A spooky hoot: Vincent Price on the Carol Burnett Show
"Though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller"
His iconic laugh bookended one of the most famous songs of all time. So why shouldn't Vincent Price be remembered as a comedy star?
Price is, of course, best remembered for starring in horror movies. A run of memorable fright flicks in the '50s established Vincent Price as a bankable bet. He was the star of House of Wax, The Fly, House on Haunted Hill, and The Tingler. The '60s saw Price team with Roger Corman for a string of sensational Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, beginning with House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum before culminating with the technicolor spectacle of The Masque of Red Death.
So with such a hair-raising filmography, it makes sense that Merchant of Menace's comedy ambitions are sometimes overshadowed. The truth, though, is that Price is capable of high-caliber comedy. Just take his guest spots on The Carol Burnett Show for example.
In just one of the many hilarious sketches that Price joins in on, he shows he's game to poke fun at his reputation by performing a Bride of Frankenstein parody. He stars as the mad scientist keen on helping his monster address some human needs. Price adds some gravity to the situation and elevates the sketch to hilarious levels.
In another sketch, Price is an archaeologist, deep within the catacombs of an Egyptian pyramid. They uncover a sarcophagus only to find that it's occupied... by two rather involved mummies. Once again, the sketch scene is funnier for Price's presence. He can ground the scene believably so that the twist hits twice as hard.
And while he may have more scares to show than punchlines, laughter has always been a part of his legacy. One of his most famous roles saw Price star as François Delambre in the original 1958 version of The Fly. In it [SPOILER ALERT], Price's character's brother accidentally turns himself into a fly and gets caught in a web.
Here's Price speaking to the Memphis, Tennessee Commercial Appeal about the humor on set:
"[Herbert] Marshall and I had to examine a spider's web which held the small fly which was supposed to be my brother," Price recalled. "It took a whole day to film the scene, for we kept laughing ourselves sick.
"In the end, we had to film it standing back to back. We just couldn't look each other in the face."
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