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From the Archives: Casting call for black cats

From the Archives: Casting call for black cats
Nov. 27, 1961: Black cats and their human companions wait during casting call for the upcoming movie "Tales of Terror." (Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

The 1962 film “Tales of Terror” featured three parts, each adapted from a story by Edgar Allan Poe. One of them, “The Black Cat,” came from Poe’s 1843 short story of the same name.

An article in the Nov. 28, 1961, Los Angeles Times reported:

The sidewalk in the 600 block of N. Bronson Ave. in Hollywood turned into a cat walk Monday.

More than 100 black cats lined up–as much as cats will line up–for an audition for a movie part in response to a newspaper ad seeking “a sagacious black cat.”

There were big black cats, little black cats, gray black cats, black kittens, black and white cats, white and black cats, nervous black cats, gentle black cats.

There was even a white cat. It was there to keep a pal, a black cat, company.

One woman needed first aid after a cat next to her decided he didn’t like her leg and scratched it. ...

The producer-director – Roger Corman – was looking for a sagacious black cat to star in “The Black Cat,” part of a a trilogy called “Tales of Terror” based on Edgar Allan Poe and being filmed at Producers’ Studio, 650 N. Bronson Ave.

The movie’s stars — Joyce Jameson, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre — played with each cat. To see if it was sagacious enough, someone said.

Which cat won the part is supposed to be announced today.

Turns out, the lead role had already been filled by a professionally trained black cat. But seven black felines were selected — for understudy and promotional roles.

“Tales of Terror” appeared in theaters on July 4, 1962.

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here

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