Posted: Monday, August 23, 2021 - 13:11
On the set of Night of the Living Dead.

Marilyn Eastman, one of the stars of Night of the Living Dead, has passed away at the age of 87. Before her roles in front of and behind the camera for Night, Eastman was, along with her real-life/screen husband Karl Hardman, a prominent performer on Pittsburgh radio. That local celebrity led to this delightful early report of Night's production, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, focusing on the best-known figures involved in the movie: 

It was very easy for Karl Kardman [sic] and Marilyn Eastman to show "abject terror," which was what cinematographer George Romero asked them to show, for a scene the other day in "Night of the Flesheaters," the full-length movie they're shooting here. "As a matter of fact, after lying around in front of an open window for two hours, both of us all covered with prop blood and plastic gore," Mr. Hardman later observerd, "I think it would have been difficult for us to muster a smile even for Jean Paul Getty's Welcome Wagon."

The archive contains a number of behind-the-scenes photos from the production of Night, all of which reveal a truly collaborative effort, in which everyone always seemed to be doing something to help. Making an independent movie with a bare bones crew and a severely limited budget required hard work from everybody involved in it, and it took a very long time. And yet, as hectic, as difficult, as grueling as the shoot could be, the pictures also seem to reveal a sincere sense of enjoyment and excitement in the cast. This photograph attached here is one of my favorites, from a day when "Chilly Billy" Cardille visited the set. In the photo are actors Judith O'Day, Eastman, and Hardman standing next to Cardille, with Romero and a zombified John Russo just behind him. Cardille is holding up a photo of one of actress Judith Ridley, who evidently couldn't make it to the group photo in person. This photo would have been taken months before the film was completed or released, and long, long before the film became a sensation on the drive-in circuit or a ubiquitous cultural landmark. It was, at this point, a labor of love that had required weeks and months of work from all involved, and they all look thrilled.

 

- Adam Charles Hart

King and Romero

About

This is a website promoting and discussing materials in the Horror Studies Collection of the University of Pittsburgh Library Systems, including the George A. Romero Archival Collection, the Daniel Kraus papers, and the John A. Russo collection. You will also find information here on events, initiatives, and collaboration from Pitt Libraries that are relevant to horror studies. When sharing or discussing any of the information posted here, please credit the University of Pittsburgh Library Systems. Unless otherwise noted, all posts on this site are created by Visiting Researcher Adam Charles Hart or Horror Studies Collection Coordinator Ben Rubin.

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Adam Hart, Visiting Librarian


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