Universal Monster Legacy - Frankenstein

Universal Proudly Shares Its Universal Monster Legacy!

Beginning back in 1923, it can be said a Universal monster legacy was born by the studio. Starring Lon Chaney, the legendary “Man of a Thousand Faces” in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While his appearance as the misshapen and tortured Quasimodo brought shock and fright to audiences. I say it was a mere two years later when Chaney would portray The Phantom of the Opera that a true Universal monster legacy was birthed!

[Via] BFI Trailers

It was in fact, Gaston Leroux, the author of the novel we have to thank for this film. As well as then Universal Pictures President Carl Laemmle who was vacationing in Paris in 1922. The two men met and Laemmle admitted to Leroux he was enamored with the Paris Opera House. Leroux was of course happy to give Laemmle a copy of his 1910 novel.
Universal Monster Legacy - The Phantom of the Opera

However I have to also add that the Universal monster legacy that we know best. All came about in 1931. With Tod Browning’s film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in February. Then capturing lightning in a bottle again…so to speak…when Frankenstein was released that November.
Universal Monster Legacy

Consequently Universal Pictures became known as the house that horror built. While of course many films by the studio could be considered thriller or macabre. The Universal monster legacy continued in 1932 with The Mummy. The titular role offering Boris Karloff another chance to show off the make-up effects of Jack Pierce!
Universal Monster Legacy

From there it certainly seemed like Universal Pictures was on a roll. In 1933 you had The Invisible Man starring Claude Rains. April of 1935 saw the release of The Bride of Frankenstein. And while I have related my experiences with Frankenstein at three-years-old it is in fact James Whale’s 1935 sequel I hold as the better film.

1935 was also the year that the Werewolf of London stunned audiences. Followed by 1936’s Dracula’s Daughter and then 1939’s Son of Frankenstein. The Invisible Man Returns hit theaters in 1940 as well as The Mummy’s Hand and The Invisible Woman.

It was on December 12, 1941 however when Universal added a new icon to their Universal monster legacy. The Wolf Man starring the son of the actor who helped Universal Pictures begin said legacy. Lon Chaney, Jr.!

Perhaps when you have the time you might care to listen to episode 53 of the Saturday Frights Podcast – featuring The Wolf Man?

Together with more sequels as well as remakes like 1943’s The Phantom of the Opera. Universal Pictures sort of closed the curtain on that legacy with 1954’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon and its following two sequels.
Universal Mosnter Legacy

I of course find that most of the creatures from the Universal monster legacy are sympathetic. I would stress that is what in fact makes them such memorable film icons. However with the likes of Dracula, Ihmotep (The Mummy), as well as the Invisible Man. There is some real terror, fear of the insane or the unstoppable. I will certainly admit that I have always possessed a fondness for these films as I think my shelves will attest.

On Friday, Universal Pictures is releasing the latest reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella as the titular character, Anabelle Wallis, and Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll. This is step one in Universal’s new Dark Universe, an attempt to revive these franchises in a shared cinematic universe. I will be quite honest as always. I’m kind of looking forward to this and I most certainly hope they can pull it off. However as the video below shows, the studio has NOT forgotten their…

Universal monster legacy!

Retro Radio Memories Ep. 81 (The Dream)

The Dream is a very special episode of the popular Lights Out series! Actually it was the start of a series of special episodes for that Old Time Radio show. As it not only featured Boris Karloff but marked the 4th Anniversary of the series. To help you get into the spirit of the Season you will find The Dream fits the bill!

Of course Lights Out is a program we have visited quite often in the past. It was a high-water mark for radio in the horror and thriller genre. Created by Wyllis Cooper it really found its popularity soaring when Arch Oboler took over. The series lasted from 1934 until 1947!

So what is The Dream about then?

This episode was written by Arch Oboler and introduces us to Daryl Hall, a Professor of Biology. We meet him as he stands accused of murder and is waiting for the jury to return to render their verdict. Hall is played by Karloff and as we listen in on his thoughts learn he never had a dream. Not until a few days previous that is when he began to be visited by a spectral Woman urging him to…kill! We listeners get to follow Daryl as he remembers the horror he has been witnessing – all thanks to The Dream.

Obviously Karloff absolutely kills in this role. With the script written by Oboler we truly are given some frightening mental images in the mind’s eye of the wraith haunting Hall. A very, very fine example of why Old Time Radio is still effective.

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was graciously provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com.

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Retro Radio Memories Podcast Ep. 072 (The Spike Jones Show)

Welcome back to the Retro Radio Memories Podcast! Each week we will briefly talk about an old time radio episode before presenting it for your listening enjoyment. Today we have an 1949 episode from the popular The Spike Jones Show that just so happens to feature Boris Karloff as a special guest star – so prepare yourself for some comedy skits and some classic music!

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com. And be sure to “Like” him on his Facebook page before he decides to narrate How the Grinch Stole Christmas….

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Boris Karloff Enjoyed His Butter-Nut Coffee (1966)

The legendary Boris Karloff might be best known for portraying Dr. Frankenstein’s tortured creation in James Whale’s 1931 film adaptation of the classic Mary Shelley novel but that doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy a hot cup of Joe now and again.

In this rather humorous 1966 TV commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee, you get the rare opportunity to act opposite of Karloff!

TAKWest

I’m pretty sure the coffee that Karloff is helping to sell is for the Butter-Nut Food Company’s brand that was founded in 1959 but was purchased by Coca-Cola in 1964. The facility was housed in the Butternut Facility in Omaha, Nebraska until January 7, 2004 when it was sadly destroyed by a fire.

The Man Who Lived Again (1936)

Image courtesy of the Last Drive In

Image courtesy of the Last Drive In


What if I told you there was a film starring Boris Karloff that involved the act of brain transference? What if I told you that it was entitled The Man Who Changed His Mind, The Man Who Lived Again, as well as the Brainsnatcher depending on where it was released theatrically? Now what if I told you that it also involved Boris Karloff switching the ‘brains’ of one monkey with another…and that you could watch the whole film for free right this minute? Would that spark your interest?

[Via] MrFilmschatten