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Friday, May 11, 2018

Cleveland's Hometown Zombie Writer

A Palace That Still Stands: Cleveland's 2800-Seat Allen Theatre

Where I Walked With A Zombie (1943) Broke Big

We think of the Val Lewton RKO series as B horrors, but what of occasions where one of them became something special? Such was case when Cleveland got I Walked With A Zombie in April 1943. It played as a single for two weeks at the RKO Allen, "one of the grandest places in the city to see a motion picture," according to consensus of locals. A big help was Cleveland's link with Zombie's writer credit. Inez Wallace, who penned the original story (borrowing heavily off Jane Eyre), also covered Hollywood happenings for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the town's leading sheet. Her name on a movie, even down-market I Walked With A Zombie, drew the curious in sufficient number to make a hit of what would otherwise bring up rear on a grind's double feature. I Walked With A Zombie was Val Lewton's second chiller for RKO, done cheap enough to bring a profit, a happy circumstance not to last as his output increased in cost and dropped in revenue. This ad, beyond its Inez Wallace connection, points up RKO focus for selling: A "Beautiful Blonde" who joins the walking dead, this the emphasis of all posters and art, and likeliest reason for what success the picture had.

3 Comments:

Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

So... In 2011 they chopped this beautiful theater into three smaller venues?
May the curse of the Mummy be upon them! The Wolf, man.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Stinky Fitzwizzle said...

Still beautiful, but they had to make concessions to become economically viable. And not even Broadway has a 3,000-seat theater.

At least it was not torn down to make room for a mall or a parking structure!

And is the curse of the Mummy really so bad? Stinky hears it is good for the stomach muscles.

10:44 AM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

My favorite "curse of the mummy" story was a bit on the National Lampoon Radio Hour. There was a report of Sir Stuffed Shirt de Bluster dying. He had been at the opening of the mummy's tomb years ago. "So, at the age of 92, the Lord died at home in bed surrounded by his family, rich and successful. At 92, he was the last victim of the curse of the mummy's tomb!"

The Wolf, man.

12:02 PM  

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