If you know monster makeup, you already know the name Jack Pierce
, who created the makeup for Frankenstein's monster
, The Wolf Man
, The Mummy
, and many others
. But Pierce's career with Universal Studios, for whom he created these masterpieces, came to a sudden, and unexpected, end when, in 1945, he and his entire staff were fired.
The trouble? Pierce's methods were time-consuming and painstaking, involving, among other things, building up his creatures features with cotton and collodion
, a process that took many hours. Universal had fallen on hard times
, with mergers, sales of its catalogue, and the loss of its 1,500-screen theater chain bringing the bean counters to the fore. They wanted to cut back on Universal's grand-spending ways, and out with the bathwater went the baby.
The sorts of makeup men the bean-counters like were George
and Gordon Bau
, two brothers from Minnesota who had worked at Rubbercraft
and brought with them a knowledge of how to make reusable appliances from cheap, lightweight foam latex
. Their major accomplishment was House of Wax (1953)
and they revolutionized the industry (Dick Smith's work in Little Big Man
would be unthinkable without it, as would the entire career of Rick Baker
. Best still, it's now possible to buy monstrous
rubber appliances right off the shelf.