Chiller: As Amazing As Ever!

I’m still wiped out from the Chiller Theatre show this last weekend (and all of the flying) but I had to write a quick post on that great show.

I flew from LAX with a planeload of celebrities, including my friend Camille Keaton, my new friends Bobby (Robert) Carradine and his wife Edie, as well as Sally Kellerman and Jennifer Carpenter, among many, many others.

I haven’t been back to Chiller since 2004, so I was curious as to how it might have changed. It’s in a different location, for one.

The Parsippany Hilton is a terrific venue for the show. I was given my own HUGE board room to exhibit and sell my art, books, t-shirts and prints. With all that space it was easy to relax and chat with fans both old and new. Alice Cooper and my friends Ken Kelly, Stephen Blickenstaff and Ted Bohus were in the same hall with me. The next CD cover I’m doing for Shout! Factory is for an Alice Cooper box set. I was so inspired that I came up with a rough for it at the show.

The Saturday night concert is now indoors and no longer out in the freezing cold. Yay!

Chris Palmerini and Kevin Clements (the show’s organizer), lead guitar player and rhythm guitar player respectively for The Dead Elvi, invited me to perform with The Elvi on Saturday night, which I did with great relish and enthusiasm. A big, well-lubricated crowd almost always makes for a perfectly receptive audience. Despite my lack of practice prior to the event, I was well received. It was all about all of us having fun, anyway, wasn’t it? It was!

I saw lots of old and new Right Coast friends and fans. I couldn’t believe the reception I got; it was so warm and loving. Thank you, everyone, for all of your kind words and hugs!

Frank Frazetta, Jr. came by to see me on Sunday. It’s incredibly sad what he, his dad and his family have been going through since Ellie Frazetta’s passing. I wish them all a happy and satisfying resolution to this current mess. I offered to objectively and fairly help them in any way I can. This should be a golden period in Frank Senior’s life. He should be enjoying his grandkids and the continuing accolades he so richly deserves.

I was shattered to hear from Kevin that Frank recently destroyed one of his greatest masterpieces. Sadly, I don’t believe it has ever been photographed, nor was it ever publicly shown. I am so glad he showed it to me years ago. I wish he had consulted me before his decision.

The work I’m talking about was drawn and painted in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It’s a hilarious comic book story (about 8 pages as I recall) involving a comely buxom blond sexually cavorting with a group of well-endowed African natives. Yes, it’s graphically pornographic in nature — but it’s also very, very funny and extremely playful in a sweet innocent sense, despite the nature of the goings on. Ellie told me she was going to burn it, as she felt it “would destroy Frank’s reputation.” If anything, it would have enhanced Frank’s reputation. It was the finest rendering I’ve ever seen Frank do — and if you know Frazetta’s work, that’s really saying something! Imagine an eight page full color comic book story by Frazetta with every single panel rendered in watercolor in a humorous version of the detailed style of his masterpiece “Golden Girl.”

Well, sadly, at last, Frank apparently bought into Ellie’s “this will destroy the Frazetta legacy” argument and tore the entire story into tiny, irretrievable bits. A tragic ending for one of Frank’s true gems. Frank— please don’t do that to the rest of your personal erotica! It’s as harmless as it is absolutely  charming! I don’t think that most of even the most hardcore fundamentalist of Christians would object to this beautiful, funny, and sweetly sexy stuff of yours. And, if they did — Who Cares?

I got to return to the Newark airport with Caroline Munro’s beautiful daughter. I was greeted by Bobby and Edie Carradine at the airport; we had the same flight back.

This spring’s Chiller was even more fun than I had remembered. I look forward to many, many more!

This coming weekend: Calgary!

4 Responses to “Chiller: As Amazing As Ever!”

  1. Benno says:

    Holy Crap Bill, that story about Frazetta destroying his work just blows! I wish I had been lucky enough to see it before it was gone forever.

  2. Joe Jusko says:

    I guess you’re referring to “Toolonga” (sp?)

    That is shocking. Geez.

  3. Rick Tucker says:

    Bill, I’m with Benno!
    Back in ’86 Ellie hauled these beautiful watercolors out of the closet at the first museum and she showed several of them to Zena (my gal Friday through Thursday for 28 years) and I. One was this whimsical “Biblically inspired” image of a cartoon proportioned Adam and Eve watercolor. Eve was a nubile, young, with big pink nipples, a doll, and Adam was hung like a horse. Ellie said she was mad at Frank for painting it but also found it hard to be too harsh. She told us that she told Frank to be more serious about the religious imagery. We loved the piece and never understood what the problem was an we were both regular attendees of the Catholic church at the time. And if she took so much issue with it why did she show it to us?
    Ellie was always a hard gal to figure out and I say after talking with her regularly for over 30 years.
    Glad you had fun at the Chiller gig. I hope to make it there next year.

    Rick

  4. Tom Ortega says:

    Several thoughts:

    The idea that there is still unpublished FRAZETTA art certainly is a tantalizing revelation.

    It is upsetting to hear that he has destroyed some of his art, worse to hear it was full color finished art. This is said, knowing I probably never would’ve had a chance to see it!

    You are correct Bill. The reputation of FRANK FRAZETTA is one of a living legend. Nothing he has drawn can undo the fact.

    Picasso’s erotic art didn’t hurt his reputation.
    Oh … I did get to see his art and it was in a museum setting!

Leave a Reply