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Arts & Culture

Podcast Episode 145: Celebrating Master Showman William Castle

Producer, writer, director and showman extraordinaire William Castle was as big a star as anyone in his films.
William Castle
Producer, writer, director and showman extraordinaire William Castle was as big a star as anyone in his films.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of 'Rosemary's Baby,' which Castle produced

145 Celebrating Master Showman William Castle
Episode 145: Celebrating Master Showman William Castle If you do not know the name William Castle then it's time for you to discover the master showman who invented Illusion-O, Fright Break, Coward's Corner, Percepto, Emergo and much more. And if you already know this cinematic genius then come share some love with his daughter on this 50th anniversary of "Rosemary's Baby," a film he produced. Plus a quick topper with Malcolm Mays about the Blaxploitation collection just added to FilmStruck. Subscribe to the Cinema Junkie podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.Support the podcast at kpbs.org/feedthejunkie.

If you do not know the name William Castle then it's time for you to discover the master showman who invented Illusion-O, Fright Break, Coward's Corner, Percepto, Emergo and much more. And if you already know this cinematic genius then come share some love with his daughter.

Fifty years ago this month a horror classic was born…"Rosemary's Baby."

Now while most people will remember the film as directed by Roman Polanski the person who got billed above him in the trailer and the first person whose name appears in the opening credits is that of William Castle. Castle, not Polanski, is the man I want to talk about today because his unique brand of showmanship is something that deserves being celebrated.

Ironically, "Rosemary’s Baby" is the one "prestige" picture that Castle is associated with but it’s his other films -- "The Tingler," "Strait-Jacket," "Homicidal," "House on Haunted Hill"-- that defined his distinctive approach to filmmaking, an approach that included audacious gimmicks to lure people into the cinema.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of two wildly divergent films in Castle’s catalogue, his prestige film "Rosemary’s Baby" that he produced, and the B movie he directed called "Project X."

For this podcast I dig back into the archives for a 2011 interview I did with William Castle’s delightful daughter Terry Castle, who works to keep her father’s memory and films alive.

Hopefully this podcast will inspire you to watch again or for the first time some William Castle gems.

Please note that there is a quick topper with Malcolm Mays about the Blaxploitation collection just added to FilmStruck.