A hundred and twenty nine years ago, the man that would always be associated with the role of Count Dracula, Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó was born. We know him better as Bela Lugosi and he first played the role of Dracula in the 1927 Broadway production of Bram Stoker's novel. But Lugosi is probably best known for his portrayal in the 1931 Universal Studios cinematic version of Dracula. His naturally, heavily accented voice and creepy smile would for ever more be associated with the character of Count Dracula and the role would, unfortunately, typecast Lugosi into the role of a horror villain for the remainder of his career.
His later work with B-movie legend Ed Wood was well documented in Tim Burton's 1994 biopic about the director. Wood was a huge fan of Lugosi's and would give him star billing in such films as Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space but by the time Lugosi made Wood's association he was a Demerol addict and living in near-poverty.
Lugosi died in 1956 at the age of 73 but his legacy lives on: Martin Landau won an academy award for his portrayal of Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, a statue of Lugosi was erected on one of the corners of the Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest, pop-artist Andy Warhol depicted Lugosi in the process of biting the neck of Dracula co-star Helen Chandler in his silkscreen "The Kiss" (pictured above) and UK post-punk band Bauhaus introduced Lugosi to a whole new generation of goth rockers with their classic 1979 single "Bela Lugosi's Dead."
We're ticketing a few different interpretations of Dracula as well and I'm betting you'll be able to see shades of Lugosi in these productions as well. Lugosi gave the character of Dracula a face and voice that will live on in the minds of horror fans for generations to come and it's a shame that it wasn't until after his death that he was given the credit he was due.
Remember him today on his birthday. Go out and enjoy some homages to Lugosi and modern interpretations of his most famous role, Count Dracula. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaa....
STARTS TOMORROW! Friday, October 21International Ballet Theatre presents DRACULA - Bellevue, Washington IBT's production of Dracula has quickly gained a cult-like following and is one of the region's most popular Halloween treats! IBT invites you to take a journey to a small European village, then to hallowed ground and a private party at the castle of Dracula. IBT's original production of Dracula is not your traditional vampire story. It is, at its core, a fantasy. It represents vampire legend inspired by the stories of Bram Stoker; visual elements, music and period are in tune with these original Dracula myths. IBT's Dracula is a story of forbidden love, set in Gothic times and told through the arts of theatre and dance. Of course, there are the classic vampire elements of good and evil, drama, and love. Family or group packages are available here.
Saturday, October 22, Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29Monster Mash - Chicago, Illinois Chemically Imbalanced Comedy is proud to present Monster Mash, where your favorite Halloween characters perform an interactive night of comedy based on audience suggestions! Join Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolfman and other ghouls as they improvise you may get pulled up on stage to be a part of the fun. All ages are welcome; no garlic allowed.
Saturday, October 22 - It's A MAD, MAD, MAD, M-AD World - White Plains, New York Come see the Westchester Chordsmen Chorus perform some of your favorite songs of the season surrounded by Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman and the Invisible Man.
Wednesday, October 26 - 100 Years of Hollywood - San Francisco, California For 100 years the city of Angels has been the international movie mecca. Hollywood is the ultimate American Dream which is why nobody would expect its success story to have its origins in smalltown Germany; Laupheim home of the Swabian immigrant Carl Laemmle. 100 Years of Hollywood - The Carl Laemmle Story traces the life of this small man from Germany, who came to own the world's biggest film studio. Together with his niece, the actress Carla Laemmle, we embark on a fascinating journey through film history going back in time where at Universal, the first Hollywood studio, Native Americans, elephants and monsters lurked around every corner. In never broadcasted before archive material we suffer with the grand gestures of silent screen diva Mary Pickford, and experience spine-tingling horror facing the Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera, Boris Karloff's Frankenstein and of course Bela Lugosi's Dracula.
Wednesday, October 26 - The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampyres - Huntington, New York In 1974, British horror powerhouse Hammer Films joined forces with the legendary Shaw Brothers movie studio in Hong Kong, famed for their classic kung fu films. The result is a one-of-a-kind horror/action classic that interweaves high-flying kicks and blood-curdling terror. In 1904, Professor Van Helsing journeys from Chungking to a remote Chinese village to face an ancient evil and the shadow of his nemesis, Count Dracula. In his last outing as Hammer's fearless vampire killer, Peter Cushing is partnered by a band of kung-fu brothers as he battles both bloodsuckers and legions of the undead. Part of a vampire double-feature with the 1975 lesbian-vampire classic Vampyres.
Saturday, October 29 - Dracula - Libertyville, Illinois An Evening of Radio Drama from Yesteryear for Today! In Living Technicolor of the Mind. Classics from the Golden Age...Live On Stage. The 1938 Orson Welles Mercury Radio Theatre production of Bram Stoker's classic Dracula! Two Blood Curdling Performances!!