You will not believe some of the things you're about to see. For some of you, it'll be the first time you've ever seen mask history before it was history. Then again, some of you will see things you might remember from some time in the 60s, but haven't seen since. Much of what you're about to see has never been seen before, except of course by Verne Langdon, those closest to him, and perhaps a select few in the monster & entertainment industries. Whatever the case, I hope you have fun checking out this jaw-dropping, Verne Langdon photo bonanza! Don't hurt yourself!
The Don Post Studios Traveling Monster Show conceived, produced and marketed by L. Strock Rupert (kneeling right front) and Sid Koss (kneeling left front) for Southern California Uni-Mart stores. Left to right; Mr. Hyde; an unidentified local teen made up as a "vampire" during the twenty-five minute show; Don Post Sr. (partially hidden); Verne Langdon; The Wolf Man & The Mad Doctor; towering behind them in dark glasses Jim Matthews, owner of Prestige Publications of "Monster Calendar" fame; Forrest J Ackerman; and the celebrated wrestler/actor Super Swedish Angel, Tor "let's have a little bite to eat" Johnson. Verne Langdon was co-creator of this presentation with L. Strock Rupert and Sid Koss.
The original "Universal Horrors" $35.00 gorilla mask, sculpted by Pat Newman. Later came the "Hollywood Gorilla," also sculpted by Pat Newman. (Photo: J. Barry Herron)
The best-selling Don Post Studios Tor Johnson mask ($8.95) was conceived by Verne Langdon. Sculpted by Pat Newman. (Photo: J. Barry Herron)
Verne Langdon is flanked by Frankenstein's Monster (model John B. Schuyler) and the Don Post Studios custom ape (model Bob Burns). (Photo: J. Barry Herron)
The original Bela Lugosi life mask. Verne Langdon hunted this extremely rare Hollywood artifact for nearly a year before discovering it, covered with dust and cobwebs, long-forgotten and hidden from view on a top shelf of Columbia Pictures' Makeup Lab. (Photos: Verne Langdon)
The Don Post Studios black "Wolfman" custom mask modeled by Verne Langdon. Paint and hair by Langdon, sculpted by Don Post Sr. (Photo: J. Barry Herron)
Cousin Eerie © 2002 Warren Publishing Co. $14.95. Sculpted by Pat Newman. Makeup & hair by Verne Langdon. Modeled by Don Post Jr. (Photo: J. Barry Herron)
"No job too big or too small!" Mayflower moved the Post Studios recreation of King Kong to Niagara Falls, Canada. Kong was sculpted by Ellis Burman Sr. (Photo: Jerry Smith)
Don Post Sr. & Verne Langdon get Christopher Lee plastered doing a life mask of the Hammer "Dracula" star. (Photo: Walter J. Daugherty)
The 1961 Don Post Studios masks brochure reflected the gentle nature of Don Post Sr., his love for funny faces, and also showcased his remarkable water-base clay sculpture of Cliff "Charlie Weaver" Arquette. (Brochure & portrait photography: J. Barry Herron)
Verne Langdon set the terms & policy for "Hollywood's Foremost Monster Creators." Note Don Post Sr. in rented full dress white tie & tails wearing Verne Langdon's Dracula cape and posing tentatively with a casket. (Photo: J. Barry Herron)
Anthony Newley sings "What Kind of Fool Am I?" on the Carol Burnett Show (CBS Television Network) in clown makeup by Verne Langdon. (Photo: Murray Neitlich)
Verne Langdon transforms model Denny Smith into a clown to shoot ad photos for the Don Post Professional Clown Bald Cap. Denny Smith modeled the clown bald wig just before this photo was taken. Clown makeup by Verne Langdon. (Photos: Jerry Smith)
Arlene & Milt Larsen in clown makeup created by Verne Langdon for the Arthritis Magical Masquerade Ball held at the Biltmore Hotel in Montecito-by-the-sea, California. (Photo: Verne Langdon)
Former wife and Very Best Friend, Dawn, hugs Verne in the DeWayne Bros. Circus backyard. (Photo: Doug Morris)
Bill Ballantine (left), Dean of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College, brought Verne Langdon to circus winter quarters in Venice, Florida, to teach the students clown makeup. While there Verne devised a method for taking life masks of clowns with their makeup on and transferring the makeup to the life mask. Langdon and Ballantine present the results.
Famous "picture clown" Harry Dann was one of the great circus performers who taught Verne Langdon the techniques of clown makeup. Pictured here with Dann and “Snoopie," Verne haunted the clown alleys of shows like Ringling, Polack Bros. And Clyde Beatty Circus to learn the clowns’ makeup secrets. (Photo: Henry Kreutzmann)
"Other fun stuff" conceived & produced by Verne Langdon includes the highly-acclaimed cabaret show “BORKLESQUE!” featuring one notorious Johann Sebastian Bork, a.k.a. Verne Langdon, in makeup applied by himself, and wearing... what else... a rented set of full dress white tie & tails! (Photo: John E. Reed)
Veteran circus clown Joe (Vani) Sherman teaches Verne a thing or two about clown makeup in the Polack Bros. Circus clown alley. (Photo: Henry Kreutzmann)
The Monkey Boy! Who wouldn't make a monkey costume and buy a Don Post monkey mask for this kid? Little Verne had "monkey" written all over him. So who knew he would grow up to create monsters?!
Verne Langdon’s Mother, Dorothy Nichols Langdon, was First Cellist (on staff) with NBC Radio and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in that city in the 1930s. Later she headed the Music Department of the San Leandro Unified School District, taught Eighth Grade for seven years at Pala School in San Jose, California, becoming Attendance and Citizenship Officer for the Alum Rock Unified School District also in San Jose.
Dr. Vernon H. Langdon, D.D.S., was a prominent oral surgeon in the San Francisco Bay Area who encouraged his son Verne to “follow your dreams." Dr. Langdon was also a skilled dental lab technician and accomplished violinist.
Famed Dixieland Jazz musician Red Nichols (“Red Nichols & The Five Pennies“), one of the most influential people in his nephew Verne Langdon’s life. (Photo: Cliff Riddle)
Entrepreneur and legendary Publisher James Warren & "Tor Langdon" cogitate in 1998. (Photo: Gloria Goldberg)
Renown satirist/ad mogul Stan Freberg, with whom Verne Langdon has written and produced, "on deck" in Montecito. (Photo: Verne Langdon)
"The Land of a Thousand Faces" gang: (left to right) Robert Zraick, Verne Langdon, Keith Crary and Mark Siegel. Langdon created the show with Terry Winnick & Jay Stein for Universal Studio Tours. Keith Crary, Marcos Barragan and Nick Pagliaro were the attraction's premier makeup artists who transformed two tourists every show into Frankenstein's Monster and the "New Bride of Frankenstein" within a record-breaking fifteen minutes! The show was performed 8 times per day to fifteen hundred spectators every show. (The "New Bride" makeup was designed and created by Robert Zraick & Verne Langdon). Mark Siegel and Dave Quashnick were Robert Zraick's lab assistants.
"The Land of a Thousand Faces" TM Universal Studios; souvenir poster from the Tour's hit 70's makeup show created by Jay Stein, Terry Winnick, and Verne Langdon. Art work by Ron Cobb for Universal depicts "The Spirit of the Mirror" (center), who spoke in the voice of Senior Thespian John Carradine (with pipe organ score by Verne Langdon) about the great movie character makeup of the past, as the face of "The Spirit" dissolved into each makeup he described! LIVE! BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES!
"The Vampyre at the Harpsichord" and "The Phantom of the Organ." First LPs, now CDs. Both feature composer/musician/producer Verne Langdon at the consoles of harpsichord and pipe organ, respectively. Executive Produced by Milt Larsen with spine-chilling liner notes by the inimitable Forrest J Ackerman.
The Great Toussaint & Company included in "A Bedlam of Terrors" one Don Post Frankenstein Monster mask. Other (nondescript) horror masks and a Celastic gorilla head were created by Verne Langdon for the show, which was "A shock-crammed spectacle of thrills and chills!" Poster courtesy of Cathy and Ken Toussaint. (Photo: Verne Langdon)
Mummy dummy fabricated by Verne Langdon for famous Wallich's Music City window display of Decca's "An Evening with Boris Karloff and his Friends" LP record album. Mummy head sculpted by Pat Newman. Posters courtesy of Forrest J Ackerman. (Photo: Jerry Smith)
George "The Animal" Steele (Jim Myers, center) talks grunt biz with Slammers-trained wrestlers Joe Kimball (left) and "Movie Star Mike" (right) between takes of Tim Burton's Cult Classic, "Ed Wood". Steele played hulking horror actor/wrestler Tor Johnson in the film; scene was shot at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, famed vintage Los Angeles wrestling arena. (Photo: Gregg John)
Verne Langdon (blond hair, seated center) with some of his “boys." An early edition of the Slammers Wrestling Federation, all were students at "Slam U," the Slammers University of Professional Wrestling. (Photo: Carole Hernandez)
"Lobo" weighed 450lbs. and found great pleasure in cutting off the air supply of opponents like Bill Pearl in Slammers Wrestling Federation matches. Verne fashioned “Lobo” after The Super Swedish Angel Tor Johnson and according to Verne, "Lobo" was even more fun than creating Tor’s mask, "Because I could actually get in the ring and wrestle him!” (Photo: Gregg John)
If you'd like to write Verne, you can do it c/o Dejavu Records, PO Box 1602, Studio City, California 91614. Or, of course, you can email him. Verne says he's grateful to Dawn Langdon Karrasch, Dante Renta, Milt Larsen, Larry Rupert, and Arthur S. Kennard, whose memories never fail him, and to Robert Zraick for his extreme patience and computer savvy. To order some awesome Verne Langdon stuff, go to:
Any and all visual material, including photographs, and interview replies of Verne Langdon contained herein, are, unless otherwise specified, © 2002 Verne Langdon, All Rights Reserved. This material is proprietary and all images and text are copyrighted and tendered for evaluation purposes only subject to the conditions that no copy, reproduction, including publishing, and no other means of reproducing or preserving or transmitting or recreating the images contained herein may be effected or reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the copyright holder.
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A special thank you to Jimmy Doughty for this wonderful interview.