In Memory of Lance Pope 1965-2002:
THE MAN BEHIND THE MUZZLE
By Nora Salisbury, 03/13/2003
I met Lance at the Fangoria Weekend Of Horrors `86 convention. He was dressed as Vincent, his most handsome wolf suit, and I as Freddy Krueger (such a lovely couple LOL). He and two friends had come to enter the costume contest, and I had the good fortune to be right behind him in line to go up on stage. We became fast friends, and corresponded for years afterward, losing track of each other at some point. We exchanged audio cassettes in the mail, as we loved to hear each other's voices, but were going broke from our phone bills.
He sent me a videotape once, with some clips of his work, including a wonderful commercial he made for a friend's video store, featuring some of his ghouls invading a video store, but being driven back by resourseful customers with a big Ghostbusters video box. (He gave me permission to showcase that commercial on our site, The Ghostbusters Fan Forum, so his name will always be on that site's contributors list). He also took me on a video tour of his home in Midlothian, and at the end I finally got to see what he looked like without the fur for the first time. He was gorgeous, I regretted not dragging him home after the Fango con! I would have been all over him like fleas (Naughty girl ... *slaps paw*).
Truth be told, I was quite smitten with him, and had he gone through with plans to move out here to Los Angeles, I would have invited him to live with me, but someone he knew had tried making it here and had slunk home with his tail between his legs ... so he didn't want to take the chance, though he had an in with someone at the Richard Edlund studios (which did visual SPFX in Ghostbusters, what a co-inky-dink!) and probably would have done very well. But, as Pete Venkman says, "everything happens for a reason." I think Lance loved his homelands and would not have been happy in this crowded concrete cage. For that reason alone, I'm glad he ran free on his own path.
One Saturday morning, my partner saw him on the TV show Popular Mechanics for Kids, and we taped it. Then we hit the internet, and I recalled that he had run HVM first in Arlington (the first house he had that he loved because it was an original gothic mansion, was on land bought by some business ... I remember him telling me about the house being torn down and the surveyors setting stakes for the new building. He said he wanted to arrange the stakes so that they spelled "F*ck You" from an aerial P.O.V. just to spite them. LOL) so I put "Haunted Verdun Manor" into a search engine, and found his contact info on the HVM site.
We spoke on the phone, I think it was in 2000, and it was almost like no time had passed, he was still the sweet Texan I remembered. We talked about the Ghostbusters stuff, he told me he thought he had some video footage of the Ghostbusters Spooktacular at Universal Studios Florida, and said if he found it, he would send me a copy. I offered to make him a set of tapes with all the Extreme Ghostbusters episodes ... I feel bad that I never got around to doing so, I don't think he ever got to see them. We talked about the PMK segment, and his mauling (said he was used as "a big chew toy") and how much in debt he was. It was nice just to hear his voice again. I'm glad I saved the cassettes he sent me ... though right now I can only find one.
I wrote him a few more times, but I took time for granted ... one day I went to give someone the link to the Verdun site, and was hit between the eyes with the "in memorium" graphic. I felt like I'd been hit in the chest with a cannonball. When I returned today, it was the "for sale" format. This time it was a musketball to the gut.
My partner and I had always intended fully to travel to TX one October and visit, take in the park and run with the pack, now it looks like we may never get to do that ... but if I win a lottery, I'm investing in some TX real estate, I tell you what. I would make sure I kept everybody involved so it would be run the way Lance intended. I'm sure you'll be able to hear him padding softly through the fog of the manor at night.
*Goodbye, Lance ... I'll miss you 'til I get to the etherial plane, buddy. Thanks for using your talent to entertain so many of us, you did a lot of good in the world. I'm just glad I got to know you for a while.*
Nora Kathleen Salisbury
North Hollywood, CA