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On Remaking 'The Tingler'

June 14, 1987

Pat H. Broeske mentions that someone is, incredibly enough, considering a remake of "The Tingler" and says something about the original William Castle production (Outtakes, June 7).

Someday, when I have plenty of time and money and everything else that would allow me to pursue a silly project, I will make a list of common-held false beliefs about Hollywood. Such as Fatty Arbuckle was guilty, John Gilbert's career collapsed because of his voice, 1950s 3-D movies required red-and-green glasses for viewing and "The Tingler" used electric shocks to tickle the fundaments of viewers.

The latter misconception is so pervasive that even Castle, who directed the thing, came to believe it in time. However, as those who actually experienced the Awe and Wonder of Percepto, Castle's name for that particular gimmick, can tell you, and as all contemporary articles on the film declare, instead of shocking the rears of surprised adults and delighted kids, Percepto merely, uh, tingled them with small electric motors that vibrated every tenth seat in certain sections of theaters in larger cities.

Smaller towns and drive-ins, alas, were Perceptoless. Perhaps, as someone once suggested, burly employees jiggled some autos at selected drive-ins, but that is but an unfounded rumor.

As is the electric-shock story. Which makes me nervous about the remake; if these yahoos really do think Castle did use electrical shocks, there could be some pretty grim consequences if they actually do rig "some seats as a gag" for their remake.

BILL WARREN

Los Angeles

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