Sunday, October 21, 2012

Are You Scared Yet?

Movies started scaring us back in the silent days when actors like Lon Chaney took on roles like the eerie phantom of the opera.  Known as ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces’, Chaney’s elaborate use of makeup transformed him into frightening, but no less fascinating characters.  With the coming of sound, a new kind of evil played before us in the ghastly form of Bela Lugosi and his hypnotic Count Dracula.  Then came Frankenstein brought to life by a mad scientist and a British actor named Boris Karloff.

So just in case you want to impress your friends and family this Halloween, here are a dozen facts about the silver screen’s most famous fright masters:
       1)      Lon Chaney was born Leonidas Frank Chaney in 1883 to profoundly deaf parents.

2)      Before he came to Hollywood, Chaney, who loved the outdoors, worked as a guide escorting tourists up Pike’s Peak.

3)      Chaney was internationally recognized for his expertise in make-up; he even wrote the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on the subject itself.

4)      Chaney was originally cast to play the part of Count Dracula in the 1931 film, but his untimely death in 1930 from bronchial cancer, paved the way for Bela Lugosi.

5)      Bela Legosi was born Bela Lasko in 1882 in Lugos, Hungary—not far from Transylvania where Bram Stoker’s Dracula lived.

6)      Lugosi successfully played Dracula onstage beginning in 1927, but Hollywood didn’t want him.

7)      When other actors like Paul Muni and Chester Morris dropped out of the running; Universal Studios was forced to either give the part to Lugosi or cancel the film.

8)      After suffering a heart attack, Lugosi died on August 16, 1956 and was buried in his Dracula get-up—complete with make-up and cape.

9)      After Lugosi refused the part of Frankenstein because it was a non-speaking role and required heavy make-up, Boris Karloff stepped in.

10)   As Frankenstein, Karloff wore 60 pounds of make-up and accessories, including 18-pound lead-weighted boots, which increased his height to 7’6” when in costume.

11)   Karloff received fourth billing as the famous monster and wasn’t even invited to the Hollywood premiere.

12)   Off screen, the gentle Karloff was an avid gardener who enjoyed poetry.
Happy Hauntings!


  1. Wow - so many things I didn't know! Thanks for posting these really interesting facts.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by!