I’m not exactly sure when I discovered Vincent Price as someone I would long respect and adore. Perhaps it was when I was watching old horror movies with my mother as a young boy and soon began to recognize the all too familiar voice over and over. Or perhaps when I was a movie store manager in my early twenties, discussing films with customers and special ordering Price legacies. Or maybe it was when I watched Disney’s “The Great Mouse Detective” and heard that Professor Ratigan was a familiar voiceover. Does it matter? Not really, because after researching some of the old VHS cassettes that I once owned, I felt obligated to look further into an actor who not only had a passion for life but was forever present in the films and entertainment industry I loved.
This post will not come close to the number of accomplishments and appearances this 6’4″ tall man created. However, I will touch on the influence he’s made on the film industry and of course, provide more resources for you to dive into. Price was a remarkable character on and off the screen and now I realize not just his career is to be celebrated, but his life as well.
Price is very well known for his cult gothic following with such films as “The Fly” and “House of Wax”, but his outside passions were not exactly macabre like his acting career. Price was also known for his love of art and even had agreements with Sears Roebuck and Co. to sell art known as “The Vincent Price Collection”. I find this fascinating that he had such a passion not just for art, but for the arts as a whole.
His career started on stage, progressing his career from stage acting into the film industry where he held contracts with such companies as 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures. But it was his time with an independent film making company that brought about the films that caught my attention: films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Those films included 7 features all directed by Roger Corman:
The notoriety of Price’s performance in these B-films brought them to top-notch theaters, proving that Price can not only carry a motion picture but in whatever type of role he portrayed.
Not just Cult Classics
Although Price may be well-loved for his dark sinister grin and matching voice, he was an actor, which means he worked outside of his niche. In fact, it wasn’t until a decade into his acting career that he found the Master of Horror title. Price worked in films classified as dramas and comedy as well. The comedy stands as part of Price’s personality since he was known to make the sets of his films lighthearted and fun. And as for the drama portion of his career, he was a stunning man with gaunt features and he stood over six feet tall.
Tall, dark, and handsome was a bill Price fit perfectly well.
Price also took to commercials late in his career advertising darkly themed and Halloween oriented advertising for companies like Chips Ahoy!, Tilex, and Polaroid. Price also took to board game commercials with dark undertones such as Hangman and Stay Alive. You can check some of those commercials out here: Vincent Price, commercial actor.
With over 200 credits to film and television, 8 books published on his life, art and cooking, and numerous radio appearances, Vincent Price was definitely involved with the arts. This post doesn’t even begin to mention the accomplishments made by Price’s love for the arts.
The gist for this post is not to show appreciation for an actor in macabre/horror films, but rather to pay homage to a man who loved the arts for what they do to the public. It was essentially Price’s voice and stature that lead him to horror films, but his love for the theatre is what kept him alive in acting.
I also wanted to leave you with your own research on Price’s life and career. I can’t possibly write a blog post long enough to cover the greatness he provided. Check out this tribute by A&E Biography below. You’ll get a bigger picture of what an influence Price was off the screen as well as in front of the camera.
I’m encouraging you to check out the articles and links I’ve posted below in the references. Like other ghost stories and secret treasure hunts I dive into, I found myself in a rabbit hole of information about Vincent. Some of the information is generalized like this post, but there’s a bunch of nuggets of trivia about Price I never realized.
As for closing this post, I can only dream that Price is haunting me as I write this tribute about him and he smiles down on these words with a sinister grin and a thrilling laugh. Thank you, Mr. Price for inspiring many like me to not just enjoy your films and work, but look to you as an inspiration to be a good human doing what we love to do as you did.
More Than Just a Blog
This is episode 35 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
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References Used to create this Article
A&E (Director). (2014). Vincent Price Biography [Motion Picture]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hry5nHreU38
Castle, W. (Director). (1959). House on Haunted Hill [Motion Picture].
Director: William Castle. (1959). Still taken from film “House on Haunted Hill”. House on Haunted Hill.
Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2020, May 23). Vincent Price Biography. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Vincent-Price
Green, A. (2015, October 15). 10 Spooky Commercials starring Vincent Price. Retrieved from Mental Floss: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/69915/10-spooky-commercials-starring-horror-legend-vincent-price
IMDb. (n.d.). Vincent Price Biography. Retrieved June 3, 2020, from IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001637/bio?ref_=nm_ql_dyk_2#trivia
Price, V. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2020, from Vincent Price: https://www.vincentprice.com/
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Vincent Price. Retrieved June 3, 2020, from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Price#Books