Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Vincent Price is
the Nexus of All Things


When I first jotted down an idea months ago, this was going to be a post about the 1980s Time Life book series The Enchanted World, with an aside about Vincent Price, one of the celebrities used to market those books on late-night TV.

As the weeks passed, my interest in the (still fascinating) Enchanted World waned slightly, while my interest in writing again about Vincent Price increased.

And increased. And increased. Then, something struck me earlier this week. In the intersecting realms of Popular Culture and My Life ... Vincent Price is, truly, The Nexus of All Things. It's not even close. (Sorry, Tommy Westphall.)

So this has become another post about Vincent Price, following on the heels of this May 2011 post and many other passing mentions here over the years. But I hedged a little on whether to write this morning. It's sunny and pleasant outside. A proper post about Vincent Price should be written on a dark and stormy night, when the wind is howling and trash-can lids are flying off and tumbling down the street. A night when the doors should be locked, because the dead are not still.

So I thought I would hold off. I still have a few days of Halloween season remaining. Then I went on Twitter. And I saw that today, this very day, marks the 24th anniversary of Vincent Price's death, on October 25, 1993.

Hello again, Vincent Price Nexus. You're never far off, are you?

So here we are. Discussing my Nexus. Perhaps yours is different. Maybe you're focused on Bieber or Gaga or the Brontë sisters, but in my world it's Vincent Price who keeps popping up. Over the past weeks, in addition to his association with Time Life books, I have come across:

  • Glorious advertisements for the Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture, one of those "toys" that every not-so-cool kid in the late 1970s wanted.
  • News that Cooking Price-Wise, one of Price's best-selling cookbooks — yes that's cookbooks, plural, because the man was amazing — is being expanded and republished.
  • I was researching a favorite childhood memory, the 1979 TV special Once Upon a Midnight Scary, because I loved the Severn Darden-led adaptation of The House with a Clock in Its Walls. And it was during this research that I rediscovered that, of course, Vincent Price served as the host who introduced the three tales of terror.
  • I can't go a day in October without someone tweeting the Kermit-and-Vincent photo into my feed.


He's everywhere!

And that's not all. There are connections that are even more personal in the Nexus. Vincent Price has read stories written by Ruth Manning-Sanders — my Anyone In History Dream Lunch would be Sarah and I sitting down with the two of them. Vincent Price absolutely remains one of Sarah's favorite actors, too, keeping pace alongside Norman Reedus and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Our shared Price film favorites include The Last Man on Earth, House on Haunted Hill, and any of the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations Price starred in. Even if all the aforementioned advertisements and cookbooks and hosting gigs didn't exist, we'd have a robust Vincent Price Fan Club in our household, solely based on his films.

And then there's Stranger Things, which brings us right up to this week. We're fans. Sarah and I watched Season 1 twice and are looking forward to Season 2 this week. The trailer for Season 2 makes absolutely masterful use of ... hello, Nexus ... Vincent Price's legendary voice-over from Michael Jackson's "Thriller."



"Darkness falls across the land" ... in that iconic voice ... just sends happy shivers down the spine.

I'll leave you with this: Two years ago, Vincent Price's daughter, Victoria, wrote a beautiful blog post on the anniversary of her father's death titled "YES YES YES YES YES!" You should read the whole thing, but here are two excerpts that I love:

My dad had lots of cute rituals that I loved as a kid: Holding your breath when driving through tunnels, skipping rocks into the waves, tossing a penny into a fountain and making a wish. He had cute little poems or turns of phrases for many things. For example, whenever he saw a pelican, he could not help himself. He intoned: “What a wonderful bird is the pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can.”

* * *

Now to be sure, there are times where having our N-O is very very important, maybe the most important thing in the world: Creating boundaries, speaking our truths, taking care of ourselves instead of others. We must all learn to have our NO!

But saying YES to life is equally vital. In fact, saying yes to life opens our hearts and our minds expands us and our whole lives into connection with one another, with what and who we love, even with the planet!

So, my way of honoring my dad this Halloween week is very simple. Find one way of saying YES this week!

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