Sketch artist, fine arts painter, sculptor and monster maker Paul Blaisdell was born July 21, 1927, in Newport, Rhode Island, and grew up in Quincy, Massachusetts. He sketched alien monsters and constructed model airplane kits in his childhood days. Following graduation from high school, Paul briefly worked as a typewriter repairman and served a hitch in the military. Using the G.I. Bill, he attended the New England School of Art and Design, where he met his future wife, Jacqueline “Jackie” Boyle. Paul and Jackie got married in 1952 after finishing college and moved to Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles, California. Blaisdell worked as a technical illustrator for Douglas Aircraft and submitted his illustrations to such publications as “Spaceways” and “Otherworlds.” Legendary magazine publisher ‘Forrest J. Ackerman’ was so impressed with Paul’s work that he became his agent. It was through Ackerman that Blaisdell got his first film job designing the alien creature for Roger Corman’s low-budget sci-fi outing “The Beast With A Million Eyes” (1955). Paul went on to handle the special effects on and/or design monsters for such low-budget American-International Pictures drive-in fare as “Not of This Earth” (1957), “Invasion of the Saucer Men” (1957) and “Earth Vs The Spider” (1958).
Best known for his strikingly original and imaginative creature designs, Blaisdell’s most memorable monsters are the grotesquely malformed mutant in “Day The World Ended” (1955), the infamous cucumber creature in “It Conquered The World” (1956), Tabanga the tree monster in “From Hell It Came” (1957) and the beast in “The She-Creature” (1956).
In addition to designing these creatures, he also often played them as well.
Blaisdell became increasingly disenchanted with the film business, however, and quit making contributions to movies in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s he and fellow hardcore horror cinema fan Bob Burnslaunched the magazine “Fantastic Monsters of the Films,” a sadly short-lived publication that featured a how-to section by Paul called “The Devil’s Workshop.” He also, in the early 1960s, did conceptual artwork on several movies which never got made. Eventually Paul left the business altogether and eked out a modest living as a carpenter.
Paul died of stomach cancer at the tragically young age of 55 on July 10, 1983 in Topanga Canyon, California.