Shot in Oklahoma: A Century of Sooner State Cinema
Named Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History for 2011 by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
When inventor and movie studio pioneer Thomas Edison wanted to capture western magic on film in 1904, where did he send his crew?
To Oklahoma’s 101 Ranch near Ponca City. And when Francis Ford Coppola readied young actors Tom Cruise and Matt Dillon to portray teen class strife in the 1983 movie The Outsiders, he took cast and crew to Tulsa, the setting of S. E. Hinton’s acclaimed novel. From Edison to Coppola and beyond, Oklahoma has served as both backdrop and home base for cinematic productions. The only book to chronicle the history of made-in-Oklahoma films, John Wooley’s Shot in Oklahoma explores the variety, spunk, and ingenuity of moviemaking in the Sooner State over more than a century.
Wooley’s trek through cinematic history, buttressed by meticulous research and interviews, hits the big films readers have heard of—but maybe didn’t realize were shot in the state—along with lesser-known offerings. We also get the films’ intriguing backstories. For instance, President Theodore Roosevelt’s fascination with a man purportedly able to catch a wolf in his hands led to The Wolf Hunt, shot in the Wichita Mountains and screened in the White House in 1909. Over time, homegrown movies such as Where the Red Fern Grows (1974, 2003) have given way to feature films including The Outsiders and Rain Man (1988). Throughout this tale, Wooley draws attention to unsung aspects of state and cinematic history, including early all-black movies lensed in Oklahoma’s African American towns and films starring American Indian leads.
With a nod to more recent Hollywood productions such as Twister (1996) and Elizabethtown (2005), Wooley ultimately explores how a low-budget slasher movie created in Oklahoma in the 1980s transformed the movie business worldwide. Punctuated with photographs and including a filmography of more than one hundred productions filmed in the state, Shot in Oklahoma offers movie lovers and historians alike an engaging ride through untold cinematic history.
The life and film genius of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream director Wes Craven
Wes Craven is one of the most successful and iconic horror movie directors in Hollywood. His masterful examination of the nightmarish nexus of dreams and reality helped spark a career that has spanned close to forty years. Then, with their mix of horror, sex, and humor, Craven’s Scream movies helped revitalize the slasher film genre.
- •An absorbing portrait of cult film director Wes Craven’s life and career in film
- •Draws on the author’s new interviews with Craven, including little-known details about the director’s life and work
- •Insights into the making of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and the Scream films—the #1 horror franchise of all time
- •Fascinating stories about the director’s work with a range of producers, screenwriters, and actors, including Robert Englund
If you’ve ever had nightmares about Freddy Krueger or psychopaths wearing Halloween scream masks, or if want to know more about the director behind the new Scream 4, this is one book you simply have to read.
The Miracle Squad
Here comes THE MIRACLE SQUAD, the 1980s indie comic that Pulp 2.0 has redesigned into a graphic novel. Thrill to the adventures of the cast and crew at Miracle Pictures, a poverty row movie outfit in 1930s Hollywood, as they use all of their skills at movie magic to thwart a hostile takeover by a local gangster who aims to launder his dirty money. Created by writer John Wooley and artist Terry Tidwell, The Miracle Squad was originally published in 1987 by Fantagraphics. It has never before been released in a collected format such as this edition. This collectors edition features: The original special preview and all four chapters. John Wooley’s original essay on the B-Movies featuring all new photos and illustrations from his personal collection. The original short story, THE RETURN OF MR. MYSTERY which featured the first incarnations of the Squad. Wooley casts the Miracle Squad serial with famous B-Movie greats from yesteryear. A gallery of images by Terry Tidwell showcasing the development process for the series. Many of these images have never before been seen. And much, much more! All in all, over 50 pages of bonus features sure to thrill fans of the series as well as B-Movie enthusiasts!
Forgotten Horrors Vol. 6: Up from the Depths (Volume 6)
Michael H. Price’s FORGOTTEN HORRORS series of film encyclopedias lurchesalong through the 1950s with FORGOTTEN HORRORS VOL. 6: UP FROM THE DEPTHS — a chronicle of the horror-movie revival of 1955-1957, with insightful contributions from Jan Alan Henderson and John Wooley. The rise of Roger Corman and Ray Harryhausen, the trendsetting teenage-monster cycle of Herman Cohen, the obsessions with gigantism of Bert I. Gordon, the emergence of Hammer Films, the unheralded genius of monster-maker Paul Blaisdell — all are here, along with studies and sketches of numerous films of both prominence and obscurity. Price’s unique study of the relationship between the horror-comics scare of the post-WWII years and the resurgence of horror in film rounds out the package — a 300-page marvel of pop-cultural insights, perceptive social criticism, and irresponsible cheap thrills.
Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree: Dispatches from a Collapsing Genre
Michael H. Price and John Wooley continue their exploration of the Badlands of Grindhouse Cinema with “Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree” — an expanded compilation of their acclaimed “Forgotten Horrors” columns for FANGORIA magazine, and a continuation of the long-running FORGOTTEN HORRORS series of movie-history books, spanning from 1929 into times more recent. The Afterword is by artist and film theorist Stephen R. Bissette, who chronicles a wealth of chillers with origins in his native Vermont. The cappers include a comprehensive survey of the bizarre filmmaking career of Larry Buchanan (of “Mars Needs Women”), a sampling of Mike Price’s long-out-of-print newspaper and New York Times News Service columns, a primary-source history of the Gore Film Trilogy of Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman, and a study-in-depth of Leo Fong’s career in martial-arts thrillers.
Forgotten Horrors Comics & Stories
The acclaimed FORGOTTEN HORRORS film-history series yields its first graphic novel in FORGOTTEN HORRORS COMICS & STORIES — a collection of comic-book novellas inspired by the low-rent chillers covered in the first five volumes of FORGOTTEN HORRORS, from the Depression years into the Atom-Age 1950s and ’60s. From riffs on THE MAN FROM PLANET X and DESTINATION MOON, to takeoffs on THE VAMPIRE BAT and THE BLOB, to the long-unseen TOR JOHNSON–HOLLYWOOD STAR, here is a collection to delight the lover of maverick movies and offbeat comics. The book also marks a decisive tie-in between the FORGOTTEN HORRORS series and Mike Price’s COMICS FROM THE GONE WORLD series of graphic novels.
The acclaimed Forgotten Horrors series of movie-genre history and criticism lurches into the turning-point stretch of 1949-1954. This 300-plus-page study of the independent studios’ forays into horror, S-F, film noir — and some unclassifiable oddities — tackles the most conflicted and paranoid period of American cultural history in terms of such breakthrough pictures as these: Mikel Conrad’s “The Flying Saucer,” the oddly matched set of George Pal’s “Destination Moon” and Kurt Neumann’s “Rocketship X-M,” Edgar G. Ulmer’s “The Man from Planet X,” Ivan Tors’ “Office of Scientific Investigation” trilogy, and William Cameron Menzies’ “Invaders from Mars.” To say nothing of E.A. Dupont’s “The Neanderthal Man,” William Castle’s exploitation-film debut “It’s a Small World,” and — did somebody say, “Skipalong Rosenbloom”?! A brief flowering of science fiction and general-purpose imaginative zeal gives way to the beginnings of what genre historian Phil Hardy has called “an all-out horror revival. Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 teams the series’ co-originator with Wes Craven biographer John Wooley and Lydecker Bros. biographer Jan Alan Henderson for a rip-snorting round-up of essential titles and long-buried rediscoveries.
In musicians’ parlance, a ghost band is a band that performs under the name of a dead bandleader – the Glenn Miller Orchestra or Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians, to give a couple of current examples. I had long wanted to write a novel about a guy in one of those outfits who starts seeing real ghosts on the road. I’d even gotten about 50 pages into a first draft before abandoning it. I just couldn’t seem to get the right tone or take on the material.
And then I visited Oklahoma State University, spending the night in the Atherton Hotel, which is located right on the campus. There for a film festival in which my son Jonathan’s movie was shown, I got up the next morning and stood with the other old alums with my Styrofoam cup of coffee on the second-floor balcony of the Student Union, watching the throngs of students pass between classes.
I had graduated from OSU in 1970. Yet, in that mass of students on that morning, I could’ve sworn that I saw myself and some of my friends, as we looked then, moving through the stream of kids. The vision only lasted a few seconds, but it told me something that turned out to be the key to the book: You don’t have to be dead to have ghosts.
Ghost Band is the story of a trumpeter named Miles West, who, while touring with a big-band outfit under the name of a long-dead bandleader, slowly begins to understand that he and the group are being trailed by ghosts that aren’t just musical, but real. It’s spooky and unsettling (he says hopefully) but not graphic, and will especially be enjoyed, I think, by people who appreciate the big-band era and old movies, as well as those who have a few miles on their odometers – like Miles himself. I’m most attracted to stories that have a decent amount of thematic underpinning, of texture, and that’s what I’ve tried to include here. Get your copy of the 2007 HAWK Publishing Group edition, $17, here for postpaid.
Back in 1974 — after two years of active duty in the Navy Reserve that took me to the Gulf of Tonkin for 10 months, Haiphong Harbor for another two, and from there to Hawaii, where my ship picked up Skylab II – I was in grad school learning how to write a novel. Although I don’t know if I’ve gotten it right yet, I was excited and happy to be there, and as a result of all that enthusiasm, I started a writers’ group. Beer was involved.
One of the guys who came aboard was an immensely talented writer and cartoonist for the Oklahoma City Times named Ron Wolfe. We became friends and started collaborating on writing greeting cards (Ron had actually sold three). Spectacularly unsuccessful in that realm, we decided to do a novel. Called Old Fears, it sold in a pretty big way, and has since been released in three different editions – a hardcover from Franklin Watts in 1983, a mass-market paperback from Berkeley in 1984, and a trade paperback from my friend and fellow writer Bill Bernhardt’s HAWK Publishing Group in 1999.
Old Fears tells the story of Mick Winters, a man who returns to the little Oklahoma town where he spent the best summers of his childhood, only to find that the ghostly terrors of his youth there have somehow come to life.
Over the years, Old Fears has been optioned by Paramount Pictures, Wes Craven, and, currently, producer Brian Witten, a horror specialist (Final Destination, Friday the13th, Mother’s Day) and former Paramount Pictures vice president. Brian assures us he loves the book and the film’s going to get made.
Meanwhile, you can get your own autographed copy of the HAWK trade paperback from this website for $14 postpaid.
Also, I’ve got a few copies left of another Wooley-Wolfe collaboration called Death’s Door. Originally published in 1992 as a mass-market paperback by Dell’s ambitious horror imprint Abyss, it tells the tale of Case Hamilton, a cop who’s killed in the line of duty, travels to the beyond – and then gets jerked back to his corporeal body. But he’s been in the Other World a little too long, and something comes back with him.
Our friend Poppy Z. Bright, who did some pretty fine work as an Abyss writer, called Death’s Door “a vastly entertaining, intelligent book with a lot of heart.” Ron and I think it’s our best work as a team. An autographed copy of the HAWK edition (from 2000) is available from this site for $15 postpaid. It’s recommended for adult readers.
From the Blue Devils to Red Dirt: The Colors of Oklahoma Music is one of only three books commissioned by the Oklahoma Centennial Committee and the Oklahoma Arts Council for the state’s 2007 celebration. For the record, the other two volumes are Equal Justice: The Courage of Ada Sipuel by our own Mr. Bernhardt with Oklahoma first lady Kim Henry, and Four Arrows and Magpie by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright N. Scott Momaday. As you can see, I’m pretty much in over my head with this kind of company, but at least I wrote about something I know a little bit: the Oklahoma musical movements that have had a major impact, beginning with the groundbreaking jazz band the Oklahoma City Blue Devils in the ‘20s, going through western swing and Woody Guthrie, the Tulsa Sound and the Jim Halsey Agency, Oklahoma’s dominance of Nashville in the ‘90s, and the current Red Dirt scene.
Thanks mostly to my 23-plus years covering music for the Tulsa World newspaper, I was able to put a lot of first-person interview material into the book – including portions of an interview I did with guitarist Herman Arnspiger, who was there when western swing was, for all practical purposes, born. I think people who may not know much about Oklahoma’s contributions to America’s pop-music culture may be surprised to see just how much we’ve influenced things. It’s $18, postage paid, from this site.
Although it came out over six years ago, The Big Book of Biker Flicks, continues to sell surprisingly briskly. (I imagine this has something to do with the play we’ve been getting on bike-oriented Internet sites, including the ongoing coverage from our friend Amaryllis Knight on the blog at HYPERLINK “http://www.falconmotorcycles.com” www.falconmotorcycles.com) A deluxe, oversized volume with color-interiors, it’s beautifully designed by one of the great ones in the business, Carl Brune, and that probably has a lot to do with its enduring popularity as well. Mike Price and I interviewed a ton of biker-film greats for the book, including the likes of Jack Nicholson, Herschell Gordon (She-Devils on Wheels) Lewis, Sonny Barger, Peter Fonda, William Smith, Sam Sherman, Dennis Hopper, Roger Corman, and Billy Gray.
Big Book features chapters on 40 of the best — or at least the most interesting — motorcycle movies of all time, featuring original advertising material. And if you don’t remember, or aren’t old enough to have seen, the newspaper ad campaigns during the bike-picture heyday of the late ’60s-early ’70s, prepare to see some of the roughest, weirdest, and most amusing movie ads ever made.
BARGAIN BIN!!! SPECIAL OVERSTOCK SALE!!!! GET “EM WHILE THEY LAST!!!
Back in the early ‘90s, Joe Bob Williams, the late John Harper, and I jumped on the trading-card craze, collaborating on a series of card sets we called “Hot Schlock.” Out of that partnership came Hot Schlock Horror, which the great exploitation-filmmaker David F. Friedman called “The best genre-movie book I ever read.”
Originally released in 1992 by our Dreamtrip Press, Hot Schlock Horror gives an in-depth look at more than 40 films from the drive-in-movie era of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, mixing commentary, pressbook quotes, and interviews with some great images from the films’ ad campaigns. From Lost Women to Satan’s Black Wedding, The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave to the Wizard of Gore, Hot Schlock Horror is a wild celebration of lowest-common-denominator horror-exploitation cinema in one big 8 ½ by 11-inch volume. This is the original 1992 edition, out of print for 20 years. We sold quite a few of these dandies for $14.95; I have a few left for $10 each, postage paid, autographed or otherwise.
The other overstock item I’ve got on hand would make a fine gift for anyone eyeing a career in the spotlight. It’s by the legendary entertainment impresario Jim Halsey – with an assist by yours truly – and it’s received accolades from all over. Titled How to Make It in the Music Business, it’s chock-full of insider information and sage advice for singers, songwriters, musicians, bands, and those who – like Halsey, a man responsible for propelling the careers of such superstars as Roy Clark, Hank Thompson, the Judds, Reba McEntire, and the Oak Ridge Boys, whom he manages to this day – are attracted to the behind-the-scenes segment of the business. Yes, the music business has changed a lot since 2000, when this tome came out, and downloads and other methods of delivery have all but replaced the CDs mentioned in the book. But the overwhelming amount of insider’s info conveyed in these pages remains very relevant to the business, and the principles of salesmanship and advertising Halsey reveals here can help just about anyone – he even had a dentist tell him how reading How to Make It in the Music Business helped him start a successful practice!
How to Make it in the Music Business, published in 2000, is available as a 366-page hardcover book in dust jacket, or as a set of three CDs, released in 2002. Either is available for $15 postpaid, exactly half of the original price,
I also have a few copies of How to Make It in the Music Business without dust jackets, available for $10 each, postpaid.
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