Monday, October 14, 2013

vincent price at moma

A recent post about House on Haunted Hill reminded me that I once had the great fortune to meet Vincent Price. It was the early '90s, and I was working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in the  bookstore. I was working the cash register and first heard his voice. He was calling to his wife, Coral Browne, to come look at something. Could it be? It was! Vincent Price!

Photo by Herb Ritts

I immediately thought of all the movies I have seen him in - Dragonwyk, where he was dark, handsome and brooding. Laura, where he was weak-willed but wonderful. The Three Musketeers, where he was an evil Richelieu, and The Ten Commandments, an even more evil Baka. And all the wonderful horror films, from the scary House of Wax, The Last Man on Earth, and The Fly to the campy Tales of Terror and Dr. Phibes movies. And what about Theatre of Blood, which almost defies description? Or Egghead on Batman?

From Dragonwyk, via Le Cher Visage de Mon Passe

He was elderly, grey, and maybe just slightly stooped, but still a tall, commanding presence. And that voice. They moved around the store, browsing, and generally having a good time. I lost sight of them as I helped some other customers, but then I heard Coral Browne calling to her husband, first low, and then louder, "Vinnie. VINNIE. VINNIE!!!" They were impressive and a hoot.

They finally finished browsing and started to make their way to the registers to cash out. I couldn't believe my good luck when I found myself face to face with Mr. Price. I asked him what I had to ask every customer before ringing up a sale — if he was a member of the Museum (being a member gave them a 20% discount). He looked at me for a moment, and then in his very best horror movie intonation he exclaimed, "No, No, NNNOOOOO!!!" Coral sighed and I laughed. I love Vincent Price.


Post a Comment