Book Review: Growing up with Monsters – Author Carla Laemmle and Daniel Kinske

Written by Carla Laemmle and Daniel Kinske, LCDR, USN
Illustrated by Jack Davis and Hermann Mejia
Foreword by Ray Bradbury
Published by BearManor Media

Publication Date: 2009
Format: B&W – 48 pages
Price: $14.95

This book can be summed up pretty quickly. A labor of love, a memory book, short and sweet, and an appreciation for the old school horror films. With 37 pages and not alot of narrative this is a pretty short book, but my guess is this was created by the author to give a bit of something back to those who have shown interest in her work and the films per way of a nicely illustrated and historical read. Presented in a poem, author Carla Laemell recalls her earlier days of life on the lot of Universal from childhood to adulthood.

Carla ahd quite a childhood with her uncle owning the Universal studio lot when it was in its origin and her father working the lot doing various jobs. As the daughter, she had free reign to wander about, attend filming’s and even eventually land a few choice roles in legendary films. All this and more is narrated through her poems about the old days. Which date back from 1921 to 1937, which some might remember as the silent era that moved into sound.

In this tim,e Carla witnessed The Hunchback of Notre Dame being born and landed roles in the early works of Dracula and Phantom of the Opera. These memories have stayed with her up to this day with several tales of hanging out with the greats and accumulating souvenirs from the days along the way. Her story is primarily told through rhyme and pictures. Though really that is all that’s needed.

This read is greatly enhanced by the artwork stylings from Jack David and Hermann Meija who contributed great pencil and ink works that fit perfectly with the stories being told. The book ends on a fantastic chapter called the “ghoulish gallery”. The gallery features photos that Carla accumulated over the years. It also features great hard to find post art illustrations that are reported to have auctioned off at 6 and 7 figure prices.

Simply this book serves a purpose. And that is to “share”. Fans of the genre will appreciate the nature of this book and the history it recaps. Also it serves a purpose that Carla has wished upon the world. That is to not forget the classics and that they may live on. Well Carla, your wish is granted as I’m sure many young and old will keep that dream alive.

Available from Bear Manor Media

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