A CENTURY OF CREATURE PEOPLE 1900-1980
As conceived by author-producer Scott Essman, this 48-page magazine-style special B/W publication will be a treasured collectors’ item for movie fans everywhere. Spanning the first 80 years of movies, this first part in a series of Essman’s special publications focuses on the pioneering makeup and creature artists who created some of cinema’s most memorable characters. Organized as a series of photo-essays profiling each significant “creature person,” readers will learn the secrets of their most beloved screen heroes and villains alike. Sold out, A CENTURY OF CREATURE PEOPLE 1900-1980 is only available for sale by the publisher. Following is a chronological overview of the key figures who are featured most prominently in this publication:
LON CHANEY – The founder of movie makeup and innovative characters, Chaney created the first silent screen versions of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “The Phantom of the Opera” in the 1920s. Additionally, using himself as a guinea pig, Chaney developed startling makeup characterizations as the vampire in “London After Midnight,” and the Chinese grandfather in “Mr. Wu.” Though he died in 1930 at the age of 47, Lon Chaney’s legacy in movies will live for all time.
JACK PIERCE – After Chaney passed away, the torch of memorable characters was passed to Pierce at Universal Studios. In a 20-year career as makeup department head of the studio, Pierce created the unforgettable original versions of Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula, Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster and Mummy, and Lon Chaney, Jr.’s The Wolf Man in the 1930s and 1940s. Before his career turned to independent movies and TV, Pierce had forever stamped cinema with its horror legends.
JACK DAWN – As makeup supervisor of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the 1930s and 1940s, Dawn was the key artist behind the historic fantasy characters in “The Wizard of Oz.” Who could possibly conceive of a world without Dawn’s Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Wicked Witch or Flying Monkeys?
THE WESTMORE BROTHERS – Any inclusive overview of the early cinema makeup years could not be complete without including the efforts of brothers Wally — who created the memorable “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Island of Lost Souls” in the early 1930s, Perc — who realized Charles Laughton's pioneering “Hunchback of Notre Dame” in 1939, or Bud, who took over Universal’s studio makeup department and received many choice assignments in the 1940s and 1950s, including “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,’ “Man of a Thousand Faces,” and “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.”
HAMMER FILMS – Working on low budget pictures in England, Hammer gave new life to the horror genre with “Curse of Frankenstein” in 1957. Continuing the trend, they made a succession of films with stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, re-inventing cinema creatures with color photography. Memorable creature people were the studio’s chiefs, Phil Leakey and Roy Ashton who developed versions of The Mummy and Dracula before scoring in the early 1960s with Oliver Reed in “Curse of the Werewolf” and Herbert Lom as a new “Phantom.”
WILLIAM TUTTLE – After inheriting the M-G-M makeup supervisor job from Jack Dawn in 1950, Tuttle and counterpart Charles Schram created numerous amazing creations in the 1950s and 1960s, including the distinctive Morlocks from 1961’s “The Time Machine” and Tony Randall’s character disguises in “Seven Faces of Dr. Lao,” the first film to win an Academy Award for makeup. Tuttle also devised Peter Boyle’s comic Frankenstein Monster character in 1974’s “Young Frankenstein.”
BOB SCHIFFER – Still to this day the makeup supervisor of Disney Studios, Schiffer created one of cinema’s greatest screen characters with his execution of Burt Lancaster’s makeup in “Birdman of Alcatraz” in 1962. Schiffer, who also worked on the Munchkins and Winkie Guards in “The Wizard of Oz,” was the tutor to many who followed him, including Stan Winston.
STUART FREEBORN— In addition to founding the craft of special makeup in English productions like Kubrick’s mid-1960s masterpieces “Dr. Strangelove” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Freeborn was the genius behind many of the creatures in the original Star Wars films.
DICK SMITH — Any serious fan of cinema creatures knows that the name Dick Smith is synonymous with special makeup effects. After a rich career in television, Smith excelled in films, beginning his string of legendary achievements with Little Big Man, in which he made Dustin Hoffman into a 121-year old man. Smith followed with an unbelievable run of successes: The Godfather, The Exorcist, and many prominent films in the 1980s.
JOHN CHAMBERS — Similarly to Smith, Chambers started in television and pioneered his techniques for shows like Mission: Impossible, I Spy, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek, for which he created Mr. Spock’s iconic ears. In 1967, Chambers undertook his greatest challenge, supervising the makeup for “Planet of the Apes,” a breakthrough in the use of prosthetics, garnering him an honorary Academy Award and a star on Hollywood Blvd.
TOM BURMAN — After serving as Chambers’ apprentice on the first “Apes” film, Burman became a legend in his own right, creating dozens of memorable creatures and makeups in the 1970s, with films such as “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” foremost among them. He has since been very active.
STAN WINSTON — Once he paid his dues under the tutelage of Bob Schiffer, Winston formed his own company and engaged in makeup greatness on films like “Autobiography of Jane Pittman,” “The Wiz,” and the TV miniseries Roots. Winston has been one of the top creature designers of the 1980s and 1990s, with credits like “Terminator,” “Aliens,” and “Jurassic Park.”
RICK BAKER — As a student of Dick Smith’s, Rick Baker learned the foundations of his craft. As an independent artist, Rick Baker has been the most awarded and respected makeup/ creature artist of his generation. In the 1970s, he worked his magic on films that included “King Kong” and “Star Wars” laying the groundwork for his eventual five makeup Oscars.
MICHAEL WESTMORE — Like his famous uncles, Michael Westmore has carried on the family tradition as the makeup supervisor for the Star Trek universe since 1987. This edition of A CENTURY OF CREATURE PEOPLE closes with his awesome character and effects makeup designed for Robert DeNiro in “Raging Bull” ushering in a new era of cinema artistry.