Patty Duke

All posts tagged Patty Duke

Unsung Heroines of Horror: Virginia Mayo

Published June 6, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Perhaps only rivalled, credit-wise, by Yvonne De Carlo, her luscious raven haired cinematic counterpart, the delicious Virginia Mayo spent the moonlight years of her career occupying space in a number of horror projects. Granted, with major roles in projects like Silent Scream, Cellar Dweller, American Gothic and Play Dead (along with her overpowering The Munsters cache), De Carlo was certainly the Queen Bee of the Former Technicolor Starlets set. But Mayo definitely gave her a run for her money. 

While the ’60s and ’70s found Mayo decorating such cinematic fare as Castle of Evil (1966) and Haunted (1977) (with 1990 cheapie Evil Spirits providing her employment during the VHS invasion), she is perhaps at her most effective (and eternally beautiful) as the sympathetic Carrie Crane in The Diary (1971), a second season episode of Rod Serling’s early ’70s spook show Night Gallery. As Crane, a faded, scandal plagued actress, Mayo radiates with a bruised and tender strength of purpose here. Digging her shiny yet well-trod heels into her scenes with Patty Duke’s venomous Holly Schaeffer, a gossip journalist who is out to destroy her, Mayo’s years in the Hollywood trenches are given a resourceful workout during the various character beats in this revenge fueled tale. 

Indeed, Crane’s gifting of a mysterious journal to Schaeffer soon sends that pesky muckracker into a gothic downward spiral full of death and despair – proving what many diva-worshipping fellas already know, that Mayo will forever be a prominent force in every style of cinema – terror fueled and otherwise.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Patty Duke

Published February 21, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

pattyFor over twenty years, the expressive Patty Duke faced down satanic cults, nefarious home wreckers, monstrous matrons and ferociously uncontrollable domiciles in such television films as She Waits, Amityville: The Evil Escapes, The Babysitter, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby and countless other terror saturated vehicles.

But, alas, as with so many other fair maidens, it is the uncertainties of love that seemed to most plague the divine Duke. Her 60s single, Don’t Just Stand There, released when she was a teen starring on The Patty Duke Show, chronicles her frustrations over a mate who just can’t seem to commit…although, the way this ginger smoked wonder is able to multi-track her voice while singing on national television is probably just as scary as it is wondrous…and might have had something to do with frightening off any potential dates.

Food for thought…

 Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Sharkbait Retro Village: Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive (1992)

Published September 17, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

grave secretsHm-m…Anyone know the lyrics to Pharrell Williams’ Happy? Supposedly based on a (hard to track down) real life story, 1992 television film Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive definitely ends on a downbeat note of death, corporate greed and despair.gs

After commissioning a new house to be built on some renovated property, a middle aged couple is soon faced with some dangerously mysterious activity in their new abode. These unexpected tricks range from the silly (a continually flushing toilet) to the spooky (a granddaughter’s preoccupation with some vengeful spirits) to the life threatening (a daughter’s strange cancer outbreak). When the matriarch discovers that their new residence (and all those around them) were built on a burial ground, she tries to sue. When that doesn’t work, she decides to (unlawfully) dig up the bodies in her backyard – with very tragic results.

gs 3Lead with bravura assurance by television horror queen Patty Duke (She Lives, Amityville: The Evil Escapes, Whatever Happened to Rosemary’s Baby?), this combination of Poltergeist and Lifetime weepie features plenty of familiar faces including Starsky and Hutch‘s David Soul, The O.C.‘s Kelly Rowan and Generations‘ Jonelle Allen. None but Duke are given much to do. But as Duke’s husband and equal in the battle, David Selby gives a subtle, restrained performance – ultimately proving he is one of the more underrated actors of his generation.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Sharkbait Retro Village: The Curse of the Black Widow (1977)

Published May 2, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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Those who have reluctantly sat on the sidelines will know how half of Hollywood felt upon the 1977 television debut of the Dan Curtis’ horror feast The Curse of the Black Widow. The cast, headlined by perennial television sweetheart Patty Duke and future Knots Landing vixen Donna Mills, featured many familiar faces both from the boob tube trenches and glamorous Hollywood films.

curse2Here, Duke and Mills, as sisters holding a dark and venomous secret, were supported by the likes of famed comedian Sid Caesar, the sassy Roz Kelly (of Happy Days and New Year’s Evil fame), tough guy Vic Morrow, Barney Miller’s Max Gail, Curtis’ old Dark Shadows favorite James Storm and such feminine silver screen royalty as June Allyson and June Lockhart. Now, that’s a party anyone would have wanted to been invited to!

The film that emerges isn’t as quite as fun as the cast would have you imagine – but still has plenty of old school charm and bold amounts of cheesiness. While other directors of television nail biters (like Curtis Harrington) tried to use Val Lewton subtleties for their over-the-top offerings, Curtis goes whole hog. In the final act, he not only showcases major cast members encased in very thick, fake looking webbing, but he also brings out a very clumsy, unnatural looking arachnid to cause tremulous amounts of doom and gloom. And, why not? If you are going do it – do it all the way, baby! Or should I say ‘Spider Baby’?Black_Widow1

Further distinctive pleasure can be gained by the continual comic antagonism provided by Kelly, as (private eye) Tony Franciosa’s secretary, and Caesar as her neighbor, a cold blooded lawyer. The sight of Duke in a dark wig sporting a truly mysterious European accent, as her character’s hungry alter-ego, provides a multitude of viewing joy, as well.

Most importantly, Curtis and writers Robert Blees and Earl W. Wallace give the piece a nod to golden suspense flicks such as The Dark Mirror (which starred Olivia de Havilland as siblings suspected of murder) and Dead Ringer (featuring a pair of vengeful twins enacted by Bette Davis). The slow uncovering of the sisters’ mysterious past, while slightly predictable, does ultimately result in a nice feeling of femme powered noir.

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Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Patty Duke’s Horrific (Eternal) New Year’s Eve!

Published December 31, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

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Despite his selfishness and intense body odor, I always find myself on an endless loop when it comes to my desire for that French cooking zombie down the hall.

diary2Similarly, as vengeful tabloid reporter Holly Schaeffer on The Diary segment of a 1971 episode of Night Gallery, Patty Duke (and lots and lots of hair) finds herself frantically believing that every single day is the beginning of the new year.diary3

Gifted a deadly, prophetic diary by her frequent target, a faded Hollywood actress named Carrie Crane (Virginia Mayo), Duke’s Holly soon finds herself surrounded by death and destruction. Ultimately, she finds herself locked away in an asylum, madly experiencing time as it runs in endless circles.
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Filled with an exquisite sense of mercurial cattiness, this gem allows Duke (who, also, appeared in such TV terrors as 76s Look What Happened to Rosemary’s Baby and 89s Amityville: The Evil Escapes) and former musical star Mayo (66s Castle of Evil and 77s Haunted) to go at with both guns firing. Viewers will, also, get a kick out of discovering Lindsay Wagner in an early role, as a nurse, as well.
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Wishing a Happy (Ginger Wigged) 2014 to all!

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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