Harold Haxton: A Life In The Can
Early Years
Hollywood: 1947-1953
Toga! Toga!
Poster Gallery

Haxton In Hollywood: 1964-???

Dangerous Creatures
In the 1960's, giant creature films were taking the world by storm, and Haxton was determined to send up his own big creature -- something new and different. Huge gila monsters, spiders, bugs, rats, dinosaurs of every variety had all been done. Haxton searched the local pet stores for inspiration.

Arlen Ford:

"I used to go with him to the pet shops on weekends, looking for a terrifying creature. At one point, he got desperate and considered a guinea pig. Admittedly, the furry little critters were charasmatic...I ended up getting my daughter one. But to me, they just weren't scary, even blown up to 160x scale. Anyway, Hax had the script to Four Guinea Pigs Of The Apocalypse half-written when he came back from a Pasadena pet store one day with a fire newt. That little sucker was only about three inches long, but he had potential. We had our monster."

So in the end, Newtrino: The Atomic Newt was inspired by Harold's pet fire newt, Olivier (after noted thesp Lawrence). When Olivier died in 1967, Haxton interred the beloved reptile in a matchbox, which he put in a drawer and promptly forgot about, until one day...

Actress Tamsin Tolliver on her first meeting with Haxton:

"I was over at his apartment to pick up a script (at that time I was fresh off the boat from Liverpool, and working under the table as Schmikler Pictures' copy girl). I was standing in the kitchen, and he was digging around in his spare bedroom/office for this script. It was taking a while, and I was desperate for a fag -- uh you know, cigarette -- but didn't have my lighter on me. So I check a few kitchen drawers for a lighter, and there's a box of matches. I open it up, reach in...and there's a dried-up dead LIZARD in it! Of course I scream like bloody murder and drop the box.

Tamsin Tolliver

Actress/model Tamsin Tolliver:
British "mod" clothing ad, 1966

Hax comes running in, sees the dead newt, the box on the floor, and me with my mouth hanging open, white as a ghost -- and he starts laughing...he'd forgotten all about putting that...thing in the drawer. I didn't think it was so funny at the time. But anyway, that's how I got the lead role in Newtrino Vs. Etcetera."

"She had such a wonderful scream," said Haxton, "I knew I had the leading actress for Newtrino at that very moment."

The End?
1969's Newtrino Vs. Etcetera was Haxton's last film. The night after its July 14th premiere, Hax moved out of his Burbank apartment, leaving no forwarding address. Even his best friend, Arlen Ford, received no notice.

As to where Haxton is today -- or if he is even alive at age 77 -- we can only guess. Is he hiding out somewhere using his Foreign Legion name, Robert Fromage-Noire? Arlen and Haxton's ex-wife Marion Mandeville have received a mysterious postcard or two, but no real correspondence.

"If you're out there, Hax," said Ford in a recent interview, "Give us a call. We miss you. Besides, you still owe me ten bucks from that night you lost that bet...you know, the one with Clarice Franchetti and the monkey."

[ 1953-1957 ] [ 1957-1959 ] [ 1960-1963 ] [ Toga! Toga! ] [ 1964 -??? ]

[ early years ] [ hollywood ] [ interviews ] [ filmography ]
[ film poster gallery ] [ photos ] [ email ] [ home ]

copyright 2001 phobe.com