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CARLA LAEMMLE REMEMBERS: A Conversation with David J. Skal

Film historian David Skal, who first met Carla Laemmle while researching his book HOLLYWOOD GOTHIC, conducts a DVD featurette interview with the actress for the Milestone Collection's "ultimate edition" of the 1925 and 1929 releases of Universal's Phantom of the Opera. The niece of Universal's founder Carl Laemmle, Carla literally grew up on the Universal backlot, made her film debut dancing in Phantom and later spoke the first lines of dialogue in the studio's 1931 classic Dracula. Carla speaks affectionately of her legendary uncle and her cousin Carl Laemmle, Jr., the prime force behind Universal's golden age of horror, as well as her childhood friendship with Phantom leading lady Mary Philbin. There are few people today who can speak with such first-person authority about this magical period in Hollywood history.

The 2-disc DVD is a "must have" treasure, showcasing the skills of master restorationist Kevin Brownlow, with an audio commentary and exciting extras by film historian and Phantom expert Scott MacQueen.

What becomes a legend most? Another legend, of course. Which is why seeing Carla Laemmle immortalized by MAD magazine's Jack Davis in GROWING UP WITH MONSTERS(BearManor Media) a special delight. Written by Carla and Daniel Kinske, LCDR, USN (that's him above, with the spear gun), GROWING UP recounts Carla's coming of age on the Universal backlot in rhyming verse with charming illustrations and an introductory tribute by Ray Bradbury. Favorite image: Carla reading aloud to a circle of baby Universal monsters. Purchase link at left and below.