And we lose yet another movie icon. Yesterday, we lost the actor to give physical life to one of cinema’s greatest villains, Darth Vader from the original Star Wars trilogy, David Prowse. Being a huge fan of that series, I had learned all of the main actors’ names, so I knew who Prowse was at the time. But it wasn’t until years later, when I started down my path of the horror genre, that I realized his connection to Hammer Films, as well as the many other things he had worked on.
But as I delved more into the works of Hammer, I discovered that Prowse played the creature in not one, but two different titles in their Frankenstein series. The first with Ralph Bates as the scientist in The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and second with Cushing back in the role of the mad baron Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), as well as playing the strongman / vampire familiar in Vampire Circus (1972). He made dozens of other appearances in genre titles, even appearing in a couple of Doctor Who episodes. Continue reading
Fans of Hammer Horror should be well aware of the name of Ralph Bates. He was one of the next generation stars of Hammer, one to take the lead from the likes of Cushing and Lee and continue the tradition that they started. Unfortunately, Hammer didn’t last that much longer. In that short time though, Bates did appear in a few of their pictures and always turning a memorable performance. He appeared in Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970), Lust for a Vampire (1971), Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), and Fear in the Night (1972). It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Hammer would have continued their ran of cinematic terrors.
But now you can learn all about those films, as well as the rest of Bates career and life in this new biography from author Christopher Gullo, entitled simply Ralph Bates: A Biography. Published by Midnight Marquee, it covers the actor’s life from his childhood, where he started to develop an interests in the theater, as well as once he started working with Hammer, and the multiple television appearances that he made.
With 165 family photos, including many never-before-seen ones, as well as getting to hear from over 70 different family, friends, and co-workers that the author sought out for this book, all helps to show the life of this incredibly talented man. Gullo is donating all his personal proceeds from the sale of this book to the Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. This was created to honor Bates, who passed away in 1991 from this disease.
To order it from Midnight Marquee, just click HERE.