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Thread: Tor Johnson

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    Tor Johnson

    Tor Johnson, born Tor Johansson, (October 19, 1903 May 12, 1971) was a professional wrestler known as The Super Swedish Angel, and occasional actor. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in a number of B-movies, including police detective turned zombie "Inspector Dan Clay" in Plan 9 from Outer Space. Since his death he has amassed a huge cult following, thanks to a Halloween mask made in his image, his appearances in the comics of Drew Friedman, his appearance in several films screened on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television series, George "The Animal" Steele's portrayal in Tim Burton's biopic about cult director Ed Wood, and many other pop-cultural references.

    Tor Johansson, born on October 19, 1903, in Sweden, the son of Karl J. Johansson and Lovisa Petersson, was a large man, weighing 300 pounds (136 kg). He had a full head of blonde hair, but he shaved it to maintain an imposing, villainous appearance in wrestling and acting appearances. He began getting bit parts in movies upon his move to California - usually as the strongman or weightlifter - as early as 1934. His movie career ended in the early 1960s after appearing in a string of poorly-rated movies (including the famously execrable The Beast of Yucca Flats in 1961). However, he continued to make appearances on television and made a number of commercials.
    A number of Johnson's peers had commented that he was a very friendly man and easy to work with on movie sets. Valda Hansen, who worked with Johnson in the 1959 movie Revenge of the Dead said that "Tor was like a big sugar bun." Johnson befriended Bela Lugosi during the time both worked with infamous director Edward D. Wood Jr., and legend has it that Tor saved Lugosi's life one night when the elder actor was about to commit suicide.
    Johnson died on May 12, 1971 at the San Fernando Valley Hospital in San Fernando, California, from congestive heart failure, at the age of 67. He was buried at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall, California.
    He was portrayed by fellow wrestler George "The Animal" Steele in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood.
    • After his death, Johnson's likeness was made into a very popular Halloween mask (a Tor Johnson mask with an eyepatch was later used by wrestler Duke Myers to compete as the Colossus of Death, acting as Andy Kaufman's henchman during Kaufman's feud with Memphis wrestling mainstay Jerry Lawler).
    • Johnson made many appearances in the comics of Drew Friedman, all of which depicted Johnson as being like his hulking moron movie persona in real life. With his eyeballs rolled back in his head, he wandered through various sleazy situations, forever baffled by his surroundings. One typical strip had Johnson dreaming that he encounters several clones of himself, who each insist that they are him. He awakens horrified, immediately calling up a strung-out Bela Lugosi and demanding to know, "Bela, how many Tor?"

  2. #2
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    A lot of good info I didn't know about him.
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    I never knew he saved Bela's life once. I like Tor... especially in Plan 9. I like seeing him with Vampira.
    Scott Michaels knows more about death than Dexter.

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    great info Danny...I always thought he was scary !

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoRo View Post
    great info Danny...I always thought he was scary !

    Thanks!

    Alot of great info on him in Rudolph Grey's book about Ed Wood "Nightmare of Ecstasy."

    Some really good stories about Tor in the book!! A must read!

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    I will have to look for that...I love reading about Hollywood "back in the day"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoRo View Post
    I will have to look for that...I love reading about Hollywood "back in the day"
    Alot of Good stuff on Vampira also!

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    I loved Tor.

    By all accounts; he was a wonderful person.

    According to FAD; he drove onr of those tiny little cars and had eating utensils that resembled small shovels.

    Here's a clip of him on Groucho's show.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZOXGct1Mw8

    Thanks, Danny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC View Post
    I loved Tor.

    By all accounts; he was a wonderful person.

    According to FAD; he drove onr of those tiny little cars and had eating utensils that resembled small shovels.

    Here's a clip of him on Groucho's show.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZOXGct1Mw8

    Thanks, Danny.
    Thanks for sharing the clip!

    By all accounts Tor was a wonderful person! Rudolph Grey's book "Nightmare of ecstasy" has a great story about Tor's family and the small shovels they used.

    Harry Thomas who did makeup for Plan 9 and other Science Fiction flicks in the 1950's goes into detail about when he went to dinner at Tors house. I about fell off my chair laughing when reading it it was so funny!!!

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    Big thanks to JimC for that clip of Tor on You Bet Your Life...that clip has been a holy grail for me ever since I first heard about it.

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    Another good flick to check out with Tor is "Night of the Ghouls." Its a semi-sequel to "Plan 9 from outer space." Well its supposed to be anyway...you know Ed Wood!!

    Watching Criswell read cue cards from the coffin is priceless!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ5Wk7Z1pI0

    Here is a clip from it. The dude with the turbin is Kenne "Horsecock" Duncan"

    Yes the middle names says it all about his reputation!

    Then again after watching the clip you may not want to see the movie!! LOL

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    My God!

    And "Plan Nine" was the worst movie ever?

    One of my favorite "actor names" from Plan Nine was "Dudley Manlove".

    Here is a link to Tor's "The Beast of Yucca Flats"

    According to FAD; Tor was paid $300 for this film.

    This is not a clip; this is the entire 54 minute movie.

    Watch as much as you can stand; it is ahhh...superb.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bm1Bd83qrc

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    Tor was great. ive enjoyed his work in every single movie ive seen of him.
    ive also heard that he was a terrific person and that he saved Bela's life several times!!



    PRICELESS! God bless them

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    Quote Originally Posted by leevancleef View Post
    Tor was great. ive enjoyed his work in every single movie ive seen of him.
    ive also heard that he was a terrific person and that he saved Bela's life several times!!



    PRICELESS! God bless them

    This pic from "Bride of the Monster" reminds of the scene where Bela is supposed to say Lobo is "as gentle as a kitten." Instead he said "Lobo's is as gentle as a kitchen."

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    Can't get much more gentle than a kitchen.

    A Sun Room, maybe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoRo View Post
    great info Danny...I always thought he was scary !

    Ditto!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC View Post
    Can't get much more gentle than a kitchen.

    A Sun Room, maybe.

    Must of been the Morphine Bela was on kicking in!

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    Loved Tor too. Did anybody hear that Vampira died just recently?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorey View Post
    Loved Tor too. Did anybody hear that Vampira died just recently?
    Sure did....if you do a search, you will find 2 threads on Vampira


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  20. #20
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    Smile Tor Johnson

    I couldn't see a thread for Tor and as Halloween is nearly here, thought he deserved one





    This face was turned into a Halloween Mask

    Tor Johnson, born Tor Johansson, (October 19, 1903 – May 12, 1971) was a professional wrestler known as The Super Swedish Angel, and occasional actor. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in a number of B-movies, including police detective turned zombie "Inspector Dan Clay" in Plan 9 from Outer Space. Since his death he has amassed a cult following due in part to his appearances in the comics of Drew Friedman. Johnson made many appearances in these comics, all of which depicted Johnson acting like his hulking moron movie persona in real life. A Tor Johnson Halloween mask was also made. Such a mask, with an eyepatch, was later used by wrestler Duke Myers to compete as the Colossus of Death, acting as Andy Kaufman's henchman during Kaufman's feud with Memphis wrestling mainstay Jerry Lawler. He also appeared in several films screened on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television series. George "The Animal" Steele portrayed Johnson in Tim Burton's biopic about cult director Edward D. Wood, Jr..

    Biography

    Tor Johansson, born on October 19, 1903, in Sweden, the son of Karl J. Johansson and Lovisa Petersson, was a large man, weighing 400 pounds (181 kg) at his biggest.[citation needed] He had a full head of blond hair, but he shaved it to maintain an imposing, villainous appearance in wrestling and acting appearances. He began getting bit parts in movies upon his move to California - usually as the strongman or weightlifter - as early as 1934. His film career ended in the early 1960s after appearing in a string of poorly-rated movies. However, he continued to make appearances on television and made a number of commercials.

    A number of Johnson's peers had commented that he was a very friendly man and easy to work with on movie sets. Valda Hansen, who worked with Johnson in the 1959 movie Revenge of the Dead said that "Tor was like a big sugar bun."[citation needed] Johnson befriended Bela Lugosi during the time both worked with director Edward D. Wood, Jr.[citation needed]

    Johnson died on May 12, 1971 at the San Fernando Valley Hospital in San Fernando, California, from heart failure[citation needed], at the age of 67. He was buried at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall, California.
    Last edited by Guest; 10-29-2008 at 07:24 AM.

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    I was wondering when I saw his pic. is he wearing Makeup? or is this a Mask ?? He truly had what it took to become a "Fright Star" .. too bad he didn't go further in that direction.. He had a good friend in Bela Lugosi .. imagine those two out and about for a stroll down a busy sidewalk !!!!!!!!!
    There's more to the truth than just the facts. ~Author Unknown

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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzyann2007 View Post
    I was wondering when I saw his pic. is he wearing Makeup? or is this a Mask ?? He truly had what it took to become a "Fright Star" .. too bad he didn't go further in that direction.. He had a good friend in Bela Lugosi .. imagine those two out and about for a stroll down a busy sidewalk !!!!!!!!!
    That is more or less his face - If he was behind me, I think I would run (after getting his autograph!!)

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    Vlad .. Thats too funny !!!!!!!!!!!! LOL LOL !!!!!!!!
    There's more to the truth than just the facts. ~Author Unknown

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    Would love to see some of Ed Woods films... saw the movie about him with Johnny Depp().. are they as bad, as claimed? Heard that they have become cult?...

    He really looks eerie... wouldnt want to meet him in a dark alley, at least not looking like that. He probably was a very kind and gentle man... just hard to imagine he??.. Did find a pic of him, looking less scary...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I loved Tor. Plan 9 from outer space was the first movie of his I saw.Mom always threatened to get him to babysit my brother Al.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorey View Post
    I loved Tor. Plan 9 from outer space was the first movie of his I saw.Mom always threatened to get him to babysit my brother Al.
    He would have been a great babysitter! One way to make someone behave!

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    I love Tor.

    According to his FAD write up; he was by all accounts a lovely person.

    His house was actually the house that Bella was exiting in the opening scene of Plan 9.

    FAD also says that there were eating utensils in his home that resembled minature shovels.

    And yes, those movies were incredibly bad; so bad that many scenes were quite funny; unintentionally.

    Here is Tor on Groucho's show:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZOXGct1Mw8

    And here he is in "The Beast of Yucca Flats", very bad movie; for which he was paid $300; which must have almost doubled the movie's budget. Watch as much as you like; or as much as you can stand; this is the entire 54 minute movie. I understand that after it was finished; the sound track was lost; so they just over dubbed a naration:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bm1Bd83qrc

  28. #28
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    Thanks JimC! The beast from Yucca flats is not too bad, a bit slow action wise but with a plethora of cult stars in it!
    Apparently Tor used to eat a few tubs of ice-cream in one sitting, and also had to carry, when travelling, his own specially made toilet seats, as he used to break normal ones when sitting on them!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladpyre View Post
    Thanks JimC! The beast from Yucca flats is not too bad, a bit slow action wise but with a plethora of cult stars in it!
    Apparently Tor used to eat a few tubs of ice-cream in one sitting, and also had to carry, when travelling, his own specially made toilet seats, as he used to break normal ones when sitting on them!

    I just hate it, when that happens

    Love is the answer - and you know that for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC View Post
    I love Tor.

    According to his FAD write up; he was by all accounts a lovely person.

    His house was actually the house that Bella was exiting in the opening scene of Plan 9.

    FAD also says that there were eating utensils in his home that resembled minature shovels.

    And yes, those movies were incredibly bad; so bad that many scenes were quite funny; unintentionally.

    Here is Tor on Groucho's show:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZOXGct1Mw8

    And here he is in "The Beast of Yucca Flats", very bad movie; for which he was paid $300; which must have almost doubled the movie's budget. Watch as much as you like; or as much as you can stand; this is the entire 54 minute movie. I understand that after it was finished; the sound track was lost; so they just over dubbed a naration:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bm1Bd83qrc
    Thanks for posting... will watch it when I have the time... soon hopefully

    Love is the answer - and you know that for sure.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnneBoleyn View Post
    I just hate it, when that happens
    me too!! I always carry spare toilet seats (and ice-cream!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladpyre View Post
    me too!! I always carry spare toilet seats (and ice-cream!)
    Absolutely.. then you can eat ice-cream, while installing new toilet seats in public loos..

    Love is the answer - and you know that for sure.

  33. #33
    my fave Tor quote, from The Unearthly:

    "Time for go to bed"

    ... and indeed it is, for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by henkychif View Post
    my fave Tor quote, from The Unearthly:

    "Time for go to bed"

    ... and indeed it is, for me.
    Oh that guy is Swedish for sure... and yep it is for me too

    Love is the answer - and you know that for sure.

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    According to FAD; he actually used to steal the toilet seats from hotel rooms because he broke so many at home.

    You'd think what with having special eating utensils; he might have commisioned a carpenter to build some toilet seats from 1"; or even 2" wood; heavily varnished; of course...otherwise; the splinters in those regions would really suck.

    My fave quote; from Plan 9 is when he says something to the effect,
    "I am be get one of flashlight from patrol car".

    Eddie Wood left it in; no issues with that dialog.

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    Bless Ed Wood, keeping Tor's dialogue! and splinters in the nether-regions - makes the eyes water thinking about it!

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    When he speaks in Plan 9 it always cracks me up!

    Tor was one of a kind!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnneBoleyn View Post
    Absolutely.. then you can eat ice-cream, while installing new toilet seats in public loos..
    Or eat ice cream with minature shovels while sitting on toilet seats in public loos.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC View Post
    Or eat ice cream with minature shovels while sitting on toilet seats in public loos.
    I do that most weekends!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladpyre View Post
    I do that most weekends!
    Yep me too... was just on my way actually

    Love is the answer - and you know that for sure.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnneBoleyn View Post
    Yep me too... was just on my way actually
    Ah I did wonder where you disappeared to! If you see Tor there, give him my best wishes!

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    good ole tor! a face only a mom would love lol!
    pull the string!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladpyre View Post
    Ah I did wonder where you disappeared to! If you see Tor there, give him my best wishes!
    Well if he looks like the picture by kitty, Im not sure Im gonna be around long enough to even say Vlad.....

    Love is the answer - and you know that for sure.

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