October 5, 2011

Santa Barbara, CA. January, 1992

One of the many things that always amazed me about Vincent Price was his ability to “perform” instantly. I recall meeting him at Boston’s Logan Airport once when he was exhausted and in poor health. He got off the small plane from New York, we sat for awhile at the gate lounge for him to catch his breath, then headed into the arrivals area. He saw a crowd of people, groaned...and then suddenly he straightened up, seemed to get taller and more energetic, and he greeted his well-wishers as a “movie star.” The reverse could be true, as well. Once while I was visiting his Los Angeles home, he took me to see the mission at Santa Barbara, a drive up the Ventura Freeway that was filled with his great stories and memories (ex: a famous 1930s Ventura whorehouse whose madam, it was discovered upon her death, was actually a man.) He was in tip-top shape saying hello to the other tourists, but after climbing only two small steps, he was thoroughly depleted, his emphysema causing him to panic breathlessly. We sat down for a moment so he could rest while I toured the mission, and that’s when this photo was snapped.