Photo Of The Day

Photographer- Ralph Crane/Time Inc owned. Black cats and their owners in line for audition and casting for "Tales of Terror". Hollywood California

Photographer- Ralph Crane/Time Inc owned.
Black cats and their owners in line for audition and casting for “Tales of Terror”. Hollywood California

Black Cat Auditions

It’s 1961 in Hollywood, California. Following a newspaper casting call, auditions are taking place to find the central star of the forthcoming low-budget horror film “Tales of Terror” ? and 152 cats are in attendance. ?Those with white noses or paws are immediately sent home.

“Tales of Terror,” an adaptation of three short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, starred Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone, and was directed Roger Corman.?It is the key role in “The Black Cat,” the second of the three stories, for which these cats are waiting patiently (and not so patiently). The plot of the story is as follows.

A certain?Montresor Herringbone (Lorre) detests both his wife Annabelle (Joyce Jameson)?and her pet black cat. While taking a nocturnal walk, Herringbone chances to find a wine-tasting event with the world’s leading wine taster, Fortunato Luchresi (Price). Herringbone challenges Luchresi to a wine-tasting duel.?

When Herringbone becomes drunk, Luchresi sees him to his house, where he meets Annabelle. Luchresi and Annabelle become physically intimate, and upon discovering this, Herringbone inters them behind a wall, alive, in the cellar of the house. Later, police investigate ? and after hearing a terrifying?meow-ing from the cellar, break down the wall to find?Luchresi and Annabelle?dead, and the cat.

?A dull, absurd and trashy adaptation?


This was the fourth of eight Poe-based films directed by Corman. ?All were released by American International Pictures (AIP), a company focused on?low-budget double features marketed to teens. (The AIP was the first film company to use focus groups.)

Based on what the teenagers said they wanted to see, AIP would choose the title of a film, the film’s stars and the storyline. Typically, AIP would start with the title, then create the poster, raise finance and finally write the script and cast the actors.

Unfortunately for the 152 cats, the role of had already been filled by a professional cat actor. However, additional cats were still required as understudies and for publicity; seven were chosen based on how “mean” the look in their eyes was.