Scared, Petrified, and Somewhere In Between

The difference between fear and annoyance, between surprise and expectation, between mentally ill and purely deranged, between nervous and traped, and between scared and petrified

I know exactly what you’re thinking. The title already has you confused as its an opinion rather than a statement. However you’d be surprised to know that I am not the only one that is so insistent that horror movies, aside from the lamer B movies, are better back in the day than they are today.

Many of todays horror flicks are built for actual audiences. Meaning these films are coming in todays day and age are more linked to what real people already fear rather than creating new ones. There’s only so much one can do with someones fear that they already have. Example if someone is afraid of Clowns and a horror movie comes out about clowns, chances are that person is already going to be scared if a clown so much as appears on the screen. Also many of the ‘crappier’ horror films aren’t real horror films. . .they are simply thrillers with blood, guts, and naked women.

Though Ive mentioned his work in many blogs before lets go back to Hitchcock shall we. Though he was a master at suspense he knew the difference between a good thriller and a good scare. Before Physco and the Bird’s release not many people had a fear of shower curtains or a flock of birds. However after those films became a hit all of that changed. That’s true horror. . .transforming what someone wouldn’t have even noticed before into something that makes them shiver with our nerves.

‘Boys of the City’ and ‘Spooks on the Loose’ are two of my favorite horror films for several reasons. One reason being Im an obsessive East Side Kids and Bowery Boys fan. Second reason being they were also two comedic films. Third reason is those two films were actually in fact scary. They were in a large, old, and cold house in the middle of nowhere when people begin to die. . .they didn’t need to show naked women, use obscene language or discover the house is on an ancient burial ground like some of the other horror films of today. Even in ‘Spooks On The Loose’ they already knew the house wasn’t haunted but just someone trying to scare them out of the house and the environment itself was just scary.

One of the things that inspired me to write this blog was one night when my family and I were having our Saturday movie night and watch Svengoolie he played ‘The Uninvited’ 1944 version.  I had seen the film before and loved it. It wasn’t the best horror movie Id seen I’ll admit but even its crappy effects made it a better horror film than most of the others that are coming out today. Even in a horror movie like that I found some kind of comfort in the happy ending.

Now of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion but this old soul is sticking with hers. 9177h9pqpl-_sl1500_

I Know You Can Hear me: The Story of Leo and Bernard Gorcey of The Bowery Boys

“He was killed in an auto accident. I t wasn’t a natural death. He made a mistake and hit a bus head on. And that was it. . . .he was gone.” – Leo Gorcey speaking of his fathers death in an 1968 interview.

Leo Gorcey is best known for his leading role in The Bowery Boys, The East Side Kids, and The Dead End Kids as Mugsy (in most of the films). Mugsy was a non nonsense hustler whose gang consisted of childhood friends. Though he may seem tough on the outside, on the inside yhe was all heart. As is the rest of the comedic gang, always loyal and always caring  but always getting themselves into trouble.

 

Gorcey himself was more than a pretty face on screen. Not only was he a star comedian, he was a writer, owned his own production company (Monogram Films), and was a down to earth family man. His father was also an actor/comedian having come from vaudeville as well as Broadway. His name was Bernard Gorcey and besides recognizing him from a Charlie Chaplin film he was a regular in the Bowery Boys films. Whether it be a brief cameo or a large supporting role Bernard soon became a familiar face in the popular franchise. No matter what role he played he was always known for the ‘little guy, big mouth’ attitude that audiences loved. (He stood at 4’10.) Being in these films was also wonderful for him in terms of his personal life for he got to work with his sons Leo and David Gorcey (also a Bowery boy) on a daily basis.

 

Sadly, all happy tales to tend to come to an abrupt and unforeseen ending. On August 31, 1955 Bernard made the biggest mistake of his life that not only ended his film and stage career but his time with his family. He turned down La Brea in Los Angeles (a one way road) and came head on with a bus. Just like that movie goers, vaudeville, and Broadway audiences alike lost one of their beloved performers. Now if audiences were sad, one can only imagine how the studio felt. . .how the Bowery Boys felt. . .and how the Gorceys felt. Matter of the fact this was something that no one knew at the time but this tragic event would take Leo down further than he even expected. For Leo life went on as it always will, he continued to run his studio, make hit films, and take care of his family. Deep down though the absence of his father who was his more than his on screen partner but as well as his off screen best friend continued to affect him no matter how much time went on. He began to drink outside of social events and late night sedatives. One thing led to another over the next few years he went through several divorces, his off screen friendship with his on screen partner Huntz Hall was estranged over media rights and spotlight wishes, and even worse the sweetest Bowery Boy and cherished friend Bobby Jordan passed away. Cause of death was complications due to alcoholism. At this point he had given up hope of putting the bottle down. Everyone who knew Leo could tell you that he was one of the strongest people they had ever met. . .and yet he was loosing this battle. Though he wasn’t ever going to give up (and he never did) he was in fact loosing the battle.

 

He sold the studio and moved his family out to the country in hopes to find a more peaceful lifestyle. When asked about this drastic decision he simply replied while always keeping his sense of humor in tact and with a slight chuckle,

The  cows don’t lie to me out here. Friends lie, producers lie, wives lie, but the cows don’t lie.”

 

Unfortunately like all great comedians a sense of humor covers up the pain burning on the inside. His father was still gone, his memory was still there, and the drinking continued. When the pain from the absence of Bernard went away the drinking would stop.

 

The pain never went away.

The drinking never stopped.

The day before Leos 52nd Birthday his liver gave out.

That’s when the pain finally went away.

For that day, June 2 1969, Leo was reunited with his father.

 

David Gorcey the surviving Gorcey of the Bowery Boys founded a halfway house to help recovering alcoholics in memoriam of his big brother.

 

On August 31st 1955 Bernard Gorcey was in an accident that ended his life. It also took the life of his son Leo even though he wasn’t in the car with him. He died years later after suffering for so long. This accident killed both the father and the son of one of History’s greatest comedy teams.

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Bobby Jordan is 2 from the left.

Rest In Peace

Bernard Gorcey

January 9, 1886 – September 11, 1955

Leo Bernard Gorcey

June 3, 1917- June 2, 1969