Remembering When the B Movie Cast Met Richard from Wichita

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VinceTo be a listener of the B Movie Cast meant that Vince Rotolo welcomed you into his home. Each and every week, he would educate us on a film we either hadn’t seen in a long time or had never even heard of. Most of the times, they were winners and a few times, they were pretty bad. But no matter how bad the movie might have been, just listening to Vince’s positive comments and enthusiasm was infectious. His love for these movies never wavered.

As most of us cannot be there to celebrate the life of Vince Rotolo in person this week, I’m doing what many are doing tonight and tomorrow…thinking of his wife Mary and remembering some of the wonderful films he covered on his show. I was lucky enough to be a guest co-host on four separate occasions, back when I was referring to myself as “Richard from Wichita”, a name Vince never could forget. It was these reviews that gave me the encouragement to dust off my writer’s pen and write those first reviews for the B Movie Man site and, eventually, launch this blog.

Confessions_of_an_Opium_EaterI have been humbled as I’ve heard my name mentioned more than once over the last week among the cast of characters known as the B Movie Clubhouse. Thank you Vince for having me on your show, starting this community which introduced me to so many cool people, welcoming me into your world and talking about the movies we loved.

Episode 75 (9-27-09) – Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962) starring Vincent Price

Episode 93 (3-8-10) – The Beast from the Beginning of Time (1965) starring Tom Leahy

Episode 152 (4-24-11) – The Devil’s Rain (1975) starring William Shatner

Episode 225 (11-21-12) – Kingdom of the Spiders (1978) starring William Shatner

Latest Dread Media Episode Dedicated to Vince Rotolo

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Vince and DinosaurAfter a six week absence, I am back on Dread Media. However, it was with mixed emotions that I returned. I was glad to be back recording a short message thanking everyone for their recent support. Unfortunately, I was also sharing the news of our departed podcast legend and friend, Vince Rotolo. Desmond Reddick has dedicated episode 453 to Vince, recognizing him for being an inspiration in his launching of the Dread Media podcast. While the shows are different in style, at the core you will find the same wonderful podcast community, people gathering to talk about the movies we all love.

Next week, I dive back into the film reviews as I will be celebrating three legends in May, the birth month of Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. I’ll be taking a look at some of their lesser efforts here at Monster Movie Kid and on Dread Media.

Tribute to Podcast Pioneer and Legend Vince Rotolo

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Vince 1In 2006, my wife gave me this new device called an iPod. She thought I would enjoy it because it would store music. She never imagined the world it would open up for me. When I discovered this new thing called a podcast, my world suddenly expanded. I was able to connect with likeminded individuals from around the world. I was able to “meet” other fans and lovers of the cinema. And I was introduced to Vince Rotolo.

Vince had just launched a new show called the B Movie Cast. It was relatively short and this man behind the microphone seemed a little uncomfortable. Yet, it all seemed so natural. Vince was simply one of us, a man with a microphone who wanted to talk about movies, music and all of the other cool stuff we enjoyed. He wanted to hear from us and I would call in with voicemails offering up my thoughts. Each week, the show would grow and he would eventually introduce us to his co-host Nic Brown. Then, something magical happened when his wife Mary joined the show. The B-Movie Cast was now coming together in ways it never had before. Little could we have imagined it would eventually grow to more than 370 episodes strong.

Vince Mary and NicThe show would continue to evolve with the additions of Juan, the rotating guests and the constantly expanding family members calling in each week. We would all suffer through the nuclear outages and smile at every word Vince would butcher. As the years would pass, we would become exposed to so many great films we had never taken the time to watch or had even heard of. And yes, we would occasional grimace at such disasters like Christmas on Mars. Through it all, we welcomed Vince into our homes and hearts just as he did to us. Whether we were relaxing on the couch or traveling to work, Vince was there each and every week.

B Movie CastThe very fact that you are reading this is due in large part to Vince. It was on the B Movie Cast that I was able to voice my thoughts on film and even be a co-host on more than one occasion. It was there that Beast from the Beginning of Time (1965) was first discussed and available online. It was through the show that I met Nic Brown, which resulted in my first two articles being posted on his website and, ultimately the launching of Monster Movie Kid. Simply said, there would be no Monster Movie Kid without Vince Rotolo.

Vince’s gentle nature and laughter with his friends was always the perfect escape for two or three hours from whatever reality everyone was dealing with. My thoughts go out to his wife Mary, who brightened the show each and every week with her presence. I will never be able to meet Vince face-to-face at the Monster Bash and that is one of my deepest regrets.

As I offer up my prayers and condolences to Mary, his family and all of the podcast community, I present this challenge. Beyond our words, let’s think in the days and weeks and months ahead on how we can honor the memory of Vince Rotolo. He was a podcasting pioneer and, above everything else, a friend to all of us. Rest in peace my friend.

Cinema a Go-Go Offers Creeping Crawling Monster Classics

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Cinema a Go Go April 2016There’s nothing better than a good old fashioned creature double feature in a grand old theater surrounded by likeminded cinematic fans. I would often hear of such events in other cities but it wasn’t until last fall that I discovered we had our very own right here in the Kansas City metro area. Darrell Brogden, the man behind The Retro Cocktail Hour (two of the greatest hours on radio each week celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year), is the driving force behind Cinema a Go-Go. Last Friday night, I attended my second night of flicks and it was just as enjoyable as the first.

Unlike last fall, where the double feature was clearly a camp fest with Attack of the Crab Monsters and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, this was a little more serious in nature. Well, at least 50% more serious. The evening opened with The Crawling Eye aka The Trollenberg Terror (1958). The version played was the latter, which meant a few extra minutes of footage leading up to the big reveal. Our main hero is Alan Brooks (Forrest Tucker), a United Nations representative who is called in to investigate mysterious deaths on a mountain with an odd cloud formation. There is a scientific team located on the mountain and there is a suspicion that this may be similar to another incident three years earlier. Add in a newspaper reporter, two women who perform a psychic act that may be more real than anyone suspects, and a few locals for good measure and you have the recipe for suspense. Yes, there is more to the cloud than meets the eye and while it may seem formulaic, the setting and execution are actually quite good. It helps that it was written by Hammer legend Jimmy Sangster and directed by Quentin Lawrence, who had already directed the television serial on which this is based. Forrest Tucker turns in a rather good performance, years before he would become more associated with comedy thanks to F-Troop. A lot more fun than it gets credit for.

RCHAfter a brief intermission with great Hammer music playing and prize giveaways, the second feature turned quite a bit more serious. The Creeping Unknown aka The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) is a Hammer classic, the first of three films with Professor Bernard Quatermass. Again, we were presented yet another movie based on a television serial, it deals with the dangers of space travel and what happens when something follows us home. Brian Donlevy would play Professor Quatermass twice, in this film and its sequel, Quatermass 2 (1957). Despite creator Nigel Kneale’s displeasure at Donlevy’s performance, the film was a success, securing Donlevy’s return. However, Kneale would win out for the casting of the third film, Quatermass and the Pit (1967), which would feature actor Andrew Keir. The movie plays out like many of the early 70s Doctor Who episodes with Jon Pertwee as scientists and military investigate an alien organism, attempting to stop it before it takes over Earth. Not much opportunity for humor here but a definite sci-fi classic.

Despite the lack of opportunity for laughing at cheesy effects and acting (well, The Crawling Eye did give us that more than once), the evening was another great success. With free swag like posters and CDs, not to mention the chance to finally buy a Retro Cocktail Hour glass, I had quite the evening with my daughter Kayla, who loves to hear the audience react. The old Liberty Hall on Mass Street in downtown Lawrence is the perfect venue for a double feature like this. They’ve announced the next event will be on June 10 and we plan on being there!  Thank you Darrell and crew for putting on a fun-filled evening of monster goodness!crawling-eye-1958

Introducing Some Friends of Monster Movie Kid – Part One

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It’s always nice to get a little recognition. Whether you’re a writer or an artist, it helps to get your work out there to people who might not have otherwise been aware of what you were doing. Today, I turn the DVD off and give my writer’s mind a rest so I can give a shout out to some friends of mine.

AbominationsAuthor and Podcaster Desmond Reddick

Desmond is the main man behind the Dread Media podcast, going strong with more than 450 episodes so far. But did you know he’s also a writer? He’s had short stories published in such books as Dark: A Horror Anthology (2010) and A Mythos Grimmly (2015). But his latest work is a full-length novel entitled Mother of Abominations: A Monster Earth Novel. It’s currently available for Amazon Kindle with a print version coming soon. It’s set in a world where giant monsters are real and features someone by the name of Aleister Crowley. Check out his new website to find out more about what Derrick is doing outside the podcast community.

 

Artist Steve Lightle

Justin ZaneSteve Lightle is an amazing artist who started his career in 1984 and has worked for both Marvel and Dc Comics. While most of his career has been spent as a cover artist, he did interior work on both Legion of Super-Heroes and Doom Patrol in the 1980s. After an absence from the world of comics, he returned with his own original title, Justin Zane. If you know his work, then you know it’s worth supporting. If you’re new to it, check out his website and become a patron today! You might just also learn a little about Whizzo the Clown. I am way late to the party as I just met Steve at Freestate Comicon 2015. However, I was instantly impressed and you will be too!

ManosAuthor Stephen D. Sullivan

I met this man through the wonderful podcast community. We share a love for all things monster and it’s that passion that Stephen brings to his many written works. He’s been working professionally since 1980 as a fantasy author, artist and editor. He was also a TSR editor during the early days of Dungeons and Dragons. Nowadays, he’s the author of such recent books as Daikaiju Attack, White Zombie and Manos: The Hands Fate. Actually, he’s tackling two versions of Manos, so some might say he’s unleashing Hell on Earth! You’re also likely to hear his voice on such podcasts as the B-Movie Cast and Monster Kid Radio. Check out his website and Patreon page to let him know we’re out here!

Let all these guys know Monster Movie Kid sent you. Next week, I’ve got a few more people out there who you need to know!

Dread Media – Crimson Peak (2015)

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Crimson PeakThe last review I recorded for the Dread Media podcast was done back on March 14 for the March 21 episode. It was my thoughts on Crimson Peak (2015) as part of the romance themed episode that turned into a show dedicated to my wife Geri. Take the time to take a listen to episode 447. I really enjoyed the movie and it helps understanding what Guillermo del Toro’s inspirations were for the flick.

I’ll be returning to Dread Media, once the motivation strikes me, hopefully sooner than later. Thank you for all of the love and continued support. It means the world to me and gives me more strength than you can ever imagine!Crimson Peak 2

Special Tribute to My Wife, Geri Chamberlain

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When I wrote the tribute to my dad in February, never in my worst nightmares did I think I would be doing the same less than two months later for my wife Geri. As all of you know, she passed away suddenly on March 19. Nothing I can say here is going to come close to recognizing her for all of the amazing things she did, but I’m going to try.

Geri and Rich 1988I met Geri in the fall of 1988 in Topeka, KS as we were working for competing video stores. She was a manager for Video Trend while I was a manager for Duncan’s Movie Magic. Long before the days of Hollywood Video and Blockbuster, the video industry survived through the locally owned stores. She worked for the laid back owners who thought it was cool she was dating someone from the competition. My owners were the opposite, absolutely sure that Geri was a spy trying to get video secrets out of me. I was told that I could not date her, so I did the most logical thing I could do. I quit, leaving two days before Christmas so I could spend time with my family before returning to Topeka and, unknowingly, beginning the rest of my life with the woman I loved.

I say unknowingly but, truth be told, I knew she was “the one”. Geri didn’t fall for my cheesy lines, those tricks that worked on all of the ladies. I knew I had to marry her and we would eventually do just that. She followed me down to Paris…Texas that it is…in 1989. It was there where we got married on June 1, 1990, before eventually returning to Kansas in 1991. All of the usual life events happened. Our daughter Kayla was born on May 30, 1992, followed later that year by our first house. Our son Joey was born on Feb. 9, 1994. Our second house came years later in 2002, by which time we both were entrenched in parenthood.

Geri and Rich Pumpkin PatchI was always the fun and laidback dad. The one who stayed in Geri’s shadow as she made sure shit got done. Whether it was scorekeeping at baseball, organizing the madness known as marching band and color guard, running the scoreboard at hockey or simply being the walking pharmacy with her never ending supply of new purses, Geri had it covered. I was the silent support. It was a system that worked the best for the both of us. I hated it sometimes as I felt Geri did too much, worked too hard. Yet, capturing the lightning that was Geri was impossible. If she slowed down, which was rarely, you knew she was either beyond tired or sick. That lasted all of a minute before she got back into the ring for the next round. Geri was a rock star. She was an amazing mom for her kids, not to mention countless others, both young and old.

Geri Kids SnowWhen Geri was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago, she gave into it for a minute before she put those big girl panties on and started to fight. The first chemo lasted August to December in 2014, of which she missed all of two days of work. A double mastectomy in January 2015 only kept her down for a few weeks. Intense radiation from January to March 2015 was handled over lunch. More chemo from January to May resulted in no work days missed. She had a list of goals and nothing was going to stop her. I recently found a list that ended with January 2016. She met every one of them, including seeing our daughter Kayla marry the love of her life, Drew. Unfortunately, her last goal, seeing Joey play in Nationals in Cedar Rapids, was one she couldn’t make physically. However, she was there, from the random playing of “Sweet Caroline” on the speakers before game 3 to the sighting of a ladybug in my room before game 2, her presence was definitely felt.

Despite the last two years of endless doctor visits and all of the crap that came with it, they were really the two best years of our marriage. After all those years of the usual stupid arguments married people have, we finally understood it. We loved each other more in the last two years than many married people do in a lifetime. For that, I am forever blessed. From watching television shows at night to going to movies (Deadpool was the last we saw together and yes, she liked it) to her grumbling about my carb free diet, we were a team and the love we shared is something I wish for every married couple out there.

Geri Kids Pumpkin PatchI lost my best friend on March 19 and it sucks. I find myself a single dad at the age of 48. To say it scares the shit out of me would be the understatement of the year. But, I have the most amazing support family that have made the last three weeks better than I ever imagined they could be. I’ve been told that now is the time for me to step out of the shadows and move forward as Geri would have wanted me to. I have to rediscover who I am. The last time I was single was 1988 and that Rich is long gone…thank God!

What I do know is that this blog will continue. Geri secretly loved going to conventions and watching movies. She certainly had her limits but she always supported me in my passions and I’m going to miss that more than anything. It would be too easy to dig a hole and disappear but that isn’t going to happen. So, I move forward in her honor, hoping to bring some happiness to those around me, trying to make this world a little better. I can’t even begin to be the person she was, so I’m going to be best person I can be.

Thank you everyone for your love and support. I’ll gladly continue to return it in kind. It’s time to take one step forward. Thank you Geri for an amazing 27 ½ years. I love you now and forever!Geri Royals