Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

What The Heck Are The Rondo Hatton Awards'!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Well... based on the press release that rolled in here at the Labs, it sounds like it’s an annual event to honor fans and creators of classic horror and monster films. This is the sort of thing that shows you just how passionate people are about this genre, and just what sort of community exists out there of like-minded fans.

Hi Harry: I'm a fan of Ain't It Cool and thought you guys would want to see this for possible use. I'm a newspaper guy myself, so it feels awkward being on THIS side of the press release. Anyhow, in my private life as a fan, I just finished conducting what I think is the biggest-ever survey of "classic horror" fandom - the Second Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. More than 660 people emailed their ballots, which even in the Internet world is kind of astounding. You can easily see the awards and their impact at our official website. I truly feel this vote was somewhat extraordinary, and the results might be worth sharing with your readers (particularly the Best Controversy category).

Arlington, VA -- Monster Kid Memories, a memoir by Bob Burns with Tom Weaver about life behind the scenes of some of Hollywood's most monstrous films, was named Book of the Year today in the Second Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

A record 664 fans and professionals voted by email in the month-long, 19-category Rondo survey, sponsored by the Classic Horror Film Board and named after the hulking character actor Rondo Hatton of the 1940s. It was the biggest survey ever of classic horror's online community.

Tom Weaver, also nominated for EYE ON SCIENCE FICTION, an interview book, and two magazine articles, was named Best Writer for a second consecutive year by a wide margin.

And Arnold Kunert, a former California school teacher who spent five years on a successful campaign to get special effects artist Ray Harryhausen a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, was named Monster Kid of the Year. Other winners included Gary Don Rhodes for a two-part article in MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT about the horror film backlash in the early 1930s; illustrator Vincent DiFate for his painting of the Creature for the Monster-Mania Convention program; and Emmy-winning makeup artist Michael F. Blake for his audio commentaries on the Lon Chaney Collection DVDs.

The outpouring of "Monster Kid of the Year" submissions was so extraordinary -- more than 75 different names were suggested -- that the Rondos additionally have established a Monster Kid Hall of Fame, organizer David Colton announced. The first six members are:

Forrest J Ackerman and James Warren, for their generation-shaking work on Famous Monsters of Filmland in the 1950s and 60s. "Without them, few of us would be here now,'' said one voter.

Bob and Kathy Burns, for their decades of preserving movie props and makeups, expertise and fan activities. "From collecting to Halloween shows, Bob and Kathy are the essence of what is good about monster-movie fandom,'' said an admirer of the couple.

Zacherley and Vampira, the East Coast/West Coast founders of the horror host persona and creators of icons that will never fade away. "The Cool Ghoul (John Zacherle), was subversive but parent-friendly,'' enthused one voter. "And Vampira (Maila Nurmi), was the first. The attention she received inspired TV stations around the country to do the same.''

New Hall of Fame inductees will be added every year.

"The Monster Kid Hall of Fame will never die,'' said Colton. "These sinister six are just the beginning for what we hope to be an annual induction of monsterdom's best and brightest.''

In other results, VIDEO WATCHDOG, which led all magazines in nominations, picked up its second straight Rondo for Best Magazine. "We accept this award in the names of all those talented writers and artists who work so hard, every month, to make VW what it is,'' said editor Tim Lucas when notified of the first-place finish.

The Astounding B-Monster narrowly grabbed Best Website honors over Monster Kid Online Magazine; and suburban Pittsburgh's Monster Bash was again named Best Convention.

An extraordinary 33-feature film festival, the World 3-D Film Expo at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, won as Best Fan Event.

In film categories, LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING, was named best new film, receiving more votes (154), than anything else on the ballot.

In the very competitive DVD categories, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA surfaced as Best Classic DVD; and MGM's quiet release of a near-perfect version of Boris Karloff's 1933 British classic, THE GHOUL, took the prize for Best Restoration.

"Rondo voters proved themselves savvy and targeted this year,'' said Colton, a newspaper editor who tabulated the ballots. "That an obscure film like THE GHOUL, which is little-known, has no fandom 'constituency' to speak of and which got no publicity at all would win so handily, with more than 100 votes, shows Rondo voters really know their stuff.''

An episode of the new TWILIGHT ZONE series, "It's Still a Good Life,'' a sequel about a boy with monstrous power over a town, won as Best TV Presentation, beating out BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER's finale and an arthritis medicine ad featuring a muscle-weary Frankenstein monster.

In other categories, a new release of Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack to THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL won as Best CD, beating out JEEPERS CREEPERS: GREAT SONGS FROM HORROR FILMS and an H.P. Lovecraft collection of carols called A VERY SCARY SOLSTICE.

A 12-inch model of the Creature by Sideshow was a big winner for Best toy, figure or model. MGM was named DVD Company of the Year for its budget-priced Midnite Movie double features. Also getting sizable support in that category were Kino, Warner Bros. and Alpha Video.

The Fox Movie Channel's decision to drop showings of rare Charlie Chan films, citing complaints from some about racial stereotypes, was the overwhelming choice for "Controversy of the Year," winning by a two-to-one margin over other nominees. All who commented criticized Fox's decision.

Voters also were fuming about Universal's just-lifted moratorium on its Classic Monster DVDs; the continuing legal battle between Ackerman and publisher Ray Ferry over Famous Monsters; and the decision by director Peter Jackson to remove brief scenes of villain Christopher Lee from the beginning of RETURN OF THE KING.

Finally, the 1934 Karloff/Lugosi devil-worship shocker, THE BLACK CAT, was named the film most in need of DVD release, beating out last year's winner, the still-unreleased KING KONG, by a slim margin.

"Some categories, such as Best Classic DVD or Best Article, were almost impossible to decide,'' Colton said, "given that the beloved 20,000 LEAGUES was up against things such as a Lon Chaney collection, a Sherlock Holmes collection and classics such as METROPOLIS, MAN WHO LAUGHS and a great restoration of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

"And the articles, my favorite category, all drew big support," Colton continued. "From VIDEO WATCHDOG, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, SCARY MONSTERS and CULT MOVIES to SCARLET STREET, RUE MORGUE, G-FAN and WORLDLY REMAINS, FILMFAX and MIDNIGHT MARQUEE and the rest, every magazine can be proud of their bullpens and the energies of their staffs and writers!

"One voter told me, corny as it sounds, that's it's an honor to be nominated. I'd like to think that's true,'' he said. "To voters' credit, they found a way to give almost everyone a Rondo moment."

Kunert, the Monster Kid of the Year, was rewarded for five years of effort in June when Harryhausen received his star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

"His persistence is remarkable," Harryhausen told the Orange County Register at the time. "I knew he was working on it. I'm most grateful that I've been recognized."

The Walk of Fame requires fund-raising, letter-writing and intense lobbying, and Kunert supplied that and more in lining up everyone from Steven Spielberg to Ray Bradbury to push for Harryhausen's star. Kunert also worked with Warner Bros. on the extras for the recent Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien DVDs, and produced a special video (with greetings from Spielberg, George Lucas and others), for Harryhausen's 80th birthday celebration in Los Angeles.

"A class act all the way,'' said Harryhausen and stop-motion expert Sam Calvin, of Kunert's efforts.

In MONSTER KID MEMORIES, Burns describes to Weaver his friendships with western and horror star Glenn Stange, meetings with makeup genius Jack Pierce and encounters with George Pal and legendary "ape suit" performer Charlie Gemora.

Burns, Kunert and many of the Rondo award-winners will receive Rondo Hatton busts, sculpted by Kerry Gammill and cast by Tim L. Lindsey. More about the Rondos can be found at

Find Rondo at AOL's Classic Horror Film Boards (Keyword: Horror movies) AIN'T IT COOL?? I think so!!

thanx for considering


Great stuff, man. Any organization that honors the great Bob Burns and the great Forrest Ackerman and one of the best damn writers about film in the business, Tim Lucas, as well as all the other great names on that list deserves the publicity. Long live the Rondos.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus