Verne Langdon was a multi-talented make-up artist, mask maker, musician, composer, record producer, writer, occasional actor, and even a wrestler in his time. He passed away Saturday, January 1st, at the age of 69.
Langdon was a familiar name and face to readers of Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine in the 1960’s and 70’s. He wrote a few articles, but was also written about, as he was behind many of the famous masks of the Universal Studios monsters made by the Don Post Studios, and sold in the magazine.
He recorded a An Evening with Boris Karloff and His Friends for Decca Records, and composed and performed two albums of horror-oriented music, Vampire At The Harpsicord and Phantom of The Organ. Langdon also recorded a number of non-genre music albums, available on CD.
Responible for many of Don Post’s famous masks, he designed his own original, The Zombie, which is highly prized today by mask collectors.
Verne Langdon also produced and designed live shows featuring monsters and make-up for Universal Studios.
Film & TV credits include THE HAUNTED PALACE, THE COMEDY OF TERRORS, the PAT PAULSON TV show, and the PLANET OF THE APES film series, working with designer John Chambers.
His official website can supply more details about his life, showing that Verne Langdom was still active with a wide range of projects and horror/sci-fi fandom up until his death.
News via The Classic Horror Film Board.
Congrats to Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News! He’s revealed that he’ll be running Famous Monsters.com for new owner Philip Kim.
Knowles has been a devotee of the late Forrest J Ackerman, long-time genre fan, literary agent, and Editor of the original Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, the seminal Horror/Science Fiction publication. Aimed at youngsters, that magazine paved the way for all the genre magazines that came in its wake. You either tried to be like FM or proved you were different than Famous Monsters to make your mark.
What does the AICN guru have in mind for FM?
The types of articles will be different from what you see at AICN… And tonally different from most of what you see in the Horror Blog world. For one, FAMOUS MONSTERS wasn’t just about Horror. I’ve also been talking with a great deal of filmmakers and effects professionals about bringing you some very special content like only FAMOUS MONSTERS should bring us.
What you’ll see is a lot of PASSION for the classics, the faces and names behind the scenes that too often are ignored by a media that is fixated upon Big Stars & Big Directors and don’t celebrate the myriad of artists that contribute to the kind of work that made us geek out to that magazine. FAMOUS MONSTERS taught us to know the names of folks like Lon Chaney Sr, Jack Pierce, Paul Blaisdell, Bob Burns, Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Rob Bottin & on and on. We’ll look back at those and many more even as we focus to find the new creators of Famous Monsters – be they practical, digital or some unique form that I can barely understand.
And that sounds to me like he’s got a good grasp on the Famous Monsters tradition. Best of Luck!
Since Steve has already given us the germane facts about Forrest J. Ackerman in his wonderful obituary on Forry, I just want to write a few personal observations about the FJA I knew as my editor.
But first, I’d like to quote something Ray Bradbury told me shortly after Vincent Price passed away. When I mentioned Mr. Price’s passing to Bradbury, about 15 years ago in San Francisco, I remember Mr. Bradbury seemed to sense my rather melancholy tone, and immediately tried to cheer me up by saying, “Vincent had a wonderful life, though, didn’t he?” Well, of course he did! Certainly the same can be said for Forry, and although I didn’t think of it at the time, something Vincent Price says as Prince Prospero in The Masque of the Red Death seems rather appropriate to quote now, especially since Forry was a confirmed Atheist. Prospero, seeing that his lover, Juliana has been killed by a falcon says, “I beg you do not mourn for Juliana… we should celebrate. She has just married a friend of mine.”
Likewise Forry is now meeting many of his friends… namely Charon, Prince Sirki, or the Death personified so beautifully in Poe’s story. But Forry had a long and a wonderful life, which he should be celebrated for, and not mourned – since one thing both Forry and horror films teach us is that death must come to all men, and is simply a natural part of life.
In fact, Forry was always giving tributes in the pages of Famous Monsters to the dear departed of filmland, but it wasn’t until Boris Karloff passed away — on February 2, 1969 — that I felt the sorrow of somebody dying, that registered as a real loss. Of course I didn’t know Mr. Karloff, except from his movies, but at that young age, I still somehow felt he was a close friend of mine.
Likewise, I suspect most readers of Famous Monsters felt that Forry was a distant Uncle or a dear friend of theirs. I certainly didn’t know Forry when I bought my first issue of Famous Monsters, in 1967, but his thoughts came though to me in each new issue of FM. It would be many years before I would actually meet and work with Forry, as an editor. The first time was when I contributed articles to his short-lived Monsterland magazine, and later when I sent Forry most of the star tributes he used, along with my long interview with Vincent Price that formed the centerpiece to his Famous Monsters tribute issue to Price that appeared shortly after Price passed away.
I last saw Forry about ten years ago, when I visited him at his modest apartment, after he had given up his “Ackermansion” on Glendower Ave. high in the haunted hills of Hollywood. Ironically, on that visit to Los Angeles, I went on a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s fabulous Ennis-Brown House, used so memorably as the exterior location in William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill and in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Driving up Glendower drive, I passed Forry’s old house at 2495 Glendower and was saddened to see it being totally disemboweled by a construction crew! But sad as that sight was, at the time Forry was still with us. Now that Prince Sirki has finally called him to his domain, “let us not mourn him, but raise our glasses in a toast to Forrest J. Ackerman and his glorious legacy.”
As Forry simply put on his calling cards, he was the authority par excellence on: “Science Fiction – Filmonsters & Esperanto” I’ll miss calling him at (213) Moon Fan.