Tuesday, September 22

Tombstone Tuesday: Vance Dale MELLEN

Artist & Healer
1940 ~ 1998

Mount Hope Cemetery
17th & Fairlawn
Topeka KS

Wish I'd noticed Mr. Mellen's stone in time for Summer Solstice, but the fallen leaves among the smaller stones make it appropriate for the first day of Fall, don't you think?

I know nothing about him except that he was a devoted father and husband who worked as a counselor at the old Topeka State Hospital, hence "healer". His son, also a Vance, makes industrial shorts (films) and indie horror flicks.

Oddly, this is the second time
I've picked a stone at random,
in cemeteries miles apart,
that turned out to be connected to
industrial shorts and indie horror flicks.

What are the chances?

The first was Clyde and Nellie HAMLIN's stone at Rochester Cemetery.

After college, the Hamlins' grandson Arthur "Art" Wolf and boyhood friend Russell Mosser started a company called Centron Films in Lawrence KS which made many award-winning educational films shown in schools across America in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

But perhaps their most famous film is "Carnival of Souls", a 1962 low-budget sleeper that gained a huge following after being aired on late night TV in the '90s.

Read the "rest of the story" about
Art Wolf, Centron Films and Carnival of Souls

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Tombstone Tuesday is sponsored by GeneaBloggers



love this headstone and the story! one of the things i am going to be doing now that the heat of the summer has edged off a bit is visit old historical cemetaries here - i have a little "list" that i keep and doing this has been on my list way too long - wonderful photo - and post - have a great day!

Anonymous said...

This is my dad's headstone. My brother Vance the film maker actually made the headstone. I am so glad you like it! I'll be sure to forward this to my brother. If you google Vance D. Mellen you will find some videos he made about my dad.

JamaGenie said...

Hello, Vance's brother (aka Anonymous). It's such a great, unique headstone I couldn't resist snapping a pic and featuring it here. I do, however, have to admit the pic doesn't do it justice. It's much more of a spectacular eye catcher "in person". Tell your brother he did a fantastic job!

Vance Mellen said...

So cool that you were drawn to my dad's stone! It was very therapeutic for me to carve it the year after he died. He was a healer of the mind and body. He actually brought my brother "back to life" after my brother was electrocuted as a child. According to his "Mormon" heritage, he had the "power to rearrange the elements to protect those he loved." Weird, but I saw it many times (especially as tornados narrowly missed our Topeka, KS home!). Anyway, he was a great person. The "Sunstone" image was originally carved on the Mormon's Nauvoo temple in the mid 1800’s. I personally think it is one of the best pieces of pre-Civil War American art.


STORY ABOUT MY DAD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU5ERLxGCKM

ART VIDEO about the GRAVE STONE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NulRyiRkv-M

VIDEO about my brother’s Electrocution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKnzh9aor4M

JamaGenie said...

Vance, I did not know Mormons believed they could rearrange the elements. But I think your dad's healing energies still hover around his grave, because while I was there I felt a great sense of peace and at the same time, excitement.

Interesting that the "Sunstone" image was carved on the temple at Nauvoo, in which case I'd have to agree that it's one of the best pieces of pre-CW American art.