Willam Marshall has expressed that he doesn't particularly like the film Abby. What was he like to work with? Did he contribute to the script in any way, as he did for Blacula?
I had never worked with William Marshall before. Although I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to work with such a distinguished actor.
William Marshall was also a trained stage actor. He was always unhappy about the scripts African American actors received in the 70s.
I don't know if William Marshall contributed anything to the script. However, he hated Abby because my photo was the one associated with the success of Abby.
Tell me about your co-stars, Terry Carter and Austin Stoker.
I met Terry Carter on the set of Abby. He had a television series at that time. So naturally, he was Mister Big. He was conservative. Never partied.
The first and only time I was around Austin Stoker was on the set of Abby. He was also very conservative. I never really got to know William, Terry, or Austin that well. Probably due to the fact that I was in almost every scene in the movie. So Abby required my full attention. However, all three were great to work with - very professional.
(CLICK HERE to gasp in sympathetic agony as Carol kicks Terry Carter in a rather sensitive area. My favorite scene in the movie. Mpeg movie: 1.9 MB.)
Although the demon Eshu only appears via quick flashes in the finished film, there was a lot of footage shot of you in the demon makeup. I even saw a picture where it looked like your head was spinning around. How long did it take to become Eshu?
To become Eshu, I had to be on the set four hours earlier than the rest of the cast. I was in makeup for two or three hours. William Girdler always shot the Eshu scenes immediately. I could only wear the contact lenses for short periods of time without doing any eye damage.
William Girdler took advantage of my being in makeup by shooting two or three takes of the same scene. Therefore, there has to be some extra footage of Eshu somewhere.
There was a scene in Abby where my head spins around. Some of the special effects were cut to move the storyline along at a swift pace. I don't remember what scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.
You've said that the production was riddled with strange - perhaps diabolical -- tragedies and mishaps. So how did Terry Carter break his ribs?
Terry Carter cracked his ribs by falling during a scene with Eshu - (aka Abby). Also, every time I appeared on the set as Eshu, there were problems with the generator.
Add the 99 tornadoes that ripped through Louisville, even the crew became a little nervous. They were a fantastic crew, but the strange coincidences rattled them. The crew had almost started to believe that I was possessed by the powerful sex-crazed Eshu.
Two days after the tornadoes struck, we filmed inside so we were unaffected. However, we felt sadness for the Louisville natives - the devastation was unreal.
We never worked on Sundays because Louisville was part of the Bible Belt. The hotel kitchen staff refused to work on Sunday mornings. That was Baptist Church time. So we ate at the International House of Pancakes. That's how religious the scene was in Louisville 1974. Therefore, any talk of the devil or possession was like blasphemy.
William Girdler was smart enough to hold the gossip down about Abby. That way, the local people wouldn't halt production because of their highly emotional religious feelings.