Why does "Kelton the Cop" get all those "Spook Details"?
Quotes in green are statements by Paul Marco
DVD clip is from "Plan 9"
Paul Marco's "Kelton the Cop" is the only character to appear in all three of the well known, much loved films commonly referred to as "The Ed Wood Trilogy". Those films are "BRIDE OF THE MONSTER" (1955), "PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE" (1956) and "NIGHT OF THE GHOULS" (1958). Ed's films were so perfectly inept that they fascinate film fans and became legitimately good in a reversal situation. These films can create a sublime surrealism and today's audiences still laugh and enjoy Wood's wonderfully naive excesses and appreciate his exuberance. In these films our lovable friend Paul Marco plays Kelton the spooked, fumbling, bumbling police officer that ultimately represents the honest cop. Ed Wood believed that these "scary" stories needed some comic relief and the Kelton character was born to supply this need. These films included other notable actors such as horror superstar Bela Lugosi, Lyle Talbot, Gregory Walcott, international wrestler Tor Johnson, the Amazing Criswell- syndicated TV psychic of "Criswell Predicts", late night television horror hostess Vampira, Ed's girlfriend Dolores Fuller and Ed Wood himself. These three films have gone on to amaze and delight cult B-movie fans at revival theaters and midnight showings while having phenomenal success on home video and recently on DVD. The trilogy has already earned over THREE MILLION DOLLARS in video/DVD sales and rentals making an underground star of Marco.
Marco, a graduate of Hollywood High School, thinks of himself in legendary terms, the only living survivor of three of the industry's worst films. He embraces the camp accolades, which suggests a claim to fame and no matter how dubious, is not easily dismissed. "Kelton the Cop" fan clubs have sprung up around the world and Im a real cult star for about 60 clubs. They write and ask for autographed photos, have parties, and rent the trilogy of Wood films."
There was a time in the history of American Film when Hollywood was filled with mavericks. A time when accountants and insurance companies weren't allowed anywhere near the creative side of the entertainment business. When dreamers armed with only a script and some guts would get together a makeshift film crew and just run out and make movies by the seat of their pants. This was Hollywood. And that's where America first discovered Paul Marco. You've seen him in films including "HIAWATHA", and "THE YOUNG SAVAGES" starring Burt Lancaster. He was a frequent guest in your home via television on such well respected hit shows as "77 SUNSET STRIP", "RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE" ,"G.E. THEATER" and "THE DONNA REED SHOW". For more than twenty years Marco and Wood lived in a Hollywood that few people today can even imagine...or fully appreciate. "There was really nothing like Hollywood (recalls Marco). Twice a week we would meet at the Brown Derby and we'd talk shop while watching everyone come and go. It was a magical time."
Paul worked as a prop master at Paramount for many years and as an associate producer for Wood. Paul being discovered by a Paramount talent scout had him appearing in over a dozen films and on radio as well. In each of the Wood biographies and films you'll find Paul Marco as a featured player and an invaluable resource as Ed's best friend. He's appeared in print many times over including PREMIERE, FANGORIA, FILMFAX plus newspapers and magazines as far away as Europe and the British Isles you'll find Paul Marco. He was born and reared in LA where he graduated from the famous Hollywood High School. He became one of the original "Meglin Kiddies" and as a teenager he appeared in "MILITARY ACADEMY" and "SWEET AND LOW DOWN" with Linda Darnell. Since 1960 he has been a member of key committees for The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences including blue ribbon panels for the Emmys.
In 1994 when the Oscar winning Tim Burton film "ED WOOD" was made Marco worked with Johnny Depp and Max Casella (who portrayed Marco in the film). Marco has also appeared on "OPRAH", "E! ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION", "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT", "CNN", "THE JOE FRANKLIN SHOW" and "THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILM SHOW" in London. Marco appeared in the recent documentary "THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD JR." and two newer film releases "THE SCI FI PROJECT" and "KELTONS DARK CORNER". His theater appearances are numerous as well as his interviews on radio, television and personal appearances around the country at scores of Science Fiction/Horror/Celebrity Conventions. In 1999 Paul was given the Southern California Motion Picture Council Special Merit Award and the Jeanie Emerald Angel Award for his contributions to the entertainment industry. Paul has been honored by The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films with the Gold Scroll for Outstanding Achievement which he donated to the Hollywood High School Museum. Paul's recent fund raising efforts include celebrity memorabilia with Butterfields and Ebay for the Aids Research Fund as well as the Discover Fund for Eye Research. Pauls last Hollywood project was "KELTONS DARK CORNER" for release on DVD. Paul past away May 14, 2006 from hip complication medical problems. "I was introduced to Ed Wood through my publicist and from then on we were best friends. He was never in the business to make money, he was an original".
Paul Marcos ashes are interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
The story of Ed Wood's life has been given as much attention than that of any other director. How many big budget Hollywood bio-pics are there about the life of Alfred Hitchcock or Sam Fuller? The books and articles written about Ed's life and analyzing his work are legion. Edward D. Wood Junior was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1924. He was a movie lover from the start and from the age of five Ed Jr. showed an interest in film running around the neighborhood taking pictures. Later he began writing screenplays and making films with the local kids. He spent all his time at the movies with his favorite genre being westerns. He later formed a country western band called "Ed Wood's Splinters".
Ed may have been a fancy dresser but he was all man through and through. Six months after Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Marines where he earned a drawer fulls of medals and after the war Ed headed straight for Hollywood. By 1946 Ed reached Hollywood and by 1948 Ed had written, produced, directed and performed in his first big project- the stage play "The Casual Company". Wood wrote "The Outlaw Marshall" which was finally released in the early 50's as "The Lawless Rider". He was also the assistant director. Ed hawked his material around Hollywood until 1953 when he found enough money to make his first feature film starring himself and Bela Lugosi. For a 1954 release Wood wrote and directed the film: "I Changed My Sex"- a story of science, clothing and acceptance which was released under the now famous title: "Glen or Glenda". One star was Ed Wood acting under the name Daniel Davis and under an angora sweater was Wood's girlfriend Dolores Fuller, who played the other blonde. Beginning with "Glen or Glenda" Ed Wood gathered a group around him that would be his faithful repertory company. Ed's relationships were often dictated by how long his girlfriend could stand having her clothes stretched out of shape although he did have some long marriages.
Ed's movie "Bride of The Monster" did make money but unfortunately Ed had sold in excess of 100% of the film to backers (shades of "The Producers"). Ed once told Paul Marco "I've made over a million dollars and I have nothing to show for it". Wood's later films included "Orgy of the Dead" (1965) starring Criswell and several strippers with its movie poster advertising: In Gorgeous and Shocking Astralvision and Sexicolor.
Ed Wood died in 1978 at the age of 53 with many projects unrealized. Wood who has been acclaimed as the worst director of all time died of a heart attack while watching a football game. When Eddie Wood died, Paul Marco, Ed's widow Kathy, Criswell and minister David DeMering called friends together at the home of actor Peter Coe where Wood died. "I felt it was my duty to have a memorial service as Kathy was in no shape to do it. Criswell spoke, I spoke, Kathy spoke very little and naturally David did the sermon. If you ask me Wood was way ahead of his time as a filmmaker. He made very good bad movies. His films are the greatest worst movies and they're so bad they're entertaining. Wood's pictures were funny to people even when they first came out but that wasn't his intention because he always meant them to be dramatic and suspenseful. That's all Ed Wood lived for- he wanted to make movies and thats what he did. I married him and I buried him."
"Bela was a fine man, such a gentleman and very stately. I was his best man when he married his last wife and I attended his funeral in 1956. Theres a good book on Lugosi called 'The Man Behind the Cape' where there are stories about me and about Wood too."
Wood's "star" was Bela Lugosi who was born in Hungary in 1882 as Bela Blasko. True film fans know that Lugosi has a body of work that made him an icon in the horror genre. Lugosi gained lasting fame when he played Dracula on stage in 1927 and then brought the role to the silver screen in 1931 in Todd Browning's definitive film version. With his rich accent and aristocratic good looks Lugosi was a natural screen star and sex symbol (90% of his fan mail was from women). Twenty years later he eventually started to take almost any role to keep working. Lugosi was cruelly and unfairly dropped by Hollywood and went on to star in the Wood films. With his faded career following his early success as Dracula, Lugosi (now 73 years old) needed enough money and insurance for the pain killers to relieve his back ailments which stemmed from injury on the set of a film in 1935. He eventually turned to a mixture that included formaldehyde. With help from Eddie in 1955 Bela checked himself into a drug treatment center and did recover. On August, 16 1956 "The Greatest Dracula" of them all passed away at the age of 74. Bela played "The Spirit" in "Glen or Glenda" and the mad scientist in "Bride of the Monster".
Bela Lugosi was evidently fond of Wood and his faithful repertory company when he agreed to star in Wood's "Tomb of the Vampire". With only a sketch of a script, Ed began filming Bela around Tor Johnsons home. Tragically after only two minutes of usable film had been shot, Bela Lugosi died. So did "Tomb of the Vampire"- but not that two minutes of footage. It became the basis of "Plan 9". "Bela's last picture was 'Plan 9'. Some people say he died in the middle of the film but that's not true. He died before the picture began."
Bela Lugosi: 1882-1956: The Greatest Dracula of them all