In 1961 Roger Corman produced a movie trilogy, Tales of Terror, which was loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. The second tale of the trio was The Black Cat.

            For this movie a call went out for a black cat to be featured in the title role. This led to numerous cats showing up to be presented at the audition. Cats with even a touch of white were immediately eliminated. They were serious about a true, all black cat. All told there were 152 felines who were brought to the audition by their optimistic owners.

            As it turns out, a professional black cat actor had already been chosen for the coveted role. However, seven other cats were selected to be used as stand-ins.

            The stars of this film were Vincent Price, Peter Lorrie and Joyce Jameson. As usual, the key cat actor is not even given credit in the billing. In the story the eponymous cat is named Pluto after the Roman god of the Underworld .

            Poe’s short story The Black Cat was a popular theme with audiences as there were three other stand-alone movies made of the same title in 1934, 1941 and 1966. Looks like we’re due for yet another remake!

            Ralph Crane, a noted photographer, was on the spot for the audition and took many memorable pictures. At the time he was a working for Life Magazine which published several of these pictures.

Here a few which I thought were noteworthy.  It’s interesting to see how nice we were dressed in public back then…

Marilu Shellie



Owners with their black cats, waiting in line for audition in movie “Tales of Terror.”

             Actors with the stand-ins.

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