Headhunters

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Midway through RKO horror-comedy ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY, popular comedy duo Ted Arsehole and Jim Fartface Wally Brown and Alan Carney visit a museum and speak to a professor (Ian Wolfe). The walls of the prof’s office, or “proffice,” if you will, are decorated with some really startling severed heads. They are much too good, in fact, to have been made for ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY, so I figured this was another case of recycled props, like the little dinosaurs from KING KONG that appear in Kay Kyser vehicle YOU’LL FIND OUT and in that other Arsehole and Fartface classic, GENIUS AT WORK.

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I’m too ashamed to say how long it took me to work it out, but I finally clicked on THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME as the likely source, and so it proved to be. Evidently, also, more heads were constructed for TMDG than can be cleary seen in the finished film (several lurk, blurry and shadowed, in the far background), possibly as a result of censorship. It’s still kind of remarkable how many bodiless heads they got away with. But ZOB manages more, and the censor seems not to have objected.

They’re definitely too creepy for ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY — good job, whoever made them. I wonder how long they hung around the RKO props department. And did they ever go before a camera again?

6 Responses to “Headhunters”

  1. My wife and I have a real affection for the actor Ian Wolfe. He started appearing in movies in the 30s (he’s a sailor in Mutiny on the Bounty) and continued to work up to the 70s (a Columbo episode). Crucially, in all those years, he never appears to age. We think he’s secretly immortal, and, having left the too-visible profession of acting, is still out there somewhere, being Ian Wolfe.

  2. I convinced myself at first that this was Scotsman Alec Craigie, who appears in several Sherlock Holmeses, and had a similar prominent brow, but no. But I was right about the other heads appearing here.

  3. Randy Cook Says:

    MOST DANGEROUS GAME is chock full of KING KONG overlaps (sets and BG plates and production team and actors), no surprise as they were shot concurrently. That in mind, I read long ago that the heads were made by Marcel Delgado, who also fabricated King Kong, and I believe that’s a credible assertion. The heads are about 1 1/2 times scale, or Zaroff had previously hunted only giants.

  4. Randy Cook Says:

    Those little dinosaurs (2 of em) are hiding behind Nick Stewart in his picture. The stegosaurus is mostly hidden behind Mr Stewart’s ear, but the Agathaumas on the top shelf is in the clear. H/T Angus Lamont, who I think saw yr original post, and Lee Ashworth

  5. The head in the jar looks massive, but I put that down to refraction. In ZOB they all look plausibly normal-size, but I guess that could be because they’re far away…

  6. Randy Cook Says:

    I am quite sure I saw a picture of Marcel fabricating one of these things in some long forgotten King Kong book. They reasoned (I recall) that the heads looked a bit puny in that big room. Maybe they’re 1.25 scale, but you can see they’re a bit bigger in the scene where Zaroff descends the staircase. It’s sitting a bit closer to camera than skull, but not all that much.

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