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Rewriting Mother Goose, or Get Your Own Curds and Whey, You Hairy Creep

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No, actress Tiffany Boiling is not filming The Revenge of Little Miss Muffet. She has draped herself in tarantulas to call the world’s attention to the forthcoming Kingdom of the Spiders, which co-stars her, William (Star Trek) Shatner and 3,000 hairy, crawly arachnids. Stroking a favorite tarantula, Tiffany cooed, “Poor Willie, he’s been sick with the flu. I hope he gets well.” But when one of Willie’s colleagues tried to return her affections, Tiffany, 30, whose previous leading men included Frank Sinatra in Tony Rome and Richard Benjamin in The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker, screeched, “Hurry up! He’s going down my neck!”

Tiffany and the rest of the cast had to sign agreements that they would work with the spiders, which were supplied by Jim Brockett. His Pasadena firm is the country’s largest supplier to zoos and institutions of things that crawl and slither. Producer Igo Kantor paid Brockett $10 apiece to ship tarantulas to the movie location in Camp Verde, Ariz. “Townspeople were terrified,” Brockett concedes. “They thought the spiders were going to devastate the place. Tarantulas are really quite friendly. They’re poisonous, but their bite is less dangerous than a bee sting.” The only real annoyance, Brockett reports, is a mild inflammation caused by fishhook-shaped hairs on the tarantula’s abdomen. “When you start itching,” Brockett concludes, “you know you’ve been visited by a tarantula.”