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Jack Pierce Memorial Gallery Event Recap!


Caliburn24 here at the Jack Pierce Memorial Gallery.

The Cinema Makeup School held a dedication of the gallery at the school. Scott Essman, the writer of the Jack Pierce: The Man Behind the Monsters book, gave a presentation about the filmmaker. Pierce is the makeup artist for Universal Studios and responsible for the look of most of their classic monsters. Jack Pierce came to Hollywood to work in films. Essman showed a photo of the first Frankenstein (1910) from a twenty minute film with Charles Ogle as the creature. He notes that this may have inspired Jack Pierce. Essman also showed photos of The Golem (1920), Nosferatu (1922), Lon Chaney in Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which were all influential horror make-ups. He noted that one of Pierce’s first films for Universal was The Monkey Talks (1927) after which he was asked back to head up their makeup department.

Jack Pierce worked without a contract instead settling on a handshake deal. He created the makeup for the silent film, The Man Who Laughs (1928) for Conrad Veidt. This was of course the inspiration for Bob Kane for the look of the Joker. Pierce worked on Dracula (1931), but Bela Lugosi demanded to work on his own makeup for the film. James Whale reportedly saw Boris Karloff eating at the studio commissary and brought in the character actor to play The Monster. Pierce followed up his collaboration with Karloff on The Mummy (1932) which took eight hours to place Karloff in the full makeup. Karloff also played the aged Ardath Bey which of course was split into two characters for the 1999 Mummy film. The Wolf Man (1941) had Pierce team up with Lon Chaney Jr. The last project Pierce worked on was the television series, Mr. Ed (1958-1966). Essman notes that Pierce worked on everything, but the rubber nose. He is hopeful that a Pierce will get his Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame.

The gallery itself, located to the side of the entrance, is impressive. The centerpiece is a display of two mermaids from the Pirates of the Carribean film by Joel Harlow. He is the head of the make-up department for Lone Ranger (set to open on July 3rd), Dark Shadows (2012), and all of the Pirates films. There is a warning not to touch the figures, very important, since they constantly release acrylic to make the skin glisten. To the left side is a table with the makeup appliances for an older Jack Pierce used for the first Monsterpalooza. There are also continuity heads for Rocky IV by Leonard Engleman. Looming over the corner is a werewolf suit by Alan Carnes. There is a bronze bust of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu by Lee Joyner. At the other side of the gallery is a bust of The Mummy and also one of Jack Pierce and his creations. This gallery is open to the public. The school has some talented teachers who work in the industry and it is open to students with a high school diploma.

werewolf themummy mermaids cthulhu