Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bela the nomad, Elyse the nonagenarian and notification of PRC Month...


Just three short announcements before I return with something more substantial after Christmas...
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First, in case you missed it, December 14th was the 93rd birthday of lovely Elyse Knox, female lead of Universal's The Mummy's Tomb (1942).
Elyse (whose real first name was Elsie - you've got to give it to those Hollywood publicists) made a mammoth 37 films in seven years, between her debut in 1940 and her retirement (to raise a family) in '47. She also appeared in Abbott and Costello's Hit the Ice and as herself in the all-star jamboree Follow the Boys at Universal, and was a queen of sorts at Monogram, where she slogged through the entire Joe Palooka series.
But at the Abbey she will always be swoon-postured in the burly and none too secure arms of Lon Chaney Jr, her negligee trailing behind, as he stalks slowly through the standing sets.
Happy birthday, Elyse.
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Second, if you're a Lugosiphile - and if you're not you must have sneaked in here under false pretences - I'd like to draw your attention to a nice new blog, Bela: the Nomad Years, they being the underdocumented period of '46 to '55. It's an ambitious site which aims to plug some of the gaps in the known Lugosi story, specifically (but by no means solely) in this twilight interlude between the twin peaks of Monogram and Bride of the Monster. The author became a Lugosi fan after a formative viewing of Scared to Death on tv - an impressive claim in itself - and the site promises to be a feast of rare photos and obscure insights. Do take a look...
.And finally, some of you out there seemed to like my Monogram Month postings, so it is with the chill hand of inevitability that I direct your attention to the fact that January will be the month for celebrating the great Producers Releasing Corporation, the studio that made similar films to Monogram but without that studio's showy veneer of high class and lavish resources.
PRC is where Lugosi created his army of giant gland-stimulated bats that strike and kill whenever their victims use his patented after shave lotion, where George Zucco plays his vampire twin brother in a toupee, where mad scientists hope to create a legion of snarling wolfmen as their contribution to the Allied war effort, where the Aztec bird god Quetzacoatl is alive and well and ready to kill anyone who attempts to steal his feathers, and where J Carroll Naish deliberately infects a concert pianist with acromegaly because he won't let him get jiggy with his daughter.
The stats assure me that my Lugosi Monogram Marathon was one of the most read posts I've done on this site, so naturally there will be a PRC marathon, in which I attempt to watch more George Zucco films in immediate succession than has ever been attempted before (beating the current Guinness World Record holder's total of one). And there'll be lots more beside. If you'd like to contribute, let me know either in the comments or at matthewconiam@aol.com.
Okay, that's it for now. Back shortly.
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