Friday, May 31, 2013

Clara Bow #5 -- May 31, 2013

Red haired Clara Bow was probably the most popular silent actress after Mary Pickford. This image is from the February, 1929 Motion Picture Magazine.  The caption is awful. 

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- And Now the Screaming Stops -- May 31, 2013




This post is part of  the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon, hosted by Pierre Fournier at his excellent blog Frankensteinia (http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/).

In my first post for the blogathon, I looked at the ways Peter Cushing was connected to other famous horror movie actors, using the concept of Six Degrees of Separation.  In my second post, I compared him to other actors who have portrayed Sherlock Holmes. In my third post, I compared him to other actors who have played Doctor Who.  In my final post for the blogathon (I promise) I want to dig a little deeper into Degrees of Separation.


I have mentioned that I got most of my information about the relationships between Peter Cushing and other actors from The Oracle of Bacon, a wonderful site that takes reams of data from the Internet Movie Database and processes it into a database which contains a map of about 1.5 million actors and 1.2 million movies and television shows.  It uses a breadth-first search algorithm to find the shortest path between any two actors.

For my other posts, I used the site query which allows one to find the links from Actor X to Actor Y.



For this post, I wanted to explore some of the other queries that the site supports. 

"How good a 'center' is a given actor?" -- This refers to people jokingly calling Kevin Bacon, the inspiration for this post, the Center of the Hollywood Universe.  The first thing they do is see how many people have each possible Peter Cushing number:


Peter Cushing Number# of People
01
12004
2199213
31007654
4360556
532337
63256
7414
843
97
total1605485

Then they calculate a weighted average ((0 * 1)+(1 * 2004)+(2 * 199213) … (9 * 7) = 5050142) divided by 1605485) = 3.146. So the average Peter Cushing number is 3.146. Compare this to the average Burt Lancaster number, which is 3.036.

Kevin Bacon's average is 2.994.  

The site provides a list of the 1000 best centers.  As of 28-April-2013, the person with the best (lowest) average number is Harvey Keitel (2.849). The 1000th person on the list is Sy Richardson, who was in Repo Man and a bunch of television series (3.060).  So Burt Lancaster would be in the top 1000, and Peter Cushing would just miss.  Being just out of the top 1000 of 1.5 million is not bad.

The people at the site refuse to give the name of the person with the worst average, 10.105, but only seven people have an Actor X number of one, so I assume he was in only one movie or television show.   Only two people have an Actor X number of two, so the other members of the cast probably had limited experience, too. 


Another query is "Who are all the people with an Actor A number of N?".  The only value of N that they support is one.  2004 people have a Peter Cushing number of one.  They include (from among the people I have not yet mentioned):

Anthony Quayle (Hamlet)
Britt Ekland (Asylum)
Carole Lombard (Vigil in the Night)
Danielle Darrieux (Alexander the Great)
Edward Woodward (Incense for the Damned)
Forrest Tucker (The Abominable Snowman)

Most of the images in this post come from the excellent site LucyWho (http://www.lucywho.com/).  As we have seen, he calculations of Peter Cushing numbers come from The Oracle of Bacon (http://oracleofbacon.org/).

Thank you to Pierre Fournier for hosting this blogathon.  Thank you to my fellow bloggers for sharing your time, talent and imagination with all of us.  It has been a wonderful experience. And thank you to the people who have taken the time to visit this blog and read my humble contributions.  We bloggers thrive on comments. 

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Horror Films
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Sherlock Holmes
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Doctor Who
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- And Now the Screaming Stops 




Thursday, May 30, 2013

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Doctor Who -- May 30, 2013



This post is part of  the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon, hosted by Pierre Fournier at his excellent blog Frankensteinia (http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/).

In my first post for the blogathon, I looked at the ways Peter Cushing was connected to other famous horror movie actors, using the concept of Six Degrees of Separation.  In my second post, I compared him to other actors who have portrayed Sherlock Holmes. In this post, I will compare him to other actors who have played Doctor Who.  In my last post, I will dig a little deeper into Degrees of Separation.

Doctor Who


Doctor Who is a British science fiction television program that premiered on the BBC in 1963 and stayed on, with a couple of gaps, till the present.  Doctor Who is a Time Lord, who travels through space and time in his ship, the Tardis, which externally resembles a police call box.  When the actor who plays the Doctor leaves the show, the character regenerates and takes a new form and personality.  The Doctor is usually accompanied by one or more companions.  Many companions have come and gone over the years. Some have come back. 


The first Doctor, from 1963 to 1966, was William Hartnell.  William Hartnell has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1956, William Hartnell appeared in Private's Progress with Christopher Lee.
1.  As we saw in my first post, Christopher Lee appeared in many movies with his best friend, Peter Cushing.

Hartnell's first companion, the Doctor's granddaughter Susan Foreman, was played by Carole Ann Ford.   Carole Ann Ford has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Carole Ann Ford was in Horrors of the Black Museum in 1959 with Michael Gough.
1.  Michael Gough was in The Skull in 1965 with Peter Cushing. 


Feeling limited by the character of Susan Foreman, Carole Ann Ford left the show in 1964.  The Doctor met Vicki, who had been stranded on a planet.  The Doctor and Vicki formed a relationship like the one between the Doctor and Susan, but Vicki was more active in their adventures.  Vicki was played by Maureen O'Brien, who has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1998, Maureen O'Brien was in The Land Girls with Ann Bell.
1.  In 1965, Ann Bell was in Doctor Terror's House of Horrors with Peter Cushing. 

In 1965 and 1966, Peter Cushing appeared in two feature films, Doctor Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., based on two of the television serials. I saw one or both of these on Creature Features, a late night horror show on Oakland station KTVU and enjoyed them.  Peter Cushing's Doctor is not considered canonical because he was not a Time Lord, just a man from Earth.  The Doctor traveled with two granddaughters in the first movie, and a granddaughter and a niece in the second.



The second canonical Doctor Who was Patrick Troughton from 1966 to 1969.   The spittoon haircut was an interesting touch.  Patrick Troughton has a Peter Cushing number of one, having appeared with him in The Black Knight in 1954. 

Jon Pertwee played the third Doctor from 1970 to 1974.  Like Patrick Troughton, John Pertwee has a Peter Cushing number of one, having played in The House That Dripped Blood with Cushing in 1971.


Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981, was the first television Doctor I saw.  Because of that, he is still my favorite.  Tom Baker has a Peter Cushing number of two. 
2.  In 1973, Tom Baker appeared in Ray Harryhausen's The Golden Voyage of Sinbad with Robert Rietty. 
1.  In 1961, Robert Rietty appeared in The Naked Edge with Peter Cushing. 


Elisabeth Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith, companion to the third and fourth Doctors, has made several return appearances and has starred in a spinoff series.  Elisabeth Sladen has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Elisabeth Sladen was in Ferry Cross the Mersey in 1965 with Mona Washbourne.
1.  Mona Washbourne was in The Brides of Dracula in 1960 with Peter Cushing. 



Leela the Sevateem warrior, played by Louise Jameson, was a popular companion of the fourth Doctor. Louise Jameson has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 2012, Louise Jameson was in Run For Your Wife with Simon Williams.
1.  In 1977, Simon Williams was in The Uncanny with Peter Cushing. 


Peter Davison played the fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984.  He was my first regenerated Doctor, so I didn't like him as much as I liked Tom Baker.  Peter Davison has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Peter Davison was in A Man You Don't Meet Every Day in 1994 with Joanna Wake.
1.  Joanna Wake was in One More Time in 1970 with Peter Cushing. 


Colin Baker was the sixth Doctor from 1984 to 1986.  I didn't watch the show much while he was the Doctor.  Colin Baker has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Colin Baker was in The Harpist in 1999 with Barbara Murray.
1.  Barbara Murray was in Tales From the Crypt in 1972 with Peter Cushing.



Nicola Bryant played Perpugilliam (Peri) Brown, an American, as a companion to the fifth and sixth Doctors.  Nicola Bryant has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1998, Nicola Bryant was in Parting Shots with Joanna Lumley.
1.  In 1971, Joanna Lumley was in The House That Dripped Blood with Peter Cushing



Sylvester McCoy was the seventh Doctor, the last Doctor before the series ended for the first time in 1989, and my favorite after Tom Baker.  Sylvester McCoy has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1979, Sylvester McCoy was in Dracula with Donald Pleasance.
1.  In 1960, Donald Pleasance was in Suspect with Peter Cushing. 



The eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, appeared in one television movie in 1996.  I remember watching it and I remember Doctor Who fans debating whether he should be considered canonical.  I don't remember why.  Paul McGann has a Peter Cushing number of two. 
2.  Paul McGann was in Afraid of the Dark with Gwyneth Strong in 1991.
1.  Gwyneth Strong was in Nothing But the Night with Peter Cushing in 1973. 

The eighth Doctor's companion, Doctor Grace Holloway, was played by Daphne Ashbrook.  Daphne Ashbrook is the first person I have encountered with a Peter Cushing number of 3.
3.  Daphne Ashbrook was in Quiet Cool with Fran Ryan in 1986.
2.  Fran Ryan was in Scandalous John with José Nieto in 1971.
1.  José Nieto was in Alexander the Great with Peter Cushing in 1956. 


When the series returned in 2005, Christopher Eccleston was the ninth Doctor.  He wore a less flamboyant costume than his predecessors.  Eccleston stayed for only one season.  He has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1991, Christopher Eccleston was in Let Him Have It with Michael Elphick.
1.  In 1973, Michael Elphick was in ...And Now the Screaming Starts with Peter Cushiing.


David Tennant Played the tenth Doctor from 2005-2010.  I liked his interpretation.  David Tennant has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 2009, David Tennant was in Glorious 39 with Christoper Lee.
1.  As we have seen, Christopher Lee was in many movies with Peter Cushing. 

Billie Piper played Rose Tyler, who was companion to both Eccleston and Tennant.  Billie Piper has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Billie Piper was in Evita with Harry Fielder in 1996.
1.  Harry Fielder was in Top Secret! with Peter Cushing in 1984.

The eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, has played the part since 2010.  I have not seen many of his episodes.  Matt Smith is the first Doctor with a Peter Cushing number of three. 
3.  Matt Smith was in Bert and Dickie in 2012 with John Bird.
2.  John Bird was in A Promise of Bed in 1970 with Vanessa Howard.  
1.  Vanessa Howard was in The Blood Beast Terror in 1968 with Peter Cushing. 

Jenna-Louise Coleman played companion Oswin Oswald.  Jenna-Louise Coleman has a Peter Cushing number of three.
3.  Jenna-Louise Coleman was in Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 with Richard Armitage.
2.  Richard Armitage was in The Hobbit in 2012 with Christoper Lee.
1.  As we have seen, Christopher Lee was in many movies with Peter Cushing. 

It appears that Peter Cushing is well connected with other people who played Doctor Who.   


After seeing so many people with a Peter Cushing number of two in my first post, I decided to compare Peter Cushing with another actor who was born in 1913 and died in 1994, Burt Lancaster.  The photo shows Lancaster with Ava Gardner in the excellent 1946 film  The Killers, which was loosely based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway.  I calculated Burt Lancaster numbers for the people mentioned in this article. Burt Lancaster's Peter Cushing number is ... 2.

actorBurt LancasterPeter Cushing
William Hartnell22
Carole Ann Ford22
Maureen O'Brien32
Patrick Troughton21
Jon Pertwee21
Tom Baker22
Elisabeth Sladen22
Louise Jameson22
Peter Davison22
Colin Baker32
Nicola Bryant22
Sylvester McCoy22
Paul McGann22
Daphne Ashbrook23
Christoper Eccleston 22
David Tennant22
Billie Piper22
Matt Smith33
Jenna-Louise Coleman 33
Total4239

Burt Lancaster's results are similar to Peter Cushing's.  I still haven't seen a number higher than three. 


Just out of curiosity, I calculated my own Peter Cushing number.  My Peter Cushing number is a three.
3.  Me.  
2.  A relative of mine was an associate producer on the television show Time Trax back in 1994.  British actor Shane Briant played a role.  Briant went on to have a busy career, including the upcoming Hobbit with Christopher Lee. 
1.  Shane Briant was in Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell with Peter Cushing in 1973. 

Shane Briant and a couple of other actors including Joe Mantegna give me a Burt Lancaster number of four. 

Most of the images in this post come from the excellent site LucyWho (http://www.lucywho.com/).  The calculations of Peter Cushing numbers come from The Oracle of Bacon (http://oracleofbacon.org/).

Thank you to Pierre Fournier for hosting this blogathon.  Thank you to my fellow bloggers for sharing your time, talent and imagination with all of us.  It has been a wonderful experience. And thank you to the people who have taken the time to visit this blog and read my humble contributions.  We bloggers thrive on comments. 

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Horror Films
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Sherlock Holmes
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Doctor Who
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- And Now the Screaming Stops


Updated 08-August-2013: Peter Capaldi is the twelfth Doctor.  He has a Peter Cushing number of two, having worked with John Mills in Bean in 1997.  John Mills worked with Peter Cushing in The End of the Affair in 1955.  Peter Capaldi has a Burt Lancaster number of one, having worked with him in Local Hero in 1983.  I was hoping the Doctor would regenerate as a woman or a person of color, but Peter Capaldi is a good choice. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Direct From Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- May 29, 2013

This ad, from the 17-July-1913 Tulsa Daily World, announces upcoming auto races at the Tulsa Fair Grounds.  Pictured is the 290 horsepower Jay-Eye-See, built by the Case Company and named after a racehorse which in turn was named after the Case Company's founder, Jerome Increase Case.  The Jay-Eye-See was driven by Louis Disbrow, a prominent American racer.  I like the streamlined front end of the car.  Other cars included the Simplex Zip and the Red Dragon.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.  "Ample Parking Space." 

The New Yacht Angela -- May 29, 2013

From the 03-September-1895 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. 

With the America's Cup and preliminary races coming to San Francisco Bay this summer, I thought I would post pictures of some racing yachts. 


The new sloop yacht Angela came down from Vallejo yesterday on her maiden cruise. Captain Woods had quite a party of friends on board, and when the anchor was dropped off Sausalito they all went ashore for a run. In the afternoon the return trip was begun. The Angela is a splendid sea boat and a fast sailer. Captain Woods is going to enter her in some of the regattas and expects to make a good record. She spreads 4000 feet of canvas, is 38 feet long, 13 feet broad and 5 feet deep.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Sherlock Holmes -- May 28, 2013


This post is part of  the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon, hosted by Pierre Fournier at his excellent blog Frankensteinia (http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/).


In my first post for the blogathon, I looked at the ways Peter Cushing was connected to other famous horror movie actors, using the concept of Six Degrees of Separation.  In this post, I will explore his relation to other actors who played Sherlock Holmes.  In my third post, I will compare him to other actors who have portrayed Doctor Who.  In my last post, I will dig a little deeper into Degrees of Separation.

Sherlock Holmes

I enjoyed Peter Cushing's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I first saw on Creature Features, a late night horror show on KTVU, an Oakland station. I should mention that he was the first actor to play Holmes in a color movie.  I thought it might be interesting to see how Peter Cushing is connected with other actors who have played Holmes.


The first actor to become famous for playing Sherlock Holmes was American William Gillette. Arthur Conan Doyle had killed Sherlock Holmes in 1893, but, needing money, was happy to let Gillette write a four act play, Sherlock Holmes, or The Strange Case of Miss Faulkner. In fact, Gillette had to write the play twice, because the first manuscript burned in the fire at Lucky Baldwin's Hotel and Theater at Powell and Market in San Francisco on 23-November-1898.  Gillette played Holmes more than 1300 times, and his play was the basis for later films with John Barrymore and Basil Rathbone.  The play also introduced a love interest for Holmes, Alice Faulkner.  Gillette played Holmes in a 1916 feature film, which is believed to be lost.  I was surprised to learn that William Gillette has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1916, William Gillette starred in Sherlock Holmes with Edward Fielding, who played Doctor Watson.
1.  In 1940, Edward Fielding played a small part in Vigil in the Night with Peter Cushing. 


In 1922, John Barrymore starred in an adaption of Gillette's play.  Roland Young, who later played Cosmo Topper, was Doctor Watson.  John Barrymore has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1936, Barrymore played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.   Ronald Howard, son of actor Leslie Howard, played a small part.  We will return to Ronald Howard a little later.
1.  In 1961, Ronald Howard appeared with Peter Cushing in The Naked Edge.


In the 1920s, Eille Norwood starred in a series of British short- and feature-length films as Sherlock Holmes.  Eille Norwood has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.   In 1922, Eille Norwood played Sherlock Holmes in the short "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk."  Olaf Hytten played the clerk, Hall Pycroft.
1.  In 1940, Olaf Hytten and Peter Cushing played small parts in The Howards of Virginia.


In 1929, Clive Brook became the first actor to play Holmes in a talkie, The Return of Sherlock Holmes.  Brook played Holmes again in 1930 in a sketch in the revue Paramount on Parade and in 1932, in Sherlock Holmes, adapted from Gillette's play.  The photo, from the March, 1930 New Movie, shows William Powell as Philo Vance and Clive Brook as Holmes in Paramount on Parade.  Clive Brook has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Clive Brook and Frederick March were two of many Paramount stars making a cameo appearance in Make Me a Star in 1932.
1.  Frederick March played in Alexander the Great with Peter Cushing in 1956.


Arthur Wontner played Holmes in a series of movies made in Britain during the 1930s.  Even though the movies were quota quickies made with minuscule budgets, many people regard Wontner's Holmes as one of the best.  Others feel that he was too old for the part.  I enjoyed the one movie that I have seen.  Arthur Wontner has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1943, Arthur Wonter appeared in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp with Marjorie Gresley.
1.  In 1958, Marjorie Gresley was billed as Marjorie Cresley in The Revenge of Frankenstein with Peter Cushing.


In 1939, Basil Rathbone played Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles at 20th Century-Fox with Nigel Brice as Doctor Watson.  For much of my life, they were nearly everyone's favorite Holmes and Watson.  Also in 1939, they appeared in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, another adaption of Gillette's play.  They made 12 more movies with lower budgets at Universal.  Rathbone felt that becoming so identified as Holmes hurt his career.  Basil Rathbone has a Peter Cushing number of two. In 1963, Rathbone played with Vincent Price in Comedy of Terrors.  We saw in the first post that Vincent Price has a Peter Cushing number of one.


We encountered Ronald Howard when talking about John Barrymore.  In 1954, Howard appeared as Sherlock Holmes with H Marion Crawford as Doctor Watson in a filmed television series, produced by American Sheldon Leonard and shot in Paris with a British cast.  I have seen many of the shows and they are ok, although I think Howard overdid it with the deerstalker and the curved pipe.  Ronald Howard has a Peter Cushing number of one, having appeared with him in in The Naked Edge.

Over the next 30 years, Holmes turned up in a variety of movie and television productions, played by Roger Moore (Peter Cushing number two), Robert Stephens (also two), Nicol Williamson (two again), Christopher Plummer (two), Douglas Wilmer (Peter Cushing number one) and Vasily Livanov  (I was surprised -- another two) in a Soviet television series. 

In 1984, Jeremy Brett began playing Sherlock Holmes in a series of adaption of the original stories and novels.  In the photo, we see Brett with David Burke, who played Watson in the earlier stories (thank you, Yvette).  Today many people feel that Brett was the best Holmes.  I like his interpretation, although he got quirkier and quirkier as the series went along.  I liked the way that Watson was presented as a brave and intelligent man.  Jeremy Brett has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1956, Jeremy Brett was in War and Peace with John Mills.
1.  In 1955, John Mills was in The End of the Affair with Peter Cushing.

In the 2000s, Ian Hart played Doctor Watson with two different Sherlocks in a pair of television movies.  In 2002, Richard Roxburgh (Peter Cushing number two) played Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles.  In 2004, Rupert Everett (also two) played Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking.


I almost forgot to mention these movies.  In 2009, Robert Downey, Jr played in Sherlock Holmes with Jude Law as Doctor Watson.  In 2011, they repeated the roles in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. I thought I was going to hate the first movie, but I tried not to think of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and I made it all the way through.  I may have slept through part of the second one.  There were too many CGI effects in both movies.  Robert Downey, Jr has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1995, Robert Downey, Jr was in Restoration with Jenny Runacre.
1.  In 1973, Jenny Runacre was in The Creeping Flesh with Peter Cushing. 
 
Benedict Cumberbatch is currently playing Holmes in Sherlock, a British television series set in modern-day London with Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson. I'm enjoying it. Benedict Cumberbatch has a Peter Cushing number of two. Cumberbatch was in The Hobbit with Christopher Lee.  As we saw in my first post, Christopher Lee has a  Peter Cushing number of one, having appeared in many movies with his best friend, Peter Cushing. 

Jonny Lee Miller is currently playing Holmes in Elementary, an American television series set in modern-day New York City with Lucy Liu as Doctor Watson.  I have enjoyed watching it.  Jonny Lee Miller has a Peter Cushing number of two.  He was in the recent Dark Shadows movie with Christopher Lee.  As we have seen, Christopher Lee has a  Peter Cushing number of one.

I have never seen any of the movies where Christoper Lee played Sherlock Holmes.  I've mentioned it before, but Christopher Lee has a  Peter Cushing number of one.

Peter Cushing is well connected to most of the people who have played Sherlock Holmes.  Being a frequent co-star with Christopher Lee has helped.


After seeing so many people with a Peter Cushing number of two in my first post, I decided to compare Peter Cushing with another actor who was born in 1913 and died in 1994, Burt Lancaster.  The photo shows Lancaster with Ava Gardner in the excellent 1946 film  The Killers, which was loosely based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway.  I calculated Burt Lancaster numbers for the people mentioned in this article. Burt Lancaster's Peter Cushing number is ... 2.

actorBurt LancasterPeter Cushing
William Gillette32
John Barrymore22
Eille Norwood32
Clive Brook12
Arthur Wontner22
Basil Rathbone22
Ronald Howard21
Roger Moore22
Robert Stephens22
Nicol Williamson22
Christopher Plummer22
Douglas Wilmer22
Vasily Livanov22
Jeremy Brett22
Richard Roxburgh32
Rupert Everett22
Robert Downey, Jr22
Benedict Cumberbatch22
Jonny Lee Miller21
Christopher Lee11
Total4137

Burt Lancaster's results are similar to Peter Cushing's.  I still haven't seen a number higher than 3. 

Most of the images in this post come from the excellent site LucyWho (http://www.lucywho.com/).  The calculations of Peter Cushing numbers come from The Oracle of Bacon (http://oracleofbacon.org/).

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Horror Films
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Sherlock Holmes
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Doctor Who
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- And Now the Screaming Stops  

Monday, May 27, 2013

1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Sports Tourer -- May 27, 2013

San Francisco's Academy of Art University has a fine collection of classic cars available for study by its design students. They shared the collection at the 2010 San Francisco International Auto Show.

WO Bentley joined the Lagonda company and designed many sporting cars, including the LG45 Rapide. 

Memorial Day #6 -- May 27, 2013

On Memorial Day it is fitting and proper to remember the men and women who gave their lives, who continue to give their lives, to give us the country we deserve.

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity. -- Dwight D Eisenhower

I took this photo on 14-December-2007 at the National Cemetery in the Presidio. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Horror Films -- May 26, 2013



This post is part of  the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon, hosted by Pierre Fournier at his excellent blog Frankensteinia (http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/).

I first saw Peter Cushing when Creature Features on KTVU, an Oakland television station, played Terence Fisher's Curse of Frankenstein or Horror of Dracula.  I was impressed by Christopher Lee, who played the monster and the Count, but I identified with Doctors Frankenstein and Van Helsing.  Creature Features later played The Hound of the Baskervilles.  I thought Peter Cushing was an excellent Sherlock Holmes.  I still look forward to seeing the surviving episodes of the television show where he played Holmes.  Creature Features also showed one or both of the movies where Cushing played Doctor Who.  This was my first exposure to the character. 

The concept of Six Degrees of Separation holds that every person on Earth is connected to every other person by a chain of no more than six acquaintances.   For instance, I have a Walt Disney number of three:  Walt Disney received financing for Snow White, his first animated feature (and many later movies), from San Francisco's Bank of America.  To get the financing, Disney and his brother Roy spent much time talking to founder AP Giannini and his brother.  AP often ate lunch at a restaurant where my grandfather was partner and chef.  Giannini gave my grandfather investment advice.  So:
3.  me 
2.  my grandfather
1.  AP Giannini
0.  Walt Disney  

In an interview published in1994, actor Kevin Bacon remarked that he had worked with everyone in Hollywood or someone who had worked with everyone he had not worked with.  This inspired Craig Fass, Brian Turtle, and Mike Ginelli to create a game and later a book called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  The goal of the game is to relate anyone to Kevin Bacon in six steps or fewer.

I have been thinking that Peter Cushing, who worked in Hollywood in the Thirties, Britain in the Fifties, and everywhere else in the world, must be pretty well connected.  In this post, I will look at his connections with various notable horror movie actors.  In my second post, I will look at this connections with other actors who have played Sherlock Holmes.  In my third post, I will look at his connections with other actors who have played Doctor Who. In my last post, I will dig a little deeper into Degrees of Separation.

Horror Movies


Peter Cushing has a Peter Cushing number of zero.


Peter Cushing's best friend, Christoper Lee, has a Peter Cushing number of one, because they worked together many times.  Here we see Lee choking Cushing in The Curse of Frankenstein.


Hazel Court also appeared in The Curse of Frankenstein with Christoper Lee and Peter Cushing, so she has a Peter Cushing number of one.  She also appeared in The Raven with Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price.


The first actor to play Frankenstein's Monster in a movie was Charles Ogle, in the 1910 Edison Frankenstein.  Charles Ogle has a Peter Cushing number of two. 
2.  Charles Ogle was in The Thundering Herd with Gary Cooper in 1925.
1.  Gary Cooper was in The Naked Edge with Peter Cushing in 1961.  


Lon Chaney, Sr, considered by many to be the first great horror film actor, has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1926, Chaney appeared in The Road to Mandalay with tall, bearded Eric Mayne, who had a bit part.

1.  In 1941, Eric Mayne played a bit part in They Dare Not Love, with Peter Cushing, who had a slightly larger part. 



Lon Chaney's son, Creighton, billed as Lon Jr, played in a multitude of horror movies, and felt typecast.  Here is a poster from a movie where he got to show that he could act, an adaption of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.  Lon Chaney Jr also has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1939, Chaney Jr co-starred in Of Mice and Men with Burgess Meredith.
1.  In 1967, Burgess Meredith appeared in Torture Garden with Peter Cushing.


Bela Lugosi is loved by many for his performances as Count Dracula, especially in the 1931 version.  His career went downhill after that, which is why he has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1951, Bela Lugosi appeared in the classic (?) comedy Old Mother Riley Meets the Vampire with Ian Wilson, who played the butler.
1.  In 1960, Ian Wilson played a small role in Suspect, also known as The Risk, with Peter Cushing.




I think Boris Karloff is the greatest interpreter of Frankenstein's Monster, in the 1931 Frankenstein and the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein.  I had a small reproduction of this poster in my room when I was growing up.  Karloff was able to appear in many types of movies over the years, but always came back to horror.  Boris Karloff has a Peter Cushing number of two, because in 1968 Karloff appeared with Christopher Lee in Curse of the Crimson Altar.  Christoper Lee has a Peter Cushing number of one.


Edward Van Sloan was a distinguished-looking actor who played Professor Van Helsing in Dracula and Doctor Frankenstein's teacher, Doctor Waldman.  His prologue to Dracula left an impression on me when I was very young.  Edward Van Sloan has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Edward Van Sloan was in Dracula with Nicholas Bela in 1931.
1.  Nicholas Bela was in They Dare Not Love with with Peter Cushing in 1941. 



Colin Clive played Doctor Frankenstein in Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff.   Colin Clive has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Colin Clive was in The Girl From 10th Avenue with Bette Davis in 1935.
1.  Bette Davis was in John Paul Jones in 1959 with Peter Cushing. 



Elsa Lanchester was a British actress who had a long and varied career.  She is famous among horror fans as the Bride in Bride of Frankenstein. Elsa Lanchester has a Peter Cushing number of two. 
2.  In 1942, Elsa Lanchester was in Son of Fury with John Carradine, another frequent horror movie actor.
1.  In 1983, John Carradine was in House of the Long Shadows with Peter Cushing.


 For me, the highlight of Bride of Frankenstein was Ernest Thesiger's Doctor Pretorious.  Every time he said "It's my only vice," I was pretty sure it wasn't.  His Horace Femm in The Old Dark House was another great performance.  Ernest Thesiger has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Ernest Thesiger was in Bride of Frankenstein with Ted Billings in 1935.
1.  Ted Billings was in The Man in the Iron Mask with Peter Cushing in 1939. 


Zita Johann is best remembered for playing Princess Anck-es-en-Amon, Boris Karloff's love interest in The Mummy.  Zita Johann has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1933, Zita Johann was in Luxury Liner with tough guy actor George Brent.
1.  In 1941, George Brent was in They Dare Not Love with Peter Cushing. 


I have always been a fan of Dwight Frye, who played Renfield in Dracula, Fritz in Frankenstein, and even Wilmer the gunsel in the 1931 Maltese Falcon.  Dwight Frye has a Peter Cushing number of one, because in 1939 he appeared in The Man in the Iron Mask with Peter Cushing.  They both played small roles.


Peter Lorre appeared in many horror films.  In the photo we see him in Mad Love, one of his creepiest performances.  I like his work in the horror-comedy Arsenic and Old Lace as Doctor Einstein.  Peter Lorre has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Lorre appeared in The Raven in 1963 with Vincent Price.
1.  Vincent Price appeared in Madhouse in 1974 with Peter Cushing. 


Fay Wray had a long career, but is best remembered for her screams in horror movies like King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, Doctor X, The Mystery of the Wax Museum and The Vampire Bat.  Fay Wray has a Peter Cushing number of two. 
2.  In 1934, Fay Wray appeared in The Affairs of Cellini with distinguished actor Frederick March.
1.  In 1956, Frederick March appeared in Alexander the Great with Peter Cushing. 


Vincent Price, who had a long career in Hollywood, became known as a master of horror.  The photo shows him in one of my favorites, The Abominable Doctor Phibes.  Vincent Price has a Peter Cushing number of one, because he appeared in a few movies with Peter Cushing, including 1970's Scream and Scream Again.



Barbara Steele was a British actress who became famous for appearing in Italian horror films in the 1960s.  Barbara Steele has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Barbara Steele was in The 39 Steps in 1959 with John Harvey.  This was not a good version of The 39 Steps.
1.  John Harvey was in Legend of the Werewolf in 1975 with Peter Cushing.


I nearly forgot to mention John Carradine, who appeared in many horror movies during his long and distinguished career.  John Carradine has a Peter Cushing number of one.  He appeared with Peter Cushing, and Christoper Lee and Vincent Price, in House of the Long Shadows


Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein  may have been the first movie I went to see by myself, at the Metro on Union Street in San Francisco.  It left an impression on me.  Gene Wilder played Doctor Frankenstein and Peter Boyle played the Monster.  Gene Wilder has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Gene Wilder played in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother with John Le Mesurier in 1975.
1.   John Le Mesurier played in The Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cushing in 1959. 

Peter Boyle also has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  Peter Boyle was in Malcom X with Billy J Mitchell in 1992.
1.  Billy J Mitchell was in Top Secret! with Peter Cushing in 1984. 

Marty Feldman (Igor), Teri Garr (Inga), Madeline Kahn (Elizabeth), Cloris Leachman (Frau Blücher) and Kenneth Mars (Inspector Kemp) all have a Peter Cushing number of two. 


Wes Craven's original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street and a slew of sequels starred Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger.  Robert Englund has a Peter Cushing number of two.
2.  In 1977 Robert Englund appeared in Eaten Alive (not to be confused with the 1980 Eaten Alive!, which had an exclamation point) with tough-guy actor Stuart Whitman.
1.  In 1974, Stuart Whitman played the title character in Shatter with Peter Cushing.


The 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street starred Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger.  Like Robert Englund, Jackie Earle Haley has a Peter Cushing number of two.  Jackie Earle Haley appeared in the 2012 Dark Shadows with Christoper Lee, who has a Peter Cushing number of one.

It appears that Peter Cushing is well connected in the horror movie field.  In my next post, I will look at his connections with other actors who have played Sherlock Holmes. 


After seeing so many people with a Peter Cushing number of two, I decided to compare Peter Cushing with another actor who was born in 1913 and died in 1994, Burt Lancaster.  The photo shows Lancaster with Ava Gardner in the excellent 1946 film  The Killers, which was loosely based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway.  I calculated Burt Lancaster numbers for the people mentioned in this article. Burt Lancaster's Peter Cushing number is ... 2. 

actorBurt LancasterPeter Cushing
Christoper Lee11
Hazel Court21
Charles Ogle22
Lon Chaney, Sr22
Lon Chaney, Jr22
Bela Lugosi22
Boris Karloff22
Edward Van Sloan22
Colin Clive22
Elsa Lanchester22
Ernest Thesiger22
Zita Johann22
Dwight Frye21
Peter Lorre12
Fay Wray22
Vincent Price21
Barbara Steele22
John Carradine11
Gene Wilder22
Peter Boyle22
Marty Feldman22
Teri Garr22
Madeline Kahn22
Cloris Leachman22
Kenneth Mars22
Robert Englund22
Jackie Earle Haley22
Total5149

The results were similar, but not the same. 

Most of the images in this post come from the excellent site LucyWho (http://www.lucywho.com/).  The calculations of Peter Cushing numbers come from The Oracle of Bacon (http://oracleofbacon.org/).

Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Horror Films
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Sherlock Holmes
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- Doctor Who
Six Degrees of Peter Cushing -- And Now the Screaming Stops