Monday, March 21, 2022

Paul Blaisdell: "'American International Pictures" Creator of 1950's Alien's and Other Creatures

Think 1920's and 1930's stop motion animated dinosaurs and a giant ape named "Kong", and two names come to mind, Willis "Obie" Obrien and Marcel Delgado. Think 1930's and 1940's monster make-ups and Jack Pierce was the leader. While, the 1950's and 1960's seemed to be ruled by stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen, and at that same time. Across the pond, in the United Kingdom, from the late 1940's into the 1970's, the "House of Hammer's" make-up artist Philip "Phil" Leakey was the master. 

Overlooked by the major American studios in the 1950's, was a man that could turn an umbrella into a blood sucking flying creature, or turn a hand puppet into a terrifying alien. His name was Paul Blaisdell and this is a look at his work in very low budgeted Science Fiction and Horror movies. That 1950's pre-teens and teenagers devoured mainly at their local Drive-in movie theater by the car load price.


Paul Blaisdell was born on July 21, 1927, in Newport, Rhode Island. Jacqueline "Jackie" Mary Boyle was born on January 24, 1930 in Avon, Massachusetts. After the Second World War, Paul used the G.I. bill to enter the "New England School of Art and Design", in Boston, Massachusetts, and met another student, his future wife, and the two married in 1952.

From their home on the Topanga Canyon pass, in the Santa Monica Mountains, running between Malibu Beach, on the South at the Pacific Ocean, to the 101 Freeway on the North, in the San Fernando Valley. Paul and his wife Jackie created the creatures of his imagination between 1955 and 1959.





 























Three Men:

James Harvey (H.) Nicholson
was a publicist and campaign designer for Realart Pictures". They would acquire 1930's and 1940's features and re-release them as if they had just been made using a different title for the picture. 

Nicholson was informed of a lawsuit against "Realart" filed by a lawyer representing screenplay writer Alex Gordon. Gordon was claiming a similarity between a screenplay he had written for producer Ed Wood, which he had sent a copy to "Realart" owner, Jack Broader, entitled, "The Atomic Monster". Now, that exact name was being used by 'Realart" on the reissue of 1941's "Man-Made Monster" starring Lon Chaney, Jr.






Samuel Zachary (Z.) Arkoff had studied law and was a member of the California Bar, but spent most of his time representing his in-laws and the "Hollywood Fringe". One of those he represented was Alex Gordon in the lawsuit against "Realart". The lawsuit was settled for $500 dollars and Nicholson was surprised that Broader settled at all, let alone for that amount. 

The lawsuit led to two things, first a lasting friendship between Nicholson and Arkoff, and second, Nicholson suggesting the two men form a motion picture company. On April 2, 1954, "American Releasing Corporation (ARC)" came into existence and what would later become "American International Pictures" was born. A company that never had their own physical studio, but leased space from others. Especially the "Ziv Company", who had purchased, in 1954, the forgotten, "Eagle-Lion Films" studio lot, located within the city of Hollywood, with its seven sound stages.






























In 1954, Roger Corman produced his second motion picture, "The Fast and the Furious". The motion picture's story was by Corman, and the film was directed by one of its two stars, John Ireland, who co-starred with the unknown Dorothy Malone. The motion picture would be Corman's first picture released by "American Releasing Corporation". In 2001, Roger Corman would license the title to "Universal International Pictures" for a movie starring Vin Diesel.




































Those "Three Men" came together for what would be Paul Blaisdell's first motion picture.


THE BEAST WITH A 1,000,000 EYES released June 15, 1955






A little back story is in order here:

It starts with Roger Corman forming a production company called "Pacemaker Productions". Corman's new company had acquired a screenplay entitled "The Unseen" by Tom Filer, who would only write one other screenplay, 1958's "Space Children". What had attracted Roger Corman to Filer's story was that his monster was never seen and that translated into a very cheaply made motion picture.

Roger Corman's director was co-producer David Kramarsky. Who had been the production manager on Roget Corman's first motion picture, 1954's "Monster from the Ocean Floor", and the associate producer on "The Fast and the Furious"!

At some stage in pre-production, Corman's "Pacemaker Productions" morphed into the equally forgotten "San Mateo Productions". 

Enter, Arkoff and Nicholson as "Executive Producers" with Roger Corman. According to Corman and others, Nicholson, the ever-thinking publicist had a way of his own to make a motion picture. He would call a staff meeting and the group would toss around title ideas until one hit with him. Hence, the change from "The Unseen" to "The Beast with a 1,000,000 Eyes". 

At the staff meeting, after a title and basic story idea had been selected, if there was no screenplay already written. James H Nicholson assigned a person to turn one out within a couple of days. The number of male and female main characters were also decided upon at that initial meeting to keep production costs down. The booking agent was to start lining up theaters to show the yet unmade motion picture, basing their bookings solely on the film's title. The artist was told to design and make the posters working only off the title and basic storyline. A director was assigned to immediately cast the film, without knowing the size of each main character's role, and instructed to hold to Nicholson's shooting schedule of one week. 

For this picture, Roger Corman, uncredited as co-director of all the "Interior Scenes", shot 48 pages of  the screenplay in two-days.

Two obvious problems were always created at the staff meeting. 

First, the person making the posters had no idea what the monster looked like, this would change after Paul Blaisdell entered the meetings, and the very creative posters never really went with the final film story. 

Second, the director was faced with casting roles without really knowing the characters, or being able to present a script to a possible actor to look over.


Shooting the movie:

Paul Blaisdell had been working as a "technical illustrator" for "Douglas Aircraft" in Santa Monica, a beach suburb of Los Angeles. He was submitting his imaginative drawing of futuristic airplanes to science fiction magazines and his work was seen by Forest J. Ackerman. At the time, "4-E" was the literary agent for Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Curt Siodmak the screenplay writer of 1941's "The Wolfman" and 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" and author of "Donovan's Brain", and the science fiction work of L. Ron Hubbard. 
























It was Ackerman who heard, or read in "Variety", that "American Releasing Corporation" was looking for a "Special Effects Technician" and recommended Paul Blaisdell to Roger Corman.

After reading the screenplay for "The Beast with a 1,000,000 Eyes", Vice President Samuel Z. Arkoff asked where was "The Beast" of the title? Being told that it was invisible, he demanded a monster and a space ship! Corman turned to his special effects technician and for an additional $200 dollars, equal to $2,027 dollars at the time of writing this article, hired Blaisdell to create a monster and a spaceship.

The screenplay still kept the title character invisible, and the million eyes was explained away by the alien being able to enter the mind of, and control any living creature, insect to human. The alien Paul Blaisdell created was the slave and pilot of the title character's space craft.

On the "Official Cast and Crew Listing" for the motion picture, Paul Blaisdell's name appears in two places. He is shown under the heading of "Special Effects By", with Forest J. Ackerman listed as the "special effects assistant (uncredited)". Then, under the heading, "Additional Crew", Paul Blasidell's name appears as, "monster creator (uncredited)/monster effects (uncredited)".

Below, the three-foot high space craft built by Paul Blaisdell.



































































Below is the alien slave hand puppet.














































In his very good 2015 biography, "Paul Blaisdell, Monster Maker", Blaisdell is quoted about this motion picture as saying:
The creature seen in the last reel ... was actually the slave of The Beast, which had no physical being. It used a being from another star system to pilot its ship, but that fact doesn't come across very well in the script. The creature was an automaton and he was quite capable of doing a lot more than he was allowed to do in the film. He was about eighteen inches high — built to the same scale as King Kong. Unfortunately, all of his scenes were shot in about ten minutes, with the wrong camera angles and everything. But it's just one of those things which happens on a low-budget picture

The human cast of "The Beast with a 1,000,000 Eyes" was headed by Paul Birch. Of the actor's first fourteen motion pictures, thirteen roles were uncredited, and that included portraying "Alonzo Hogue", one of the first three people to be killed by the Martians, in producer George Pal's 1953 "War of the Worlds".





























Above, Paul Birch as "Allan Kelley" and Dick Sargent, billed as Richard Sargent in his third motion picture, fourteen years before he became "Darrin Stephens", on televisions "Bewitched".

My article, "PAUL BIRCH: Roger Corman's Intergalactic Vampire" is ready to suck blood at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/04/paul-birch-roger-cormans-intergalactic.html



DAY THE WORLD ENDED released in December 1955







For his next feature film, Paul Blaisdell was now part of the staff meetings and gave the art department sketches of his mutant design to incorporate into the film's posters. He also drew other sketches that were incorporated into the screenplay. The first one, below, is of a monkey exposed to atomic radiation and was a direct tie-in to who the mutant was supposed to be.

































































The mutant was created at Paul and Jackie's home and made to fit him. The main body was foam rubber, he found the claws at a local Hollywood Magic Shop, and carved the toe nails, for support, out of white pine.































In the above climatic scene, there were two problems for Paul. First, he could barely see out of the eye slits due to his height versus the monsters. Second, when it supposedly starts to rain with non-radioactive water, the foam rubber became soggy and was weighing Blaisdell down while carrying Lori Nelson.

On the "Official Crew Listing", Paul Blaisdell is the only name shown under the heading of "Special Effects", and his two other credits are under the heading "Costume and Wardrobe Department" as, "mutant costume (uncredited)", and under "Cast" as "Mutant".






























After the lawsuit from Alex Gordon, one would figure he would not be heard from again. However, the production company for the motion picture was "Golden State Productions" owned by Gordon. He became the credited "Executive Producer" on the "Day the World Ended", and Nicholson and Arkoff the non-credited executive producers. 

Seven months after Alex Gordon's death, writer Tom Weaver in the January 2004, issue of "Fangoria", had this quote from the producer:

To be on the safe side, Nicholson wanted Roger Corman to produce and direct. But he did throw me a bone as executive producer for Golden State Productions, because I was doing an awful lot on that picture. Not only did I get virtually the entire cast, except for Paul Birch, Jonathan Haze and Paul Dubov — Corman’s regulars — ^but I also did any number of ’other things, down to being the office boy [laughs], and everything else! I figured I should get something there, so Nicholson said, “Well, you can be executive producer on Apache Woman and Day the World Ended.


Roger Corman shot the entire picture in 10 days with a final budget of $96,234.49, equal at the time of this writing to $1,018,778.53.


In a canyon in the San Fernando Valley, a group of six survivors of World War 3 gather at a house below the radiation belt and something is out there watching them. Into the group comes a man named "Radek", played by Paul Duvov, who is turning into a mutated human being craving raw meat and will be killed by whatever watches the house.





















In the above lobby card is the movies star, Richard Denning as "Rick", and fifth billed Paul Birch as "Jim Maddison". This was Denning's fifth science fiction feature film and my article, "Richard Denning: His Science Fiction and Horror Films", will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2020/08/richard-denning-his-science-fiction-and.html

Lori Nelson had just been seen in 1955's 3-D sequel to "The Creature from the Black Lagoon",  "Revenge of the Creature". Nelson would be part of the cast of the 2005 Comedy Horror film, "The Naked Monster", with Kenneth Tobey, Forrest J. Ackerman, John Agar, Robert Cornthwaite, Gloria Talbott, and Les Tremayne.

Two other names of interest in this picture are:

Touch Connors, the nickname came from his High School basketball days, when he was still Krekor Ohanian. In 1957 his name would change to Michael Connors, and in 1967, with the television series "Mannix", his name changed once more to Mike Connors.












Above, Touch Connors as "Tony Lamont" is talking to Paul Birch as Adele Jergens as "Ruby", the "B" actress was always portraying "Tough Dames", and Lori Nelson as "Louise Maddison" looks on.

Raymond Hatton as "Pete, below, was a solid "B" cowboy sidekick for Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Johnny Mack Brown, and co-starred with John Wayne in some of "The Three Mesquiteers" "B" western series.











What watches the house becomes obvious to the audience, there is a picture of "Louise" and her missing fiancé. The thing that watches was once her fiancé mutated by the radiation that has contaminated the world.  






IT CONQUERED THE WORLD released July 15, 1956


















In another article in an earlier issue of "Fangoria", February 1981, writer Thomas Mark McGee interviewed co-screenplay writer Charles Griffith.  According to Griffith, the original writer, Lou Rusoff's, "Day the World Ended", screenplay:

was incomprehensible which was strange because he was quite meticulous. Lou's brother was dying at the time which most likely had something to do with it." Griffith said he "wrote streams of dialogue. The picture was terrible.
That said, "It Conquered the World", which was only a small California rural town that just happened to have a major space race development complex by it, had an interesting Venusian.

Apparently, Paul Blaisdell based his alien completely on Roger Corman's concept for the motion picture. However, when actress Beverly Garland saw it, according to Mark McGee in his 1996 book, "Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures", she kicked the monster over and stated:
That conquered the world?

As a result, Corman put Paul Blaisdell on a fast-forward schedule to create a more terrible monster. Written in an article of the first issue of "Space Monsters", February 1990, was that:






Paul Blaisdell did research on the planet Venus before working on the alien's design, because the screenplay had it coming from there, and:

came to the conclusion that if it would have any life — it would be vegetable. In trying to make it look as far removed from anything resembling animal-like, I whipped up a nightmarish creation resembling a pear-shaped, cucumber- like creature, with two mobile, branch- like arms.

Below, Paul Blaisdell and his assistant Bob Burns, with the Venusian.




The alien was created on a wheeled wooden frame to move about and inside was Paul. The outer skin was foam rubber, his antennas were made of latex, and his teeth carved pine. To make its eyes shine were two flashlights Blaisdell could turn on. However, on the first day of shooting the mechanical arms broke, but could still be raised. Because of the damage the pincers would not close anymore and it now required both Beverly Garland and Lee Van Cleef to fake it.

The alien was created on a wooden frame on wheels to move about and inside was Paul. The outer skin was foam rubber, his antennas were made of latex, and his teeth carved pine. To make its eyes shine were two flashlights he could turn on. However, on the first day of shooting the arms broke and could still be raised, but not close the pincers which now required both Beverly Garland and Lee Van Cleef to fake it.

In the January 1986 issue of Fangoria", Tom Weaver also quoted Beverly Garland on her first sight of the Venusian in Bronson Canyon, as saying:

I said to Roger, “That isn't the monster! That little thing there is not the monster, is it?" He smiled back at me, "Yeah. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?" I said, “Roger! I could bop that monster over the head with my handbag!" This thing was no monster, it was a table ornament! He said, "Well, don't worry about it because we're gonna show you, and then we'll show the monster, back and forth." "Well, don't ever show us together, because if you do everybody'll know that I could step on this little creature!" Eventually I think they did do some extra work on the monster: I think they re-sprayed it so it would look a little scarier, and made it a good bit taller. When we actually filmed, they shot it in shadow, and never showed the two of us together.

 

















Above, Beverly Garland as "Claire Anderson".



























































The actress is part of my article, "Four Actresses Challenging TV's Stereotyped Women's Roles",
Beverly Garland in "Decoy", Honor Blackman in "The Avengers", Anne Francis in "Honey West" and Barbara Stanwyck in "The Big Valley". found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2016/05/four-actresses-challenging-tvs-stereo.html


Paul Blaisdell had two film credits, the first was under the heading "Special Effects (uncredited)", the second credit was under, "Rest of the Cast Listed Alphabetically", as "The Monster (uncredited)". 

 Paul Blaisdell had no credit for creating the monster.

Another creation Paul Blaisdell made was a bat-like flying creature that comes out of the alien and implants two control devices in a person's neck.



 






































Above, the already controlled Sally Fraser as "Joan Nelson", both producer Bert I. Gordon's 1958 "War of the Colossal Beast" and "Earth vs the Spider (The Spider)", presents one of the flying bats to her husband, "Dr. Paul Nelson", played by Peter Graves.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Although Peter Graves' brother James Arness had made Science Fiction film immortality as 1951's "The Thing from Another World". Peter starred in 1952's "Red Planet Mars", 1954's "Killers from Space", and after this picture would be seen in Bert I. Gordon's 1957 "Beginning of the End", but it would be replacing the forgotten Steven Hill in 1967, on the television series "Mission Impossible", that Peter Graves is known for.

















Above, Lee Van Cleef as "Dr. Tom Anderson", communicates with the alien still in its Paul Blaisdell space craft, before coming to Earth.



 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At the films climax, it is Lee Van Cleef vs Paul Blaisdell and both the alien and scientist die.




 








































Above, chocolate syrup comes out of the aliens eyes as they melt. Roger Corman beating Alfred Hitchcock's use of chocolate syrup for Janet Leigh's blood in 1960's "Psycho", by four-years.



































THE SHE-CREATURE released (?)





Before I go into Paul Blaisdell's creation, there is a mystery that remains to this very day and that is the question as to when "The She-Creature" was actually released?





When I saw "It Conquered the World" and "The She-Creature" in a movie theater in Hollywood, California, in 1956. They were both on the double bill the above press campaign manual refers too. Of course, I was only a nine-year-old at the time and my memory of the release date might be considered foggy. 

I've indicated that "It Conquered the World" had a release date of July 15, 1956, and several sources confirm it as accurate

The problem is the "Campaign Manuel" indicates the release date for the double bill as July 25, 1956, ten days later than "It Conquered the World" was apparently released, and "IMDb" indicates that "The She-Creature" was released in August 1956 and not in July at all. Which would have to mean it wasn't released with "It Conquered the World", or was it?

So why the confusion?

It could simply be that the release of the double bill was moved up 10 days, release date changes are not uncommon, but that wouldn't explain an entirely different month for "The She-Creature" by "IMDb", and to add to the confusion. The Wikipedia website has the picture listed as being released on July 25th. Finally, the website "All Horror" gives credence to "IMDb" with a release date of August 1, 1956.

https://www.allhorror.com/movies/the-she-creature

There are other probable reasons for the confusion than "Wikipedia" just taking the date from the "Campaign Manual". The Hollywood Trade Paper, "Variety", had a review of "The She-Creature" done on August 29, 1956, at the Iris Theater in Hollywood, but not published until the September 5, 1956 issue. Take your pick, based upon the three release dates I've mentioned, the movie could have been out, prior to "Variety's" review being done by either, 46 days, 36 days, or 29 days. 

The point here is that anyone could have mistaken a earlier review date for the opening of the film. Another point could be opening in different parts of the country, which is also normal practice, and the wrong date again picked up. The mystery remains and only the dead of "AIP" know for sure!


I now turn to Paul Blaisdell and his creation that many film historians consider his best work.











I direct my reader to these two sentences in the "Tag Line" on the above "The She-Creature" poster.

IT CAN AND DID HAPPEN! Based on authentic FACTS you've been reading about!

So, what were you still reading about in 1956? That would give Jerry Zigmond a idea for the screenplay by Lou Rusoff? 

In 1952, businessman and amateur hypnotist Morey Bernstein had been performing at parties hypnotic age regression! Where a volunteer is put in a trance and regresses back to their childhood and everyone gets a great laugh. In Pueblo, Colorado, housewife Virginia Tighe volunteered and Bernstein brought Virginia back to her childhood, but he asked her to go back further, believing they might get remembrances of when she was a baby. Instead of what Morey Bernstein hoped for, talking to him in a pronounced Irish accent that Virginia never had in her entire life, was an Irish woman named Bridey Murphy, claiming to be an eight-year-old girl in 1806, Cork, Ireland.

Virginia Tighe, under hypnosis, told of Murphy being the daughter of a barrister named Duncan Murphy and his wife Kathleen. At the age of 17, Bridey married barrister Sean Brian McCarthy, and through Virginia, Bridey's story continued until her death as seen and described by Tighe and her reincarnated birth when Virginia Tighe was born. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridey_Murphy

In 1954, William J. Barker, a reporter for the "Denver Post", published a series of articles as the story went Worldwide. On January 1, 1956, Morey Bernstein's book "The Search for Bridey Murphy", still in publication, was first released and on October 1, 1956, a motion picture version starring Teresa Wright, Louis Hayward, and Nancy Gates would also be released.

So, Jerry Zigmond came-up with the idea of using the Bernstein and Tighe story as the basis for one in which a woman in regressed into a revenging sea monster. The Bridey Murphy concept would be reused in two other "American International Pictures" releases, 1957's "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" starring an unknown Michael Landon and a sort of a remake of that film. As, 1958's "Blood of Dracula", originally supposed to be released as "I Was a Teenage Dracula", with Sandra Harrison in the title role. 

For those of my readers who might be interested, my article, "I Was A Teenage Werewolf: 1950's Teenage Horror and Science Fiction Movies", can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2016/06/i-was-teenage-werewolf-i-was-teenage.html


In what would be the Morey Bernstein role, 1929 "Best Actor Oscar" nominee Chester Morris was "Dr. Carlo Lombardi". Morris was known for portraying gangsters and the 1940's motion picture series detective, "Boston Blackie". He also portrayed "Bob Sanger" in the original 1936 western, "The Three Godfathers", a role that John Wayne played in director John Ford's 1948 remake.

Peter Lorre was originally cast in the role of "Dr. Lombardi", but declined after finally reading the screenplay.

Portraying what would be the Virginia Tighe role was Marla English as "Andrea". Her career only consisted of 18 movies and I will mention English's last on-screen performance later.





























Above, Marla English is being hypnotized by Chester Morris to regress into the title character.

Tom Conway portrayed publisher and promoter "Timothy Chappel". Conway was the older brother of actor George Sanders and had co-starred in three of producer Val Lewton's classic thrillers, 1942's "Cat People", 1943's "I Walked with a Zombie", and 1943's "The Seventh Victim". Science Fiction fans also know the actor from producer Alex Gordon's 1959, "The Atomic Submarine".























Above Tom Conway with Frieda Inescort as his wife.

Cathy Downs portrayed their daughter, "Dorothy Chappel". Downs is best remembered for portraying "Clementine Carter" in director John Ford's 1946 "My Darling Clementine". She also was in 1955's "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues", 1957's producer Bert I. Gordon's "Amazing Colossal Man", and the 1958 remake of the classic 3-D science fiction, 1953's "Cat-Women of the Moon", entitled, "Missile to the Moon".

Lance Fuller portrayed "Dr. Ted Erickson". Fuller started out as an uncredited "Vasarian villager" in 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man". He is best known for portraying "Brack" in the 1955 science fiction classic, "This Island Earth".




 














Above, Cathy Downs and Lance Fuller.


Let's take a look at Paul Blaisdell's "She-Creature".















Above Paul and Jackie Blaisdell at their home go over the costume. 
















Viewed from the front are the obvious breasts that Paul incorporated on his creature to establish that it was female. The creature has scales covering the body except at the lung air breathing area, which appears to have sharp knife head like weapons to protect it.

Below, the side view makes the breasts more predominate and one has to wonder if the "Hayes Censorship Office" didn't raise a question about them? Also visible from this side view, is the dorsal fin for swimming in the water and on the head the seaweed of the She-Creature's hair.

















 Below, is a better look of that dorsal fin and the lobster-like hands of the creature.















Below, a better look at those hands and apparent wing-like appendages on the shoulders to help stabilize the creature while swimming.














Seen below are the very deep impressions of the creature's web-like feet, giving the audience an idea of the weight Paul Blaisdell's creation was supposed to have.















In all compared to his previous creations, "The She-Creature" is Paul Blaisdell's most complex monster and would be used in variation two more times.


















The above perspective shot is misleading, because Chester Morris was 5' 9". In the end "Andrea" regains control of herself and "Dr. Lombardi" is killed by her other self.




























1957 was a busy year for Paul Blaisdell.


NOT OF THIS EARTH released on February 10, 1957





The Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna, Roger Corman's excellent 1956 western starring Beverly Garland and John Ireland, "Gunslinger", screenplay does a pre-Tobe Hopper 1985 "Lifeforce" twist on the vampire movie. Both that Hopper movie and this Roger Corman entry are part of my article,
"Not the Same Old VAMPIRE Movies, or Get Your Dentures Away from My Jugular Vein", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/10/not-same-old-vampire-movies-or-get-your.html















Above, Beverly Garland as "Nurse Nadine Storey" tends to Paul Birch as "Paul Johnson", who has a rare blood disease, unware he is the vanguard of Intergalactic Vampires. According to interviewer Pat McGilligan's "Backstory 3: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1960's", Charles B. Griffith told him:

Paul Birch was supposed to wear wraparound glasses, so you couldn't see the sides of his eyes. They stuck gaffer's tape on the sides of his glasses. You can see it if you look. In that film!

Paul Blaisdell was listed under the heading "Special Effects (uncredited)". 

Somebody on the production decided that Paul Birch needed some form of alien creature to help on his dirty work and they went to Blaisdell. What he came up with, by using an umbrella as a base, was:












































In his interview, Griffith illustrates the profit margin in Roger Corman's "American International Pictures" releases. The above double bill made a profit of 400 percent during the first week alone.


On February 14, 1957, in San Francisco, California, the Roger Corman produced and directed "The Undead" premiered. Of interest was that the executive producer was Walter Mirisch of the "Mirisch Brothers", who would make 1960's "The Magnificent Seven" and would co-producer with his brother and Blake Edwards 1963's "The Pink Panther" and the series of movies and animated stories that followed.

The Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna screenplay also used the Bridey Murphy scenario as actress Pamela Duncan's "Diana Love" is regressed to the Middle Ages as "Helene". There she must deal with a witch named "Livia" played by Allison Hayes, 1958's "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman". 

"The Undead" was one of Paul Blaisdell's acting performances, he portrayed an uncredited corpse, seen below.









VOODOO WOMAN released March 1, 1957






"Voodoo Woman" has some familiar names starting with producer Alex Gordon. This was Marla English's 18th and final motion picture with what had to be a feeling of Deja vu from "The She-Creature".

Also, in the picture were Tom Conway and Lance Fuller. Then there was Touch Connors as the hero and the forgotten television actress Mary Ellen Kay. Kay bookended this picture with an episode each, of "I Love Lucy" and "The Long Ranger".


Tom Conway is mad scientist "Dr. Roland Gerard" who has fled to deepest Africa. There he is using the women of an African tribe in his experiments that combine native voodoo with his own biochemical formula. "Gerard" wants to create, we've heard this before, a superhuman being. 

Enter a group of treasure hunters and the perfect subject in Marla English's "Marilyn Blanchard". So, instead of turning into Paul Blaisdell's "She-Creature", Marla England turns into his "Voodoo Woman".



















Above, before, and below, after "Dr. Gerard's" treatment,
































If the above costume seems familiar, that's because, to keep monster costs to almost zero, it was made from the "She-Creature" costume and gives English that Deju vu feeling I mentioned. 

Paul Blaisdell was listed under the heading of the "Art Department (constructor: monster suit)". He also was listed under the "Cast" as "The Monster", finally, for a short time, actual credit for doing both.





Above, Paul Blaisdell, or is it Marla English, killing Mary Ellen Kay as the mad scientist's wife, "Susan Gerard".








Above, Paul Blaisdell and Marla English in a publicity still.



On April 24, 1957, Paul Blaisdell had an "uncredited secondary role", under the heading "Rest of the Cast Listed Alphabetically", in "Dragstrip Girl", Blaisdell was the only entry under that heading. This "American  International Pictures" hot rod teen movie co-starred "B" actress Fay Spain, Steven Terrell, pre-"Beach Party" John Ashley, and pre-"The Riddler" Frank Gorshin.



INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN released June 19, 1957







Above another great poster from the "American International Pictures" art department that probably came from another James H. Nicholson staff meeting, because the invaders are a "little" out of proportion to the actual saucer men created by Paul Blaisdell.

In the United Kingdom the picture was retitled, "Invasion of the Hell Creatures", but the pictures working title, which fit the teen science fiction and monster craze, was "Spacemen Saturday Night".






Above, sitting at the counter are Lyn Osborn, "Cadet Happy" on televisions "Space Patrol", as "Artie Burns", and Frank Goshin as "Joe Gruen".







Under the heading of "Special Effects", Paul Blaisdell was listed as "Technical Effects", and under "Rest of the Cast Alphabetically", as a "Saucer-Man". His assistant, Bob Burns, the only other alphabetically listed actor is also shown as a "Saucer-Man".

Apparently building the flying saucer and creating the saucer-men costumes were all part of a "Technical Effects" persons duties on the film, because there is no credit for that work listed for Paul Blaisdell.








In one sequence in which Frank Goshin's character is killed, one of the eyeball hands of a saucer-man gets cut off and Paul Blaisdell's "Technical Effects" take over.





























Apparently, the saucer-men can inject alcohol into people and when the police investigate the car crash, they determine the teen's story about space men is a prank and that Gorshin was drunk and killed himself.


 


























The movie is played as a comedy, although the screenplay started out as serious story. The teen heroes have discovered that light kills the invaders and gets their friends from "Lovers Lane" to surround the saucer-men and turn the headlights of the cars on, making them vaporize. Raising the question what would have happened to them in the morning when the sun came up?








Above the teen lovers, Gloria Castillo, in her 9th of 24 roles, and Steven "Steve" Terrell, who appeared in five episodes of the forgotten 1953-1955, family television series "The Pride of the Family" starring Fay Wray, Natalie Wood, and Paul Hartman, and ended his career playing one of four characters he did on televisions "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett" between 1957 1965.









Above, Bob Burns with Paul Blaisdell and some of his props, and the two below in a publicity shot.











Below, a U.K. lobby card for "The Invasion of the Hell Creatures", the British censors issued a "Cert X", Adults Only, no one under 16-years of age permitted.








FROM HELL IT CAME released on August 25, 1957





I start by quoting film critic Bruce Elder from his 2013 review of the motion picture for the online website "AllMovie":

The sheer badness of Dan Milner's From Hell It Came is mitigated ever so slightly by the efforts of Paul Blaisdell, who created the vengeful tree-creature called the Tabonga. Now, the creature itself it pretty ludicrous in its actual on-screen appearances, but given the fact that we're talking about a killer tree-stump...and a low-budget, the fact that Blaisdell was able to devise anything at all that, even for a fraction of a second, might be scary, is the one part of the movie that does work. Nothing else does...All of which leaves ridiculously campy fun as the sole reason to watch this very mildly entertaining misfire, which is funnier in the telling than the watching.
Two points on the above review paragraph:

First, Dan Milner was the director, his brother Jack Milner came up with the story and co-produced the movie.

Second, Paul Blaisdell designed the "Tabonga", but Jack Milner felt his price was to high for Blaisdell to make the creature and act as it. What Jack Milner did was have "The Don Post Studios" make the costume instead. Don Post became the premier maker of Halloween masks and their most famous was one of "William Shatner" that John Carpenter used for "Michael Myers" in the original 1978 "Halloween". 












Below are some of the other  masks they make for sale, especially at "Halloween". The mutant from 1955's "This Island Earth" is available in a full body costume, see below. 











In "From Hell It Came", this was what Paul Blaisdell's design ended up looking like, played by Chester Hayes, who also portrayed "Maku", it is a very stiff costume with hardly any moving elements.









Under the heading of "Additional Crew" is the name Paul Blaisdell, "tabanga designer, (uncredited)". One has to again wonder what the "Tabanga" would have looked like, if he had been able to make the costume and portray the creature. No offense to Don Post, who masks I have bought since I was a teenager.



THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 4, 1957






The motion picture was produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon. For those of my readers interested in Gordon,  my article, "Growing Up on a Diet of 'Mr. B.I.G.' BERT I. GORDON: Giants, Little People and Grasshoppers", can be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/12/growing-up-on-diet-of-mr-big-bert-i.html 


Below Glenn Langan at "Army Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Manning" is exposed to a plutonium bomb and becomes the title character.














Below Cathy Downs as his fiancée "Carol Forrest", watches the giant needle with the serum to stop "Manning's" growth injected into his heel.




Under the heading of the "Art Department" is Paul Blaisdell's name as "property constructor: giant needle (uncredited)". His only contribution to this production!



 








On October 22, 1957, actor Paul Blaisdell appeared as Don--Attville Man" in "Motorcycle Gang". The long budget "AIP" picture starred Anne Neyland, who started out as an uncredited chorus girl in 1952's "Singin' in the Rain", was 7th billed in Elvis Presley's 1957 "Jailhouse Rock", and ended her 17-role career as the uncredited "Dolores" in 1960's original "Ocean's Eleven". Neyland's co-stars were John Ashley and Steve Terrell.



ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE released some date in April 1958








Bert I. Gordon's idea of shrinking people in a horror movie, had its predecessors, at least, in director James Whale's 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein", director Tod Browning 1936 "Devil Doll", and Ernest B. Schoedsack's 1940 "Dr. Cyclops". The year before "Attack of the Puppet People" was released, Jack Arnold's classic 1957 "The Incredible Shrinking Man" had thrilled audiences. Now, the showman and quick buck artist Gordon, wanted to play off the audience response to Arnold's film. He would release his picture on a double bill with the direct sequel, but different cast, to "The Amazing Colossal Man", entitled, "War of the Colossal Beast".


 




The draw for "Attack of the Puppet People" was actor John Agar, who was becoming a popular low budget science fiction and horror movie star. His previous three films in those categories had been, 1956's "The Mole People", and both 1957's "The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll" and "The Brain from Planet Arous". My article, "John Agar His Fall That Led to Science Fiction Cult Status", can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/03/john-agar-his-fall-that-led-to-science.html






Above, the lonely toy maker "Mr. Franz" portrayed by John Hoyt, both 1951's "The Lost Continent" and producer George Pal's "When Worlds Collide" and 1952's "The Black Castle", looks at the doll he has shrunk John Agar into with the real actor superimposed. 





Above split screen is used as Hoyt looks upon one of the sets he's built for his doll size humans.

Paul Blaisdell was credited under the "Art Department" heading as "special designer". The other "special designer" on "The Attack of the Puppet People" was a credited Jackie Blaisdell. 

The two designed and oversaw the building of the giant sets needed for the production to make the actors appear doll size. The only large set piece, seen above, that they didn't design was the telephone. It was borrowed from "AT & T" and had been used in one of the phone company's commercials. 








TEENAGE CAVEMAN released on July 1, 1958





Star Robert Vaughn and producer and director Roger Corman thought they were working on a motion picture entitled "Prehistoric World". When the motion picture was released, the two were surprised that it was now entitled "Teenage Caveman", to get in on the teen horror and science fiction craze of the last quarter of the 1950's.

Probably the better title based upon R. Wright Campbell's, the 1957 bio-pic about Lon Chaney, "The Man of a Thousand Faces" starring James Cagney and later, Corman's 1964 Poe tale, "The Masque of the Red Death", screenplay was the United Kingdom's "Out of Darkness".

Under the heading of "Costume and Wardrobe Department" was the single entry of Paul Blaisdell as "costume designer: beastman costume (uncredited)".


The prehistoric world of the screenplay has a taboo not to cross the river. No one, even the oldest tribe member, remembers when that taboo was placed, or why it was placed? However, that is the law and a group of teenage caveman led by 26-years-old Robert Vaughn cross the river and find the monster of legend.







The monster, designed by Paul Blaisdell, is in actuality a radiation protection suit. Inside is an extremely old man, whose voice over, says he was a scientist when the atomic war took place and the radiation somehow extended his life. The prehistoric world the audience has been seeing was the result of the human survivors of the atomic holocaust These cave people are the latest generation of man from those that had survived, but over the decades have forgotten their history. The reason, according to the voice over by the old man, for not crossing the river was because it became the boundary between the radiation from the war and an area free of it.


HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER released July 1, 1958







This was the screenplay that united both 1957's "Teenage Werewolf" with the "Teenage Frankenstein". The opening shot gave the audience the impression the film would have them fight each other, until the director yells cut, and the audience sees these are actors on a movie set.







Above left to right, Gary Clarke portrayed "Larry Drake" the actor playing the "Teenage Werewolf", Robert H. Harris portrayed "Pete Drumond" the fired make-up artist, Gary Conway portrayed "Tony Mantell" the actor playing the "Teenage Frankenstein". 

Trivia: Conway actually played the role in the 1957 movie.

Producer Herman Cohen, both original teen monster movies, 1961's "Konga", and 1967's "Berserk" starring Joan Crawford, was the originator of the story idea and co-screenplay writer.

The other screenplay writer was Abel Kandel as Kenneth Langtry. Again, both original teen monster films, and 1957's "Blood of Dracula", 1959's "Horrors of the Black Museum", along with the terrible Joan Crawford vehicle, 1970's "Trog".

Under the heading of "Additional Crew" is Paul Blaisdell's name as "monster suits (uncredited)".
Which is misleading, Paul Blaisdell didn't make a monster suit for 1958's "How to Make a Monster", but at the pictures climax. The black and white motion picture turns into color as a fire rage's in the make-up man's house.

On the inside walls of the house are the make-up man's supposed creations. They are the recognizable work of Paul Blaisdell and because "American International Pictures" didn't have their own studio. These items were taken out of storage to make more room and burned in the movie, Blaisdell's supposed noncredit credit, to get rid of them.










IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE premiered in Kansas City, Kansas, on August 14, 1958






Most people consider William Castle the motion picture gimmick king, starting by insuring every member of the first run audiences of his motion picture "Macabre" for $1,000 with "Lloyd's of London". The addition to his gimmick, was you got paid, if it can be proven you died from fright during the motion picture. 

Overlooked was this low budget, low promoted science fiction released two months before Castle's film. I direct my reader to the large lettered tag line and the blue box under it.

It reads:
$50,000 GUARANTEED! By a world-renowned insurance company to the first person who can prove "IT!" is not on Mars now!


Most of my readers know that Jerome Bixby's screenplay was one of the inspirations for Dan O'Bannon's screenplay for 1979's "Alien". The Martian gets on board the returning to Earth space ship and starts killing everyone. At the end, "It" is killed by opening the airlock door and depressurizing the space ship.

Let's talk Martian and start with this following head shot. Paul Blaisdell is the only name listed under the heading "Special Effects" as "alien suit designer/builder (uncredited)". I'm not even going to attempt to explain how the Martian costume was a "Special Effect".








The producers cast gorilla costume actor and 1930's "B" Cowboy star Ray "Crash" Corrigan to play "It!". Besides his own films, he was one of "The Three Mesquiteers", co-starring with John Wayne and Raymond Hatton, below. Corrigan also purchased land in the Santa Susana Mountain range, located exactly between the San Fernando and Simi Valley's for a major movie ranch, "Corriganville".






There were two related problems for Paul Blaisdell in making the Martian costume for Ray Corrigan. The first, is he wouldn't come to Paul's home so a body cast for the suit could be made. The second was Ray "Crash" Corrigan was, sadly, an overweight alcoholic by 1958!

The above still of the Martian creature's head has a prominent tongue, but in reality, that Corrigan's own. When Paul Blaisdell placed the headpiece on the actor, his chin didn't fit and his tongue stuck out. Make-up was applied to Ray Corrigan's chin and to some extant his tongue to make it appear part of the costume design. During filming, his sobriety came into question causing damage and repairs to the suit several times. Additionally, because Corrigan didn't go for a body cast, the zipper on the creature's back is visible in scenes.



































 




The above publicity shot has Ray "Crash" Corrigan holding actress Shirley Patterson billed as Shawn Smith. Patterson was the female lead in the 1943 Cliff Hanger "Batman", the "D.C." characters first on-screen appearance, was also in 1956's "World Without End" and 1957's "The Land Unknown".

Below, Patterson-Smith with the feature's star, Marshall Thompson, who had just been seen in the excellent British science fiction, 1958's "Fiend Without a Face", and would follow this picture with the 1959 science fiction picture, "First Man Into Space".























EARTH VERUS THE SPIDER aka: THE SPIDER released in September 1958










This Bert I. Gordon production was written by George Worthing Yates, 1954's "THEM!", 1956's  "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", 1957's "The Amazing Colossal Man", 1958's "Space Master X-7", and the English language screenplay for 1962's "King Kong vs Godzilla".

There are many other science fiction movies Yates wrote the screenplay for, and they're all in my article: "George Worthing Yates: Screenplays from 1927's LIGHTNING LARISTS to 1962's KING KONG VS GODZILLA" at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/01/george-worthing-yates-screenplays-from.html


The film starred Ed Kemmer as High School science "Professor Art Kingman". Kemmer was "Commander Buzz Corey" on televisions "Space Patrol".











 Kemmer's co-star was June Kenney as "Carol Flynn". Kenny's total 24 on-screen appearances included one of my favorite Roger Corman titles, 1957's "The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent", that because of marquee space at your local theater, was reduced to "The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent". She was also in 1958's "Attack of the Puppet People" written by Yates, and Bert I. Gordon's 1965 "Village of the Giants".







With 8th billing is Sally Fraser as "Mrs. Helen Kingman". She had just been in the previously mentioned Bert I. Gordon's 1958 "War of the Colossal Beast", another Yates screenplay.





Both Jackie and Paul Blaisdell's names are found under the heading of "Additional Crew", once again, both as "special designer". Besides making the split screen miniature sets for the spider, Paul designed and made the two victims.

 






















Above the two high school sweethearts, 25-years-old Kenney and 24-years-old Eugene Persson. The two go looking for her missing father and discover he has become the first victim of the title character and the work of Paul Blaisdell.










Below , "Deputy Sheriff  Sanders", played by Bill Giorgio, finds the giant web and the spider that made it.







TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE released on June 3, 1959





Producer, screenplay writer, director, cinematographer, special effects, film editor, and music coordinator, Tom Graeff, makes the point, according to the above poster, that all teenagers are the same, even from outer space. Seen below, is Tom Graeff as Tom Lockyear portraying "Joe Rodgers".







In his only motion picture of three role credits, the first two are shorts, Charles Robert Kaltenthaler, as David Love,  portrayed the space teenager "Derek". Who learns to like Earth people and in the end causes the entire invasion fleet to crash and burn.

 








Above, Dawn Bender as Dawn Anderson portrays "Betty Morgan", the girl that turns "Derek" next to her.

Paul Blaisdell appears under two headings for this motion picture. The first is "Makeup Department", Blaisdell is shown as, "special fx props (uncredited)", which of course doesn't sound like "Makeup". He's also under "Special Effects by", next to his name it reads, "effects props (uncredited)", which could be almost anything.

I could not locate any specifics about Paul Blaisdell's actual contribution to the picture, but the following stills seem to fit his uncredited job descriptions. Starting with the unique idea of a space ship that screws itself into the ground.

















People get turned into skeletons a lot and somebody had to move the prop from scene to scene, if it was Paul, what a waste of talent.














Then there was the alien monster the "Gargo", which was nothing more than a matte shot of a lobster. 







THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW released in July 1959






"The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow" was basically the last of the "Teen Hot Rod" movies being made during the 1950's by "American International Pictures" and was a sequel to "Hot Rod Gang", released back in August 1958, and written by Lou Rusoff. 

That film's teen plot was about a wealthy heir, "John Abernathy III", played by John Ashley, who loves hot rod racing and rock and roll, and has a father that believes both are below his status. Things get even worse for "John" with his father, when he joins a rock and roll band, and falls in love with "Lois Cavendish", played by Jody Fair

The new screenplay was also by Lou Rusoff and had basically the same characters. Jody Fair was back as "Lois Cavendish", Henry McCann was back as "Dave", Dorothy Neuman was back as "Anastasia Abernathy", the character of "Wesley Cavendish", first played by Doodles Weaver, was back, but played by Kirby Smith. While, "John" was now played by Roy Wright.

This story was basically a comedy in a haunted house, after the "Hot Rod Gang" is evicted from the old club house----




































---they find a deserted house. The place is fixed up and the gang invite their friends to a Halloween Costume Party and unexplained things start to happen. Next, apparently one of the costumed guests is really a monster that has been living in the house and blends in with the other costumed guests and hot rod club members. 



















































I said that Paul Blaisdell's "She-Creature" costume would be used twice more, and below is "The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow" himself, maybe!





























However, the monster is a guy who seems to be hogging all the dances with the best-looking girls.






The only credit Paul Blaisdell gets, is under the "Cast" heading, is as  "Man in the monster suit".  In fact, the monster is revealed to be a fired old movie monster costume maker, actor, and special effects technician. He has set up an elaborate special effect show to scare away uninvited guests from the house, but now becomes friends with the "Hot Rod Gang". The audience also gets to see the man behind the monster, when his ghost scam is revealed.

 







Jack H. Nicholson and "AIP" had made money off of the teenage hot rod movies, but as I said, the craze was over. However, by 1963 a new craze, surfing was in, and Nicholson told Lou Rusoff to write a teen surfing movie. Which leads me to my article, "THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW MEETS THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI: The story of the BEACH PARTY Motion Pictures" at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/11/the-ghost-of-dragstrip-hollow-meets.html


In 1960, month and date unknown, Paul Blaisdell produced a five-minute short film entitled "The Cliff Monster". A couple, played by Jackie Blaisdell and Bob Burns, looking for a ideal spot for a picnic, enter a sacred land that is guarded by the title character.








In 1963 Paul Blaisdell made "Special Contributions", what they were I could not find out, to a five-part television mini-series of shorts entitled "The Adventures of the Spirit". Produced, written, directed by, and starring as "The Spirit", Donald F. Gult. Gult was a major writer of motion picture novelizations such as, "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back", and comic book stories in "Vampirella", and "Kull", among other comics, movies, and animated television programs.

Paul Blaisdell became disenchanted with the motion picture business and finished his life as a carpenter for hire.

On July 10, 1983, 55-years-old, Paul Blaisdell passed away from stomach cancer at his home in Topanga Canyon. 

After Paul's death, Jackie Blaisdell became a recluse, her body was found in the house on December 2, 2006, by a neighbor. The coroner listed the date of her death as November 30, 2006.

R.I.P. 




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