by Heath Holland
1955’s biblical epic The Prodigal stars Lana Turner as a pagan high priestess luring a young man into darkness, but the real star of the movie is a towering, terrifying statue. The 11-foot tall behemoth weighs three tons and is the creation of the MGM props department, and is said to depict the Babylonian goddess Astarte. It was later slightly modified, and popped up again in 1959’s Tarzan the Ape Man and finally in 1961’s Atlantis, The Lost Continent. Believe it or not, this red-glowing-eyed hulk of horror spent years in a field in New Jersey, and was recently sold to a bar in Philadelphia, who has plans to put it on top of their building.
Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, both the ECTO-1 and the ECTO-1A from the film’s sequel sat in disrepair on the Sony Pictures lot for over two decades, slowly decaying. Thankfully, the original car was finally lovingly restored in 2007. The ECTO-1A, however, was slated for restoration but never completed. A bunch of upset fans started a petition that collected thousands of signatures, but it seems like no progress has been made. The last photos of ECTO-1A showed a car that had been stripped and bore little resemblance to former glories. This story still has no happy ending.
Wilhelm Scream. It’s been used in hundreds of films and countless television shows. The scream is attributed to Sheb Wooley, an actor who starred in dozens of cheap westerns in the 1950s, and was recorded for use in a movie called Distant Drums for a scene where a man was being attacked by an alligator. When sound editor Ben Burtt discovered the audio clip while working on the original Star Wars, he threw the scream into the movie and the rest is history. Though millions of people have heard Sheb Wooley’s scream over the years, many of them have also heard his 1958 #1 Billboard hit song, “The Purple People Eater,” never realizing both came from the same voice.