all that, but most importantly, as in everything, you have to want to succeed at what you do above everything. I really will try to remember and send you a list of credits, but if I don't please forgive me.
You sound so grounded and so able to live each day with enjoyment. I do so admire that. That is really what life is.
As an aside, I saw Brian Dennehy last Saturday in Death of a Salesman. I had seen it on cable and thought he was the best (and most unlikely) Loman I had ever seen. I hated Dustin Hoffman. I have seen Cobb, March and others do the role. I was terribly disappointed with Dennehy in the first act. He may have been thrown off as he had a very dramatic stage entrance in silhouette, and no applause. In any event, he was off the entire first act. Started way up there with no where to go. It was a matinee and I don't usually go to matinee's so I don't know the expectation concerning the audience, but maybe he thought we were idiots because of no first entrance applause. Anyway, the second act was, of course, much better. It is hard to believe Miller wrote that 50 years ago. Every time I see it I see more. I have almost forgiven Miller for writing After the Fall. I grew up adoring Monroe and felt she was betrayed...
I seem to be rambling. I so like the idea of corresponding with an unknown quantity. I can imbue you with all the attributes one wishes in a correspondent. Don't you dislike knowing exactly what to expect from everyone you encounter? Do write when you have time.
All my very best to you and yours,
I had every intention of sending an email greeting for Christmas but you know what they say about good intentions. I hope your family had a great holiday and I'm not too late to say Happy New Year!!!
Hi Rick...Marquez is one of my favorites. When I finished my first year of law school (which did not allow for any outside reading, unlike a masters where all one did was show up) I got One Hundred years of Solitude and The World According to Garp and the experience of devouring these words after all the linear language was euphoric. Marquez's syntax, even in translation, and metaphors are so masterful. I thought you would appreciate this. Don't you always wonder what we miss by having to read translations. I'm sure it's much like that very particular incommunicable experience of existence that isolates us from even those most dear.
I am delighted to hear from you. We don't have the winter you are having but we have had so much rain! I usually love it, but this has become a bit much...I have the picture taken on the set [THE HAUNTED PALACE] to which you refer. Yes, it does look pretty silly. When I finally was 'raised,' there was a kiss. I remember Roger telling me I must keep my lips closed. Things have certainly changed! I will try to remember something that might interest someone. Problem is, the most interesting things I am reluctant to repeat for the world to view. I do wish you had more flattering pictures (I mean of me, of course). Had I known you were going to keep that aspect of the site I would have sent you some. I may see if my daughter the computer person can scan and email you some to use if you like. As far as other work, the usual 60's things. Did several Hitchcocks, The Greatest Show on Earth, The New Breed, Burke's Law, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, the very last Sunset Strip, Alcoa Hour, Third Man, Bob Cummings, The Virginian, Untouchables, Laramie and so many others that no one remembers, and that includes me. I would say all small parts, but 'no small parts, only small actors.' I studied at Goodman in Chicago and that was drummed into our heads. Your site just keeps getting better - congratulations. Hope your weather (and ours) gets better. Keep me informed on how things are going and let's hope the country doesn't have to go through the economy we had after Reagan put in his tax fix. Hi to the family,
It is so good to hear from you! I visit your site (you're doing a great job). I will see if there is anything I can find you might want to use. I haven't heard Roger's commentaries but would be interested to hear how he describes what you refer to as his 'fast paced' methods. ...Let me hear from you and I do hope you are well. My best to your family and hope your son enjoys high school and that you and your wife survive the experience. Don't be a stranger,
Dear Rick: ...I really will look for those pictures. You could never be a pest and I love hearing from you so keep me informed as to how you are doing,
My very best to you and yours,
...I have lost my favorite places [bookmarks] and your site. Please let me know if you still have a site and if you want me to send the photos. I do hope you are feeling alright. You are in my thoughts and I wish health and peace of mind, as much as possible, for you and yours.
My love to you and your family in these turbulent times,
As always, so good to hear from you. Thanks for letting me know about the DVD. I will pick one up - after getting the makeup changed and re-changed I would like to see it reflected on film. I am glad your family is well - stay healthy and please keep in touch.
My regards to you and yours,
First, Happy New Year! As with the best intentions, I was going to send a holiday card - hope this late wish will suffice. I just visited your newly-designed site and was so touched by the article concerning your relationship with Vincent Price [an editorial in our local paper that I wrote following his death, describing how much he meant to me growing up]. I had no idea you were so personally involved and have even greater respect for your wonderful tribute to him. I hope you and the family are well and that this new year will bring all good things.
My best to you and yours,
So good to hear from you. Six degrees - so hard to imagine - when it is 50 we complain of the cold. I have completely forgotten my Chicago background....I have not seen any movies - for one who used to live at and in the movies, I seldom attend. I have heard SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE is very good. I did see THE BARBARIANS, a sequel to the French Canadian film of some 17 years previous that won all sorts of awards. Very good. And yes, I would like to be doing almost anything but law.
Stay well and keep in touch.
It was so good to hear from you. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your father. I am so very sorry. I'm sure having the film crew come to interview you was fun. You say it is for some films to be released - how would I identify the collection? I would like to see your contribution. At the moment I can't think of anything of particular interest to add to your site (at least nothing I can put in print!). I may have some pictures and I will take a look if I can find them. How is the family? I hope everyone is well and doing well. Tell them hi for me. Please do keep in touch - I love hearing from you. Again, thanks for thinking of me and keep in touch ~
I came upon your site on MySpace and learned a lot about you. I am so glad I discovered the site. I learned so much about you. You have some very interesting friends (I hope you consider me a friend even if we have never met) and you sound most interesting yourself. I know things about you I never would have. I would never have know you are a Lovecraft descendant [I'm not. Cathie had seen mention of a book I'd written about the Lovecraft family] - no wonder you are interested in the tale of Charles Dexter Ward. I am so glad your children are doing so well . I know you must be concerned about the London experience as a parent [our son was going there to study for a semester], but we will always be so concerned about our children their entire lives. It never stops, I am here to tell you. But this should not keep us from allowing them the opportunities that will enlighten their intellects and enlarge their souls. You and your wife are brave and will always know that you supported your kids in spite of your concerns. And, if we are realistic, life is random. Better to live the best life we can, in spite of the dangers, than to cower in a small space and think we are 'safe' while we wither inside. Enough of that! I think your new site looks great. I have found only a few pictures from THE HAUNTED PALACE. I should be embarrassed to say they are mostly of me (but I'm not - why would I be interested in anyone else at 20-something?) but I do have a couple stills with Vincent Price. One over the 'pit' and one a close-up of both of us. I have several around the coffin (those people just wouldn't give up, would they) - remind me to tell you of my friend who was Johnny Ross in Bullet [Pat Renella] who turned down a part with Roger [Corman] because my friend wouldn't get in a coffin. Anyway, as I digress, would you want the pictures as I have described them? I could attempt to get my daughter to scan them and send to you as I don't have a scanner, or I could just send the prints and you could scan and send them back. I wouldn't ask you to return them but they are a part of my history and you, I know, are one who respects history that it is important to have our past close to our present. And please be truthful, as these pictures are much like what you have and perhaps you don't need them. I just want to help make your site as thorough as you would like....
My very best,
So very good to hear from you. Ten years! Hard to believe. Your children have become adults - although it is so unfair. We become older codgers, sometimes even strangers to them while to us they are always our babies. Pretty unfair I'd say. Of course, I visit your site - you've done such a good job and I do appreciate being included. I hope to get to New York in the not too distant future and hope we can meet in person. Actually, it has been a cool summer here - at least for me. I live in Marina del Rey and we have been overcast all year and cool although it does get hot in the valley but even there it has been unusually cool. It was so good to hear from you. Do please keep in touch and let's not need another [computer] virus to have contact with each other. Say hi to the family and stay well. My fondest wishes to all of you,
So good to hear from you. I have written before - after I went on Facebook and heard from you I composed an email that was practically a book and for some reason, Facebook said I couldn't send it. It all seemed much too complicated and I couldn't figure out why I went on the thing in the first place, so you never got the email.How is the family? Your kids must be in college now, right? And is Associate Professor a new position? [I'd just been promoted] Do you do any teaching? I thank you for alerting me to the Vincent Price interview [I'd found an interview online that author David Del Valle had done with Price in which he'd mentioned Cathie]. It may not matter what they say as long as they spell your name right, but I felt uncomfortable and found his memory regarding me a bit degrading. I don't recall the incident (perhaps repression). After studying at Goodman and with Jeff Corey, Stanley Marks and others, it is sad to think the only thing memorable about me or my mute performance was my boobs, which just happen to come with the package. I rather suspect he only noticed as the wardrobe lady told me the pendant I wore Vincent had given to her and he pouted for days when he saw she had given it to me to wear in the film. Oh well, this is the man that thought Debra Paget would have been a great actress. She was lovely and so very nice, unlike her mother, who was plopped on the set everyday and who appeared to dislike me thoroughly as she never spoke a word to me through the entire film, although she was more than loquacious otherwise. Nevertheless, it was so kind of you to tell me of the site and I enjoyed reading the article. I'd love to hear about you and the family. Please give them my best and do write when you have the time. Maybe you can explain how Facebook makes money. Anyway, it is so good to hear from you. As they say in the song, 'Don't wait too long' for another email talk.
The very best to you and yours,
Sorry I complained about the remarks in the article. I think when I responded I was in one of those dark places. I am so grateful you pointed me to the article and remember Vincent had a wicked sense of humor, so I was most ungracious. On second reading it is funny and was meant all in fun. Thank you so much for directing me to the article.I am sorry to hear you must have surgery and I am glad it is a hip. I had to have a total knee replacement last April and got a hospital infection and it has been hell, but I was told by the physical therapist that recovery is at least a year. I have always had high pain tolerance but for the last four months I average maybe three hours sleep a night, which is not good for a naturally cranky person, but I think things are improving, although slowly. I say, if it has to be anything, good the hip. I have several friends, much older than you (and even me) and they all had easy hip surgery and quick recovery. One friend didn't even need rehab. He used the pool and walked everyday.. He plans to live forever although I cannot imagine why as this will likely entail having to make a lot of new friends. I will be holding a good thought for you.Sounds as if the family is doing well. The fact that Andrew [my son] has work in these times is quite impressive. You must be proud of Hannah's choice [to become a librarian, like her old man].I'm sure the students indeed enjoyed your information and knowledge when introducing HOUSE OF WAX.. I do hope you are able to attend the St. Louis event. It sounds like a super experience and, if my friends are any examples, you should be fine to go.I will really have to give Facebook another chance. I will have to do something. I haven't worked since July 2007. I fell backward downstairs in my townhouse and shattered my humerus (right hand of course). No surgery, but took forever doing P.T. to finally be able to raise my arm any distance. Then the left knee started and I spent a year trying to avoid surgery and now recuperating and to the point where I realize I have to find a way to fill the remaining years. I have always had a goal in life and when reached, set another. Now is the time in life when reflection and the past seem to predominate. I am sure I will find a direction that intrigues me soon and set another goal - although I suspect at this period in life that goal may be to try to remain upright and breathing. Please stay in touch and forgive me for being such a grouch about the article. I am just pleased to be remembered by anyone at this point. To an easy surgery and a quick recovery. Keep me informed as to your progress -
Always love hearing from you,
How very kind and thoughtful of you to speak to David Del Valle, and I do hope he understands I am honored to be mentioned in his book. My initial reaction was really to many things other than the interview and mostly of the 'if only' feelings that come as time shortens. I would be happy to contribute anything I might to his Poe/Corman book that might be of help to him and will contact him with the email address you provided. Alas, I am afraid I will not be able to see Mr. Del Valle's posting on Facebook as I am still unable to convince them I am me (I am even beginning to believe them). As to Mr ____ [a fan who wanted me to forward an email to Cathie], I would be happy to drop him a line and sign any picture for him. How kind of him to have noticed and remembered me. And again, thank you for all the time and trouble you have taken on my account. I have come to consider you a special friend....You be sure and let me know how the surgery goes. I will hold the very best thoughts for you - make sure everyone that touches you washes their hands!
Again, thank you for everything
until next time.
My dear Rick,
How kind of you and touching. That is one of my favorite all time pictures as it is so very flattering. All camera people on that shoot were wonderful. This is a still, but the wonderful camera man on the film was indeed a genius [Floyd Crosby]. All reviews mention Debra Paget had never looked better and he made all of us (save poor Lon Chaney) look so good. And believe me, he worked quick -- a necessity in a Roger Corman film. Thank you so much for going to all this trouble. Now, you have made my day!
With much affection,
A Partial Cathie Merchant Filmography
[Program/Episode/Air Date/Role/Director/Main Cast]
|Title||Episode (if TV)||Date||Role||Director/Writer||Costars|
|The New Bob Cummings Show||"Who Chopped Down the Cherokee?"||11-9-1961||Don Weis / Jerry Adelman, Lee Erwin, Mel Diamond||Bob Cummings, Linda Lawson, Charles Lane, Cyril Delevanti|
|Checkmate||So Beats My Plastic Heart||4-11-1962||Sharon Spencer||Bernard Girard||Celeste Holm, Susan Oliver|
|The Untouchables||"Downfall"||5-3-1962||Singer||Stuart Rosenberg / Robert Libott||Robert Stack, Simon Oakland|
|Gunsmoke||"The Prisoner"||5-19-1962||Sally||Andrew V. McLaglen / Thomas Thompson||James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Andrew Prine, Conrad Nagel|
|Laramie||"The Fortune Hunter"||10-9-1962||John Smith, Robert Fuller|
|Alcoa Premiere||"The Voice of Charlie Pont"||10-25-1962||Sheila||Robert Ellis Miller / Halsted Welles||Bill Bixby, Bradford Dillman, Diana Hyland, Robert Redford|
|That Touch of Mink||1962||Irene (uncredited)||Delbert Mann / Stanley Shapiro and Nate Monaster||Doris Day and Cary Grant|
|Man With the X-Ray Eyes||1963||Carnival Dancer (uncredited)||Roger Corman / Robert Dillon and Ray Russell||Ray Milland|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour||"The Star Juror"||3-15-1963||Lola||Herschel Daugherty / James Bridges||Dean Jagger, Betty Field, Will Hutchins|
|Perry Mason||"The Case of the Velvet Claws"||3-21-1963||Esther Linten||Harmon Jones||Raymond Burr|
|The Haunted Palace||1963||Hester Tillinghast||Roger Corman / Charles Beaumont||Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Jr., Debra Paget, Leo Gordon|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour||"Nothing Ever Happens in Linvale"||11-8-1963||Receptionist||Herschel Daugherty / Richard Levinson & William Link||Gary Merrill, Fess Parker, Phyllis Thaxter, Burt Mustin|
|The Third Man||"I.O.U."||7-4-1964||Lisa||Robert M. Leeds / Robert Bloomfield||Michael Rennie, Harry Bartell, Jonathan Harris|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour||"The Return of Verge Likins"||10-5-1964||Mary Masterson||Arnold Lavan / James Bridges||Charles Seel, June Walker, Robert Barrat, Jim Boles, Peter Fonda|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour||"An Unlocked Window"||2-15-1965||Frieda Little||Joseph M. Newman / James Bridges||Dana Wynter, Stephen Roberts, Louise Latham, John Kerr|