Maybe the last thing Charlotte Austin would want to be remembered as is "Queen of the Gorillas." That was the working title of the film for which she may be known best, The Bride and the Beast. Exploitation filmmaker Adrian Weiss commissioned Hollywood fringe-dweller Ed Wood to script the low-budget shocker, in which Charlotte plays a newlywed whose simian genes beckon her to return to the jungle and abandon her understandably confused husband.

But there's more to Charlotte Austin than her brief film career would lead you to believe. She was named for the North Carolina city in which she was born, the daughter of Gene Austin, one of popular music's most unjustly underrated entertainers. Austin's recordings gave rise to the "crooning" craze that made stars of Crosby, Sinatra, Dick Haymes and many others. He also wrote numerous songs that have become pop music standards, My Blue Heaven and Lonesome Road among them. (Gene Austin died in 1972.)

Her father's passion for music was passed on to Charlotte, who is equally zealous where politics and civil injustice are concerned. She remembers becoming infuriated by Richard Nixon while watching the Kennedy-Nixon debates with her close friend, Marlon Brando. As a young woman, she circulated a petition for gun control, at one point finding herself surrounded by pro-gun truckers who tore her petition to shreds. She and a fellow petitioner were later arrested.

Her twin passions for music and the underdog have led her to write Scared White, an uncompromising musical satire of the O.J. Simpson trial.

B MONSTER: What's the status of the musical?

CHARLOTTE AUSTIN: It sort of came to a grinding halt for a while, but I'm just now starting to write some additional material -- sort of from the jury's point of view. I've made some wonderful friends in the black community that are just fantastic, and I'm seeing other sides of the story.

"The incredible space-brain invades a human body with its destructive evil power!"
Brain From Planet Arous

"You'll scream yourself into a state of shock!"
Horror of the Blood Monsters

"See natives eaten alive by giant vultures!"
Beast of Blood

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