Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
GLORIA HOLDEN'S GLORY!
"I am afraid, Sandor. The cravings within compel me to be the very thing I loathe. The power of the vampire is too strong to resist."
"You cannot deny who you are or what you are, Countess. Your father's blood flows through your veins. Surrender your inhibitions to your supernatural desires."
Reluctantly accepting her fate as the Daughter of Dracula, Countess Zaleska lets slip the cloak to reveal her seductive form to the night wind ...
ed - text provided by Richard Olson. Picture provided by ? Okay, it was done by Richard too. Not sure if he wanted this to be revealed or not, but what the heck .. he revealed Gloria Holden didn't he? All the monster kid men salute you Richard! You devil you!
Monday, March 12, 2007
HOLLYWOOD BABBLE ON ..
For the sake of staying on topic with classic horror, let's take a look at the infamous struggle that Bela Lugosi experienced late in his life. Yes, we all know that Bela was a wonderful actor who's role in Dracula is forever sealed as the last word on Dracula. There can be be no doubt; Bela was, and still is Dracula. There will never be another performance as convincing as his. But was his entering a sanitarium for drug addiction a performance too? I think not. Maybe if it had been the year 2007 where it's now considered chic to enter into a drug rehab. After all, celebrities often enter rehab nowadays just to get some good press right before one of their pictures opens up at the box office. Singers who are releasing albums are no exception to this rule either. Whether you have a therapist, or you go straight into rehab, it's now considered as common and as acceptable as getting your nails done.
But Bela had decided to enter the sanitarium (as it was called back then) in the year 1955 (not 2007) for an addiction to methadone. Methadone is an opiate that was prescribed by Lugosi's doctors to alleviate chronic pain due to injuries received during military service. Entering into rehab for a drug addiction was not a "cool thing to do" in the year 1955. In fact, it could be the kiss of death for a celebrities career. It was still somewhat taboo and it had had a stigma that couldn't be easily shaken. There was nothing cavalier about admitting one's self into a sanitarium in the year 1955. That is unless you had no career left worth saving. Maybe Bela was ahead of his time. It has been said many times before that this was Bela's way of getting some attention as well as getting back at his ex wife Lillian for leaving him. I believe there's more than a sliver of truth to that! But I believe, as many do, that Lugosi was also a full blown drug addict who was desperately in need of help. If this was a performance, it was method acting at it's finest, and I'm sure it came easy for Bela.
Here is a rare glimpse of Bela leaving the sanitarium after a three month treatment and recovery. In the video, he claims he's fully recovered and is a new man who's ready to go back to work! Sadly enough, this is one of Bela's performances that isn't too convincing for me. After having viewed this footage it appears to me that this whole moment of Bela leaving the sanitarium was indeed staged. Not that I doubt that Bela was in need of some serious medical help, but his ego was also reaching out to anyone who would give him some more attention even if it meant exploiting his own demons for the sake of more camera time. Perhaps he killed two birds with one stone?
BTW, Britney Spears has nothing on Bela Lugosi. Lugosi still had his talent upon leaving rehab whereas Britney was left with only a bald head. I guess you had to have talent before you could loose it.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
INSIDE STAGE 28
Built in 1924 for use in 1925’s “The Phantom of the Opera” with Lon Chaney, Stage 28 on the Universal lot has had a role in many films, including “Dracula,” “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” “Torn Curtain,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” — and 1943’s “Phantom of the Opera.”
The "Phantom stage" as it's so affectionately called, is in my opinion Universal Studios most hallowed ground. It was inside this sound stage that Lon Chaney's Erik terrorized the crowd at the Paris Opera House in the 1925 Universal film "Phantom Of The Opera". What's more remarkable to me than Chaney's performance, is that this sound stage is still standing with most of it's Opera House facade still intact! The infamous chandelier is long gone, with some of it's crystals being distributed among lucky collectors, but you will notice in the following pics that most of the Opera House interior is still very much alive.
One can only dream of Chaney's ghost still haunting the catacombs that lie beneath the Opera House floor. Okay .. maybe there weren't any actual catacombs beneath the sound stage, but this locale is still prime real estate for ghostly apparitions! And what I would give to be able to spend just one night alone inside this sound stage!
Thanks to a good friend who works at Universal Studios, in spring of 2006, I would come close to living this dream. While I wasn't invited to experience an actual sleep over at Stage 28, I was still given a personal tour (sans tourists) inside this remarkable structure of Hollywood history!
The first thing that I noticed was something not too hard to miss, that is unless you are colorblind. The entire Opera House facade had been painted a rusty-color red! Let's call it "crimson red" just like the chilling Masque Of Red Death scene from the 1925 Phantom film!
And finally, and most importantly, my personal tour inside the Phantom Opera House wouldn't be complete without taking home a souvenir. And I ain't talkin' about no t-shirt or coffee mug here! Yes .. that's right, I would dare to anger Erik by taking home with me an actual piece of the Paris Opera House! Yes, go ahead and call the cops on me, but this opportunity only comes around once. I took the hammer out of my duffel bag and started chipping away at the facade like a woodpecker chips on wood! Now before you scream out sacrilege, let me tell you that it didn't happen that way at all. Actually, a small piece of the Opera House facade was dangling by a thread at knee level and I "conveniently" brushed up against it thereby knocking the dime-sized piece to the ground. Like a good steward, I picked up after my mess and off I went feeling as if I had just acquired a piece of Noah's Ark. That small little piece of cinematic history now resides here at Castle Famous, and if you listen in the wee hours of the morning, you can faintly hear the haunting sound of a bellowing pipe organ being played by a deranged composer who hides his face all while seeking revenge for vandalism.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
MONSTER OLD MAID ON WHEELS
I've never been into fancy sports cars of any kind. Cars to me are just another means to transport your arse back and forth across town and nothing more. That was until I laid eyes on THIS!
And here I am stuck driving a Chevrolet Minivan. Life just isn't fair sometimes.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I HATE SNOW
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
WISH YOU WERE HERE
First up is another postcard of the Musters set at Universal Studios. I'm not quite sure how many different Munsters postcards were produced in this series, but so far I'm counting four including this one which was graciously sent to me courtesy of George Chastain.
And while this next postcard may not be of the Munster family, it's still more than worthy to be sent to anywhere in the continental U.S.A. Who would dare to reject Vincent Price? Maybe someone who fancies being dipped into hot molten wax!
* Both pics courtesy of George Chastain.