Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Paul Bearer Untold Tales…From The Grave

First posted on April 2th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

          As long time readers will attest, I am a pop culture journalist of high repute. But aside from cartoons, toy and movies; I would have to say that what I’m most known for, is my hard hitting Professional Wrestling posts. In my countless years covering the world of Wrestling, I’ve created a grand total of (1) article. Which I’m sure you’ll agree, is quite a library.

          It was during the research toward this Wrestling library, that I stumbled upon a character that would change my life forever. His name was Paul Bearer and as soon as I saw his work I became mesmerized. Rising above the silly and too often, fake looking world of wrestling, Mr. Bearer carried himself with an otherworldly charm and style rarely ever seen in the world of entertainment. His power over the audience was almost palpable and I knew instantly that he must be more than just a wrestling manager. After a couple of hours of research on the subject, I soon realized that I had no idea just how right I was.

          The story of Paul Bearer is as twisted and awe-inspiring as the man himself. It is this story that I bring you today: Paul Bearer. Untold tales…of the grave! As nobody quite knows when Bearer was born, finding any kind of real personal history of the man is next to impossible. When asked about his fathers age, his son Stanley “Kane” Bearer had this to say; “Who cares about the earthly date of birth, I am a monster! Born in flames, twisted and sent upon this path from which there is no turning back! Etc… But everyone agrees that Paul Bearer has been around for a very long time. Throughout his career he has been a constant spooky presence in the public eye. Much to the delight of weirdoes (such as myself) for generations.
Though he has appeared in photographs dating back as far as 1914. The earliest evidence of his career begins in the pages of a comic book entitled “Tales from the Ring” written by famed horror novelist Daniel Th1rt3en and illustrated by the mysterious Sean Hartter,

Art By Daniel Th1rte3n and Sean Hartter
the comic, which featured the menacing “fictional” character Paul Bearer, leading captivated readers down a labyrinthine trail of malicious macabre to the “13th Ring of Hell“. Each issue was presented as an actual story from Bearer’s life and usually centered around a haunting tale of revenge. Forces of light and darkness pitted against each other, over a background of supernatural power. The comics were filled with hauntingly morbid illustrations, terrifying storylines and gruesome acts of violence.

          Each comic also featured a hilarious comic strip featuring “Spooky the Goofy Ghost.”

          Following the institution of the awesome and powerful Comics Code Authority publication of Untold Tales From The Grave was brought to an immediate halt (mostly do to the extreme levels of adorable humor contained in Spooky the Goofy Ghost. Little was heard from Mr. Bearer in the following 8 years aside from the occasional “Peculiar Paul‘s Paranormal Tunes” records full of novelty songs, spooky sound effects and ghastly stories told by Paul Bearer himself. The records had a huge cult following and eventually led to his return to the spotlight this time on television!

          Paul Bearer’s B-movie Burial Ground was a late night Horror host show, running from 1960-1975 and featured the Haunting Mr. Bearer as host for “and evening of otherworldly entertainment sure to make your Saturday night…a sleepless one” The character Paul played was that of a morbid funeral director who loved his job…a little too much. Amid a set full of coffins, funeral bouquets and tombstones, he would interweave a series of disturbing but hilarious skits between segments of that weeks example of sinister cinema. The films themselves were very edgy for their time. Much more intense than the average shock cinema of the 60’s the plots were incredible and the special effects and production value were of a much higher caliber than they had any right to be. Strangest of all, was the fact that the movies never appeared anywhere but Paul Bearer’s B-Movie Burial Ground. No one ever took credit for creating them, they never appeared in theatres and were never seen after their episode aired. For these reasons, The B-Movie Burial Ground was one of the most popular shows on television and teenagers would be sure to leave make-out point early every Saturday night so they wouldn’t miss a single minute. At the closing of each episode Bearer would make his famous closing speech;
"And now, my compassionate crowd, it is once again time for me to dearly depart. But have no fear, I’ve already begun digging up next weeks frightfully fun film! I’m sure every one of you will return next week to see what’s next from the movie morgue. And to those that don’t return…I might be digging you up even sooner. Good Night!"

          Despite being at the height of it’s ratings, the B-Movie Burial Ground ended suddenly and without explanation on October 14th of 1975. It was said by some that the paranormal funeral director had actually begun to practice the dark arts. Others even suggested that he had always been possessed by a supernatural force and had simply created characters in an attempt to gather a following all the while, hiding the truth in plain sight.

          In 1991 all those suspicious were proven horrifyingly correct when Paul Bearer once again returned to television this time, with all facades of being an “entertainer” gone. Along with an urn apparently possessing incalculable power the deranged funeral director controlled one of the most unstoppable forces in gladiatorial combat that the world has ever known. The walking corpse known as the undertaker. Paul Bearer horrified and delighted audiences with his fearsome power over his dark protégé. While The Undertaker stormed through his victims with a corpse like fierceness not seen since Solomon Grundy was in his prime. Benefiting from the WWF’s longtime rule against “using the dark arts in a monstrous display of power to destroy all who would stand against you” The phenomenon known as the Undertaker jumped almost immediately to the top of the World Wrestling ranks and Paul Bearer became one of the most legendary managers in wrestling history. His power extended it’s reach from the Undertaker to Vader, the psychotic maniac Man Kind and even the brutal Red Monster…his own son Kane. Bearer used these dominating gladiators as pawns in a game of which only he knew the rules. Playing out an age old drama pitting the forces of evil against…the other forces of evil. In 2010, Paul Bearer once again slipped away from the public eye leaving the dark and monstrous forces he set in motion, in total chaos.

          No one knows why Bearer chose to leave a place in which he seemed to at home but everyone agree that his reasons are probably not something that the world is ready for. As each new incarnation of Paul Bearer is more powerful and more gruesome than the last, we can only live in constant fear of what Paul Bearer will next become…and who among us will be his next victims.

          Will he return?
          Ohhh yyyes!