The classic 1961 Columbia macabre thriller was directed by the legendary master of macabre cinema, William Castle. Many of Castle’s iconic productions include “Macabre” (1958), “House on Haunted Hill” (1959, with Vincent Price), “The Tingler” (1959, with Price), “13 Ghosts” (1960, with Charles Herbert), “Homicidal” (1961, with Glenn Corbett), “Zotz!” (1962), “Strait-Jacket” (1964, with Joan Crawford), “The Night Walker” (1964, with Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor) and “I Saw What You Did” (1965, with Crawford).
The screenplay for Castle’s 1961 macabre thriller was written by Ray Russell. Russell’s screenplay was based off of his original short thriller story for Playboy Magazine, according to film historian Clive Hirschorn and his retrospective book on Columbia Pictures, “The Columbia Story.” One year later, Russell wrote the screenplay for Castle’s Columbia fantasy production; “Zotz!” (1962, according to IMDB).
This will mark Sven’s third big broadcast presentation of “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961) from coast-to-coast on Me-TV. He previously aired the 1961 Castle-Columbia macabre thriller classic back in April 2018 and Nov. 2018.
Who was in William Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961)?
The players who appeared in Castle’s 1961 Columbia macabre screen thriller were Guy Rolfe (in the dual roles of Baron Sardonicus and Marek Toleslawski), Oscar Homolka (as Krull; Homolka previously appeared in the role of Blackie in Universal’s 1940 “Invisible” franchise feature, “The Invisible Woman”), Audrey Dalton (as Baroness Maude Sardonicus; Dalton previously appeared in Jean Negulesco’s 1953 Twentieth Century Fox adaptation of “Titanic” and in Norman Z. McLeod’s 1954 Bob Hope–Joan Fontaine–Basil Rathbone Paramount comedy, “Casanova’s Big Night”), Lorna Hanson (as Anna), Ronald Lewis (as Sir Robert Cargrave), Erika Peters (as Elenka Toleslawski), Vladimir Sokoloff (as Henryk Toleslawski) and cameo screen appearances by William Castle.
The “Sardonicus castle” set for “Mr. Sardonicus”
According to Lisa Mateas’ Turner Classic Movies article on William Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961), the interior settings for Baron Sardonicus’ castle were filmed on two soundstages at Columbia’s Gower St. studio lot in Hollywood (today’s Sunset-Gower Studios). Mock “graveyard” elements were also constructed on one of the studio soundstages with tight budgetary costs for the Castle-Columbia thriller production.
A situation with medicinal leeches for Castle’s production
Castle wanted to use real medicinal leeches for one of the scenes in his production of “Mr. Sardonicus.” According to additional details from Lisa Mateas’ TCM article, Castle wanted to assure that the leeches were harmless to the actors. For his demonstration, Castle put several leeches on his own chest to assure his cast members. The leeches bit into Castle’s chest and Columbia prop-masters decided to make artificial leeches at the director’s request.
One of the final feature film scores for Castle’s composer
According to IMDB, the original source orchestral soundtrack score for “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961) was one of the final feature film soundtrack sessions for Castle’s orchestral film composer; Von Dexter. This was due to a medical condition that affected Dexter’s fingers, according to additional information from Lisa Mateas’ TCM article.
William Castle’s New York City premiere of “Mr. Sardonicus” with a New York broadcast personality
According to the American Film Institute’s database article on “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961), William Castle attended the opening premiere of his Columbia macabre thriller in New York City with New York-based TV-radio personality/disc jockey Fred Robbins. Castle made multiple appearances at various cinema venues that participated in the debut screening of “Mr. Sardonicus” throughout New York City.
Be sure to watch/record Svengoolie and his big broadcast showcase of William Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961), this Sat. on Me-TV!
You will not want to miss out on Svengoolie’s big broadcast of William Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961), this Sat. on Me-TV! With Guy Rolfe, Oscar Homolka, Audrey Dalton, Lorna Hanson, Ronald Lewis, Erika Peters, Vladimir Sokoloff, William Castle’s cameo screen appearances/Castle’s famous “Punishment Poll” gimmick along with Ben Lane’s make-up effects, Burnett Guffey’s cinematography and Von Dexter’s orchestral score; you will not be disappointed! Perfect for all fellow super SvenPals everywhere with Sven’s extended fun facts, Doug Graves’ parody tune & Kerwyn’s “mail call” segment! Highly recommended!
A happy and safe (early) Independence Day/Fourth of July to all fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals everywhere from the author of “Silver Screen Reflections!” –C.H.
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/FiOS 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208/FiOS 460
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248/FiOS 460
Live-tweet (via Twitter) with all fellow super SvenPals everywhere this Sat. during #Svengoolie’s big Me-TV broadcast showcase of William Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961)!
Flashback “Silver Screen Reflections” posts on Svengoolie’s April 2018 big broadcast of William Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (with extended information on Castle’s “Punishment Poll” gimmick) and Sven’s Nov. 2018 big broadcast showcase of Castle’s “Mr. Sardonicus” (with extended information on veteran Columbia/Screen Gems make-up artist Ben Lane and his “Sardonicus grin” design for Guy Rolfe)!
The return of Svengoolie’s official glow-in-the-dark “It Came From Berwyn!” T-Shirt (for Sven’s 40th anniversary)! Available for a limited time through the official Sven/Me-TV online store (limited quantities available)!
In commemoration of (son of) Svengoolie (portrayed by Rich Koz)’s 40th anniversary in television, Sven recently announced that four limited edition T-shirts will be released (with limited quantities) through the official Me-TV/Sven online store! The first is the return of Sven’s classic “It Came from Berwyn!” official glow-in-the-dark T-Shirt (with a mention of Sven’s 40th anniversary)! According to Sven’s official video on Me-TV’s Twitter page (posted on Mon., July 1), only 500 are available!
Purchase yours today through the official Sven/Me-TV online store before they’re gone (and get $5 off of Sven’s next limited edition official T-shirt design release purchase)! Makes a perfect gift/present! And to quote the official Sven/Me-TV online store motto, “no personal checks!” And only purchase official/authentic Sven items through the official Sven/Me-TV online store!
Cameo mentions of fellow super SvenPals!
Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow super SvenPals jumped for joy when they heard the name of a fellow super SvenPal through the online airlanes of Sven’s official site! (Officially confirmed on Twitter), Kerwyn mentioned fellow super SvenPal Betty McLaughlin and her joke for the Mon. “Joke of the Week” segment on Sven’s website!
Congratulations, Betty from the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals from coast-to-coast on your joke that was mentioned by Kerwyn for the “Joke of the Week” segment on Sven’s official site! Two thumbs up! Peace, kudos and “Hi-Keeba” from the entire crowd of super SvenPals! –C.H.
Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow Berwyn/Chicago/Lake Berwyn super SvenPals and beyond! The Jackalope Productions ensemble of fellow super Svengoolie SvenPal Jamie Lee, Dean Griffiths, Tara Petrozelli and director Jim Behr will be having their opening week of the Chicago/Berwyn/Lake Villa Jackalope stage production of The Reduced Shakespeare Company (Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield)’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” at the Terminus Theatre complex (121 Grand Ave., Lake Villa, IL, 60046) beginning this Fri., July 5 at 8 p.m. (local time)! Additional Jackalope-Terminus performances of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” (abridged) will take place on Sat., July 6 and Fri., July 19 (all shows start at 8 p.m., local time)!
Tickets are selling fast through the Eventbrite online platform and through the Terminus Theatre box office (ticket prices are $8), purchase yours today! Jamie and the Jackalope players ensemble are still seeking extra funds for their production through their official Indiegogo site. Any amount helps and additional premium “perks”/goodies (funding levels) are also listed for patrons who donate to the Jackalope players’ official Indiegogo production fund!
Congratulations to Jamie, Dean, Tara, Jim and the entire Jackalope Productions crowd on their upcoming production/rendition of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” from the entire crowd of fellow coast-to-coast super SvenPals! Have lots of fun and break a leg! Two thumbs up! Kudos, peace and “Hi-Keeba” from the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals! –C.H.
In connection to “Mr. Sardonicus” (1961):
“Mr. Sardonicus” (1961) is also available on Blu-Ray as part of the “William Castle Double Feature” Columbia classic thriller collection with his 1961 production of “Homicidal.” Castle’s “Mr. Sardoncius” is also available on DVD as part of the multi-film Columbia/Castle classic macabre thriller anthology set, the “William Castle Horror Collection” from Mill Creek Entertainment (by arrangement with Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc./Sony Pictures Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment).
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