Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Price of Eggs in China!

What does that title have to do with, er, well, the Price of Eggs in China?

Sounds a little random to me. Especially since we are celebrating a whole week dedicated to the "Vincentennial" - actor Vincent Price's 100th birthday celebration, Friday, May 27th, 2011!

Wait a minute...did I say random? Oh, then it must mean it's time for a big steaming pot of...

Random Stew!

Only, maybe not so random since we're sticking to our Birthday Boy as a subject this time out!

And who knows, we might find side dishes to go with our stew, too!

Art was very important to Mr. Price, so let's take a look at a nice piece courtesy artist Rob Kelly:

    In 1979, ABC was doing very well with the Saturday night combo of The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. This was obviously a long time ago in a land far far away - I mean, can you imagine Saturday night network TV ratings meaning something?
     Anyhoo, NBC and CBS both responded with shows of their own, and interestingly, both of the pretender shows revolved around trains. NBC's show is going to get chatted about in one of these random round-ups soon - but the CBS effort fits right in to tonight's theme - since it starred Vincent Price!

Time Express did the one thing NBC's show did not - it tried to mash The Love Boat and Fantasy Island into one show! Vincent Price and his lovely real-life wife Coral Browne played Jason and Margaret Winters, the mysterious hosts of a fantastic train that allowed passengers to travel back in time to a critical moment in their lives.

It was hinted that everyone working on the Time Express was something other than strictly human, including the other regulars (Woodrow Parfrey, William Phipps, and James Reynolds). Here's a full cast shot:

I did not see the show when it aired - I started to tune in the first one for Vincent Price, but when I realized it was going to be like Fantasy Island - and that the Prices would disappear after an introductory scene - just like Mr. Roarke - I checked out. Of course, like the Love Boat, each week the train would be loaded with familiar faces - guest stars included Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara; James MacArthur; Richard Masur; Morgan Fairchild; Lyle Waggoner; Lee Meriweather; Marcia Strassman; John Beck; and Steve Kanaly. And that was just in four episodes!

Four episodes, because sadly, despite what seems like a fun if derivative premise and the Prices as hosts, the show only managed to get four episodes on the air - almost exactly 32 years ago this month - before low ratings meant the Express had run out of Time.

Thankfully Mr. Price had other irons in the fire...

Remember these?

That's the ad I saw in several comic books across several months....I never owned one of these sets - I am intrigued by it now - as it appears the drying apparatus was a glass jar you mounted over a light bulb! I actually used a form of The Shrinker to torture some of my army men and "guys." ("Guys" being my name for my...action figures, you filthy thing! But never dolls! Never!)

Actually, seeing all those apples has made me a mite peckish...let's see what else might be cooking to go along with them and the Chinese Chicken...

And after we eat we can sit down to a nice board game. What do we have in the way of a classic game with an added Western theme and perhaps a great character actor on the box?

Yeah, that looks like fun! Sadly, this was another game I did not own, nor did I know anyone who did, so I never got to play it. *sigh*

After a meal and game time we have to clean up. Of course, I'm sure Mr. Price will help...

This has been a fun blog post - wish I could commemorate it with a picture...especially if it was in 3-D!

Yep, because apparently "No" was not a word that often passed Vincent Price's lips, he even starred in a demonstration video for a new 3-D camera - that produced the effect in a lenticular format. I was going to try to define lenticular here, but wow, that's complicated - suffice to say - it's the kind of picture often used (even today) on the front of home video movie covers to give either a 3-D effect or a morph between two images effect.

In any case, we always wrap these Random Stew posts up with a little cheesecake dessert - but we won't lose the theme, even if this was a little less random than usual...

Valli Kemp as Vulnavia, and Vincent Price as Dr. Anton Phibes
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)

And with that - Scene! Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

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