Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

Poster for The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) by #EdgarGUlmer
#MargueriteChapman #DouglasKennedy

A madman makes an escaped convict invisible so that he may execute his evil plans.

“What you can’t see will kill you!”

“The Most Amazing Picture Of The Year! He’s Invisible! He’s Deadly!”

#Horror #SciFi

I’ve talked a bit about the gimmicks that William Castle used to use to promote his movies, such as “Emergo” the giant skeleton that would appear during screenings of House on Haunted Hill (1959). He was probably most famous for putting vibrating buzzers under some seats at screenings of The Tingler (1959).  The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) is not a William Castle movie, but it made use of a very clever William Castle style gimmick – at least I think I it did, judging from what it says on the poster:

“WARNING! Joey Faust, escaped convict, THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN, has vowed to “appear” invisibly IN PERSON at every performance of this picture!”

Talk about brilliant! William Castle had to purchase old military surplus airplane wing de-icers (consisting of vibrating motors) to make those theatre seats buzz. Edgar G. Ulmer (or perhaps more correctly, his producer or distributor or publicist) didn’t have to do anything to make this gimmick seem real. All he had to do was suggest the possibility that there was an invisible man in attendance at the theatre and let the imagination of the audience do the rest.

Did anyone actually take this idea seriously? I doubt it. It was probably viewed as a joke, which is almost certainly how it was intended. But still, it’s a brilliant promotional idea (in my opinion).

As you may have gathered from my comments above, Edgar G. Ulmer directed The Amazing Transparent Man. He apparently made it back to back with Beyond the Time Barrier (1960), which I wrote about a while ago. Those two movies were, in fact, his last two Hollywood movies. He made a couple more in Europe before dying in 1972.

Watching The Amazing Transparent Man, I was struck by the beautiful old country house where most of the action takes place. I assume that the interiors were done in a studio, but the exterior shots seemed, to me, to be of an actual house somewhere. It was just too big and beautiful to be something a low budget film production would attempt to build. And I was also pretty sure that it wasn’t a matte painting or anything like that.

I tried to find out where the house was, but I didn’t have much luck at first. Then I somehow stumbled upon a house in Ukiah, California that, although it doesn’t quite admit to being the location of The Amazing Transparent Man, has been used by other movies and it looks right to me. I compared it to a screen shot from the movie, and I’m now pretty sure that it’s the right house. This is it:

House in California where The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) may have been shot.

Now here is a rather low res screen shot from the movie:

Screenshot of house in The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

I know they’re not quite from the same angle, but they look pretty darn similar to me. What do you think? Send your answer, along with $50.00, to:

The Amazing Transparent Man Photo Contest
c/o: Not Quite Classic Cinema
on Friday Night
@ The Home Drive-In

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) is a fine example of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that I could almost imagine having seen back in those heady days of the mid to late 1980s. A time when all night movie marathons were new and exciting, and it seemed like we’d never run out of cool black and white horror films from the 1950s and ‘60s. Oh, how I miss those days, and I know we can never really go back. But maybe for a few glorious hours we can almost believe we’re there, on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.