Saturday, October 3, 2009
The John Agar Hypno-Cube
Yep. Made it myself. Actually made two of them, one for Jeff Osier as a apartment housewarming gift after he got engaged to Cathy Van Patten. Just like Pepsi & Coke or Oreos & Hydrox, there was John Agar & Richard Denning, when it came to the monster movies of the 50s. Denning was in the first Creature film, Agar the second. Earlier tonight, I was telling Capcom about two failed attempts (and maybe rightfully so, as they were circa 1980), STEAMROCK JOHNNY and NOWHERE MEN, which both had roots in the Industrial Age. The second was wholly my baby, and basically it was about six scientists who averted a disaster in 1883 by folding into timespace so that no one ever knew they existed. And what does this have to do with John? And, sure thing, I can call him John. I'd have to call Denning Mr. Mayor as he became Mayor of Honolulu and even married Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr's gal in THE WOLF MAN. But I digress. All over the place.
I knew John Agar. We spoke on the phone and when his arthritis became bad, his wife Virginia wrote me letters that he dictated until she died. I plain out confronted him in 1996, telling him in a letter that I wanted to ghostwrite his autobiography. He married Shirley Temple. He was in SANDS OF IWO JIMA (and ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE, to which I say...SO?) His family owned the Agar cured ham business up on the north side. John told me flat out that his life wasn't important enough to write about. He suggested I simply write my own book. I told him that it would be his words that were more important. And I held to that. He never budged. And then he died. And I wrote an article on his film career for SCARY MONSTERS. Back in the day, Harry Fassl and I would do the Denning-Agar war of words, but Harry would always concede that even though John did some pretty wacky movies, in fact, some were remakes of Richard Denning films, an example being THE SEVENTH PLANET, there was nothing wrong with a nice giant spider movie. I miss John Agar, and I'll be bringing one of his films up during this month of monsters. Also, I will continue Universal Monsters Monday in two nights, it seemed best to do things right in October.