Enjoying a Horror Film for Halloween?

26 Oct

Halloween_Movies_banner-aForget the Zombie or modern vampire movies. They’re now part of the regular cultural year round entertainment. There was a time when this type of film was new and would amaze an audience without blood and graphic violence. We owe the popularity and beginning of this genre to an actor from Europe who launched numerous reenactments of the original Bram Stoker novel.

A young Bela Lugosi photo

Bela Lugosi as a young Hungarian touring actor.

Bela Lugosi appeared as Count Dracula in a Broadway adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel beginning in 1927. He was identified by talent scouts as a potential character actor for movies with sound. His thick Hungarian accent meant he would be useful, but only in limited roles such as Dracula. His was unlike any previous portrayals of the role. Handsome and mysterious, Lugosi’s Dracula was considered so alluring and dreadful that audiences gasped when he first opened his mouth to speak. After a half-year run on Broadway, Dracula toured the United States to critical acclaim through 1928 and ’29.

His portrayal of Dracula was so successful that Universal decided to make a movie of Dracula starring Lugosi. The film, Dracula (1931), was a huge hit and forever identified Lugosi in his portrayal of Dracula. By the late 1940’s, what once was thought to be a dramatic performance,  Lugosi a star of the horror genre, was now considered old campy theater. Lugosi found himself typecast as a horror villain, his accent limiting his options and his advancing age were robbing him of ‘allure’. Although this seemed to doom his box office future, the combination of two comedians doing a send off of several monsters in the 1948 movie, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, brought out his reenactment of Dracula for the second time. This was Lugosi’s last ‘A’ movie, even though this film was a successful vehicle for many similar comedy roles for Abbott and Costello.

The 1948 Abbott & Costello movie brought together an unusual paring of horror and comedy, unrivaled until Mel Brooks produced “Young Frankenstein”. Throughout this movie they encounter Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man

Abbott & Costello perfected their rapid fire routine well before this movie. Here are some of the lines used to amuse in this comedy.

Quotes from Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein – 1948

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 1948 promotional photo

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 1948 promotional photo

Larry Talbot: “You don’t understand. Every night when the moon is full, I turn into a wolf.”
Wilbur Grey: “You and twenty million other guys!”

Chick Young: “I don’t get it. Out of all the guys around here that classy dish has to pick out a guy like you.”
Wilbur Grey: “What’s wrong with that?”
Chick Young: “Go look at yourself in the mirror sometime.”
Wilbur Grey: “Why should I hurt my own feelings?”

Joan Raymond: “Oh Wilbur, can’t we both come along too?”
Wilbur Grey: “Yes, mon amour.”
Wilbur Grey: “That’s Spanish.”
Chick Young: “That’s French.”
Wilbur Grey: “How do you like that, I speak French too.”

[Wilbur at this point in the movie has 2 women vying for his affections. Chick wants a date with one of them.]
Chick Young: “You know the old saying? Everything comes in threes. Now suppose a third girl should fall in love with you?”
Wilbur Grey: “What’s her name?”
Chick Young: “We’ll say her name is Mary.”
Wilbur Grey: “Is she pretty?”
Chick Young: “Beautiful!”
Wilbur Grey: “Naturally, she’d have to be.”
Chick Young: “Now you have Mary, you have Joan, and you have Sandra. So, to prove to you that I’m your pal, your bosom friend, I’ll take one of the girls off your hands.”
Wilbur Grey: “Chick, you’re what I call a real pal . . . you take Mary.”

Wilbur Grey: “I’ve got a date. In fact I’ve got two dates.”
Larry Talbot: “But you and I ‘have a date with destiny’.”
Wilbur Grey: “Let Chick go with Destiny.”

[Chick Young & Wilbur Grey do a clumsy job of unloading large crates for Mr. McDougal. He then demands they deliver the crates to his warehouse.]
Wilbur Grey: “Well that’s gonna cost you overtime because I’m a union man and I work only sixteen hours a day.”
McDougal: “A union man only works eight hours a day.”
Wilbur Grey: “I belong to two unions.”

[Upon arrival at the warehouse with the two large crates which contain Dracula & Frankenstein]
Chick Young: “People pay McDougal cash to come in here and get scared.”
Wilbur: “I’m cheatin’ him. I’m gettin’ scared for nothin’.”

Bela Lugosi - Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi – Dracula (1931)

Chick Young: “I know there’s no such person as Dracula. You know there’s no such person as Dracula.”
Wilbur Grey: “But does Dracula know it?”

Wilbur: “You know that person you said there’s no such person? I think he’s in there… in person. I was reading this sign over here, Dracula’s Legend. All of a sudden I heard…”
[Wilbur imitates a creaking noise]
Chick Young: “That’s the wind.”
Wilbur: “It should get oiled.”

[While Chick & Wilbur are trying to run away from Frankenstein, Wilbur puts on a black cloak over his face]
Wilbur Grey: [imitating Dracula] “Back! Back!”
The Monster: “Yes, master.”
Wilbur Grey: [takes off cloak and turns to Chuck] “He thinks I’m Dracula!” [The chase resumes]

Chick Young: “Professor, do you understand women?”
Prof. Stevens: “I don’t even try. I’m gonna get me a drink.”

Dracula: “What we need is young blood… and brains…”
Wilbur Grey: “I’ve had this brain for thirty years. It hasn’t done me any good!”

[Chick & Wilbur are being chased around the castle and outside to the wharf by Frankenstein.]
Chick Young: “You still want your exhibits?”
McDougal: “Of course I do.”
Wilbur Grey: “Here comes one of ’em now!”

Even after 60+ years after it was produced, I still laugh at this movie.

A little bit of movie and TV trivia; What popular TV western series featured the same character actor as in this movie?
Answer: Glenn Strange portrayed the bartender in Miss Kitty’s saloon on Gunsmoke from 1961 through to his death in 1973. He also played Frankenstein’s Monster in this as well as 2 prior movies. Glenn Strange was also cast as the lead villain “Butch Cavendish” for the TV western, Lone Ranger. He stood 6′ 5″ and weighed 220 lbs making him a credible actor for TV baddies as well as “The Monster“. He was an eighth generation grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe of Jamestown, Virginia.

IMDbBud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein
See full cast & credits.


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Posted by on 26/10/2014 in Actors, Box Office, Comedy, Entertainment, Horror, Humor, Icons, Movies, Popular Culture


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