‘The time has come to tell the tale’

DEDHAM POND DESIGNS: “THE TIME HAS COME TO TELL THE TALE”

Water runs over the tub’s edge and onto the tile, but the man doesn’t care. He wants an answer from the woman lying face-down on the bed. A minute before, he had asked, “Who are you?” But when he put a hand on her back, felt the chill of her flesh, his question changed.

“What are you?”

She allows him to roll her over to face him, showing him what she is. Moments later, he’s hundreds of feet away, dead and wet and cold.

She is Alma Mobley, and thanks to movie makeup and effects pioneer Dick Smith, she’s the kind of woman who stops the heart … forever. Many of us who first saw her on the big screen when “Ghost Story” was released in 1981 recall how Alma, and Eva Galli as well, made our hearts race.

Sculptor William Paquet was one of those people. After seeing it, “I was actually afraid to go into my folks’ dark house, having to go in the back door amid the shadows and loneliness of their cavernous backyard,” he wrote in an e-mail.

“This film, is wonderful. The cast, among the most impressive lineup of heavyweights in their golden years ever seen. The flashbacks are rich in atmosphere and nostalgia, and fully flesh out the characters as young, handsome and ambitious men-about-town. To try and compare this to the book is actually silly; it must be measured on its own scale.”

William is a longtime fan of Dick Smith, famous for his work on movies such as “Amadeus”, “The Godfather” and, of course, “The Exorcist”. Smith did some of his best, scariest effects for “Ghost Story”, creating visions of Alma and Eva that have remained in William’s imagination. He had long intended to translate his own image of Alma to clay.

AN UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY

Almost 30 years after “Ghost Story” debuted, William happened to browse the Clubhouse modeling community’s sculptors’ forum and saw I was considering my second garage-kit production. My first was a bust of Ben from “Night of the Living Dead”, sculpted in 2006 by a wonderful young artist named Chris Wooten. I wanted to do a more professional job of it this time around and was asking for advice about finding someone to work with.

William suggested the possibility of working with me, an unexpected and, yes, thrilling prospect. I’m a fan, have been a fan since becoming involved in the hobby in 2001.

ALMA

  • Sculpted by William Paquet
  • Produced by Dedham Pond Designs
  • 1/4 scale pressure-cast resin
  • One piece, comes unpainted
  • $55 plus shipping
  • If interested, e-mail todd.powell@resinbarbarian.com

Have you ever been grateful to someone for lighting a fire under your sorry rear end to get you moving on something you say you want to do, but don’t really know if you mean it? I’m grateful to William Paquet for that. Within minutes of getting his first message, I knew I was going to be a garage-kit producer again.

We started discussing possible projects. I said in an e-mail that I enjoy the  over-the-top ghosts I’ve seen in some movies and attached a few photos, including a collage of Smith’s work on “Ghost Story”. William, a very busy guy, read my message and replied quickly, before looking at the photos.

“Ghosts … funny you mentioned them because one of the things I have always wanted to sculpt and one of the things than came to mind for you was a bust of Alma Mobley/Eva Galli from ‘Ghost Story’. The half-rotten stunning work by Dick Smith. Very creepy, and the kind of thing that’s fun to paint.”

Attached to the e-mail was the exact same collage of Smith’s work. Oh yeah, this project had to happen.

So, green light on what we were doing. William put Alma on his “to do” list, I started checking into molding and casting. My intention was to hire out those chores this time around because I wanted to make sure it was done correctly. Still, I did hope to eventually do the work, so I put up another posting at the Clubhouse asking for advice.

William read that, too, and offered to help me do the job properly myself. He took photos of the mold he made of Alma, spoke with me on the phone about the process, and even ended up selling me the mold he’d made. In doing so, he once again lit that fire under me, and once again I’m grateful for it.

I’d only had a handful of contacts with William Paquet before the last several months, and so I can’t adequately express my surprise and thanks for all he’s done to help me out. And he did it with a fascinating combination of courtesy, intelligence and humor unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.

WHO SHOULD PAINT THE FIRST ONE?

My new GK company is called Dedham Pond Designs in honor of the body of water where the movie’s Chowder Society unwittingly submerges a still-living Eva Galli.

Given that Alma was shaped by a sculptor whose work has long amazed me, I figured she deserved the best possible introduction to my fellow hobbyists. Phil Sera’s skill as a painter simply floors me, so I asked him if he’d paint the bust of Alma I would use for the box art and any other publicity. He agreed, and did a spectacular job in a short time. He also provided high-quality photos, which I used for the box art.

Phil’s contribution puts it over the top for me, making Alma the best time I’ve had with this hobby in years.

— Todd Powell

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