Rose Marie: 90 Years a Trouper

Rose MarieVery few performers have ever managed to carve out a nine-decade career in show business, but that’s just what Rose Marie (Baby Rose Marie, to Cladrite Radio listeners) has done—and she’s still going strong. Since launching her career at the ripe old age of four (she had a weekly radio program that was broadcast nationally before Shirley Temple was even born), Rose Marie has enjoyed success in vaudeville, radio, records, motion pictures, Broadway, and television.

A delightful new documentary, Wait for Your Laugh, documents Rose Marie’s amazing life and career, and we’re delighted to share a very lightly edited transcript of a telephone conversation we recently had the pleasure of enjoying with her. Buckle your seat belts; it’s a delightfully wild ride. As you’ll soon see, Rose Marie is as sharp and as funny as ever.

Cladrite Radio:  I have a lot of things I’d like to talk to you about.

Rose Marie:  First of all, let me ask you a question.

Cladrite Radio:  Sure.

Rose Marie:  Did you see the movie [Wait for Your Laugh]?

Cladrite Radio:  I did!

Rose Marie:  What’d you think of it?

Cladrite Radio:  I loved it. I thought it was great.

Rose Marie:  What’d you like about it?

Cladrite Radio:  I’m very interested in the popular culture of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, in addition to …

Rose Marie:  That’s my era.

Cladrite Radio:  It sure is. I have an online radio station that features music of that era. I play some of your records on the station.

Rose Marie:  Oh, nice.

Cladrite Radio:  When I got the chance to interview you, I was so excited. I’m a fan of your music, and I grew up with you on TV as well.

Rose Marie:  I know, everybody says that. It makes me feel so old.

Cladrite Radio:  Oh, well, I’m not so young myself.

Rose Marie:  I’m 94, wanna bet?

Cladrite Radio:  You’re doing great. You’re probably doing better at 94 than I am at 59.

Rose Marie:  Okay.

Cladrite Radio:  I wanted to ask you about the documentary. Whose idea…

Rose Marie:  I’m very happy to tell you. I’m very proud of it. I love it. I’m so proud of [director] Jason Wise, I can’t stand it. I think he’s a genius. I think he’s going to be one of the biggest men in the business in a couple years. I think this will introduce him to everybody. I think he’ll even be bigger than Steven Spielberg.

Cladrite Radio:  I’ll bet he wouldn’t mind that a bit.

Rose Marie:  Oh, he’s wonderful. You have no idea. You don’t know how particular he is. When we decided to do this thing, I kept everything from the time I was three years old. Postcards, pictures, film, anything I had, I kept. When he talked about doing the documentary, he says, “Let’s talk.” I said, “I have everything in scrapbooks. Why don’t you just go through everything?” I emptied out my house, and I mean he cleaned me out of everything. He put it in that documentary. Just a genius.

Cladrite Radio:  All the materials that we see in the documentary, the film clips we see and some of the programs and promotional materials and various things that are included in it…

Rose Marie:  All mine. All mine that he dug up out of my house.
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Happy 105th Birthday, Vincent Price!

The great Vincent Price was born Vincent Leonard Price Jr. 105 years ago today in St. Louis, Missouri. Here are 10 trivia tidbits from his life:

  • Price and fellow horror legend Christopher Lee share a birthday (though Price was 11 years Lee’s elder). Peter Cushing was born on May 26. The frightening trio appeared in two pictures together: Scream and Scream Again (1970) and House of the Long Shadows (1983).
  • Vincent Price was a gourmet chef and authored several cookbooks.
  • Price’s height—he was 6′ 4″—was limiting early in his career, as directors and casting people were reluctant to use actors who were taller than their leading men.
  • A diorama in Tombstone, Arizona, that tells the history of the town features recorded narration by Vincent Price.
  • A lifelong art collector, Price received his bachelor’s degree in art history from Yale University and in 1951 founded an art gallery and foundation bearing his name at East Los Angeles College. The college has since built an art museum named in Price’s honor.
  • Vincent Price was close friends with actress Cassandra Peterson, best known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
  • As a contestant on the game show The $64,000 Question, Price won $32,000.
  • Vincent Price appeared as narrator on a number of rock-era recordings, working with acts such as Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson and Deep Purple.
  • Though Price cited Cary Grant as his favorite actor, the two never appeared in a picture together.
  • In William Castle‘s camp classic The Tingler, Vincent Price’s character experienced the movies’ first LSD trip (all in the interest of science, mind you).

Happy birthday, Mr. Price, wherever you may be!

Vincent Price

The Tingler Under the Stars

We typically limit our focus to the first half of the 20th century, but periodically we dip our toes in the warm waters of the 1950s.

Last night, on Turner Classic Movies, they showed the cheezetastic William Castle classic The Tingler (1959). It’s long been a favorite of ours (and of—let’s face it—all right-thinking Americans), but did you know that the famous blackout scene—the one set in a movie theatre in which Vincent Price encourages the patrons of that theatre (and the one we’re sitting in) to scream for their lives, lest they be terrorized by the titular Tingler—had an alternate audio track, one designed to be substituted when the movie was shown at drive-in theatres?

Now’s your chance to hear both the original audio track and the alternate one, which features not Price’s voice, but Castle’s, as the producer/director urges drive-in patrons to not only scream for all they’re worth, but to turn on their headlights, too.

It’s anarchy, we tell you!