Friday, August 2, 2013

William Castle in Duo-Vision! The Spirit is Willing and ZOTZ!

This post is part of the William Castle Blogathon, hosted by The Last Drive-In and Goregirl's Dungeon, running from July 29th through August 2nd, 2013!  Enjoy! 

With all the horror and suspense in William Castle's filmography, we of Team Bartilucci thought it'd be neat to feature two of the gimmick-meister's comedy turns for the Blogathon—especially, as Vinnie so sagely pointed, out: "Mr. Sardonicus is probably already taken."

When my talented friend and fellow film blogger Jo Gabriel of The Last Drive-In invited me to take part in the William Castle Blogathon with her fab co-host Patti of Goregirl’s Dungeon, I admit I was a little nervous at the prospect, because horror movies usually send me to The Coward’s Corner, scaredy-cat that I am.  But when my Pal Joey recommended Castle’s 1967 comedy-thriller The Spirit is Willing (TSIW), I knew I was in for a frightfully funny good time!  Besides, Castle’s own come-on come was irrisistable, too:  “Kiss-Hungry Girl Ghosts Looking for a Live Lover in a Haunted House of Mayhem!”  Brava on a great choice, Jo—beaucoup thanks!

But first, a bit of background:  William Castle was born in 1914 as William Schloss in New York City (I’m always glad to see my fellow native New Yorkers making good!).  Sadly, Castle’s parents each died fairly young, leaving the boy an orphan.  Even then, young Castle knew how to get noticed:  a dexterous lad, little Billy wowed the other kids by taking his legs and putting them behind his neck, earning the nickname “Spider Boy.”  The kid became an applause junkie! His chutzpah took him far; for instance, he kept  renowned German actress Ellen Schwanneke from being forced or tricked into a German film festival that would have trapped her among the Nazis forever, thus combining patriotism and ballyhoo—and a tall tale or two!  Yes, that was all young Bill Castle’s idea to get publicity for the show, even going so far as to paint swastikas on the theater, then denouncing the Nazi swine trying to muzzle free speech!

Castle’s clever ploy grabbed the attention of the notorious and powerful Harry Cohn, head honcho of Columbia Pictures.  He was impressed by Castle’s youth and eagerness, so he hired Castle as a dialogue coach—before he even knew what a dialogue coach was supposed to do!  Now there’s an eager beaver, considering that in the 2007 documentary Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, fellow director Budd Boetticher described Cohn as “probably except for Hitler and Mussolini, the most frightening, despicable man you ever saw in your life.”  But surprisingly, Cohn took a shine to young Castle’s enthusiasm and determination—go Bill!

Castle directed his first film at Columbia Pictures with the 1943 Boston Blackie adventure The Chance of a Lifetime.  Talk about a good omen!  Then Castle bought the film rights to the mystery novel If I Die Before I Wake.  Castle took it to his old pal Orson Welles to direct—and Welles took the book to Cohn without him!  Sure, Bill was irked, but ultimately decided working with Welles as his Assistant Director was still a darn good place to start.  Besides, Castle found himself learning plenty from working with Welles, including a taste for expensive cigars, and making sure that when Castle himself became top dog, he’d make sure his name was on the picture—and so it was!  Even more important, the Castle Family was lucky to find themselves in a longtime loving marriage and a great family life, which is more than many other filmmakers can say!

 And so, Team Bartilucci's double-feature begins!

The Spirit is Willing (1967) - Behind the ghastly green door

Bizarre love triangle!
Accompanied by Vic Mizzy’s sprightly, playful score, the prologue of TSIW opens in 1898 with Captain Ebenezer Twitchell (Robert Donner), who’s just recently rescued an important cargo and survived a mutiny to boot.  (Call me cynical, but I wonder if Ebenezer somehow did something to make the crew mad!)  His client (Nestor Paiva) wants to give Ebenezer all kinds of riches and land—including  the boss’ unmarried daughter, Felicity  (Cass Daley).  Unfortunately for Ebenezer, poor plain whinnying Felicity is what Webb Wilder would describe as "un-voluptuous."  Still, she’s rich, available, and  looking forward to her wedding night—until she discovers that Ebenezer finds lovely housemaid Jenny Pruitt (Jill Townsend  in the first of her three roles) to be much more his type, and the feeling is mutual with Jenny.  Too bad romance and adultery don’t mix harmoniously, especially when Felicity makes her point with sharp cleavers!

But love never really dies, especially in a William Castle movie with a wicked sense of humor like this one.  The credits sequence show decades of the ghosts of Felicity, Captain Twitchell, and Jenny wreaking deadly havoc on unsuspecting renters over the centuries.  Too bad these folks apparently couldn’t afford less lethal accommodations; if only had been around back in 1967!  Still, that cheeky Addams Family-style opening credits sequence is drolly entertaining. If only the Internet had been around back in 1967, our heroes could have scrammed pronto and saved themselves a lot of funeral expenses! 

Sure, we wanted fresh air, but enough already!
Now it’s a whole new decade (1967, the year TSIW was released).  The Powells, a new family of would-be victims from New York City (my hometown!), arrives to rent this charming New England seaside cottage on their summer vacation. Let the supernatural screams of horror and hilarity begin, in a nutzoid take-off of The Haunting and other classic supernatural thrillers!  Despite Mama Kate (Vera Miles) assuring Papa Ben (Sid Caesar) that his boss simply recommended the vacation because of Ben’s bad back.  I bet it’s like in Rear Window: Ben sounds like the kind of guy who’s just too valuable to his magazine to fool around with!  Nevertheless, worrywart Ben is convinced that instead of enjoying a vacation, he’s actually about to be fired from his long-time writing gig in The Big Apple, fretting, “They haven’t changed my typewriter ribbon in months…Twelve years on a job, you think you’re doing great, and all of a sudden (Ben snaps his fingers), you get a vacation!”  (To be fair, most of us native New Yorkers have often felt paranoid that way, too!)  Well, maybe the sea air and the quaint villagers will relax him, with their part-beatnik/part Irish sports clothes—“when in Rome,” and all that jazz! 

Gloria Tritt sure knows how to
roll out the red carpet for guests—blood-red?!
The frightful fun starts as soon as they step inside, with local denizen and cleaning woman Gloria Tritt (Mary Wickes)—who almost accidentally clobbers the Powells!

Gloria:“I wasn’t expecting you till later.”
Steve: “Who are you?”
Gloria: “I’m the cleaning woman.”
Kate: “Have you ever tried using a broom?”
Ben, Kate, and their teenage son Steve (Gordon) opt for the New England rental.  Oh, that poor unsuspecting family!  Steve’s already bummed-out  and a tad surly because this New England trip is a drag for him without his city pals:
Steve:  “I didn’t ask to be born.”
Ben: “You’ve asked for everything else!”

Still, Ben and Kate look forward to some romantic “couple time” together on this trip. I must say that even with the encroaching ghosts, possible employment worries, and Ben’s back problems, Caesar and Miles really do make an unexpectedly sweet and sexy screen couple in their love scenes!  Even with the traditional NYC-style yelling and kvetching, you can see this family really does care about each other.

But these ghosts aren’t just any old poltergeists:  they’re ectoplasmic squatters.  What nerve!  Ebenezer, Jenny, and Felicity are vindictive little imps, and they’re taking their anger out on young Steve—the poor kid’s being framed!  Well, at least now Steve has a good excuse to be an “angry young man! “ Even when Steve gets to spend a night on a yacht with the family's rich, pompous Uncle George (John McGiver), a toilet bowl tycoon, those ornery ghosts turn out to be good swimmers, too!  Ghosts continue to literally haunt Steve everywhere, from land to sea. The kid can’t even ditch the ghostly trio in the sea when he gets a part-time job underwater salvaging Uncle George’s luckless yachts  to earn money (Steve’s saving up for a car)! 

Luckily, Steve finds allies with the locals at the neighborhood bar, Mother’s, including the lovely Weems sisters, teenage Priscilla and sexy librarian Carol.  They both happen to be Jenny Pruitt’s descendants, also played by Townsend.  I know director/producer William Castle was tight with a buck, but I hope he gave the busy Townsend a decent wage for her triple-threat performance!  Anyway, our heroes brush up on their ghost lore, including picking up cosmetics and other girly things to lure the spirits of Jenny, Felicity, and Ebenezer, to lay them to rest at last—though not before the befuddled adults get all bent out of shape looking for *ahem* gender issues where there are none. Kate in particular is mistakenly convinced that Ben’s research on the ghosts with Carol means he’s attracted to her (granted, Carol is a looker).  Kate, you misguided hot mama you, you’re thinking of “Marian The Librarian” from The Music Man!  But I digress…)

By a waterfall, I'm drowning yoo-ooo...
It's The Shining with less blood and more laughs!
 The young folks know their ghost lore, at least enough for TSIW’s purposes. Priscilla gives Steve helpful hints:

Priscilla:  “Be at the cemetery at—”
Steve: “I know, be at the cemetery at midnight.”
Priscilla:  “That’s only in books.  See you at eight, after the ghosts have dinner.”

Even babysitting comes in handy when Steve and Priscilla bring little Miles Thorpe (little Ricky Cordell from The Singing Nun), to lend a hand (not literally!), since he too is a descendant of the ghostly love triangle.  What the heck, Priscilla had to babysit the kid anyway; she’s such a multitasker, bless her!  All manner of mirthful menace breaks out in the frenetic finale as our heroes set things right on Steve’s birthday, in a plot involving pirate-garbed men (apparently Felicity liked the bad boys), gals who look like Jenny did back in the day, and…well, let’s just say Steve might not need a Bar Mitzvah to prove this boy has definitely become a man!

About time Ben and Kate got "couple" time, by George!

Our heroes tiptoe thru the gravestones in the moonlight!

The sprightly, cheeky music by Vic Mizzy (The Addams Family; Green Acres; The Busy Body), sets the tone delightfully, and  Ben Starr’s whimsically macabre screenplay was based on the novel The Visitors by Nathaniel Benchley—yes, that Nathaniel Benchley, kin to Robert and Peter!

The amazing cast of ghoulish goofballs include a swell gaggle of gals, goons, and ghouls!  Check out this lineup:

*Sid Caesar, legendary star of Broadway, films, and TV, including the classic Your Show of Shows, and movies including Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie; The Busy Body; and It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

*Vera Miles, whose beauty and talent caught  Alfred Hitchcock’s eye, resulting in her unforgettable roles in Psycho and The Wrong Man, as well as Henry Hathaway’s 1956 suspense thriller 23 Paces to Baker Street.

*Barry Gordon:  As a child actor, Gordon had his film debut in the movie version of Herb Gardner’s Broadway hit A Thousand Clowns, which won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Martin Balsam—and who just happened to play Arbogast, the detective in Hitchcock’s PsychoTalk about a small world! Gordon has been in films and on TV from everything from sitcoms, dramas, and animated films and TV shows (our daughter loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SWAT Kats), and nowadays he’s also a rabbi!

*John McGiver: Midnight Cowboy; Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Fitzwilly;

*Robert Donner:  Cool Hand Luke; Vanishing Point; High Plains Drifter; TV’s Mork and Mindy, as Exidor.

*Mary Wickes: The Man Who Came to Dinner; The Music Man; the Sister Act movies.

 *Jesse White: Harvey; The Reluctant Astronaut; Matinee; the beloved Maytag Repairman!

 *Nestor Paiva: The Creature from the Black Lagoon; Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; The Southerner. (TSIW was Paiva’s last film before his death.)

*John Astin: That Touch of Mink; TV’s The Addams Family and I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster.

*Jill Townsend:  British actress, beauty, and journalist known in both the U.S. and the U.K., the latter including the popular TV series Poldark and the film Alfie Darling, the sequel to Alfie. Townsend met renowned actor Nicol Williamson during the filming of Herbert Ross’ film version of The Seven-Percent Solution (1976), in which Williamson played Sherlock Holmes.  Townsend and Williamson had a long, tempestuous marriage, and eventually she divorced Williamson for good. Townsend became a financial columnist for The Daily Mail and Windsor Cable Television.  She later returned to the U.S. and became a spiritual counselorThe talented and versatile Townsend also shows off her versatility in TSIW in three different roles; talk about the Triple Crown!

*Cass Daley:
Daley started as a chanteuse, but Red Skelton brought out Daley’s funny side.  According to the IMDb, Daley started as just a traditional torch singer, but one night, she was upstaged during one of her singing performances by a buffoonish emcee—Red Skelton!  She decided full-tilt wacky comedy was a lot more fun and lucrative.  She blended singing and slapstick, and a star was born as Daley stole the show in such films as Duffy’s Tavern; Red Garters; Olsen and Johnson’s Crazy House. *Jay C. Flippen as “Mother” (no, he’s not in drag) who runs the titular bar and finds allies in Steve and the Weems sisters, Priscilla and Carol (also played by Townsend). 

*Doodles Weaver (The Birds; Topper; Pocket Full of Miracles)

*Harvey Lembeck (Stalag 17; The Unsinkable Molly Brown; TV’s Sgt. Bilko)
Ben and Steve get unexpected Father and Son bonding time!

Director William Castle is having some thumb now in this cameo!

Memorable Lines from The Spirit is Willing:

“Kiss-Hungry Girl Ghosts Looking for a Live Lover in a Haunted House of Mayhem!

Ebenezer Twitchell (Donner) to his soon-to-be father-in-law, after almost accidentally klonging him in the head: “Sorry, sir.  I’m always a bit jumpy after a crew mutinies on me.”

At Mother's Bar:
Fess Dorple
(Jesse White): “Mother, will you make her (Mary Wickes as Gloria) shut her yap?”
Mother (Jay C. Flippen), to Fess, dryly:  “I’ve had a request from you to ‘shut your yap.”
Gloria: “The Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech.  Anybody thinks different is welcome to go outside.”
Mother:  “Your move.”
Fess: “I know her type.  You hit ‘em once, and you’ve got a lawsuit on your hands...”
Mother: “I’ve heard from that party again concerning your big mouth.”

ZOTZ! (1962)

Tom Poston likely is best known to modern audiences from his many appearances on Bob Newhart's various shows.  He got his start as one of Steve Allen's stable of performers, with recurring roles in his "Man on the Street" sequences.  He made a great name for himself as a character actor, with a great deadpan delivery.  He didn't get to play the lead very often, but one of William Castle's early films for Columbia, "ZOTZ!", is a notable exception.  It's also an exception in that it's one of Castle's few comedies.  As mentioned in the intro, Castle dealt mostly in horror, albeit often with his tongue in his cheek. 

Poston plays Professor Jonathan Jones, a traditional "Bookish" type teacher, complete with wacky health diet of wheat germ and sauerkraut juice, tho a sight short of the Absent-Minded variety.  His niece receives a letter from her boyfriend, not working as an archeologist in a non-existent but real-sounding country.  He sends her as a gift an ancient coin, covered in words from an ancient language. A language which Professor Jones, an expert in ancient languages, can translate.  It's a magic talisman in honor  of an ancient god, one that gives the bearer great powers if they engage in the of both drawing and drinking blood (Which Jones accidentally does by prinking his finger and sticking it in how mouth. 

The weirdness starts early after Jones unwittingly activates the coin - a freak thunderstorm shakes the house, and causes a passing bystandard to be struck by lightning, blowing all her clothes off.  He assists her in her moment of full-body wardrobe malfunction, and gets back to his studies.  People in his company begin experiencing odd pain when he gestures at them. He sets out to translate the rest of the coin's inscriptions - it's amazing how much detail they crammed in.  If the bearer points at a person, the target experiences agonizing pain.  If coin-older speak the name of the god, the eponymous "Zotz"  anything they stare at slows to a crawl.  If they point at something AND speaks the magic work, the target is destroyed instantly.

Eager to demonstrate this power, he plans to exhibit it at the home of the college's Dean (Cecil Kelleway).  The Dean has been trying to decide who should succeed him, a decision rival professor Horatio Kellgore (Jim Backus) has made every attempt to guide by pointing out Jones' various odd behaviors. The Dean holds a cocktail party to introduce the new professor to the faculty - imagine Jones' surprise when "Professor Fenster" turns out to be the woman he assisted the night before!  After a bit of less blush-worthy conversation, he remembers his plan to display hiw new ability. Jones releases a cage full of white mice at the Dean's cocktail party, expecting to disable them.  Of course, his niece has taken the coin back, resulting in his great embarrassment and her suddenly gaining the ability to reduce people to a wincing fetal position. 

Jones is requested to see a psychiatrist (James Milhollin, another character actor who got a lot of work playing psychiatrists and other stuck-up authority types), and eventually asked to take some time off.  He realizes it's his duty to take this power to the military.  He sets off to the Pentagon, where an apathetic colonel (Fred Clark) is sick of hearing from kooks who claim to have invented the next super weapon.  He completely ignores the Professor's demonstration...but a somewhat Slavic-looking window-washer doesn't.  Sent home all but laughed at, he is quickly contacted by an agent from "The Government" ... he coyly neglects to mention WHICH government.  Yep, he's a Dirty Red, who whisks the Professor onto a plane headed for Russia.  Jones attempts to escape, but when he's told his niece and Professor Fenster are in custody by one of their agents (a largely silent but still hilarious Mike Mazurki), he must resort to strategy.  Telling them he doesn't have the coin with him, they turn back and head for the damsels in distress.  A mad chase ensues where Jones ends up using the power on both the Commie rats and himself, before the ladies can eventually find assistance for them all.

The film features one of Castle's cameos, right over the opening credits.  In one of only a handful of times they allowed people to mock the Columbia Logo, Castle sits in his director's chair at her feet and attempts to ensorcel her with the mystic title of the film.

gif courtesy GoreGirl's Dungeon

It's a wacky bit of fun that, like The Spirit is Willing, offered work for a large number of character actors.  In addition to one of Margaret Dumont's last films, it's also got a cameo by Louis Nye, another of Poston's fellow cast members from the Steve Allen Show.  Somewhat dated due to the whole Red Scare subplot, it's still fun as a sort of time capsule of the era.  In a couple of goofy visual gags, the pilot of the aircraft in which they whisk away the Professor resembles Khrushchev, and his driver resembles Stalin.  Ever the self-promoter, Jones niece and her date go to the drive-in, which is showing Homicidal.  Also, given his propensity for a gimmick with his pictures. first-run theatergoers received a replica ZOTZ! coin that glowed in the dark. 

Castle always brought a bit of whimsy to his films, and in these two rare comedies, he had the opportunity to bring that comedy to the fore. 


  1. I have not seen either of these, now I have to, this type of zany comedy sounds right up my alley. TSIW has a cool cast and Vera Miles has to be one of the most underrated actresses ever; I just love her in everything. Zotz seems like a fun time, with Mike Mazurki even. And the homcidal promo. And that cameo, Lol. Great spotlight on some movies that show Castle's humor.

    1. Kristina, thanks for joining our Castle Cavalcade of fun with our William Castle double-feature! With lovely Vera Miles and that great cast of wild and crazy character actors -- especially Team B. fave Mike Mazurki in ZOTZ!-- William Castle is always entertaining, but we especially enjoy seeing Castle's funny side! Thanks for your enthusastic comments, my friend, and have a wonderful weekend! :-D

  2. I admire Castle's chutzpah enormously. Forget the funny bone, as you guys so brilliantly let us know, "The Spirit is Willing" and "Zotz!" go right for the silly bone, and the audience is skewered.

    1. Caftan Woman, you're a gal after Team B's own hearts! Comedic chutzpah is always welcome here, and you're right on target with your comments about how THE SPIRIT IS WILLING and ZOTZ! both go right for the silly bone! We're delighted you enjoy William Castle funny-side-up! :-D

  3. Epic post - Team B! How can you not love William Castle? We know it's cheese - but we love cheese!!

    1. Marsha, to slightly paraphrase one of our favorite Looney Tunes cartoons: "Cheese! We just LOVE cheese! Really we do!" :-) We of Team B. applaud your excellent taste in cheese, William Castle-style! Thanks for your comments, as always! :-D

  4. These both sound fun, DorianTB! I've only seen Castle's more straight-up horror entries, not any of his comedies (which I guess the above tag-team qualify as). I like that you covered a couple lesser-known Castle films, instead of the usual suspects. Guess I need to track down a copy of that William Castle Film Collection someday...

    By the way - belated congrats on your becoming the new head honcho of the CMBA! I couldn't think of a better replacement for past master Rick.

    1. Glad to hear from you, Jeff; hope you and your clan are happy and well! Thanks for your good wishes on my CMBA gig, too; I'm blessed to have a wonderful team of great gals to work with me!

      With all the swell Blogathoners doing such a great job with the scary Castle classics, Vinnie and I were eager to dive into the funny side of Castle's repertoire, thanks to our pals Jo from THE LAST DRIVE-IN and Terri from GOREGIRL'S DUNGEON! We hope you'll catch up with THE SPIRIT IS WILLING and ZOTZ! and enjoy them as much as Team B. did!

  5. Honey! I'm home! ... what fun to return with a funny and interesting piece about two Castle movies I've never seen...I'll have to rectify that! I loved Vinnie's remark: "Mr. Sardonicus is probably already taken." That just happens to be one of my top 3 favorites of Castle! Great work, guys!

    1. Becky, we're jumping for joy and rolling like happy pups -- welcome back, dear pal! If MR. SARDONICUS is one of your top-three William Castle faves, I can hardly wait to see what the other two are! Thanks for your witty and welcome return, Big Sis! :-D

  6. First of all, Dorian, thank you for your kind words about the passing of my sweet beagle, Nikki. Losing her has been a crushing loss for our family, and the caring and compassion of friends has really comforted us. Thank you so much!

    Now, I must shamefully admit that I have never even heard of William Castle. Seriously---his name has not crossed my radar until this blogathon. Of course, since I never watch horror movies and rarely watch comedies, that is probably why.

    As always, you have provided a terrific write-up of the films. Plus, I always enjoy the photos and delightful captions you provide.

    As always, you have

    1. Patti, you're most welcome, and please accept our family's condolences about your dear little Nikki. Although we don't have pets now, we had long-lived, beloved dogs for many years, so we truly understand how you must feel; all of us here know Nikki will always be in your heart.

      As for William Castle, I'm not usually into scary movies, being a card-carrying scaredy-cat! Happily, our friends and co-hosts Jo Gabriel of The Last Drive-In and Patti of Goregirl's Dungeon both assured me that Our Man Castle also had plenty of playful comedy-thrillers on tap that even I could love! :-)

      Patti, both Vinnie and I thank you for your enthusiastic praise for our double-feature and our cheeky captions. If you eventually find another dog that finds her way into your heart, I know he or she will be a very happy part of your family. Good luck, my friend!

  7. Oops, I missed your contribution when I was browsing through the other entries!
    Both those movies seem very cool. Many of the quotes of The spirit is willing alone made me laugh. I also wrote about a Castle comedy, Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven, if you like, you can read it (and it'd make me happy").

    1. Le, I must admit I'm still catching up with all the swell films from the William Castle Blogathon, but I'll read it this very day! I'm looking forward to reading TEXAS, BROOKLYN, AND HEAVEN this evening! Sorry for the delay!

    2. Le, I have now finished reading your post about TEXAS, BROOKLYN, AND HEAVEN. What a fun review! I'm looking forward to seeing the whole movie sometime! I love that great cast: Guy Madison; Diana Lynn from MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK; Michael Chekhov from Alfred Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND; gruff yet funny Lionel Stander, whose film credits include everything from the 1930s version of Nero Wolfe to TV's HART TO HART; Margaret Hamilton from THE WIZARD OF OZ; Florence Bates from REBECCA and THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, and so much more! Thank you, Le, for helping me catch up with this delightful comedy and seeing the funny side of William Castle!

  8. Dorian, these both look terrific. So glad you reviewed both of these as a double header! William Castle had a delightfully twisted sense of humour, didn't he? Thanks for another great post!

    1. Ruth, thanks for your kind praise for Team Bartilucci's William Castle comedy-thriller double-feature! Our Man Bill did indeed have a wonderfully puckish sense of humor! Glad you dropped by to join the Castle Craziness! :-)

  9. Dorian, I have hesitated to post anything here because I have not seen either of these films, though that hasn't stopped me before (LOL). I guess it is because I am not a big admirer of most of Castle's work. My favorite films of his are STRAIT JACKET and THE NIGHT WALKER. His movies are generally a lot of fun though the last time I tried to watch HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, which I have seen a few times in the past, I could not sit through it. Actually, the best film Castle ever made was ROSEMARY'S BABY which fortunately Polanski directed and he only produced, thanks to Paramount head Robert Evans. Anyway, your post was entertaining and the cast of THE SPIRIT IS WILLING is amazing!

    1. John, thanks so much for your positive feedback on our double-feature! No need to hesitate about your feelings about William Castle's work -- some folks love Castle more than others. As I've admitted in this William Castle post and elsewhere, I'm a big scaredy-cat -- for instance, I know ROSEMARY'S BABY is hailed as a classic film, but no matter what a classic chiller ROSEMARY'S BABY is, I doubt I'll ever watch it from start to finish because even the few scenes I've seen freaked me out; the atmosphere in the film alone creeps me out! Life is too short to force oneself to watch films that upset me; maybe it's my Roman Catholic upbringing. But since many other people love ROSEMARY'S BABY, it's become a classic without my help! :-) But I digress....

      Anyway, John, this is why, when our delightful Blogathon co-hosts Jo of THE LAST DRIVE-IN and Patti of GOREGIRL'S DUNGEON suggested the horror-comedy Castle films, I happily gravitated to the comedies THE SPIRIT IS WILLING and ZOTZ! It also gave Vinnie and me an opportunity for us to do one of Team Bartilucci's double-features, so it's all good! Sorry I got a bit long-winded here, but thanks a million for your comments and for being a pal! :-)

  10. There are apparently different types of Zotz medallions, depending on what the local manufacturer produced. There are plan designs with no writing on them, except "Zotz" imprinted; ones with all the runic lettering; ones that are plastic; ones that are metal. Never saw one that glowed in the dark, though. I got mine when I saw the film in the theaters and I remember it as silver metal, like aluminum.

    1. braitman, I must admit I had no idea there were so many different ZOTZ! medallions! Good old William Castle, always making sure his fans got their money's worth, and more importantly, their fun's worth, too. Thanks for sharing this fun fact!

  11. Lovely article. However, "British" actress Jill Townsend was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in New York.