Author: Lizzie Violet

Behind the deceptive smile waits the child of darkness! Never trust a girl in pigtails!

Redheads Writing In Cafes will be taking a blog vacation.

(except when it’s my bedroom)

Tis time for this girl to take a break from blogging. There won’t be any blog posts for April and May as I need time to concentrate on other writing projects and building a business. When I return, it will hopefully be with Bat Adventure posts!

See you all in June!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Peggy Webber

One of my all time favourite b-movies/horror movies is The Screaming Skull. I’ve mentioned this several dozen times and if you know me, you’ve likely watched it with me. I love everything about it from the sets, to the jump scares, to the cinematography, but me most favourite part, is Peggy Webber.

Peggy Webber is an incredibly versatile actress and performer who I was first introduced to via old time radio broadcasts. (I’ve done a post about them here) If you are a fan of old time radio programs you may have heard her on a variety of shows including, The Dreft Star Playhouse, Dragnet (approximately 100 episodes), Pete Kelly’s Blues, The Damon Runyon Theatre, and The Man Called X and Sears Radio Theatre. Oh, but her talent doesn’t end there, Peggy wrote and directed hundreds stage plays, radio and television programs.

Peggy Webber worked continually in television and voice acting and retired in 2005. I wonder what she thinks of the popularity of her 1958 horror movie these days or the fact that she was literally one of the very first scream queens. Have you heard her scream? It’s spectacular!

The Screaming Skull is moody, creepy an a lot of fun to watch. Peggy Webber’s Jenni Witlock would be the inspiration for the half out their mind, tormented character you would see in future horror movies. She is incredibly brilliant and is the reason I keep going back and watching it over and over again. Of course, let’s not forget her fantastic wardrobe. I insist that you go and watch this movie right now! Don’t give me excuses! Just do it! I’ve also written a blog post about The Screaming Skull, which you should also go read!

Peggy has been a very private person for most of her life, so there isn’t much written about her personal life.

Peggy was also in another memorable movie called The Space Children. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Zsa Zsa Gabor is The Queen of Outer Space!

Socialite, beauty queen and one of a trio of Hungarian born actress sisters, Zsa Zsa Garbor was known for so much more than her beauty, glamour and many marriages. AND when I say so much more — I mean b-movies. I could write a long post about her very colourful past, but instead, I’m going to talk about a b-movie she made, because it is spectacular, she is spectacular! The whole thing just brings me so much joy! That movie is the Queen of Outerspace!

The Queen of Outer Space is a 1958 Allied Artist picture that runs 80 minutes and is shot in Cinemascope, was produced by Ben Schwalb and directed by Edward Bernds. The movie is about a revolt against a cruel Venusian queen, and was originally titled Queen of the Universe.

The sets, the costumes and the soundtrack is out of the world! As a matter of fact, you will recognize sets, models and costumes from other outer space themed movies such as Forbidden Planet (1956) and World Without End (1956). It wasn’t unusual for low budget movies to borrow or reuse sets, costumes and other materials from previous productions. Even the rocket ship was from another movie, a comic by Huntz Hall in the 1954 Bowery Boys comedy Paris Playboys. All of this only adds to the beauty of this movie.

Now let’s get back to Zsa Zsa. She is sheer perfection in this movie and as the true hero. I’ve seen this movie twice and continue to drool over her glorious costumes, which she knows how to showcase. Every time she comes on screen, her presence overshadows everything else going on. Zsa Zsa definitely steals the entire show. This is a must watch movie for all b-movie fans.

A copy of the full movie can be found over on Daily Motion. Here is a link or click on the video below.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Bad Girls

Vamp, Vixen, Sassy, Sinful, Smart Ass, Wilful, Wiley, Badass, Bitch… The many, many names that bad girls get called. Personally, when I think about my favourite bad girls, I use words like tough, fierce, independent, resourceful, stubborn, motivated, clever, street-smart, and a word shared with the other list, sassy. It has always bugged me that women who won’t put up with anyone’s guff end up with the first list of names and labels. Even to this day, society is still both intrigued and frightened of the bad girl.

They’ve been around since the beginning of time and will be here when it all ends. They are your grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and friends. Some are there to help you learn life’s hard lessons while others are there to save your sorry asses. What ever end of the spectrum they fall in, they all deserve our respect.

Ok.. speech over. Now onto my favourite bad girls.

I was first introduced to Theda Bara by my Great Grandpa Bill. He loved Silent Film and her really loved Theda Bara. Sadly, not a lot of Theda’s work still exists on film, but if you are lucky you can still catch short clips of her on YouTube. Some of the only things that still exist are a short clip of her as Cleopatra, and a couple short films. (The Unchastened Woman (1925)/Madame Mystery (1926)/45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926))

Clara Bow will always be my sassy favourite! Not only could she act, she could hold her own to any man. Both in life and on screen she was a force! Clara was a tour de force in Silent Film and once she found her footing, a joy to watch in The Talkies! A few of my all time favourite Clara Bow movies are It (1927), Hoop-la (1933), Children of Divorce (1927), Call Her Savage (1932) and Wings (1927).

The first time I fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck was when I saw Night Nurse (1931). Her character Lora Hart, was tough, dedicated and took no guff, not even from the handsome bundle of trouble Nick, played by Clark Gable. She had a job and she was going to do it if it killed her. Many of Barbara’s roles in the late 1920s and the pre-code years of the 1930s had her playing gritty, down to earth women who had to fight to stay alive. It’s that spunk and determination that has always drawn me to her. As with many of her characters, Barbara Stanwyck had a hard childhood and had to learn early to fend for herself. This bad ass lady deserves everyone’s respect!

My favourite Barbara Stanwyck movies are Ten Cents A Dance (1931), Night Nurse (1931), Babyface (1933), Stella Dallas (1937), Meet John Doe (1941) and Lady of Burlesque (1943).

Bette Davis is the queen of the bad girls. Her most famous bad girl role and one of my absolute favourite of all of her films is Of Human Bondage. She oozes everything in that movie, from sex appeal to horribleness! She showed the world how incredibly talented she was and to this day, I have yet to see a performance to equal that. Like any actress at that time, she would do what was necessary to succeed and never look back! She was tough, driven and successful, setting a standard for others that would be hard to follow. She knew what she wanted and got it.

My list of bad girls wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the illustrious Joan Crawford. She oozed a glamour that was blinding. Many actresses of that era started out as chorus girls. It was a way on stage and a foot into the door known as Hollywood. Joan worked her way up from the chorus lines of Detroit and onto movie screens. Joan Crawford started out in Silent Film and her long career lasted until the 1970s.

I tend to favour more of Joan’s Silent Films, but am also a huge fan of her work in the 1940s.

Last, but certainly not least is Tura Satana! The badass of all badass women! Tura lead a very amazing and colourful life, with parts of that life being incredibly tough. Tura was a survivor of sexual assault, domestic abuse and had to take care of herself from the age of 15. She was a burlesque dancer, a photographic model for Harold Lloyd (yes, that Harold Lloyd) and turned down Elvis when he asked her to marry him. I can’t wait for the documentary about her life to come out!

Two of my all time favourite Tura Satana movies is The Doll Squad (1973) and Faster Pussy! Cat Kill! Kill! (1965) By the way and for those of you wondering, she knew martial arts. She wasn’t just faking it for the cameras.

Who are some of your favourite badass actresses?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Redheads Writing In Cafes: I Actually Miss People

(except when it’s my bedroom)

That’s right folks. You are hearing it here first. I actually miss people. You know that the pandemic has gone on way too long when it’s getting to the introverts. I didn’t always feel this way. When it all started back in March of 2020 — fuck… has it almost been a full year — I was actually ok with lockdown. I can personally go many days without seeing other humans and be ok with it. I used to do it all the time when I lived alone. (I don’t live alone any longer, I have a super hot husband to spend my time with) Living alone or not, I’m now at the point where I miss humans. Ok. Let me back this up a wee bit. I have always missed my friends and my family, it’s the other humans I speak of.

What I am missing the most is being able to hug and spend actually time with my friends and family. I haven’t seen my parents in a year + and it will be almost two years by the time it’s safe (when we all have vaccines). I need to keep them safe. With regard to friends, I miss having movie nights, going the Rep Theatres (ie The Revue, The Royal & The Fox), eating in retro style restaurants, running Killer B Cinema at See-Scape, BBQs in the backyard, house parties or just sitting on a patio having a few beverages. I also can’t wait to be able to stroll along Queen street with a coffee in hand and go fabric shopping or to go into any of my favourite stores for that matter. One of the biggest activities I am missing right now is going to see my friends bands. I really miss being in a small crowded music venue listening to Toronto’s amazing musicians and bands! I can’t wait for the pandemic to be over so I can go back to supporting them.

Due to the pandemic some other plans have been put on the back burner. I fully intended to return to selling my creations at artisan markets with a few other artist friends. I can’t wait to start sharing booths and tables again with likeminded friends. There is something satisfying about having someone buy and appreciate your creations.

I could write a very, very long list right now on all of things I’m missing and consider what I want to do first, but going full circle to my original thoughts, it’s truly people I miss the most.

What are you missing the most.

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Dolores Fuller

Dolores Fuller is a name known to many fans of b-movies and especially to those who have seen Ed Wood movies. Dolores was the gorgeous blonde bombshell from movies such as Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster and Jail Bait, known as the girl in angora sweater and Ed Wood’s off and on again girlfriend. The thing is, I would absolutely hate if it that is all she was remembered for, because this girl was known for way more than that. She was both a talented actress and songwriter. She was an inspiration to actresses trying to get a start in the 1950s. She was driven and determined and wanted to be known for more than just the films she did with Ed Wood.

At age 10 Dolores was bit with the acting bug and appeared in Frank Capra’s, It Happened One Night. It would be a few more years before she started acting full-time. In addition to small parts in movies, Dolores also appeared on television in Queen for a Day and The Dinah Shore Show and once she worked with Ed Wood, her name would finally be recognized. However, Dolores has so much more to offer, including a talent for songwriting.

“Fuller’s ability as a songwriter manifested itself through the intervention of her friend, producer Hal Wallis; Fuller had wanted to get an acting role in the Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii, which Wallis was producing, but instead he put her in touch with Hill & Range, the publisher that provided Presley with songs. Fuller went into a collaborative partnership with composer Ben Weisman and co-wrote one song, “Rock-A-Hula Baby“, for the film. It was a beginning that eventually led to Elvis Presley recording a dozen of her songs, including “I Got Lucky” and “Spinout”. Fuller’s music was recorded by Nat ‘King’ ColePeggy Lee, and other leading talents of the time.” {source Wikipedia}

Below is a list of songs that Dolores wrote: {source Wikipedia}

Never underestimate the girl in the angora sweater. There is more there. So much more!

I think you should now go and enjoy a few of Dolores Fuller’s movies. I’ve posted them below.

Glen or Glenda (1953)

Mesa of Lost Women (1953)

Bride of the Monster (1955)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Redheads Writing In Cafes and Finding Joy

(except when it’s my bedroom)

The longer we are in this bloody pandemic, the harder it is to get out of bed in the mornings or even finding the energy to do many of life’s or my life’s routines. Raise your hand if you are feeling this. As much as I try to keep myself from being idle, it sometimes just doesn’t work. I think in my situation, I’m worried that if I take a break, I might not restart again. I know a huge part of the issue is the how dark it is in the mornings, and that will gradually change as we inch our way towards Spring, but nonetheless, it makes it hard. The lack of sunshine is also a strong contributing factor. The sad thing is, in the before times, I liked a gloomy day. My inner goth is really disappointed in me right now. Wait… this blog is supposed to be about joy.

Over the last 11 months, yes, it is getting close to a year of this, I have been trying to actively find joy, even if it is a tiny bit of it, and every day. There is a variety of things I try to do such as booking video chats with friends, so I have something to look forward to. A group of us have started a regular ‘watch a TV series’ together night. We are picking fun, light, comedies to help us all find something to laugh at. Another group of friends have a weekly online games night that we join in weekly. I also have regular chats with my parents and a few sewing/knitting/crafty friends. Thank goodness for Zoom! There are other ways to find bits of joy as well. Some things I do regularly when I’m starting to feel depression creep in is watch over the top British comedies such as the IT Crowd or movies like Shaun of the Dead. For a quick fix, I will watch that GIF of Wednesday Addams dancing and yes, kitten and puppy videos.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have started a list of the things I want to do once we are out of Covid Jail. I think it is important, or at least for me, as it helps me keep my eye on the prize. With vaccines there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I know we will there eventually. On days where it feels hopeless, it helps to find things to bring a bit of the happiness back. One huge lesson I’ve learned is not to take anything for granted.

What types of things do you do to bring joy into your life?

Queen of Schlock! Valentine’s My Way

Traditionally, when it comes to Valentine’s Day I’m not very traditional… truth be told, I’m not a fan. Considering that I am married to a very romantic and affectionate person, you would think otherwise. I’ve just never really been into it. I am however, trying to make more of effort, especially this year. We all need to find things to bring us joy, even when it’s not normally our thing.

One of the things, I can definitely get into is movies. I’m not a lover of modern day RomComs. I just can’t, but give me a classic romantic comedy, pre-code or a film noir and I’m in! Even many of the 1950s sci-fi b-movies are considered romantic for me. Leading up to VDay, I plan on watching some of these movies, along with episodes of The Addams Family. (the most romantic couple on the planet) and movies of that other wonderful couple, Nick and Nora of The Thin Man movies.

When I can post a full movie I will, otherwise, there will be trailers.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

The Apartment (1960)

Evenings For Sale (1932)

The Thin Man (1934)

Invasion of the Saucer -men (1957)

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

What are your favourite classic romantic movies?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Redheads Writing In Cafes: We Are More Than Just Our Shell

(except when it’s my bedroom)

During Covid we have all had to resort to Zoom (or other video conference platforms) to have visits with friends whether it be old friends or brand new friends. I cannot express how grateful I am that we have such a platform to stay in touch with loved ones. Over the last while, I’ve connected with a new friend and in the Zoom chats we’ve had, we have not only realized we are very, very similar in many ways, but our conversations (for me definitely) have been therapeutic. After our last conversation, I continued to think about the topics we discussed. One that impacted me the most was our discussion about those who live inside a tiny box and those who remain on the outside of it. Or as I put it, do you strictly live inside your shell or outside of it?

It became very clear early on in our discussion that both of us live outside of our shell, leaving me to do some self exploration on why I am drawn to certain things that keep me on the outside and why some might assume they keep me tightly inside. One of those ‘things’ is fashion. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I make the majority of my own clothing. Partly due to my love of creating and largely due to the ability to custom size the garments I make to fit my curves. As a curvy girl, it is hard to find manufactured clothing that fit properly. The style or decade I am attracted to is the 1950s fit and flair, aka and often referred to as Rockabilly.

For many years I identified as Goth, hell, I still do even though most of my wardrobe doesn’t. However, I was also attracted to the Rockabilly scene and already belonging to one sub-culture I found it easy to slide into the other. This was many, many moons ago. For reasons I won’t discuss here, I walked away from that scene, however, I still have a love for the style/music and it has always remained with me. Recently, (in the before times), I found myself wandering back into that scene because of my love of Surf, Rockabilly and the Tiki culture. I’m truly there for the music and have made some new friends because of it, but it’s not a place I plan on permanently staying. I have so many more interests and I am someone who refuses to be pigeonholed. If you look around my home you will see an eclectic decor and a vast array of interests. I’m not putting down those who love that scene or any other sub-culture, I just find it impossible to focus on one particular thing. Life is just too damn short to stay inside a shell.

Anyone who knows me could ask me the question, “Then Lizzie, why is your wardrobe full of Rockabilly style clothing?” And that would be a fair question. However, after my discussion with my friend, I realized that I keep making reproductions clothing from the 1950s because of b-movies. That’s right folks. B-movies.

Since I was a child, I was obsessed with silent movies, then later on pre-code and classic horror (mostly sci-fi of the 1950s). When I’m creating clothing, I tend to be influenced by these movies and more than ever lately, 1950s b-movies. Last year, I worked on creating outfits that were reproductions of Audrey’s from Little Shop of Horrors. I also find myself sketching designs based on 1950s b-movies as well. I can pinpoint certain looks that can be matched with other movies or actors. As a teenager (and well into my 20s), I would sew garments that were inspired by the Victorian and Edwardian era’s. As a child I was so obsessed with the Flappers of the 1920s that I would hassle my mother to dress me that way. I feel like I’m not the only one who is influenced by the movies we watch.

As a young person, especially a teenager who grew up in a small town, dressing in such a way does come with its difficulties. Especially, in High School. I was singled out, bullied and tormented. There was a time that I was pushed to a breaking point and it was my Grandma Betty who pulled me out of it, got me to understand that I should be proud of being an individual and because of her, I became a much stronger person. This has allowed me to be part of subcultures and still be true to myself at the same time. It has allowed me to know when it is time to walk away and to continue to grow as an individual being. I personally feel that we need to keep evolving or we will get stuck inside that box. This all goes way beyond fashion. To live outside of your shell, you also need to have broad interests. Again, I’m not shaming those who can’t, if that brings you joy, you go girl/guy.

Do you consider yourself someone who lives inside your box/shell or well on the outside of it?


Queen of Schlock! Oh Canada! Billy Van

Did you know that The Billy Van Singers performed the theme song for 1967’s Spider-Man? You know the one, it’s that earworm that gets stuck in your head… and… you… can… never… get… it…. out! Even just mentioning the show, triggers it. I thought it would be fun to start the blog post this way, so you can all join in on my torture. You are welcome!

Now you are likely wondering why I have that song stuck in my head. It isn’t because I’ve been watching the cartoon. I not so secretly dislike it, along with The Mighty Hercules. As a child, the reruns ran on one of three channels we got and my brother was obsessed with them and even to the point where he would have a meltdown if he couldn’t watch them. The cartoons also annoyed me. But… that isn’t why we are here today. Today, I want to talk about someone and a program that brought me great joy. Billy Van and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

I lovingly remember Billy Van from shows such as Sonny and Cher, Bizarre (with another favourite John Byner) and Bits and Bytes, but, it was Hilarious House of Fightenstein that had the most impact on me. As a creative kid, I loved that he played almost all of the characters on the show (with the exception of Igor (Fishka Rais) and Mini-Count (Guy Big), The Professor (Julius Sumner Miller), Super Hippy (Mitch Markowitz), Harvey Wallbanger (Joe Torbay), and of courses the host Vincent Price) and I often imagined how much fun it must have been to go to work everyday.

If you aren’t familiar with The Hilarious House of Frightenein, let me give you a bit of background. The Hilarious House of Frightenstein was the brilliant creation of Billy Van. The show was shot in a studio in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1971 and there are 130 episodes. Most will remember the host, Vincent Price, but it is truly Billy Van who made the show into the wonderful sixty minutes of entertainment that it was. If you grew up in Ontario the 1970s and 1980s, the show ran in reruns consistently. I’m certain I’m not the only one who remembers it fondly, or were inspired by the show. I think Grizelda will always be my favourite character. I dreamed of making potions with her.

This show and Billy Van helped to spark creative inspiration in myself and many others. I’m certain that many filmmakers born in Ontario, can say that Billy Van and his wonderful show set them on their path. Stacy Case was so inspired by Billy Van, that he co-wrote a book (with Greg Oliver) and created the Billy Van Museum. What are your fond memories of Billy Van and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein?

Coming back around to my opening few sentences; Billy Van was an incredibly talented person. He started his career as a teenager with his four brothers as a singing act called the Van Evera Brothers. Eventually, he left the brother group and dropped Evera from his name, eventually forming Billy Van Four. He then went on to create the Billy Van Singers (the band that did the Spiderman cartoon theme song). He also appeared in many Canadian variety television shows. I really, really miss variety television shows. As Billy continued to hone his skills, he landed the CBC show Nightcap. This would make him a household name and put him onto that path, that brought him to The Hilarious House of Frightenstein and so many of his other successes. As with actors in the silent and pre-code era’s they needed to be able to do it all and Billy Van truly could. He will also continue to be my inspiration to strive to be a better creative.

A little extra tidbit. Deadly Grounds sells the official Hilarious House of Frightenstein coffee. I have a bag and don’t want to open it so I can keep it pristine! Please also support The Billy Van Museum.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!