Vincent Price started out as a sort taller, creepier but better-looking Ralph Bellamy type. His character invariably failed to get the girl of his dreams, but for the most part he was fairly normal and could even be heroic. After “House of Wax” Vincent Price pretty much took over for the aging Karloff-Lugosi-Chaney troika by himself. Horror was the name of the game on the big screen for Vincent Price. Frankly, I prefer Vincent Price as he appeared on TV during the latter stage of his career. Some of what Vincent Price was called upon to play on TV verges into the worlds of surrealism, expressionism and just plain old weirdism.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
The episode is titled “The Deadly Dolls” and the character that Vincent Price assays is known as Professor Multiple. And that’s not even scraping the surface of the weirdness that is this episode of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” Professor Multiple is some kind of offbeat malevolent puppet master. Literally. Vincent Price provides the perfect amount of sinister delivery to stop you from laughing at the sight of Muppet-style puppet representations of the cast of regulars on “Voyages to the Bottom of the Sea.” I mean, c’mon, it takes one heck of an actor to have a talking puppet that looks just like Richard Basehart (calm down, Gypsy!) sitting on your shoulder while you recite your lines of dialogue with utter sincerity. One of the all-time great moments in weird TV history.
Having a little fun with his post-“Laura” film career, Vincent Price shows up out west on “F-Troop” as Count Sforza. The outcasts at the outpost in “F-Troop” are convinced that the Middle-European gent in the fancy duds living in the scary old house is a vampire. Is Vincent Price carrying over his bit screen horror persona to the small screen by playing a vampire? Or is the whole thing just another merry mix-up for Agarn and the guys?
The Brady Bunch
Is this the single most iconic appearance by Vincent Price on TV? “The Brady Bunch” has traveled to Hawaii. As so many other TV characters have done. But none of those TV characters that vacationed in the paradise known as Hawaii ever ran into a creepy paranoiac like the Brady boys. All Greg, Peter and Bobby wanted to do was get rid of the evil little tiki idol that had nearly killed off half the Brady clan. But Vincent Price shows up in a cave and proceeds to tie up all three boys. How one old man managed to tie three healthy young boys oversized tiki statues is not really explained to my satisfaction, but who cares. Vincent Price is at his perfectly creepy best in his part of the trilogy.
Who would you pick as the smartest villain in the history of the “Batman” TV show? Only Julie Newmar’s Catwoman could have ever come close to actually exposing Bruce Wayne’s secret identity because, well, she’s freaking Julie Newmar. The self-proclaimed evil genius of all evil geniuses on “Batman” was not the Joker or the Penguin or the Riddler (clearly not the Riddler) but rather the bald-pated dandy in yellow: Egghead. Vincent Price showed up in Gotham City on a number of occasions as Egghead and he always left behind egg-themed villainous plans and some really eggs-cellent puns. Best of all, from the perspective of a Vincent Price performance, was that Price totally inhabited the solipsistic belief by Egghead in his own unparalleled genius.
The Bionic Woman
What could possibly be better than Vincent Price playing a character on your TV show? Vincent Price playing two characters on your TV show. And so he does on “The Bionic Woman” if only briefly in the one case. And just in case Vincent Price playing two characters–including one of his most devilishly unscrupulous characters ever–isn’t enough, the episode of “The Bionic Woman” titled “Black Magic” also features another “Batman” villain: Julie Newmar.