Tuesday, April 04, 2006

King of the B's

So haven't I written about Corman already? Yes I have, but today is Mr. Corman's 80th birthday, and on one of my favorite blogs the author has challenged his readers to post a blog entry about Corman, so here it is. Roger Corman remains one of my favorite filmmakers of all time. Maybe some of his films were purely just drive-in fodder, but they were in a class all to them selves. If you want to learn about Corman I suggest you pick up two books that are ALL about him. One book is called:"Roger Corman: How I made a hundred movies in Hollywood and never lost a dime" written with Jim Jerome, and another interesting book is: Roger Corman: An unauthorized biography of the Godfather of Indie filmmaking" written by Beverly Gray. Both books offer a good idea on how Corman produced and directed his movies, and to what extent he would go to to get them up on the screen.

How I stumbled onto Corman was by watching his movies on television. In New York there would always be a movie on at 4:30 in the afternoon. Original enough it was called: "The 4:30 Movie". It was on ABC and they would run theme weeks. Sometimes it was monster week, other times it was biker week, or sometimes they would just mix it up, and play an assortment of low budget films. Of course these films were cut for commercials and time, but to a young boy they were a gateway to the imagination. The Poe films were one of my favorite, and I cannot recall ever NOT hearing Vincent Price's voice coming from the family television set. Heck! He was like my uncle who would come for a visit and tell me about tales of dread, and horror. I didn't know it then but I was beginning to go down the path of moviemaking, and I would soon find myself in the yard filming backyard epics that would only fan the flames of my imagination.

As I learned more and more about moviemaking I read anything I could get my hands on. American Cinematographer, and a magazine called "Super-8 Film" were my sources of inspiration. Corman was producing exploitive titles in the 70's and 80's, and I would find myself almost every week-end at the movies. There were three movie houses in walking distance, and I frequented all of them. I saw every type of film I could go to see. The ones that I couldn't go see I would sneak in, or bribe a usher. Everyone knew the little kid with glasses, who would sometimes sit through a film twice. Yes I was addicted, and Corman lead the way. Come to think about it I was probably his best customer. As I grew up I realized Corman was not only a master craftsman, but an astute business man. I admired how quickly he made a film, and how he could make them for so little money.

The King of the B's introduced me to other filmmakers, and I kept eating it up. Even in college I would see his films with a friend only this time on home video. We would wear out the tapes by going over scenes, and re-playing them over and over again. Roger Corman was and still is the best teacher about filmmaking, and to this filmmaker he is an inspiration for his love of movies, and his love for the art of filmmaking. So happy birthday Mr. Corman. Thanks for the memories, and thanks for the films.

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