Apply for the 2022 Hauntathon at http://hauntathon.info/
June 9, 2022

CREATING "SPOOKTACULAR!" How one haunted attraction became a household name

CREATING "SPOOKTACULAR!" How one haunted attraction became a household name

Take a behind-the-scenes look at Spooktacular, the new documentary about Spookyworld! This new film takes an in-depth look at one of the original horror scream parks and Halloween destinations in America. This video is taken from a panel the team gave...


Take a behind-the-scenes look at Spooktacular, the new documentary about Spookyworld! This new film takes an in-depth look at one of the original horror scream parks and Halloween destinations in America. This video is taken from a panel the team gave Friday during Monsterpalooza 2022. You’ll hear from the founder of SpookyWorld, David Bertolino, along with the documentary producers. watch the video here: https://youtu.be/SSbkx6-_fho

Transcript

This audio is taken from a panel the team gave Friday during the annual Monsterpalooza you'll hear from the founder of Spooky World David Bertolino along with the documentary producers and some of the cast. If you are curious to see the panel, we have a video version up and that's linked in the show notes as well as on our social media.

Tony: Without further ado, it's my great pleasure to bring up the geniuses behind Spooky World Spooktacular producers Anthony Landry and Danny Wolf, and let's give it up for the director of Spooktacular Quinn Monaghan. He's a haunted house expert, he's traveled the country visiting haunted attractions, he's also an actor who we've seen in The Devil's rejects on TV shows like Lost. He's the new grandpa in the Munster’s, let's give it up with Daniel Roebuck! He was the first VIP guest at Spooky World, the one and only Kane Hodder. And, of course, the man who started at all, let's give it up for Spooky World founder, David Bertolino!

We'll start with David. Give us the inside scoop on what lead a former costume salesman to create the one and only Spooky World Back in 1990, 1991? What is the genesis of the hayride that lead to Spooky World?

David Bertolino: If I could go back further, when I was about 14 years old, my dad made a career move and bought a joke shop in downtown Boston. So, I was the official demonstrator of Whoopee Cushions and Hand Buzzers, and I moved on to Halloween. Then, pretty much, we started wholesaling Halloween supplies on the East Coast. Then just to move up the clock real quick, I became a sales manager for Ruby's Costume Company. From that point, I was out of work late in the season, because it was an early season of wholesale, and we started selling supplies to haunted houses, little independent folks throughout the country. But at some point, I got interested in a hayride that was operating in New Jersey called Haunted Hayrides. I flew out there one night and couldn't believe there was hundreds of humble paying $10 a ticket to go on a hayride. So, I brought back the idea to family and friends, and I went out and foolishly bought a dairy farm that was being repossessed by the FDIC, and I created this hayride trail. While I was developing it, I called this fellow who I never met before, by the name of Tom Savini, and I said Tom, "I'm an idiot. I sell Hand Buzzers and Whoopee Cushions, that's my experience. If you could help me with creating little skits, and vignettes along this hayride trail, I'd love to take you and have you on board for it. So, Tom came out and worked this summer, developing his ideas along this hayride trail. My partner and I figured if we could sell 200 tickets at night we would break even. On October 1st when we opened outside of Boston, of 1991, and sold 2000 tickets on opening night. At the end of the month, it was 60,000 paid admissions. So, my 15-year loan, we paid off in three weeks and brought out some financial partners who were only there to provide money, and they reluctantly said goodbye to us, because they thought they were going to be attached to us for 15 years, but we were able to just have them [INAUDILBE 14:35] because they got paid in full.

Tom stayed on, make no mistake about, I don't have a creative bone in my body when it comes to stage design, Tom did it all, literally, and I thank him by... it was, you know, his genius that created Spooky World.

Quinn Monohan: David Bertolino and Tom Savini created the modern haunting industry. There was nothing before the two of them. By the time it was all over in 2003, there was a thriving, multibillion dollar haunting industry around the world, and as you all know it gets bigger every year.

Daniel Roebuck: I wanted to say, do you remember before Spooky World, it was you guys. Remember you would go to the Jaycees Haunted House in your neighborhood? In Des Moines, IA, Pennsylvania? The Jaycees and the Rotary Club, they got the dog post masks and they would just, "aaahhh!"  They would just do it as a charity thing, but you had the vision to turn it into this business. I mean, we'll talk more... it's your show, but there was no place on Earth like Spooky World.

David Bertolino: To move up the clock Tom came back the next year, we actually changed the name of the business from Spooking Hayrides to Spooky World. Tom said, "listen, it's not just a hayride, it's like, you know, Disneyland Disney World, Spooky World. Within days we officially, legally changed the name and each year, we added a haunted house attraction that was highly themed and, this is the most important thing, we gave people a reason to come back year after year. That's including the celebrities that we brought in. Every year we would add several new celebrities, and the level of celebrityhood was going up and up, and up and all of a sudden we're in the Wall Street Journal, Willard Scott was broadcasting the weather live from Spooky World, the WWF has the superstars every Friday we sign autographs. But the signature thing was the hayride, why people traveled the distance of come.

On the panel here we have Anthony Landry, and Anthony, I'd like you to tell the audience what your experience was. This man is a super fan of Spooky World and now one of the producers on this film.

Anthony Landry: Thank you again for everybody giving this opportunity. So, in the 90s, way before cell phones, way before the Internet, you had rely on magazines like the ones at Tony put out, like Fangoria. So, Fangoria would have conventions that would come around, but they were never really guaranteed every year. Then all of a sudden, I was in high school taking a school bus in, had a Walkman, with a cassette player, and I actually turned on the radio and I heard this jingle--when you see this film you'll understand--and at the end of it said, "come to Spooky World in Berlin, Mass." The first thing that got me was, we have a Berlin in Massachusetts? I thought that was in Germany. I found out we had a Berlin and at the end of it they said, "come meet Kane Hodder and Elvira." I said, you can do that? Long before Monsterpalooza, long before most of the conventions, David brought in the idea that having a haunted house attraction and at the very end is reward; you get to meet your favorite celebrity horror icon. So, there are was, I had to beg and plead my Uncle to give me a ride up there, because it was about 45 minutes outside of Boston, and I got to meet Kane Hodder, and I still have that photo to this day, thanks to David and his crew.

The interviews for this started just before the pandemic. So, we had a convention on Boston Rock and Shock, it was in Worcester, it was amazing. Kane was there, Adam Green was there, and we had just started production, and I got to interview Kane and bring that photo that he signed for me when I was 14 to him. The great thing about Kane is, when he starts talking about Spooky World, you're going to see a side of Kane Hodder that you haven't seen before. I really can't wait for you to see that, he's a wonderful guy.

Now, I'm producing this film during a pandemic, a bicoastal production, that is a life in and of itself, and what Quinn has been able to put together, David being able to put together, Danny has been able to put together is just mind-blowing. It proves that no matter what's thrown David's way, Quinn's way, and Danny's way, something great is going to come out of it. So, I really can't wait for you to see this tomorrow night.

Tony: Question for Quinn, Danny, and David, how did the documentary Spooktacular come about? What was the genesis?

Quinn Monohan: I've known David for just about 10 years now, but when we first met, he was in town doing a play because he's a theater producer as well. One night he told me all about Spooky World, and the more he told me I was like, what? You actually started this industry then! And he's like Yep, yeah we did. We were the first to have a haunted theme park, but also a whole group of celebrities or celebrities like Kane Hodder and Linda Blair, who people could just come up and... that didn't exist, really. There was like one show I think, right Tony, that did it. The Fangoria show was one of the very first

Tony: Yeah, the only convention at the time.

Quinn Monohan: Yeah, Fangoria started it, David said I'm going to take the best of Fangoria and the best of my haunted hayride, put them together, and it just took off like crazy. You know thousands...

Tony:  I remember you were always raiding the Fangoria conventions in New York rounding up the talent for your Halloween.

David Bertolino:  I was stealing your people.

Daniel Roebuck: You know this reminds me, you remember I actually wrote about Spooky World.

Tony: Side bar, yes.

Daniel Roebuck: That's right. I wrote a thing about the great haunts in America for Fangoria. Gosh, I'm just remembering that now, how everything comes together. I found Spooky World when I was doing Matlock and Entertainment Tonight said, "hey, you know, do you want to go around the country and find all the haunted houses?" So, we did that. Me and my crazy friend Chucky Williams, we drove around and shot at Spooky World.

David Bertolino: Was that Robert Englund?

Daniel Roebuck: Yeah, he was there that first time.

David Bertolino: We had that weekend that you were there we called Heavyweight Horror. So, we have Doug Bradley who was Pinhead, we had George Wilbur, we had [INAUDIBLE 22:04], and Robert Englund of course.

Quinn Monohan: All four out in the haunted barn up in the middle of nowhere.

David Bertolino: In the middle of nowhere.

David Bertolino: And kids like this guy here would go and see all their favorite horror stars, which was not being done anywhere else in the country.

Daniel Roebuck: And you didn't have to buy anything. You could just meet them. You could just meet them, they all said hello to everybody. I remember that. There was no, it didn't matter if you bought something, buy something if you wanted to meet Butch Patrick, you met Butch Patrick, right?

David Bertolino: Very relaxed atmosphere, very laid back and we later moved on to a different location, we made an arrangement with the New England Patriots football team, and they gave us some great space. You know, honestly, the numbers went through the roof. Some of the purists of horror got mad at me because I was bringing in mainstream celebrities. I had a Mash Reunion, I had a Dawson's Creek Reunion, so we were getting a general audience. But our numbers spiked to about 10 to 12,000 people at night in October. At one point, I think it was maybe the 8th year, we got an award from Ticketmaster as a million-ticket seller, which is like less than 1% of all ticketing events.

Tony: Danny, you've done some great documentaries about cult movies and midnight movies, how did you get involved with Spooktacular?

Danny Wolf: Well, I met David, actually, a few years ago. I went to his play, that was at Hollywood, and it was amazing. He told me, "I'm starting to make this documentary about Spooky World, that was my old theme park. We're doing a documentary," I told David, I go, well you got the two best things you can have going for you, horror and theme parks. While the horror genre is so massive, especially in the documentary market, and theme parks and documentaries like Class Action Park on HBO Max, have done so phenomenally well. I said, David you've got the best of two worlds here, you got the horror fans and the theme park world, you can't lose making a documentary. But I remember telling David, you know, you're going to do a doc, it can't just be all great footage, highlights, and memories of years ago. Was there conflict? Was there drama? What happened while this... it couldn't have all been good. David said, "oh boy, I've got hours of stories about the crap I had to deal with between PETA showing up, City Council showing up, local officials trying to close me down at every end." I said, really? He would tell me story after story about all things that happened.

David Bertolino: And a few irate husbands and wives.

Danny Wolf: It was like how have you kept this open so long? I said, you've got so many amazing stories, and what really helps the documentary is all the conflict, drama, everything you had to endure to keep this thing going. Those lucky enough to see the screenings tomorrow night in Pasadena, and we'll get to see the documentary in due time.

David Bertolino: You know the nice thing, Danny, is we have this original footage because some of our staff was in broadcast media, so they were carrying around cameras, and there's a lot of you know, really great, rich footage that we have. You talk about conflict, just simple things like, we get to work one day and there is a PETA picket line out in front of our box office. There's like 20 protesters with picket signs and they're saying that we're cruel to our mices and our rats.

Quinn Monohan: Live mice and rats in a few of the attractions.

David Bertolino: The mice were in a crystal casket and there were about 40 or 50 of them licking peanut butter from one of the actresses in a crystal coffin. She loved the job

Quinn Monohan: Mouse Girl.

David Bertolino: One of my associates said, nobody will ever want to be cast in that. These people never wanted to have understudies, they stayed forever. It was the most photographed thing at Spooky World. Then we had rats in the floor system under a one-inch plexiglass. So, the protesters made signs that the rats are stressed out and mistreated, they're unhappy. So, I immediately address this stuff in a nice way, I'm sure you'll agree. I hired a pet psychic, I had a veterinarian, and I had a mystic that would communicate with them. Every Monday on all of the talk shows, they would call in and say how happy the rats and mice were. So, we made levity of it. But you know, it made national press attention, and we addressed the issue. But there was constant conflict, little conflict.

Quinn Monohan: And it's all in the movie.

Danny Wolf: That's what's amazing, is all the footage that was kept. Most of the time you want to do a documentary like this, it's hard to find, there's nothing.

Quinn Monohan: 6 Dude, it was hard to find. Let's not kid ourselves, it was very hard to find. We finally got a lot of footage, but it wasn't handed to us, we spent 2 1/2 years rattling a cage finding footage, and we did. We got some amazing footage and it's all in there. You're a fan of the 90s, you're a fan of theme parks, fan of horror, this movie's for you.

David Bertolino: You know we're very grateful Tony for this panel here, these folks are obviously interested in what we did at Spooky World. So, as kind of a give back I'd like to invite them to one of the screenings tomorrow night. We rented a theater a couple of blocks away and would love to pass out tickets.

Daniel Roebuck: If you take a ticket though, come. If you take a ticket, come, like if you don't think you're going to come, don't take a ticket.

Anthony Landry: We also have T shirts tomorrow night.

Daniel Roebuck: Well, the thing about David, like Bruce Vilanch says, what does he call it?

David Bertolino: Bruce Vilanch and Sally both saying, David Bertolino is a media whore. Yeah, I ran a play a few years in West Hollywood, just because I wanted to lose a little money. Every night, to control our attention, which this really did help, it actually sold out our box office, I would get my picketers. I would advertise them on Craigslist, and they would picket in front of my theatre saying, "Close this show", "God hates this show", "Shame on you." So, when my celebrities came, you know before curtain call, I'd give them a sign. So, Peter Brady, Christopher Knight, Sally Kirkland and Bruce Vilanch, of course, was one of the judges, they'd be protesting the show every night out in front. All the tour buses would say, "Oh my God, this show is filled with nudity, and it's getting incredible press," then all of the tour bus empties out and they're out buying tickets at the box office. But the celebrities help drive business to our box office.

Tony: Speaking of big box office, the two times I went to spooky world, the crowds were so large that the fire marshals shut you down. That was an ongoing struggle, could you talk about those experiences?

David Bertolino: Well, you know, in a small town you've got small town politics. Back then, you know, I think this wouldn't happen today, but the chief of police was the head of my security force, and the fire Marshall was the head of my paid duty force, for fire Marshall. So, there was an immediate conflict. Two of the three select men were working as ticket takers, and they had a vote every night to allow me to go beyond curtain. There was one politician in the town, I will not, you know, mention his name, David Miller. He signed a bill to close us down, he went to the state Fire Marshall's office, and under an emergency move shut us down. So, that was kind of small-town politics. But luckily, Robert Kraft was reading the paper that day and he said, "moved to Gillette Stadium. I have, you know, a wooded area and we've got plenty of parking, plenty of concessions." Next year I cut a deal and moved to Gillette Stadium, and we were under the Patriot's umbrella, and nobody was going to fuck with us then.

Quinn Monohan: Meanwhile, back to Berlin for a minute, because that's where a lot of the drama happened. I don't think there was a lot of drama at Gillette Stadium

David Bertolino: No, never.

Quinn Monohan: Other than sort of some tragedy, which we'll learn about the end of our film. But in Berlin, tell us a Tiny Tim story.

David Bertolino: I don't know why, Quinn, but I get compared to PT Barnum.

Quinn Monohan: Because that's who you are.

David Bertolino: I like to have a Fellini circus going on in my head all the time, and I would project that on the hayride trail and crowd mixes of all the queue lines, we would build mini stages, I had a home for Tiny Tim. Every night he would come out and sing tiptoe through the tulips and various other medleys of one hit, and Bobby Boris Pickett would sing the Halloween national anthem, Monster Mash. So, Tiny was talking about getting married and I said you know, you got married on The Tonight Show with Miss Vickie, would you consider marrying Ms. Jan here at Spooky World, live here in Berlin.

Quinn Monohan: OK but let me interject something here. At that time, Tiny Tim getting married on the Johnny Carson show, if you remember that, was the highest-rated program in the United States, second only to the moon landing. Now he's at David's park and he's talking about getting married again. So, David goes hmmm. Now, David, finish this story.

David Bertolino: We basically convinced Tiny to get married on Halloween night. I called Jay Leno show, spoke to the producer Patty and sparked her interest, didn't hear back, and then all of a sudden Jay calls us interested in doing it. He assigns his roving reporter.

Quinn Monohan: Marr.

David Bertolino: And Bill comes out, we're setting up equipment, sound equipment, lots and lots of cameras, we're preselling tickets, we have limited edition T-shirts made, "I witnessed the wedding of Tiny Tim October 31st", and the night before Tiny sees me on the midway and said, "Mr. David, I've given it some thought and I think I'm infringing on the memory of Mr. Carson show. I just can't get married tomorrow." I've got all this equipment, I got NBC out there, staff ready to go. He wouldn't do it, so we called The Tonight Show folks, explained to them. Well, somebody who still got along with Johnny, at that point, called the house in Malibu, told Johnny what was happening, and Carson called the Radisson Inn in Marlborough, spoke to Tiny, and said, "Tiny, you have my blessing, it's a career move. Go for it. Do it." Tiny shows up, "I'm going to get married tonight!" OK, we're ready.

Daniel Roebuck: I've never heard that story.

David Bertolino: Oh, it was a close, very close, call.

Daniel Roebuck: This is why you have to go to this documentary.

David Bertolino: We have actually the original footage of him actually breaking off his relationship with his girlfriend the morning before he got married. Breaking it off and she's leaving the area hysterically crying, and all on footage.

Daniel Roebuck: I assume the girlfriend was not the girl he was marrying? Oh show business.

David Bertolino: Now, the girlfriend was one of my witches.

Daniel Roebuck: Oh no.

David Bertolino: Up and down situation there. But anyway, it's highly entertaining.

Daniel Roebuck: That sounds like a great a great day for that girl

Tony: David there were some non-horror celebrities who came to Spooky World as paying customers during your heyday. Tell me about some of them who just dropped by unannounced.

David Bertolino: There were a ton of you know local Boston celebrities that were in sports, Celtics, the Red Sox, the Bruins, of course, and then whoever was shooting in town, like that number, Mystic River was shooting down the street from us. So, Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon came a couple of times with their families. Robin Wright and Cara Sedgwick, and they loved Spooky World. One of the catalysts, if you remember Quinn, two years ago Quinn was telling me, "we got to do this movie. We got to follow you around." I said, who's interested? It was October and I'm watching Seth Meyers, and my wife, Cindy, and I are, it's like the Halloween week, and Seth Meyers is interviewing John Krasinski. I guess you guys know who John Krasinski is right? Quiet Place. Seth says, "fellow New Englander do you have any fond memories of Halloween back in Newton Massachusetts? Krasinski says, "yeah, my best moments as a kid were spent visiting Spooky World theme park in Berlin, MA."  They go onto a second segment, and they talk about incidents that happened at Spooky World, and it was like a commercial. So, the next day I called Quinn and I said, I think I'm in on this. I think I'll help you with the documentary, you can start interviewing me. And he followed me around for two years since.

Quinn Monohan: And the rest is cinematic history.

Daniel Roebuck: Krasinski said, you know my mom was a witch, she used to date Tiny Tim! No, that didn't happen.

Tony: Walk us through some of the various haunted houses that you had at Spooky World, it eventually grew to seven, right?

David Bertolino: The signature first haunted House was the Tom Savini haunted house, it was actually named after Tom.  It's not very clever. You know, in the beginning, you got a big budget, you spend the budget, and then you're scratching for pennies under the seat cushions. So, I said, Tom, this is, it we got to wrap this up. He said, "give me a couple of $1000 more." It's like, we're out, we're out of money, no more, no more. And he goes to a sporting goods store and comes back with a real of fishing line, and this is pure Tom. I mean, its total genius, brings the house lights up, takes an industrial staple gun, and staples various strands of hanging fish line. So, when you're walking through this dark haunted house and you feel like a little scratch against your ear or the top of your head, it just creeps you out. He came up with these great haunts, always at the end of the season we were out of money, there was very little budget left. At one point we had six haunted houses, we had at the American Horror Museum, which was, you know, populated with all of these original props and displays from first run horror movies. Freddy's glove, Jason's mask.

Tony: I remember you used to come to the Fangoria conventions and stick around for the auction, and you were always the highest bidder on some of the prized props.

David Bertolino: Well, then… I just say it was a tough time Tony, you made it tough for me, and I'll tell you why. Planet Hollywood was getting into these collectibles, and they were buying up. You know, as soon as they finished shooting something it goes right to Planet Hollywood, I couldn't even bid on it. So, finally, one lucky winter, for Weekend of Horror Fangoria, it was a severe snowstorm.

Tony: It was Pennsylvania, Hotel Pennsylvania.

David Bertolino: It's like a foot of snow within a couple of hours, and all of this sudden, its probably a room this size, clears up. There's hardly anyone left, so Planet Hollywood went back to their planet I was one of the few people left seated, and I was winning every bid at the auction, it was great.

Tony: I remember that.

David Bertolino: The roof of my Jeep was the creature from FX, Rosebud, on the top of my roof, and then the cap was filled with the other props. But we scored that one year finally.

Tony:  And what is this about a Spooky World curse?

David Bertolino: Quinn's documented this stuff.

Quinn Monohan: You guys are local, and some of you may remember on Hollywood Blvd in the 90s, there was a museum and a little kind of a weird satanic boutique called Hell House of Hollywood. Anybody remember that?

Daniel Roebuck: Right off Hollywood Blvd, on like Ivar or something like that, I remember that, creepy.

Quinn Monohan: So, David walks in there one day, right after making a deal to have Robert Englund come to the park, and he sees all these creepy wax figures based on real crimes. You know the Hillside Strangler and going all the way back to the Fatty Arbuckle killings, and everything in between, Charles Manson. But he also sees Bela Lugosi, and beautiful, beautiful Bela Lugosi wax figure as Dracula, and he wants that one, but they won't sell it to him. Long story short, they got booted out of Hollywood and the two Satanic Churches of Satan, who owned the place, said, "you can have the Lugosi, but you got to come and get all of them." And they're all really creepy wax figures based on crimes, rapes, killings, and David said, well, OK.  He brings them all back, he builds a place for them, charges a separate fee, and a separate entrance, and says, "this isn't really part of Spooky World, but if you're really sick enough and you want to see that shit, it's over there." And he charges an extra $5, of course, because it's David Bertolino. So, the very next year Spooky World is forced to shut down, and I'm not going to tell you much more than that, but there's a big coincidence about those things and you're going to learn more about that if you come in and see the film. I would like to just acknowledge a couple of people who are not on the stage with us this evening, and that is our writer, Gail Jordan, who's out here in the audience. She spent three years researching and writing this incredible story. We have our East Coast producers, Mr. Bill Tartaglia, who shot in the studio. Aaron, are you out there? Aaron Meadows.

Daniel Roebuck: Everybody is saying, why is Roebuck up there but not me?

Quinn Monohan: Well, you guys saw Danny a little bit in the opening there, but Mr. Daniel Roebuck is quite the film and horror historian himself. He's got a really fascinating background. We were talking about Jay Leno earlier; some even may remember that Mr. Roebuck depicted Jay Leno in the movie Late Shift.

Daniel Roebuck: I like to think of it like it was about Leno and Letterman.

Quinn Monohan: Not about Letterman and Leno.

Daniel Roebuck: It's funny, you live in Burbank, some friends came in to visit the other day and we're just going up to Halloween Town and there's Jay Leno. I was like, would you like to meet Jay Leno? So, we just went over, it's not often you just bump into people you play in the movie, but that happens to me more than it happens to most.

David Bertolino: He hangs out at a pizza restaurant across from the CVS on Hollywood Blvd, the old Taste of Chicago, Joe Montana's full place. That's where he is Sunday afternoon, Sunday night he's at Comedy and Magic Store. If you want to stalk him, that's where you'll find him.

Daniel Roebuck: No, he also is at Flappers. Jay, he's great. You go to Flappers, 20 bucks, you see Jay Leno, and he does an hour, it's amazing, he's the nicest person. Anyway, we're not here to talk about Jay Leno, we're here to talk about David Bertolino, but he knew Jay Leno.

Tony: Talk about condensing all this great footage you have all, all the hundreds of interviews you did.

Quinn Monohan: We did about 100 interviews of Spooky World employees, Spooky World fans, locals in the town, several celebrities who visited Spooky World, Mr. Daniel Roebuck, who I think you mentioned that you were there with a young roving reporter, I think you did touch on that.

Daniel Roebuck: I did, I was there twice. We did it once for Entertainment Tonight, then we and then we went back, I was shot Halloween the Happy Haunting of America. Some of the footage is in the documentary. If you guys love haunts, this isn't an upset or pinch, but I do have copies of the documentary we re-mastered it, and we have those at my table, the trick or treat table, but it's a great documentary about Halloween and I love going there and really giving Spooky World its due. We have like a 10-minute segment about it, it's great.

David Bertolino: Dan Roebuck, if you can just mention your project as Grandpa Munster.

Daniel Roebuck: Yeah, who's excited about Rob Zombie and the Munster’s? it's going to be a lot of fun, so go see it.

Daniel Roebuck: Did he ever hang out there?

David Bertolino:  You know, I pitched him, he was very involved with Grandpa's restaurant at the time.

Daniel Roebuck: He didn't come up. That was his loss, because it was such a great loving crowd.

Tony: Well Spooky World provided a lifeline to some of the some of these celebrities who kind of had a low ebb in their careers.

Quinn Monohan: Butch Patrick, for example. We were talking about the Munster’s, Butch Patrick, was year one, was one of the very first, along with Tom Savini and Kane Hodder.

David Bertolino: And Gunnar Hansen.

Quinn Monohan: He's in our film, so some of you probably remember him.

Daniel Roebuck: Butch wasn't on the low. I mean, I think you revitalized Tiny Tim. I don't think that's... It's hard to be an actor, and the perception is that sometimes you're more famous or less famous, but like Butch, he did great work forever, all these guys. But, Tiny Tim had a moment of glory, and then nobody kind of heard from him, and you kind of put him back on the map.

David Bertolino: He was a really nice guy to us. He would come out and do three shows a night. And if the crowds were heavy, which you know, frankly, you know like I said before, we geared up for 200 people, and every night we were doing 2,000 in the first year. But by the 2nd year we're doing 3000 people a night, seven days a week, 31 nights in a row. Tiny would just keep coming out and doing encores and doing another show. He was our, you know, celebrity singer in house. At one point we were buying skids of plastic tulips and he would throw them to the audience while singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips. You know, we loved him, and at the end of the night he didn't want to charge for his eight by tens. We finally had to insist, look charge $5 at least. So, he would take all the money, and at the end of the night, or the weekend, he would ask me to change all of his large bills to fives and ones. I found out after he passed on, from Gil Morris, his agent, that when he would go home on Monday to the Bronx, he would get off at the subway and would hand out to all of the people on the street that needed money, all the small bills on the way home. He would spend all of the cash money that he got heading home to bring it to people on the street.

Quinn Monohan: For you youngsters out there, Tiny Tim arrived on the scene out of nowhere in 1969 and blew up for about six months. He was on the lips of everyone, it's hard to imagine now with the Internet and everything is so sort of spread out and everybody has their little niche thing. But at that time, everyone in America was focused on whatever was the hottest thing on TV. Everyone had knew who Tiny Tim was, and he showed up everywhere, he was a huge hit and then fell into obscurity, and David Bertolino sort of pulled back up and had his shining little moment.

David Bertolino: One of our sponsors was TJ Maxx and they would have employee nights because I met Ben Cammarata on the beach in Aruba and I pitched him sitting on the beach when I found out he was President of TJ Maxx.

Daniel Roebuck: Nothing about this surprises anybody on this panel.

David Bertolino: Well, anyway they make a long story short, Ben loved Tiny Tim. So, on a TJ Maxx night he hired Tiny, had him go into a studio with an acapella backup group, and singing during a TJ Maxx commercial and they showed him quickly, and he got a nice paycheck out of it, and he was thrilled. So, we kind of made his season that year.

Tony: You also had a Monsterpalooza regular, Linda Blair, at many Spooky Worlds and we became friends with Linda. Talk about our relationship with her.

David Bertolino: I was a fan of Linda Blair, I love the Exorcist, one of two of my favorite horror movies of all time, Vincent Price's House of Wax, and Quinn will talk to you about my tie in with Vincent Price. But the other was Linda Blair, but I couldn't find her. She was not doing autographs, she wasn't doing any shows. But I researched and discovered she had an unpaid excise tax bill in Westport, CT. So, I tracked it down, I sent a letter, her mom got the letter and called me, and her mom convinced Linda to come up to visit Spooky World and she was a continuous....

Quinn Monohan: He stalked her. You may have glossed over the fact that he actually went and looked up her tax records in her hometown.

Tony: I thought you were going to say you paid off her lien.

Quinn Monohan: But actually she was one of the best Spooky World celebrities that you ever had there, because people were really excited to meet her and talked to Linda Blair. Who's seen The Exorcist? At that time, Linda Blair's name was on every... she was an absolute household name, everybody knew who she was.

David Bertolino: At a certain point, Alice Cooper, you know after a few years, Toby Mannis, the agent, would tell me, Alice tries to have the tour come through Boston in the fall because we wanted to do Spooky World. We want to do Spooky World at night and then do a tour date mid-week at the local Orpheum theater. He loved coming to Spooky World. We'd line them up with lot... I had to promise him that we would have a good set of players for golf every morning. And of course, he gave me the opportunity to select paying sponsors of Spooky World to play golf. So, it really worked nicely.

Daniel Roebuck: I remember when we interviewed him for one of the documentaries that we did about you. That Toby said he needed makeup. So, I remember going to that mall and buying makeup, and I was putting makeup on Alice Cooper, and I thought this is the most ridiculous... like this guy is like the greatest guy in the world. He was such a gentleman. Oh my gosh, he was such a gentleman. He said, it doesn’t even feel like you're putting it on, it's like no kidding? because I didn't put any on, I'll bet. Great guy. But look, you did that for others of us, we got to meet these people. You know what I mean?

Anthony Landry: and we waited patiently in traffic for hours. A little bit of the location of this place. It's about 30-45 minutes outside of Boston.

David Bertolino: It's in the middle of nowhere. Country town, Berlin, Massachusetts.

Anthony Landry: But, nowhere, but incredibly well scouted and located at the interchange of a couple of major highways in the Massachusetts area. The elements in the area, when I drove in there as a kid, well my uncle did. I'm dating myself now. We were sitting in traffic on 495, which is one of the belts outside of Boston, and then we got onto the other highway, and I'd say it took us 90 minutes to get into the parking lot. When you came off of the highway you could see the lights from his barn. What you also saw was this natural fog. The location was right on this small river. When I got in there it was so heavily fogged, I thought it was in a movie, and I thought it was fake. Helping David make this film, I realized that wasn't fake fog, they literally found the most ideal location to put this. I know a lot of you can't make it there because it doesn't exist there anymore, but having seen what Quinn's put together, what this team has put together, I think this is about as close as you can get without 1950s smell-vision and all those gimmicks. But you're going to like this, and it really captures the area at the time, because it also made you feel isolated. Nobody had pagers, cell phones. They knew how to say, "You're really far away from home and good luck finding a payphone fi you think you're scared."  That's how good it was.

 

Anthony Landry

Producer

Anthony helped Produce SPOOKTACULAR! The movie about Spooky World.