Scanned from the Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook by Dick Smith, published by Warren Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1965.
“Smith pioneered the method of applying prosthetics made from foam latex in small pieces as opposed to the standard of applying a latex mask as one solid piece. Smith’s technique allowed the actor to have a wide range of facial expressions, making the makeup appear more natural. Despite initial criticism from many professional makeup artists at the time, Smith’s makeup techniques proved to be superior. Today, the standard of applying prosthetics are those that Smith invented.
Early work by Smith was seen on a short-lived syndicated supernatural “Twilight Zone” clone TV show produced by David Suskind out of New York in 1961 called “Way Out”, hosted by British writer Roald Dahl. Most memorable was a make-up of a man who had half of his face suddenly erased by a spilled vial of photo retouching fluid that affected real people when merely applied to their photos. In another “Way Out” episode, a “Hunchback of Notre Dame” make-up created by Smith becomes permanently affixed to an evil actor who then became his character and could never remove his make-up. Smith contributed to 14 other memorable “Way Out” episodes, and other 60’s television shows as well.
Smith was also one of the early pioneers of combining make-up with on-set ‘practical’ special effects, starting with “The Exorcist” in 1973, and was an artistic influence of later FX make-up artists such as Rob Bottin. Though many of Smith’s make-up effects were so well conceived as to go undetected, Smith’s expertise gained prominence and acclaim through the variety and ingenuity of his many effects for The Exorcist. Some of his proteges have gone on to prominent success (e.g., Rick Baker), and Smith is generally considered to be the godfather of modern-day special make-up effects.
One of Smith’s trademarks is his ability to create natural-looking effects of aging. For Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Smith used a dental device called a “plumber” to droop the actor’s jowls. The transformation was so real that Brando could eat at local restaurants around the set of the film without being recognized.In his Academy Award-winning work in the Best Picture winner Amadeus, he transformed lead actor F. Murray Abraham into an elderly and crumbling old man.
In the early-mid 60s, Smith published an instructional book, entitled Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook, a special edition of Forrest J. Ackerman’s “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine series. The detailed techniques outlined in this 100-page photo-heavy magazine were a huge influence on younger make-up artists who later revolutionized the quality of make-up in the film industry.”