"Monster Mania" was a 1997 US television special, hosted by Jack Palance and Cassandra Peterson as "Elvira". The show features clips from Thomas Edison's "Frankenstein", various "Jekyll and Hyde" versions, the career of Lon Chaney in horror movies; Universal Pictures and Hammer horror movies; along with horror and creature movies from the 1930s-1950s

From IMDB:
Jack Palance quite often exemplified evil incarnate on film, portraying some of the most intensely feral villains witnessed in 1950s westerns and melodrama. Enhanced by his tall, powerful build, icy voice, and piercing eyes, he earned two "Best Supporting Actor" nominations early in his career. It would take a grizzled, eccentric comic performance 40 years later, however, for him to finally grab the coveted statuette.

Of Ukrainian descent, Palance was born Volodymyr Ivanovich Palahniuk (later taking Walter Jack Palance as his legal name) on 18 February 1919 (although some sources, including his death certificate, cite 1920) in Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, USA; was one of six children born to Anna (nee Gramiak) and Ivan Palahniuk. His father, an anthracite miner, died of black lung disease. Palance worked in the mines in his early years but averted the same fate as his father. Athletics was his ticket out of the mines when he won a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina. He subsequently dropped out to try his hand at professional boxing. Fighting under the name "Jack Brazzo", he won his first 15 fights, 12 by knockout, before losing a 4th round decision to future heavyweight contender Joe Baksi on December 17, 1940.

With the outbreak of World War II, his boxing career ended and his military career began, serving in the Army Air Force as a bomber pilot. Wounded in combat and suffering severe injuries and burns, he received the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He resumed college studies as a journalist at Stanford University and became a sportswriter for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also worked for a radio station until he was bit by the acting bug.

Palance made his stage debut in "The Big Two" in 1947 and immediately followed it understudying Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in the groundbreaking Broadway classic "A Streetcar Named Desire", a role he eventually took over. Following stage parts in "Temporary Island" (1948), "The Vigil" (1948), and "The Silver Tassle" (1949), Palance won a choice role in "Darkness of Noon" and a Theatre World Award for "Promising New Personality." This recognition helped him secure a 20th Century-Fox contract. The facial burns and resulting reconstructive surgery following the crash and burn of his WWII bomber plane actually worked to his advantage. Out of contention as a glossy romantic leading man, Palance instead became the archetypal intimidating villain equipped with towering stance, imposing glare, and killer shark smile.

He stood out among a powerhouse cast that included actors such as Richard Widmark, Zero Mostel and Paul Douglas in his movie debut in Elia Kazan's "Panic in the Streets" (1950), as a plague-carrying fugitive. He was soon on his way. Briefly billed as Walter Jack Palance before eliminating the first name, the actor made fine use of his former boxing skills and war experience for the film "Halls of Montezuma" (1951) as a boxing Marine in Richard Widmark's platoon. He followed this with the first of his back to back Oscar nods. In "Sudden Fear" (1952), only his third film, he played rich and famous playwright, Joan Crawford's struggling actor/husband who plots to murder her and run off with gorgeous Gloria Grahame. Palancee followed this with arguably his finest villain of the decade, that of sadistic gunslinger Jack Wilson who takes on Alan Ladd's titular hero, played by "Shane" (1953), in a classic showdown.

Throughout the 1950s, Palance doled out strong leads and supports such as those in "Man in the Attic" (1953), "The Big Knife" (1955) and the war classic "Attack" (1956). Mixed in were a few routine to highly mediocre parts in "Flight to Tangier" (1953), "Sign of the Pagan" (1954), and the biblical bomb "The Silver Chalice" (1954). In between filmmaking were a host of television roles, none better than his down-and-out boxer in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1956), a rare sympathetic role that earned him an Emmy Award.

Back and forth overseas in the 1960s and 1970s, Palance would dominate foreign pictures in a number of different genres: sandal and spear spectacles, biblical epics, war stories and spaghetti westerns. Such films included "The Battle of Austerlitz" (1960), "The Mongols" (1961), "Barabbas" (1961), "Night Train to Milan" (1962), "Contempt" (1963), "The Mercenary" (1968), "Marquis de Sade's Justine" (1969), "The Desperados" (1969), "It Can Be Done Amigo" (1972), "Chato's Land" (1972), "Blood and Bullets" (1976), "Welcome to Blood City" (1977). Back home, he played Fidel Castro in "Che!" (1969) while also appearing in "Monte Walsh" (1970), "Oklahoma Crude" (1973) and "The Four Deuces" (1975).

On the made for television front, Jack played a number of nefarious nasties to perfection, ranging from Mr Hyde in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1968) to Dracula in "Dracula" (1974) to Ebenezer Scrooge in a western version of the Dickens classic "Ebenezer" (1998). He also played one of the Hatfields in "The Hatfields and the McCoys" (1975). Jack switched gears to star as a nice guy lieutenant in the single season television cop drama "Bronk" (1975). In later years, the actor mellowed with age, as exemplified by roles in "Bagdad Cafe" (1987), but could still display his bad side as he did as an evil rancher, crime boss or drug lord in, respectively, "Young Guns" (1988), "Batman" (1989) and "Tango & Cash" (1989). Into his twilight years he showed a penchant for brash, quirky comedy capped by his Oscar-winning role in "City Slickers" (1991) and its sequel. He ended his film career playing Long John Silver in "Treasure Island" (1999).

His had three children by his first wife, actress Virginia Baker: Holly Palance, Brooke Palance, and Cody Palance, who all pursued acting careers and appeared with their father at one time or another. A man of few words off the set, he owned his own cattle ranch and displayed other creative sides as a exhibited painter and published poet.

His last years were marred by both failing health and the 1998 death of his son Cody from melanoma. He was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died at the Santa Barbara County home of his daughter, Holly Palance, in 2006.

From IMDB:
Cassandra Peterson was born on 17 September 1951 in Manhattan, Kansas, USA; and grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She began her career at age 17 as the youngest showgirl in Las Vegas history in the show "Vive Les Girls" at the Dunes Hotel. After receiving advice from "The King" himself, Elvis Presley, she traveled to Europe where she pursued a career as a singer and actor. She worked in several Italian films, including Federico Fellini's Roma (1972) and performed throughout Europe as lead singer of an Italian rock band.

Upon returning to the USA, she toured the country as star of her own musical-comedy show, "Mama's Boys". She eventually settled in Hollywood, where she spent four and a half years with Los Angeles' foremost improvisational comedy group, The Groundlings. In 1981, she auditioned for the role of horror hostess on a local Los Angeles television station. Her show, "Elvira's Movie Macabre" (1981), and her newly created character, Elvira, became an overnight sensation.

Cassandra has used Elvira's celebrity status to bring attention to many worthy causes and organizations over the years, including her well-known work for animal welfare and raising money and awareness for the prevention of HIV/AIDS. In addition to co-writing and performing in both the local Los Angeles and nationally syndicated television versions of "Movie Macabre", she co-wrote, produced and starred in two feature films, "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" (1988) and "Elvira's Haunted Hills" (2001). In 2010, she returned to syndicated television in a reboot of her original series, "Elvira's Movie Macabre" (2010). She returned in 2014 in a similar show format for Hulu's "13 Nights of Elvira". Her latest endeavors include producing, writing and starring in Elvira's 40th Anniversary, "Very Scary, Very Special, Special" - a 2021 four-hour special streaming on Shudder, and "Dr. Elvira", a Halloween promotional mini-series for Netflix.

Cassandra Peterson has spent over four decades solidifying the "Elvira" brand that has become synonymous with Halloween and the horror genre.

For more information on "Elvira" use the below link:

Below is the opening for the movie:

"Monster Mania" - opening from The Professor's Scary Clips on Vimeo.


Internet Movie Data Base
"Monster Mania"

"Cassandra Peterson"

Internet Movie Data Base
"Jack Palance"

"Jack Palance"

E-gors Chamber of TV Horror Hosts
"Elvira, Mistress of the Dark"

Internet Movie Data Base
"Cassandra Peterson"

Back to the USA

Send mail to:
with questions or comments about this web site.
Page Content Copyright 2016 Paul Gerard Kennedy

Photographic and Video Copyright rests with original owners.

Page Design Copyright 2016 Paul Gerard Kennedy

Last modified: April 2024