The Monster Talks!

Jack Pierce from David Cairns on Vimeo.

A find! From S. Sylvan Simon’s 1937 short subject, HOLLYWOOD SCREEN TEST, a glimpse of makeup maestro Jack Pierce at work. I’d seen photos, I think maybe I’d seen moving picture film of Pierce (Boris Karloff makeup test? The green one?) But I’d never heard him talk.

Delightful to see that Pierce’s character, as presented here anyway, is just what I’d heard — you might say “irascible.”

11 Responses to “The Monster Talks!”

  1. Randy Cook Says:

    It couldn’t be an actor playing JP, could it? Doesn’t look a lot like the pictures I have seen of Jack, but I don’t recognise him as a known actor, either. And that voice…

  2. Ted Newsom Says:

    Fascinating, except that it isn’t Jack Pierce… no matter how many times they refer to “Frankenstein.”

  3. bensondonald Says:

    I was fully expecting him to start putting putty and stuff on her.

  4. Not JP alas, you can see him chatting with his old chum on Karloff’s This Is Your Life.

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Thanks! Pass the collodion.

  6. John Warthen Says:

    Last year TCM ran an early ’40’s studio short about behind-the-set artistes, and its footage on the makeup staff revealed how they hairy-up the chests of male actors, the extra-foliated model being a seemingly good-humored unknown in cowboy duds– Robert Mitchum, without question.

  7. bensondonald Says:

    Body hair story from DALAKMANIA: Actor Barrie Ingham recounted how the actors casts as pacifist aliens, already fitted out with rather gay costumes and makeups, revolted and demanded more money before agreeing to shaving their chests. According to Ingham, after the shaving the guys were oddly docile.

  8. Ha! Esther Williams reports Red Skelton refusing to shave his chest, and studio airbrushers were kept busy applying a sleek look to male bosoms in poolside shots of the fifties. The hairy chest wasn’t always in fashion.

  9. kevin mummery Says:

    Pierce, as depicted in this short clip, reminds me (vocally anyway) of The Wienie King from Palm Beach Story.

  10. I just saw the Wienie King as an extra in The Amazing Mr Williams! I think it’s the first other film I’ve seen him in.

    The real Pierce was pretty different but I like to imagine he’d shoo a director out of his studio like that.

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