Can your mind stand the SHOCKING facts about
KELTON'S DARK CORNER: EPISODE 2
Here to present the facts is:
EDWIN L. CANFIELD
You are the foremost authority and biographer of "The Amazing Criswell". How did you first find out about him, and what was your first impression of him?
Like most people who know of Criswell today, I first saw him in Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space (1956). He opens the film with his trademark line, "We are all interested in the future..." How he says it is amusing and fascinating at the same time. You think, "Is this guy for real?" After seeing Plan 9, a friend loaned me his first book, Criswell Predicts till the Year 2000! I read it and laughed all the way through. His predictions on nudism, homosexual cites, and life in the future wonder world of the 90's were just outrageous and hilarious. I thought, "This guy is nuts and I love it." I had to know more about him and began looking for information about him on the Internet. One thing that really intrigued me was his eccentric wife, Halo Meadows. She was an incredible influence on him.
What were some of the "prophecies" he made that later came to pass?
In March of 1963 on the Jack Paar show, he predicted that President Kennedy would not run for re-election because something would happen to him in November of 1963. Fellow psychic Jeanne Dixon also predicted the JFK assassination. On New Years Eve 1965 he predicted Ronald Reagan would be the next Governor of California. In 1966 Reagan did win the election by defeating incumbent governor Edmund G. Brown. In his first book published in 1968, he predicted that one of the leaders of the Negro Civil Rights movement would be assassinated. Martin Luther King was shot April 4th, 1968. His biggest miss of course is that he predicted the world would end on August 18th, 1999.
How long have you been working on your biography of Criswell?
I have been writing on the book for about 3 years. I started my research on Criswell about 6 years ago.
You've done a "preview" for a proposed Criswell documentary. Can you tell us a little about this project?
When I first started getting more information on Criswell and his unusual life, I thought that there was a story in it and came up with the idea to do a biopic on him similar to Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994). I did some more research then started writing the script and began to realize that I still didn't have enough information to tell the true and complete story. Then I had the idea to produce a documentary and during the process, gather more information for the biopic. I produced a short demo to get interest generated in the project and to send to potential investors. The demo played at EdWoodstock, an event hosted by The Church of Ed Wood in Sacramento, and was well received. I hope that the book will create an interest in Criswell and allow me to produce the documentary.
You have also worked both in front of and behind the camera on a film that seems to be a sci-fi variation of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, first titled THE TWILIGHT CONSPIRACY. Can you give some information about that?
The film is now called One Night in Portland (2006) and was directed by Lance Barton and Evan Olman. I was the Production Manager and had a small walk-on part as a druggist named Skittles. It was shot in the Portland, Oregon area over about a two-month period. It was a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work due and long hours due to the film being ultra-low budget. We shot on video and later decided to do a process similar to rotoscoping for a unique and creepy look. It has an animated look to it like Richard Linklater's Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006). Recently it was in the Seattle True Independent Film Festival and was the winner in the Most Kickass Film category. The DVD is available online along with a lot more info and a trailer at www.onenightinportland.com.
Paul Marco was a close friend and business associate of Criswell. You had contacted Paul some time back for some information, but he seemed uncommunicative. Just for a sense of perspective, can you give us a general idea of what he said to you at first?
I first contacted him when I had the idea for the biopic. I told him I was doing research for a script based on Criswell's life and asked if I could talk to him about it. He got sort of irate and said something about having to get permission to write someone's life story and that he was a very busy man. I guess he felt he was not treated as well as he thought he should have been (on a number of Ed-Wood related biographical projects), so he was leery of people wanting to exploit his friends and himself. Although, right before he hung up the phone, he said, "I'll talk to you later." Unfortunately, that never happened.
Since that time, however, Paul had seen and read some of your work, and was willing to meet and discuss your projects with you. However, "fate" seems to have intervened. Can you tell us what occurred?
I went to L.A. on a work trip and planned to interview Paul as well as other Criswell associates while I was there. The day I arrived I received an email saying that Paul had passed away the previous day. Needless to say, I was saddened and disappointed. Some much Hollywood and Criswell history disappeared when he died. He was a very close friend to Criswell and his wife and would have been able to fill in a lot of holes in the Criswell story.
Since Paul's passing, you have been in touch with his nephew, Jason, who has sent you some interesting personal items and materials. What are some of those?
Paul kept a lot of materials he amassed over the years that Jason has been kind enough to allow me access to. There are a number of Criswell promo photos along with candid Polaroid pictures, postcards and contracts from their production company, Marwell Productions. Also a lot of correspondence and letters to Paul from Criswell's wife, along with a couple of her plays and a booklet of her poetry. It's just a wealth of information that will be a great help with the book.
What was it like appearing in the film KELTON'S DARK CORNER: EPISODE 2, and what was it like to work with filmmaker Vasily Shumov?
It was an honor and a blast to be involved and get to work on it. It had a very Ed Woodian feel due to Paul's passing away the previous weekend and the production carrying-on anyway. Vasily was great to work with and you can tell that he has a vision of what he wants and is able to get it from the performers with very straight-forward direction and guidance. He's also a very nice guy and bought everybody Starbuck's coffees after the shoot.
What prediction do you think Criswell would have about KELTON'S DARK CORNER: EPISODE 2?
I predict that Paul Marco's final film appearance in KELTON'S DARK CORNER: EPISODE 2 will make him a true Hollywood legend and he will finally be recognized as a top-notch character actor posthumously. This remarkable production by Vasily Shumov will win many of the coming awards for its freshness and new approach!
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