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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 2006 / 28 Tishrei 5767

Boo!

By Greg Crosby


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Another Halloween is upon me and I haven't a thing to wear. No, that isn't true. I do have several rubber masks. They're packed away in a box somewhere in the garage but even if I were able to find them I don't know if they would still be usable since rubber can disintegrate or melt in extreme temperatures. I know this from experience because years ago I took out my pair of Frankenstein hands only to discover that they had melded into one totally disgusting blob of rubber.


As a kid I collected masks which included Frankenstein, Wolf Man, the Mummy and other assorted monsters. I found them for sale in the pages of my favorite magazine, "Famous Monsters of Filmland." The masks were created by Don Post Studios and they were positively the best around - the most authentic likenesses of the Universal movie monsters you could get. "Hand painted, hand-made in Hollywood of durable latex," the ad said.


Six or seven years ago I had the pleasure of visiting with Forrest J. Ackerman, publisher of "Famous Monsters," at his home in Hollywood. To me he looked almost the same as he did in the photos that appeared in his magazine some forty odd years ago. His house is exactly what you might expect the house of a movie monster maven to look like - filled with thousands of photos, books, props, stills, and other odd and sundry items from science fiction and horror movies throughout the decades.


The house itself he called his "Ackermansion" which is located in Hollyweird, Karloffornia and is one of those old California Spanish places which looks as if a horror movie actor might have actually lived there in the early 1930's. For a kid of my generation it would've been the perfect place to go trick or treating on Halloween.


Forry, as Mr. Ackerman prefers to be called, was the perfect host - leading us through every room of the house, proudly showing off his fantastic collection of monster memorabilia and telling us behind the scenes stories as we went along. Here was a man who certainly loved what he did for a living, or more precisely, was able to make a living at what he loved most.


As a ten year-old kid, I collected every issue of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" that came out. I loved the magazine because I loved the movies that the magazine honored. Those great old horror movies that scared the wits out of me. Pictures like the original "Frankenstein" starring Boris Karloff, as well as all the subsequent sequels; the Wolf Man pictures; "Dracula;" the mummy pictures; and the "Invisible Man." "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" starring Charles Laughton was pretty frightening too, as was the original silent "Phantom of the Opera" starring Lon Chaney. These were the truly classic horror movies.


We didn't have the big screen televisions they make now, but watching Lon Chaney Jr. in "The Wolf Man" at home in our den on a rainy cold night was bigger than life. Not to mention scarier. "The way you walked was thorny…through no fault of your own," the old gypsy woman, Maria Ouspenskaya, chanted over Chaney as he lay dead at the end of the picture, finally at peace. Jack Pierce's makeup gave me nightmares for years. This was my favorite horror movie.


Another one that really got to me and stuck within my little impressionable brain was "The Beast with Five Fingers" starring Peter Lorrie. A concert pianist is killed in his gothic mansion; one of his hands is cut off and comes to life crawling across tables and floors terrorizing everyone who is in the house. Sounds silly? Oh, no. Not when you're a nine year-old boy watching it on TV in a dark room at Halloween.


About the only thing more fun than actually watching scary movies on television as a kid was scaring my little sister with them. She would watch them with me and I happily would torture her with them long after they were over. I'd put on one of my masks and chase her around the house. I got to the point where I memorized the scariest lines from the films and I could imitate the character's voices, usually late at night in the dark when we were in bed. "RRrrrr! Smoke, good!" I would say in my best Frankenstein voice. "T'was de hand! You, you must believe me!" I would shout as Peter Lorrie. I did them all, from the old gypsy woman to Quasimodo to Igor.


I don't think kids nowadays can get scared watching those old movies like we did. They've been exposed to too many other images of blood, gore, and just plain repulsiveness that are much more frightening in the films and TV of today. I wonder how a ten year-old of today would react to watching "Frankenstein" for the first time. He'd probably think it's funny. That's a shame. There was a style, mood and sense of storytelling in those pictures that all the best computer generated images in the world can't duplicate. And there is absolutely nothing today that can equal pound for pound, the scariness of Lon Chaney Jr. changing into the Wolf Man.


"Even the man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms and the moon is full and bright."


Maybe I'll go out to the garage, dig out one of my old masks and visit my sister this Halloween.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2006, Greg Crosby

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