Now that Cinevent is in the books, lets look ahead to our next two shows coming up real soon.
Next month we head to Mars, PA, once again for the Monster Bash. Damn, do I just love this show. They have a great guest lineup this year, including Ricou Browning, the last living classic Universal monster! Their other guests include: Beverly Washburn, Martine Beswicke, Veronica Carlson, Christopher Neame, Sharyn Moffett, Cortlandt Hull, Kris Yeaworth, Tom Savini, and John Russo. They also have a few notable authors there, another reason I love this show, such as Troy Howarth, Frank Dello Stritto, Tom Weaver, Gregory Mank, Deborah Painter, and Robert Michael Cotter. Continue reading
Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy
Published by McFarland, 2018. 329 pages
By Gregory William Mank
The reading goal that I have set for myself is to get through at least one book per month, and for the last couple of years, I’ve happily gone a little past that goal. But thanks to the wonderfully talented Mr. Mank, my average for this year just went up. It usually takes me 3-4 weeks to get through a book, mainly because I have to steal away time to read. But once I started this latest volume, on the actor Laird Cregar, I went through the first half of it in the first two days, finishing it off within a week. I just couldn’t put it down.
I have been a fan of Cregar’s since the very first time I watched The Lodger (1944). I was just amazed at not only how effective and well made the picture was, but also the amazing talent of Cregar. I immediately started to seek out other of his films, especially Hangover Square (1945), again being mesmerized by his performance. I started to read up on this seemingly unknown (to me at least) actor and his life in various books and online, only be to be depressed on how this brilliant performer was treated in his life, by others as well as how he treated himself. A couple of years ago, while talking to Mank at a Monster Bash conference, he mentioned Cregar was going to be the subject of an upcoming book, which I knew I would get the minute it came out. Which I did.
First off, just want to give fair warning that this is going to be a bit of a rant. And something that you’ve heard me mention many times before. And again, this isn’t about any convention specifically out there, just in general, so don’t anybody get their panties in a bunch. But being at this last convention, I noticed something that I feel I need to mention. Another one of the reasons that I had finally made the decision to head east to Monster Bash this time was because of books. Followers of this site know my affection towards horror reference books and my ever increasing library, so the fact that several authors were going to be at this show, made the trip even more attractive.
On the guest list for this show was Gregory William Mank, who is a film historian and author of many great books. One of the things I love and admire about Mank’s work is that he isn’t just writing about the bigger names like Karloff and Lugosi, but also about the smaller and lesser known names from the genre that we love, such as Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Dwight Frye, and many others. I had brought along several of his books from my collection, such as the wonderful book Karloff and Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration and a few others, to get signed. While at his table, we had a really nice conversation about his work and how much I enjoy as well as appreciate it. He mentioned that his upcoming book will be on actor Laird Cregar, best known for his roles in The Lodger (1944) and Hangover Square (1945). The book is entitled Hollywood Ripper: The Rise and Fall of Laird Cregar, and according to Mank’s website, “explores the true story of Cregar and examines his film performances, the blessings and curses of the Hollywood contract system of the 1940s and the legacy of an actor who might have become one of the cinema’s greatest horror stars – and character actors.” It will be published by McFarland & Company.
For the 6 books that I got signed, the cost was….nothing.