I’ve been catching up on blog-related activities after a period of blog-related inactivity, and I have once again found myself at the (metaphorical) door of the inestimable Humor of Joseph Nebus (currently estimated to be about 83.4 quatloos, but you didn’t hear it from me.)
Recently, after a careful reading of what might have been a recent obituary of Vincent Price (who died in 1993, and possibly again recently), Joseph concluded his post with this tantalizing tidbit:
Also apparently Vincent Price was a roller coaster fan? And has something to do with Saint Louis? Who knew that?
As something of a Catholic history buff (approximately 0.37 quatloos of Catholic historical buffery), I too was curious as to the connection between the two great men. With my customary due diligence and attention to detail, I set out to research the link between the master of horror and the man (pictured above) Wikipedia readers voted “Most Likely to be the Jack of Clubs”. Here is what I learned:
The history of the relationship between Vincent Price and King Louis IX dates back to medieval France. In those days, France was ruled by a string of kings named Louis with monotonically increasing Roman numerals from the House of Capet. (Grammatical disclaimer: Louis was from the House of Capet, not the Roman numerals. Those were from the Romans.)
At the time, Price was the head of the rival House of Seven Gables in the French Landsraad. After the interruption of a royal cotillion* by a horde of breakdancing zombies was traced back to Price, Louis retaliated by issuing an edict declaring that Houses could have no more than five gables. This infuriated Price, who insisted that he had no idea what a gable was, so how could he get rid of two of them.
Homeless, Price retreated to his family’s ancestral lands in the County of Paraffin, where he parlayed his candlemaking skills into a new Landsraad seat as leader of House of Wax. Sadly, before he could take his place in Paris, House Wax was melted by the “Grand Méchant Loup” (Big Bad Wolf) ** Price escaped by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin, costing him his luxurious beard.
Sadder but wiser (Disclaimer: There is no evidence that he was wiser.), Price returned to the court of Louis IX and apologized for the whole zombie thing. Louis, who by this time was up for sainthood, chose to be magnanimous to his former foe, and decreed that Price and his descendants would be reinstated to the Landsraad on condition that they show the other nobility to their seats first. Price’s House of Ushers would still be serving today, if it weren’t for the Jacobins and their stupid Reign of Terror. To this day, Frenchmen are forced to find their own seats.
Price’s footprints from the center aisle of the Bastille are preserved today on the Saint Louis Walk of Fame in Kansas City.
* Possibly a soiree or fete — modern scholars disagree.
** Not to be confused with the “Grand Merchant Loup” (a shopping plaza outside Calais) or the “Grand Méchant Loop”, a giant handle installed over Paris during the Reign of Terror, and currently being used as an arch in some city in Eastern Missouri.