‘Tis the season for a Tom Tyler horror film, even though he starred in only one of this genre, “The Mummy’s Hand”. Playing a movie monster is a demanding role, often requiring many hours of sitting perfectly still in the makeup chair, as Tom had to, appearing as a 3000 year old mummy, having been buried alive as a punishment for having stolen the sacred tanna leaves which guarantee immortality.
Jack Pierce was Tom’s makeup man, and it took a total of six hours every morning to apply the makeup on the filming days when Tom’s role required him to be in front of a camera. According to an article in The Morning Call, Allentown, PA, June 18, 1940, the makeup procedure was described as following: thin slivers of cotton were placed on Tom’s face, neck and hands, followed with saturation of the cotton with spirit gum, creating the wrinkles in Tom’s skin. Once the solution dried, Pierce then painted Tom with a grisly gray paint, then flecked with clay particles. When it came to Tom’s natural dark brown hair, Pierce rubbed clay and glue to make it look like gray plaster, as if it was artistically carved by one of the Masters. The dry clay on the hair and scalp was really uncomfortable for Tom, often creating an itchy sensation which could not be resolved.
When the time came to eat lunch after sitting in the makeup chair, Tom often ate with Pierce, for the rest of the crew and cast could not watch Tom, looking truly hideous in his mummy makeup, while conversing and eating. What actor or actress would want to risk throwing up while filming on the set? But Tom Tyler being himself, would never make a fellow actor or actress feel uncomfortable to the point of nausea as the result of his monster makeup.