View Full Version : Info on JB Corn?
01-17-2008, 11:53 PM
I have been studying his books and watching his DVD and wish I could have met him. Can anyone tell me what year he died and how? Is his Castle Dragon still running?
I find watching the DVD bittersweet. He was someone I think really loved what he did, and it is great that he is still able to inspire....
01-18-2008, 01:27 AM
The walls can talk. I have a portion of Castle Dragon restored and being used seasonally. The rest of it is at a location now known as Tayman Graveyard that comprises several attractions from the one.
Castle Dragon was primarily operated to raise funds for an acting school for kids. JB Corn died of Lukemia probably 6? Years ago? I had spent years reading how hard he worked, many times alone and how he endured many injuries and hardships even a flood to operate the event. And the designs on the walls were from the children. Even those a bit older were once child acting students.
After I renovate the pieces and had it set up for the first year. It was for a charity with the volunteer fire deparment in Noonday Texas. At the part where the final touch up painting occured an 8 year old and a 10 year old covered in splotches of flat plack paint, coated all of the lower 200 some clips. They never stopped working. Children. They were the final spark needed to bring Castle Dragon Back to life. This is what is was and what it shall be.
01-18-2008, 10:38 AM
Wow, that is really neat that his walls are still being used. If he died 6 yeras ago, how very scary. I mean, the DVD I am watching he is talking about his 1999 season. It must have hit fast and hard. Just goes to show you how precious we should live each day with our friends and family....
I will drink a toast to him at Transworld
01-18-2008, 11:02 AM
Dirk, if you can "drink" toast , you have a much better and bigger throat than I will ever have. (An awful lot of saliva in them glands too!)
I forgot, you are a Magician!
I don't think Houdini could drink toast!
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I will now drink toast, then I will pass a concrete block after farting a watermellon!
Those of you in the first four rows of seats may wish to move to the back of the auditorium."
One question, "Who is your tailor?" (Secert pockets to hide those items? Wow!)
01-18-2008, 12:37 PM
The injuries of trying to get all of this up and back out with little or no help have continued and given me a keen perspective. It is very possible to work ones self to death. Not only JB Corn but Lance Pope who created Verdun Manor as well. Corn was 57 and Pope was only 38.
All the walls have been converted to single sided panels bringing their weight from 90 pounds to 60 pounds. It has doubled in size with new materials using these origional panels as a guide. He had intresting ways of getting exit signs and wiring (12V) through the panels and temporary hook ups with terminal blocks like what would be used in instrumentation.
A big bonus was, I got all of what I call the crazy panels, those that had a weird cut out or window or prison cell look to them. Each of those are very creative and took a lot more work to make. Some of the extra panels from double sided panels became even more crazy panels.
Originally it was my intent that what ever condition these were in being now 29 years old, at the time I got them they were 25 years old, if they were not sound it would at least give me a real world test on how long these things can last. Especially having been 3 foot under water for more than a week on what was a flood plane. Some of it was junk but probably 60 percent of it just needed taken apart, painted and put back together. As it was a side job for us it took about 2 years here and there.
Another scary thing is, when I went to get these things, a now friend Patrick Matthews was taken back with the way I look. Very similar to JB Corn. From carrying the panels I said he must have been a big man. They said no, he was the same size and build as me. Years later Nightmare Tony sent me a copy of the Corn information and low and behold Corn looks on video (never having met him) just like a younger version of my one grandfather who is now gone (Thankfully, as he was a pain in the ass). So I know as a young man my grandfather worked at a power plant in Rock wall Texas.
Patrick had asked if I knew JB or if I was related? I don't know but, the resemblance to my grandfather is so great he could be a long lost step brother or uncle? The only real difference is my hair is dark brown. All very strange.
So I must have some genetic disposition to keep this thing in good shape. The new stuff we buid gets painted before any assembly to last the next 30 years with little maintenance.
In Texas haunting history, 1986 was the year of the great flood. The castle dragon floor plans were the first exotic triangular grid influenced by designs by Leonard Pickel. I had to learn how to put it all together in the years with no JB Corn information available and spent a day helping Leonard set up Mayhem Manor, arriving just in time to be the guy who put the tape of the design on the floor. None of the books by Corn or Pickel actually describe the dimensions of the grid.
Frankly customers and anyone (even other haunted house operators) are blown away with the set up. It isn't me, it was 25 years of other old dudes figuring out what worked and how to do all of this. Plus the walls have kind of "been there done that" aura even having been refinished.
The final offering is a big compilation of JB Corns theatrics and actor placement, Leonards wall placement, My logistics experiences, with the addition of modern props and the many genius Rules of operation that came from my get away vacation at the Raven's Grin Inn.
In retrospect, back in the day, Castle Dragon had become 5600 SF on a deck out in a field and from the back looked like someone was building Noah's ark. What did happen over the years is the trend that at least in this area, a well produced smaller size is better. The seeds went out and created 3 haunts 3,000 SF each.
It has been a wild ride. Combined with an enthusiastic acting troup we really had something. And death is a constant. Prior to actually having an attraction my main helper of many years died. Last year we didn't have the event as a month prior to setting up two of the majorly contributing fire fighters died fighting a house fire. The day of the meeting, many of the fire fighters were still visiting cemetaries morning.
Yet, to me my experiment worked. We had customers come directly from Verdun Manor which is a highly detailed 46 acre park with a huge mansion with an outdoor walk up that is 30,000 SF, a fantastic second attraction both about 6,000 SF, a hayride, a midway and the best of costumes. They went through out humble 3,000 SF and knowing one of the men stood looking at the front of the attraction and couldn't tell why but, we really had something. He cocked his head like when a dog hears a strange noise.
But, again it isn't all me. I have been like a systems analysist (not analist, Jim)
01-18-2008, 12:46 PM
As it is a charity haunt, my next trick is to sit in the hearse with a cell phone and a black book and call up heavy hitters and comand them to come buy a ticket for $5,000 or $10,000 each. I learned this from The Celebrity Apprentice. I have been such a dolt only calling for a mandatory $10 donation.
01-18-2008, 01:18 PM
where did you all get a JB Corn DVD?
01-18-2008, 01:26 PM
Nightmare Tony has listed the link on here several times. You could search his posts. He is the one who preserved all of this stuff and provided it free to anyone joining the IAHA.
Some of us have been around when it was fresh and this is a refresher course in the roots of haunting.
01-18-2008, 08:35 PM
Gregg, whether you might be an "analist" or an "analysist", you are still on my "A" List.
Keep up the good work.... why?
Gives your hands something to do.......(like your hands need something to do!)
I saw a picture of someone I assumed to be my Grandfather, I recently found out it was my Great grandfather, sad thing is I look alot like him but in the picture he was 80 years old and abit goofy, I'm only 58 and a bit goofy, but I look 80!
(So math says if I live to be 80 , I'll look like I'm 102! No wonder 80 year olds even have a tough time with computer dating! "You look like you're 102 man!"
Good experience not deathbed experience!
01-19-2008, 01:50 AM
I knew JB Corn. He was a very hot headed guy, boy oh boy could he blow up! He was fun to talk to on the phone, I talked to him on the phone many times. He started some real stir because in his books and videos he talked about 'ethnic scares' meaning using black or mexican actors to scare white people. One year at TW some black lady was trying to get a hold of copies of Corns books, she was some kind of civil rights person and wanted to expose them to CNN or something.
I got a hold of TW, and they hunted him down and forced Denny Dahm to remove all of his books and videos from his booth. Corn then hunted down that lady because he wanted to confront her, but TW kicked her out of the show. She also got into a showdown with Distortions over their hangman props, saying it was a lynching props.
What a stir.
Corn was a really funny guy to talk to. He had an opinion about everything and one person he really hated was Leonard Pickel. At one point Pickel claimed Corn fire bombed his car, and make threats to his wife. At one point or another Pickel and Corn were partners or something and ended up suing each other.
Corns videos are classic. Another person Corn really hated was Rich Hanf...one time he said the biggest mistake he ever made was giving Rich Hanf a copy of his videos. LOL
Hanf used the videos at a seminar pointing out everything you should NOT do rather than what Corn was saying to do.
As for myself, I thought his books had a lot of good info in them, although some I wouldn't ever do myself. I miss Corn!
Corn started his own website and you might be able to find it online somewhere in the cyber word. Corn actually wrote articles on the site and one time wrote an article about me and called me by another name...it was very funny!
Corn use to post on the OLD Hauntworld forums everyday!
He was one of this industries most colorful people! I really do miss that guy...he could make a message board really light up!
As for Lance Pope, Lance and myself were really good friends. We talked on the phone all the time. He sent me videos of his place every year. He bought some animations from us, and anytime we made it to Dallas gave us a tour. I really miss Lance!
Sad to see both of them go!
01-19-2008, 08:55 PM
I had posted something awhile back wanting info on the Corn books and "Midnight Evil" responded back saying he would send me the DVD and he did. THANKS bud!
01-19-2008, 11:09 PM
Seems you can download the books FREE here...
01-20-2008, 12:24 AM
Tayman Graveyard is now an event for the Grand Prairie, Texas Boy Scout Troup #202, so it's all cool. For a few years it was an evil place with a different unspeakable name, where haunts went to die wether they wanted to or not until there was a fire. The Boyscouts claim to have killed the evil. I'm not sure if there is a merit badge for that. Maybe they get Rosery Beeds?
It took many people destined to many poor fates to get the evil out of our portion. They were all sacrificed. Many of them had it coming anyhow. Now it is all happy in a manic depressive kind of way.
(Que the little furry guys from Star Wars on a Friday/Saturday Night party music.) Ewoks! Don't touch her she's your sister!
01-28-2008, 11:27 PM
Tis nice to see a force of nature remembered in here.
Thanks for putting up the link, Larry. the books belong to the world. The racist incident you mentioned was deleted from the book along with some other changes requested by his family.
The CD downloadable files include his old website and articles.
He had included a set of pictures from Castle Blood. I do thank Gravely for his kindness in allowing the distribution with the books.
The videos were also edited and set to DVD. Midnight Evil did a fantastic job. Thanks again, Gary! Still working on getting them into wide dispersion. Once the intial set of DVDs go out to IAHA members, I will work to find a hosting to allow anyone to download the DVD as well.
The books and videos belong to the world. you get them, you copy them and give to your friends. No charge. Postage reimburse, sure. But no charge otherwise.
Personally, we emailed back and forth for years, I only spoke to him once on the phone. Would have loved to meet him. I was offered a good price for Castle Dragon. At the time, i did not have the room nor the money to purchase it. And now, a couple of years later, I have the room and I own 3 seperate haunts. (and storing 2 more out here).
Would have been nice for him to come out opening year. We would definitely have some beers and laughs.
01-29-2008, 04:36 AM
Speaking of old school... Check out this classic photo. I was sitting on this photo for a long time. Just ran across it. This goes back to the JB Corn days. This was some b-movie horror movie Jim O'Rear was doing. Classic! Larry
01-29-2008, 10:54 AM
Jim O'Rear, now that name is a blast from the past? Is he still active in the haunt industry? I remember his magazines......among other things including this forum.
05-12-2008, 03:57 PM
I was one of "the kids" that worked on Castle Dragon with Jay. I started in 1993, when I was only 13, I worked every year with him, and in 1999 I ran the house on my own, without Jay. Anyone who has downloaded the archived pictures from Castle Dragon has pictures of both my mother and me. I typically played the role of the victim in the torture chamber, and Jay built the X shaped table for me. I painted the black and red swirly walls, and I was a contributing editor for one of his books. Castle Dragon changed my life, and I loved that place more than anyone can know.
Jay was a close family friend; in fact, he spent several Christmas Eves with my family. He was my theatre coach. Yes, he had a hot head and a loud mouth, but that was why we loved him. My mother was the only one I knew who ever made him blush.
I am so very happy to see his memory, and his work, living on here. If anyone could get me a copy of his DVD, or send me a link, I would greatly appreciate it.
06-06-2008, 08:56 PM
That photo is actually from a movie that was filmed at my haunt
in July of 2007. The movie is called SCREAM FARM after my haunt.
Jim O'Rear was the writer and director and I was one of the
producers. We are very proud of this little action packed Zombie
film and its already being sold presales on Amazon, it comes out
officially in July 2008.
Thanks for putting the photo up
Kimberly Lynn Cole
06-06-2008, 10:31 PM
I read Corn's books and found a lot of really usefull ideas and good solid information. I did think he was a bitter, grouchy old man. Then you read the articles he had on his webiste, and you understand where it all came from. He has an article that tells the story of his haunt year by year. You really come to understand how much he loved working with kids. And, you see how the things that happened to him made him grouchy. There was a lot in his books that I didn't understand until I finished my first year running a haunt. Then I looked back and I totally understood where he was coming from on a lot of things. Let me know when I the DVD is available, I'd like to see and hear from the man himself.
06-07-2008, 07:36 AM
Thanks to Nightmare Tony for sending me the JB Corn information
and cds. Tony is a very sweet guy and he will share the information if
anyone asks for it.
I got time to check it out only in the last few days and its got a lot
of useful information. I am very sorry he passed away! I wish him
Thanks Nightmare Tony!
Huggs and Screams
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