Friday, October 9, 2009
Killer Kitties on Canvas
Some friends who have yet to see my relatively-new digs have asked about my blogging environment. As I write this - and all of my postings - I am seated in a big comfy chair with wide, flat arms; perfect for laptop placement. And I am underneath a framed, matted print of a painting from NBC's Night Gallery that might be one of the first things I'd grab should my dwelling ever go up in flames (not as far-fetched as it sounds; this is a brand-new apartment complex built over the same site as an identical one that burned down almost three years ago).
The original canvas by Tom Wright was used to introduce the third-season episode "She'll Be Company for You" starring Leonard Nimoy, first telecast on Christmas Eve 1972. About that same time, Universal offered a series of prints of paintings from the show - twelve in all - and advertised them in a number of magazines, including Marvel Comics' black & white magazines like Tales of the Zombie and Monsters Unleashed. As big of a fan of the show as I was, I didn't purchase any of them at the time (I was only ten), the series was soon canceled, and I didn't think anything more of them...
...until the advent of the miracle that is eBay. When I started considering all the wonderful things from my childhood that I now had the means to buy, those NG prints were the first items to spring to mind. Problem is, of the twelve prints out there, there is really only one that shows up with any regularity ("Spectre in Tap Shoes"), and in the last ten years or so, I can say that I've seen only four prints show up at all. Heck, I've even seen the original canvases and statues go up for auction with more frequency than these prints. I was soooo close to getting a multi-headed dragon that was actually touched by Rod...
The original Wright canvases, when they can be authenticated (there has been considerable forgery traffic out there, and even some venerable auction houses have been duped by fakes), go for well into five figures and up. There aren't many of the paintings left anymore; several that were warehoused suffered terrible water damage, and in the 1980s Sylvester Stallone borrowed a number of them to decorate his studio offices...but only after he had the female faces painted over to resemble his then-paramour Brigitte Nielsen! My prints may not be the originals, but they are in my heart. And while not $10,000+, they were still a tidy sum.
Submitted for your approval, here is the episode the painting represents, one that took me years later to see in syndication (I was celebrating Christmas with my family that night, and the series was canceled before it could be re-broadcast). As a third season episode, it's believed that it may not see a proper dvd release, as there's not enough material in that last year to constitute a proper package. It will be particularly terrifying to those of you traumatized by the sight of lemon yellow furniture.