Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The Classic Horror Film All-Star Baseball Team
I don't know where this idea originally popped in my head--heck, I never know where most of my ideas come from--but it's one I've had for a while. The idea is simple: what if you made up a baseball team of nothing but classic horror film stars??
It would be easy just to throw a list together, but I'm going to go even further. I'm actually going to try and build this team based on what I think are the athletic talents of each performer. I'm not going to just randomly assign someone a position--I'm going to attempt to put each actor on the field according to his individual strengths. (And yes, this is an all-male team. If someone out there wants to field a squad of classic scream queens, by all means go ahead. I'm not going to deal with that one.)
I'll cover every position on a baseball diamond, and I'll give you my personal choice each, and explain why.
CATCHER--Lon Chaney, Sr.
This was the easiest pick. In his normal guise, Chaney looks like a catcher--a tough guy who can weather some knocks.
FIRST BASE--Christopher Lee
First base is usually a position for a tall, power-hitting type of player, and Lee definitely fits the bill here. I also think his height will allow him to reach wild throws from the other infielders.
SECOND BASE--John Agar
Agar certainly isn't on the Karloff-Lugosi level, but I'd like to have as many Americans on this team as I can. For some reason, Agar seems like a second baseman to me.
Cushing wasn't considered physically impressive, but he was a lean, wiry guy, and he was quite athletic. (Let's face it, he fought supernatural creatures one-on-one.) He'd be perfect for one of the most important spots on the team.
THIRD BASE--Kenneth Tobey
This pick gives me a chance to add another American. I don't know whether Tobey was even a baseball fan, but he seemed a steady, hard-working, dependable guy--a team player.
OUTFIELD--Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, Dwight Frye
Now here is where I had some issues. I was originally going to have Lugosi and Carradine as pitchers--they both had the ego that some great ace twirlers have--but while planning out this list I realized I didn't have enough outfielders. I'd have to put Lugosi and Carradine on the corners...maybe Bela in right field?? As for center field, I was really racking my brain on that one. Center requires a speedy type who can run down anything hit to that area--what great monster movie star fits that description?? I decided on Dwight Frye, but I think this is the one position that could be upgraded.
DESIGNATED HITTER--Lon Chaney, Jr.
The reason I'm putting the big lug here is that he looks like a power hitter--and besides, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to put Lon Jr. out on the field for any length of time.
PITCHING STAFF--Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Michael Gough
Boris Karloff was a life-long lover of cricket, so I figured that pitcher would be the easiest position for him to master. Besides, Karloff had bowed legs and a bad back, so he probably wouldn't do too well at any other defensive position. Vincent Price was a huge baseball fan (this was personally verified to me by his daughter Victoria when I met her at Monster Bash), and he had the height necessary for a strong starting pitcher. I couldn't figure out where in the heck to put Atwill and Zucco on this team...so, hoping that they might have some familiarity with cricket, I made them pitchers. Same thing for Michael Gough.
Somebody has to manage this team, although with all the various egos, it wouldn't be easy. I couldn't imagine James Whale doing it. Tod Browning was the real-life nephew of 19th Century baseball star Pete Browning, but Tod was...a bit strange, so I don't know how proficient he'd be in a game situation. Who else could do it? Terence Fisher? Roger Corman? William Castle? The more I think about it, the best idea might be Lon Chaney Sr. as player-manager. Most great catchers are basically captains on the field anyway, and Lon Sr. could certainly stand up to any guff the rest of the team might give him.
So there's the list. Not exactly the 1927 Yankees, but admit it, wouldn't you love to see these guys play an actual game??