Monday, August 17, 2009
Universal Monsters Monday V
I know I skipped last week, but I hadn't finished my homework assignment. As I did with UMM IV, I'm skipping a bit, this time to the last set in the run, which is somewhat inexplicably THE SHRINKING MAN, which came out in 1959 or 1960, depending on the source. It is also the set with the least amount of cards that I own, not even the title card, and what I'm showing you is about half of what I have in the way of cards. But I have more in the way of story, as the film was based on Richard Matheson's THE [INCREDIBLE] SHRINKING MAN, his second novel after I AM LEGEND. The film is true to the book, much more than any of the three treatments given IAL, but for one key point. As seen in the first card, Scot Carey was on a fishing boat out near Catalina Island when he is engulfed in this white cloud. Even as a kid watching the film, I was like, but no one else was affected. Even his wife was on board, albeit down below. The book handles it well, and it attests to how thought out Richard Matheson's works are in the way of logic. In the book, Carey has the cloud pass over him and he's just fine, really. Then he walks home from the bus one day and is hit by some fertilizer spray, and it is that which triggers the shrinking. So much of Matheson's work involves individual tragedy. How many of you knew he wrote DUEL for Playboy, the film starring Dennis Weaver and that crazy trucker which was the first film directed by Spielberg? Yup. I've been very lucky to get famous, lucky to be sharing the same time in time, writers, and I have books autographed by Matheson, Robert Bloch, and Evan Hunter, amongst others. Matheson is the only one of the bunch still living, thankfully. Back when I had him sign my copy of TSM, it bemused him that I had a library copy from Farmingdale, LI, more along the lines of if I swiped it or not. Good-naturedly, of course. No, I have Kurt & Amy Wimberger to thank, and I believe it involved swapping books, with me giving the library in their hometown another pb. Though I'm still befuddled by TISM (and THIS ISLAND EARTH) being part of the Universal Monster set, though I guess a shrinking guy and a brain-shaped robot could be considered monsters, I think its more me associating the Universal Monster era with black and white films. Regardless, I encourage everyone to watch the film. The star, Grant Williams, died of toxemia when he was 47. And read Matheson. When I'm not telling people to read Philip K. Dick, I'm telling them to throw some love at Richard Matheson.