Bela Lugosi’s Iconic Dracula Cape Acquired by The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

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On Monday, October 21, 2019, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced the acquisition of  the iconic cape worn by Bela Lugosi in Dracula (Universal 1931). A partial gift from the Lugosi family, the cape joins the museum’s collection of 3,500 items encompassing costume design, movie technology, production design, makeup and hairstyling, promotional material, memorabilia, and awards. 

Jessica Niebel, the museum’s Exhibitions Curator, said, “This outstanding acquisition simultaneously represents the character of Count Dracula as a cultural icon and the life and career of an extraordinary actor, Bela Lugosi. It is important to us as a museum to be able to restore and safeguard this artifact, especially knowing that much of the material history of the classic horror cycle has been lost forever. We are deeply grateful to the Lugosi family for entrusting us with a treasure that means so much to them.”


Bela's 1931 cape

Contrary to popular legend, the cape in which Bela Lugosi was famously buried was not the one he wore in the classic film, but one of several others which he had worn on stage and at public appearances during his long career. Speaking of the cape which his father wore in Dracula, Bela Lugosi’s son, Bela G. Lugosi, said, “My father’s screen-worn cape has had a very special place in my life and in the lives of my children and grandchildren. In fact, it has been a part of my mother’s household and then my household since I was born—for over 80 years. After several years of discussions with Founding Director Kerry Brougher, who showed such care and appreciation of its important role in film history, it became clear that there is no better home for the cape than the Academy Museum, allowing movie lovers to view a piece of classic horror film history and enjoy Bela Lugosi’s acclaimed performance for years to come.”

Lynne Lugosi Sparks, Bela Lugosi’s granddaughter and Chief Executive Officer of LUGOSI LLC., added, “It has been our pleasure to work with Kerry Brougher and Exhibitions Curator Jessica Niebel as we navigated the emotional journey of transferring my grandfather’s treasured Dracula cape from our family collection to the Academy Museum.”

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Located at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is scheduled to open to the public in 2020. For more details, visit

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In an article in the online edition of The Hollywood Reporter by Gregg Kilday entitled “Why Bela Lugosi’s Family Donated Iconic Dracula Cape to Academy Museum” (posted online 7:00 AM PST 2/15/2020), Bela Lugosi’s granddaughter, Lynne Lugosi Sparks, said that the family “was actually thankful” that the cape failed to sell when pu

t up for auction at the Icons of Hollywood auction at Profiles in History on December 16th, 2011. With hindsight, she feels that the decision to place a high starting price of $1.2 million was subconsciously made to ensure that it didn’t leave the family for “some collector’s closet for the world never to see.” She added that the family “took a sigh of relief” when they learned that it was returning home from the auction. 

The heavy, floor-length black fulled wool opera cape is currently being restored by Beth Szuhay of Chrysalis Art Conservation to prepare it for the museum’s December 4th, 2020 opening. Although the overall condition of the cape is reported to be good for its age, the taupe-colored silk crepe lining requires attention for some tears due to humidity causing the wool of the cape and the silk lining to expand and shrink at different rates over its life. The restoration process will include “attaching a new backing to the silk layer and re-patching any missing bits of lining with silk dyed to match the original.”


You can read Gregg Kilday’s full article at:

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Arthur Lennig, Bela Lugosi, Jr. and Lillian Lugosi on The Mike Douglas Show

(The Count: the Life and Films of Bela “Dracula” Lugosi – Putnam 1974)

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The Mike Douglas Show was a syndicated, afternoon talk show that played in many American television markets, 1963 through 1980. The format had Douglas and his co-host of the week interviewing a panel of guests. On October 9, 1975, the guests were Arthur Lennig, Bela Lugosi, Jr. and Lillian Lugosi. The filming was done in Philadelphia. Lennig had just published The Count, the first book-length biography of Bela Lugosi. He came on the show first. After a commercial break, he was joined by Bela, Jr. and Lillian.
Also on the show was Dick Cavett, a popular late-night talk show host. Cavett is very annoying in the first segment, with bad puns and macabre jokes (some not transcribed below). Douglas and his off-stage producer, Woody Fraser, pretty much tell Cavett to stop, and after the commercial break (when someone may have given Cavett a good talking to), he is much more subdued. Unfortunately, by then, Lennig’s portion of the show was compromised.
Douglas’ co-host for the show is impressionist Frank Gorshin, perhaps best remembered today as the Riddler of the 1960s Batman television series. When he is talking in his natural voice, he and Mike Douglas sound alike, and some of the comments in the transcript below attributed to Douglas may have been made by Gorshin. (Frank Dello Stritto)

Mike Douglas (MD), Frank Gorshin (FG), Dick Cavett (DC), Arthur Lennig (AL), Bela Lugosi, Jr. (BL), Lillian Lugosi (LL).

FG: (imitating Claude Rains): Good afternoon and enchanted welcome. Join us as Mike Douglas meets the monsters. Mike’s co-host for this week is that man of 1,000 voices, Frank Gorshin, a very good friend of mine, nice chap. My name is Claude Rains, incidentally. Mike’s guest will be television host Dick Cavett. We shall meet Henry Winkler and Donny Most of Happy Days. Arthur Lennig will tell us about the life and films of Bela Lugosi. And we shall also meet Bela Lugosi, Jr. and Mrs. Bela Lugosi. We shall see a live vampire bat enjoy his favorite snack. And now, here’s the vampire bat’s favorite snack, Mike.

MD: Thank you. Aren’t you nice? Thank you. Bela Lugosi was a fine actor, who has been immortalized for his portrayal of the infamous Count Dracula. He had a magnetic delivery and uncanny charm, that led him to be one of the recognizable actors in the history of film. With us today, we have the author of this new book, The Count – The Life & Times of Bela ‘Dracula’ Lugosi. Would you please welcome college professor Arthur Lennig? You were just saying that there’s no way to fall asleep in these chairs. Your posture is absolutely perfect in these.

AL: It looks like something Lugosi could have invented in one of his torture devices.

DC: He willed us this furniture.


Arthur Lennig

(The Count: the Life and Films of Bela “Dracula” Lugosi – Putnam 1974)


MD: In the book you mention the extensive research that you did into Bela Lugosi’s beginnings. Where and when and how did he begin?

AL: Well, he began by being born, and that would be in…

DC: That’s a good start.

AL: For him, and we’re grateful. In October 20, 1882. And I went over to Rumania because, to find out what happened, because I ran over all kinds of dates—1880, 1882, 1888, and he lied a little bit and made it 1892—and I was curious to find really what happened. So, I drove around in a rented Volkswagon throughout the wilds of Transylvania, and found all my information: when he was baptized and all the other things.

DC: He was Rumanian, then, and not Russian?

AL: He was actually born in Hungary. After the First World War the border was moved, so what was Hungary is today Rumania.

MD: There’s a picture of you in Lugoj.

AL: Yes, I’m standing there so oddly. I didn’t put that picture in the book. It looks like I’m stuffed, and here I am interviewing some people. Bela was born originally as Bela Blasko. And I’m interviewing a local resident in the town of Lugoj, and I got all of it.

MD: Is that where his name came from?

AL: He was born Bela Blasko, and he changed his name to “Lugosi,” which means “from Lugoj.” And I spent a whole day and a half getting all these anecdotes about the Blasko family, and found out eventually that I was dealing with the wrong Blasko family. So, we had to cross the line through that and start all over again. There were apparently more than one Blasko.

DC: And they weren’t worth a book, probably.

AL: No, no.

DC: The Blaskos always let you down that way.

AL: Well, we had some of these problems. Somebody said his father was a baker, and the other one said that he was a banker. Did somebody leave an “n” out or what? Then I found out that he was a baker, who in the last years of his life had become a banker.

DC: So, he was involved in bread and dough.

MD: Woody just gave you a review on that.

DC: The producer just made an insulting gesture. I don’t have to be treated this way. I always think that I’m the host. I guess that I have been out of work too long.

AL: You may be.

DC: I’m obsessed with Lugosi, really. I want to know everything there is to know about him, and I tried to pick up a copy of your book last night on the way in, The Count.

AL: Well, you’re lucky if you can find a copy of it.

DC: Yes, publishers notoriously–as soon as they find out you’re going to be on television, they grab you’re books up so people can’t buy them.

AL: We only sell them at night.

DC: Did he feel dragged by the role? Did he get sick of playing it? I’m sorry, Mike, I keep jumping in here.

AL: Well, he was typecast. What happened, he left Hungary. He had been a star in the National Theatre there, and he played lots of role there. And you can’t imagine really Bela playing Romeo. But he played Romeo and he played a lot of other such roles. And then there was a revolution over there in 1919, and he went to Germany. And from Germany he went to America in 1921. And then he starred on the Broadway stage. And he played very romantic roles: Fernando the Apache in a play called The Red Poppy. And they liked him because he had this Continental bearing, very straight and very aristocratic. And he was also very sexy. He was a very handsome man in his younger years, and remained rather nice looking all the way through.

DC: He had incredibly graceful hands. You know, when they would do those hypnosis things, and the fingers would flutter, and they moved like a ballet dancer around the hands. It was amazing.

MD: What was the first film he made in the United States?

AL: He made a film called The Silent Command, in 1923. It had to do with the American navy, and as a foreign spy. He was chosen for the part not only because he looked perhaps a little strange and aristocratic.

MD: Excuse me, we’re showing a still…


Bela Lugosi, Martha Mansfield and Henry Armetta in a scene from The Silent Command


AL: Yeah, there he is to the left, holding—I hope—a champagne glass, but probably being a low budget production, it was ginger ale. And he was trying to steal the Naval secrets. And since he came from Hungary, and there’s no Hungarian navy, he thought that was rather funny. But in any case, there’s…

DC: Transylvanian humor, there.

AL: Right , yeah, well, we can’t all win. So in any case he started out as a heavy here because of the accent, even though they were silent pictures.

DC: Sure.

MD: Was it always so pronounced, the accent…

AL: Yes, very much.

MD: I don’t recall him, doing… I mean, he didn’t look like Gab Dell in the movies. He didn’t do the tongue thing, which all the other impressionists, “Belcome, bleh, bleh…”

AL: No, never. He had a deep voice and a strange inflection.

DC: Very good.

AL: He was able to say “you have very strange…throat.” And he would always put that little pause in there.

MD: He put that the bite on that.

AL: Right, right.

DC: Mike!

MD: In 1930 is when he made Dracula, the first Dracula.

AL: Well, what happened: in the summer of 1927 they decided to import a play, called Dracula, from England. And they needed a Continental type. And they said why not use Bela Lugosi—he’s been playing all these parts on Broadway, and maybe we can make him into kind of a villain. So, the play was a great success. And he was typecast as Dracula, and he played it on Broadway from about a year. And he did a lot of touring throughout the country. And then Universal, in the summer of 1930, was going to do the film of Dracula. But they originally wanted to use Lon Chaney, but Lon Chaney died in the summer, and obviously that left an opening. And they…

MD: Yeah, that’s right.

AL: It was a grave problem. Oh, so…

MD: You really dug for that one.

DC: Look at the producer…

MD: You gonna play that game boy, that’s my old game.

DC: I still try to imagine him as Romeo, though: the idea of “What light from yonder window breaks.” Somehow…

MD: Can you talk later, Romeo?

AL: It was a scene in the crypt at the end that he really liked. He made cryptic remarks, too. Capulet, Capulet (imitating Lugosi).

DC: Did he die broke?

MD: We have a clip from the original Dracula. Let’s see this.

Plays scene of Renfield’s arrival at Castle Dracula, ending with “Listen to them, children of the night. What music, they make.”


Bela Lugosi delivers his famous “children of the night” speech in Dracula


AL: So, in a sense, that’s the movie that started it all for me, too. I saw that movie as a kid, and that made a very frightening impression. I think, you never have the same effect when you see a movie on television really as you do when you–years ago, you’d go to a theatre. And that thing played with a green tint, and you sat there like this. And you know, you’d sleep with the light off, for years and years because it made such an effect.

MD: One of the films that he made that won critical acclaim was White Zombie in 1932. What part did he play in that movie?

AL: Well, he plays an evil sorcerer, who meets a girl on the boat on the way to Haiti—or is a friend of somebody who meets the girl. He decides that the best way to have her would be to give her a potion and make her into a zombie. So, the other man, who also wants her, they have a deal made together, and Bela decides to double cross him. And so he takes this special potion and you will see him as he has the wine glass, and how his hand will slip in over the glass and slips it in there.

MD: We’re going to show that right now.

Plays clip of White Zombie, in the Zombie Master’s drugging Beaumont, ending with “I have taken a fancy to you, Monsieur.”


Madge Bellamy, Bela Lugosi and Robert Frazer in White Zombie


AL: Needless to say, the butler is thrown off the cliff in just a moment, and the other fellow turns into a zombie, and at the last moment, and, of course, throws Bela off the cliff as well. The trouble with the horror films is that the villains finally got it in the end. They’re so much nicer than those real good hero people.

MD: In a moment we’re going to meet Bela Lugosi, Jr. and his mother.

DC: Really!

Commercial break

MD: We have just been talking about the chilling effect that the name Bela Lugosi has on everyone. But to his family, Bela Lugosi meant husband and father. We have two people here with us today who can tell what Bela Lugosi was really like. Would you please welcome, Mrs. Bela Lugosi and Bela Lugosi, Jr.? What was he like away from the cameras? What was he like at home? Around the house?

BL: Well, he could be chilling as well. He was a very powerful man. He did everything in a big way. And everything that he did was very impressive to me. When I was small, and through my adolescent years when I lived with him, he was a dedicated man, and very forceful in his manner of presenting anything, whether it was a lesson in geography or some lesson in life.

MD: Had you seen all the pictures at a very tender age, or not? Did he have them around the house, or did you know that he was Dracula on the screen? When did you find that out, by the way?

BL: Well, I was taken along with some of my very young contemporaries to see his movies. And of course, my friends would all hide under the seats, because they’d be very much afraid of him. Of course, to me, this was Dad. My parents had decided that it was time for me to meet Santa Claus one year, and guess who dressed up as Santa Claus.

MD: Oh, No don’t mean it!

BL: No, I mean it, and I saw right through that disguise.


Bela Lugosi, Jr. and Bela Lugosi


MD: You look very much like your dad. Which is a complement, he was a handsome man.

BL: Yes, he was, thank you.

MD: Look straight ahead, right at that monitor, that camera. It’s amazing, amazing.

LL: I’m glad you said that. I always said that, and nobody believed me. That he resembled his father.

DC: Oh, instantly.

MD: Mrs. Lugosi, did that character of Dracula carry on in his personal life?

LL: Oh, yes to a degree. The mannerisms, the noble attitude. Oh, and he was lord and master of the household, no doubt about that.

FG: Did he enjoy that? Was he ever upset about it? The reason I ask is I know what I’m like when I’m home with my wife. You know, and I’m always concerned about my career. And it takes some doing if I’m in one particular bag, meaning one particular area in this business, like doing impressions and I want to get out of it. I get very concerned, and I share my problems with her. You know, tell her about it. Was he that way? Was he upset about playing the monster?

LL: No, no, no. But then he’d try things out on me. (audience laughs) No! No! No!

MD: Let me see your neck.

BL: Mike, I remember being with him a number of times, and people have asked if he was Dracula himself, on and off the stage. And I would like to say that many times, we’d be in a store, a drug store, talking to the clerk and in order to get his way with the clerk, I mean, he would be Dracula. And that man would get the look.

MD: He’d look at him that way. What would he say?

BL: I almost did it, but I can’t. Let me invite your attention to a picture that I brought with me of Bela Lugosi in a business suit. And tell me, if you were the clerk in a drug store, what would you do if the man on the other side of the counter made a reasonable request of you? That’s not the one, that’s not the picture.

FG: I think I see the picture.

MD: Yeah That’s it. “Yes, sir—you look like you need it.” What do you do for a living? I’m curious.

BL: Well, I’m a lawyer in Los Angeles, primarily litigation.

DC: And your letterhead says “Bela Lugosi”?

BL: That’s what it says.

DC: And do you get a lot of jokes.

BL: Oh, double takes, triple takes.

DC: Didn’t he get sick of the jokes. I would think he would. You know, people coming up saying can I bite your neck.

LL: Bela, Sr.?

MD: Bela, Sr., yes.

LL: Well, no, no. We’d be walking down a dark street, and we’d be talking and people would stop and take a double look. And Bela would say, “What’s the matter with me? Why are they doing that? Am I so awful?” I’d say, “No, it’s just your voice. It’s just the way you speak.”

MD: You know, somebody on my staff tried to call you at the hotel, today, and have you paged. And when we asked for them to please page Mrs. Bela Lugosi, maybe the operator thought it was a big joke.

BL: Well, I place a lot of calls, including long distance calls, and you know how long distance operators are. They give me the “you’re kidding” all the time. I just get it every place I go.

MD: Your father’s life reads like a movie script. Is it true that he left home at the tender age of 12?

BL: Yes. I don’t know how many people could conjure up doing such a thing. His father was a banker, and believed in formal education, and school was a very strict matter around the house. My dad always wanted to be an actor, even at that age. So, he left at 12 years old, because he didn’t think that formal education was necessary to be an actor. He went to a nearby town and started working, I think, as a machinist apprentice at the age of 12.

MD: Good night. And how did he get with the acting company in Hungary?

BL: Well, bit by bit, hanging around the stage door…

MD: Bite by bite. He could really get his teeth into a role.

DC: You can’t resist it. Did he feel successful, you know what I mean? Was he proud of the role and the part? You often hear of people who play a legendary role and they hated it, or they didn’t like it, or.

LL: Oh, he liked Dracula, yes, and the other one was the part of Ygor. He was most satisfied with that role.

DC: He was marvelous in that, when he had the broken neck. Did he know that he had a cult following of people who just adored him?

LL: Oh, he was quite aware of that, yes.

BL: I think that this cult is something that grew much more rapidly after his death, which often happens to people.

LL: Oh, that’s for sure.

DC: Was he one of those people, I seem to remember reading this, who did not get the benefits of those films in residuals? Millions were made for other people, like Laurel and Hardy.

LL: That’s true, very true.

MD: So sad, and there’s nothing that can be done about that.

LL: No. It was probably in fine print at the bottom, but who thought of television in those days.

DC: Yeah, it was just a gimmick. Is it true that he was scared to death of Shirley Temple movies?

LL: I don’t so, no. But he was an avid moviegoer, though. There’d be times when he decided that “oh, hey, we’ve missed too many pictures.” And he’d go to the paper, and say “well, we’ll see this one, and we’ll see this one.” And we’d go from one to the other. So, he was quite an avid moviegoer.

MD: I’d love to get into the more intimate details of his life, and we shall do that following these messages.

Commercial break


Bela and Lillian Lugosi returning from England aboard the S.S. Magestic on-August 27, 1935


MD: Mrs. Lugosi, you were married to Bela for how many years?

LL: Twenty years. And they were happy. There were some stormy weathers, like there is in every marriage. But there were an awful lot of good things.

MD: Tell me about your reaction the first time you saw him.

LL: Well, I met him at a party. And I was introduced to him. And he clicked his heels and kissed my hand. I thought—I was only 18 years old—I thought “oh, so that’s the way it’s done.” Hmm, pretty nice.

MD: Were you impressed?

LL: I was impressed. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Just his whole…the way he did it. It was so noble, and I thought, well, I’ve heard about it, but I had never had it done.

DC: How’d you happen to be at a party with him? Were you in the movie colony?

LL: No, no. My father was always interested in the Hungarian colonies. And it was at a Hungarian party.

MD: Were the Gabors there? Bela, Jr. was born in 1938, and your father was in his late…

LL: Fifty six. And Bela was his pride and joy because it was his only child.

MD: Yeah, but that is beyond the diaper stage for a father, I would say. Was he a good father?

BL: You’re asking me? Yes, he really was. And this is a story, you know, that has never been told. But the loss of my father to me was very traumatic thing because he was a good father. You know, he told me many times that I was very fortunate to be the son of a man that old, because I could benefit from all of this wisdom. And he was always trying to tell me something.

FG: Did you buy that?

BL: No, not at the time. But I realized that…

LL: Many times he’d speak to Bela as a grown-up, and the little kid looked at him, and think like “eek!—I don’t know what he’s talking about.” You know, he’d be overly fatherly, and he wanted to cram…

BL: I went one summer to summer stock with him, and we are in Connecticut at a lake. And he thought, by golly, his son ought to know something about canoeing. He liked water and water sports. And we rented a canoe. And he was proceeding to show me how to—you know—be in the boat, and all the strokes and everything. And I just about dumped him out. And, of course, my mom thought that was very funny, because he was very serious about everything he did. And I wasn’t being serious at all.


Bela Lugosi, Jr.  with his father outside the Famous Artists Country Playhouse, Fayetteville, New York, July 1949


MD: What about discipline? Did he do it by just simply a look, or did he do it by …

BL: Yes. That’s all he had to do.

LL: He didn’t even have to lay a hand on him. His look was enough.

BL: He never did.

MD: He became addicted to drugs.

LL: Yes, he did.

MD: When, in the fifties?

LL: Well, there actually is a pre-history to it. He was a lightning pain that manifested itself in his leg. And the doctor said he should not suffer these pains and he should get shots because he developed ulcers. Because he didn’t even believe in aspirins.

MD: What did they give him? Morphine?

LL: At that time, they did. And then we were going to go on a summer tour. And the doctor said, “Now, Lillian, you going to have to give him—it was Methadone and Demerol, a derivative–and he said, you’re going to have to do it. And I’m a chicken. “Doc, I can’t do it.” And he said, “you’re going to have to, or he’s just going to have ulcers again.” So, he proceeded to show my how to do it. Oh, I tortured Bela many times, because the needle would move on me and I’d stick him a couple of times. And he was just said–“That’s alright, Lillian, it doesn’t hurt. That’s alright.” But then I noticed the time limits between the things got shorter and shorter, and they were getting a little bit too short. And I thought, ho-ho, I have a feeling he’s becoming used to this. So, whenever he need—oh, he’d start getting these lightning pains. “Oh, Lillian, I have to have a needle.” I’d say OK, so he got the needle, but I’d squirt it on the floor, I’d squirt it on the ceiling, and he got a little smidgling of it. And he started to think, “Hey, is she doing it right?” So, I got him off of it.

MD: You did?

LL: Oh, yeah.

MD: I understand you’ve seen Frank Gorshin, my co-host, do an impression of him.

BL: I’ve seen him a number of times. The last time was Magic Mountain in California.

FG: Magic Mountain, yeah. I got a note, and it was signed Bela Lugosi, Jr.

BL: Well, it was a very good performance, and I don’t do these kind of things. But I went back stage and left a note for Frank, I liked him so much.

FG: I was really…I thought somebody was putting me on.

MD: You have something very special that you want Frank to try on, don’t you Bela?

BL: I don’t think Frank knows about this, but–this is the cape that my Dad wore in Dracula, the movie.

MD: The real cape!

FG: Oh, you’re kidding. Something’s happening to my image. Well, he was just about my height, huh?

BL: Well, I guess so.

LL: No, Bela was 6’1”.

BL: Well, 6’ 1”—that’s close (audience laughs).

DC: Lift your arms, once.

MD: Lift your arms—that’s it.

FG: I vant…a bottle of aspirins


A 15-year-old Arthur Lennig photographed outside his home with Bela Lugosi

(The Count: the Life and Films of Bela “Dracula” Lugosi – Putnam 1974)


MD: Dr. Lennig, we have one minute left, and you have something that you wanted to bring up a moment ago.

AL: Well, you were talking before about the cult figure. I was 15, I met Mrs. Lugosi and I met Bela, first backstage, when he was doing Dracula in summer stock, then on later in Arsenic & Old Lace. And I told them that I had this shrine in my cellar of my house, and I had always worshiped him. And he was just as pleasant off-screen as he was unpleasant onscreen. So, I was delighted about that. He said “I’d like to see what you have at home.” And so, he made Mrs. Lugosi drive. The great Bela could invent all kinds of things as a mad scientist, but he couldn’t drive a car. And so they drove about eight or nine miles back to my house. And he came in and—there was my mother—and said “Hello, mother,” and he shook her hand. And we went down the cellar, and I had all my photos on the wall. He was kind of proud of me, and patted me on the back, and we had our photos taken. Mrs. Lugosi took the two of us together, and I took them together. And it’s in my book, I have those pictures.

MD: What a marvelous story. Thank you, Mrs. Lugosi, and thank you, Bela.

The Immortal Count: The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi, a rewritten and expanded edition of Arthur Lennig’s 1974 The Count: the Life and Films of Bela “Dracula” Lugosi, was published by University Press of Kentucky in 2010. 

The book is available in various formats directly from:

University Press of Kentucky:


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Suspense Original Radio Broadcast LP

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Suspense Album Sleeve

Originally released in 1973 by Mark 56 Records, this LP features Bela Lugosi’s only appearance on the famous CBS radio mystery series Suspense. The Doctor Prescribed Death was first broadcast on February 2, 1943 with Lugosi as Professor Antonio Bacile, a psychologist who believes that someone who has decided to commit suicide can be persuaded instead to kill another person. When his theory is mocked by his editor, the professor decides to prove it and exact revenge upon his detractor. The script by J. Donald Wilson was reused for an episode of The Whistler radio show broadcast on June 11th 1944 with William Conrad in the title role.

Known as “radio’s outstanding theater of thrills”, Suspense was one of the premier drama programs during the Golden Age of Radio. On the air for twenty years, from 1942-1962, the series employed the talents of Hollywood’s leading actors in its 947 episodes, many of which are acknowledged classics of radio drama. When Suspense was adapted for television in 1949 Lugosi starred in an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s A Cask of Amontillado. (See Suspense (1949))

Based on what we currently know of Lugosi’s radio career, despite having a distinctive voice ideally suited to the medium, he seems to have appeared in surprisingly few radio dramas. Details of his known credits can be found on our Bela Lugosi On The Radio page.

In addition to a complete transcription of The Doctor Prescribed Death, the Mark 56 release features a “narrative introduction” by Bela Lugosi, Jr., who shares his memories of his father to the accompaniment of a musical backing. The following transcription of his introduction was provided by Frank J. Dello Stritto, author of A Quaint & Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore, I Saw What I Saw When I Saw It, and, with Andi Brooks, Vampire Over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain (

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Bela and Bela Jr

Bela Lugosi and his son pose outside the County Playhouse in Fayetteville, New York, between July 11-16, 1949.

‘I remember—I think it was when I was age 12—I had one of the most wonderful summers of my life, when my dad took me on a summer stock tour with him around the East, and I remember almost every moment of that during that summer. And during that summer is when I learned more about my Dad, I suppose because I was older I was more cognizant of him. I remember him being very conscientious with his work, very demanding of himself as an artist, taking pride in his work, being impatient with those who flubbed scenes and did not bring themselves up to the quality of the acting that he thought ought to be given by performers. My dad never did compromise his quality. He was a great artist, a great actor in my estimation.

I think he realized his powers over people, his magnetism. I just remember observing him. I was fascinated with the reaction of others to my father. Everybody remembered him, they had to. I could just see his influence over people. Although I wasn’t too aware of what was happening at the time, I think now that he had probably a tremendous appeal to women. He had a powerful voice, a style about him, which I wish I had. What a tremendously strong-willed individual, and brave individual my father was, and how much he knew. He read constantly in all fields: areas of medicine, law, film making, astronomy, almost any area you could name.

He had phrases in almost every common language—I mean German, French, Italian. He had a saying in almost every language for any occasion that presented itself. He had a working knowledge of many languages. In other words, he wouldn’t starve to death. He’d have food on the table and a place to sleep in almost any country that you’d want to put him in. He could talk to people.  

He regretted the fact that he had become typecast. He wished that he would have had the opportunity to give the world all that he had to offer. I mean, here was a man who had a gift, the ability to entertain by portraying various roles. And the industry in the United States gave him the opportunity with very little exception to play just one role, and that was a horror character. In Europe, it was utilized. In America, it was a mere potential that never was developed except to the extent that he was allowed to play horror roles, with, as I say, very few exceptions. And by the way, those exceptions were refreshing breezes in the night.’


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Suspense Album Sleeve Rear


In addition to impressive artwork featuring Lugosi as Dracula, the Suspense album sleeve contains an appreciation of the actor by Jim Harmon (21 April 1933-16 February 2010). A noted editor and writer of science fiction, Harmon was a pioneer in documenting the Golden Age of Radio. His The Great Radio Heroes (Doubleday, 1967; revised edition by McFarland & Company, 2002), was the first of several volumes he wrote on the subject.

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‘To America in the thirties, Bela Lugosi was Dracula, the vampire. Even today, after many more later films of the vampire legend, Lugosi’s image persists due to television, books and magazines. The exclusive club of movie prototypes has selective entrance requirements indeed and few are the stars who have lived up to them. Valentino, the Latin lover; Tom Mix, the Cowboy (in the silent era); John Wayne, the Cowboy (modern era); Boris Karloff, the Frankenstein Monster; Lugosi, Dracula.

Of course, Lugosi was not always the vampire, and perhaps at times he regretted having become one. In his native Hungary, he was a romantic leading man on the legitimate stage. He came to the United States in the twenties, not completely familiar with the English language. In a recent interview with actor-writer-director Duncan Renaldo I learned that Renaldo produced a short silent film with Lugosi as Punchinello, the tragic clown – a showcase for Lugosi’s commanding body movements (also used as a live model for the animated demon in Walt Disney’s Fantasia many years later).

When he played Dracula (before turning down the monster’s role in Frankenstein) Lugosi’s English was still stiff, unpracticed, but highly distinctive. He seemed rightly to be of another world, the Land of the Undead. The audience was attracted by the representation of Man’s greatest fear, death. Instead of being repelled, we want to look closer into the eyes of the empty skull, to make it seem less awful by making the unknown more familiar. It was Lugosi who assured us “There are worse things awaiting Man than Death!”

There were dark moments ahead for Bela Lugosi. He considered himself a working actor, and took whatever role offered him – a red-herring butler suspect in a murder mystery, mad scientist, villains in serials (such as The Phantom Creeps), a serial hero in one case (Return of Chandu the Magician) but usually some variation of Dracula even if not by that name (Mark of the Vampire). It was a career providing steady employment but not the financial security and status such a unique screen personality deserved.

He left a legacy of chills and solid fun for film freaks of all ages with a few bright moments for fans of vintage radio drama as well.

Jim Harmon

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Founded by musician and producer Georģe Garabedian (born Marcus W. Garabedian) in Anaheim, California, the Mark 56 label specialized in releasing recordings of vintage radio shows, sponsored compilations and novelty records. The album was re-released by the Tin Toy label with its original sleeve artwork on October 14, 2013, and digitally with new artwork on February 3, 2014.

The Doctor Prescribed Death

Tin Toy’s 2014 digital re-release sleeve.

The Doctor Prescribed Death was also released on vinyl by Command Performance Records with a performance of Arsenic and Old Lace featuring Boris Karloff, and by Radiola Records in 1967  under the title Bela Lugosi Meets Alfred Hitchcock (on the radio!), complete with Jim Harmon’s sleeve notes. The Hitchcock story, broadcast in 1945 on the ABC Blue Network, was entitled Once Upon A Midnight.

Command Performance


Bela Lugosi Meets Alfred Hitchcock (on the radio!)

Courtesy of

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Listen to the complete radio broadcast of The Doctor Prescribed Death

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Big Bad Bela: An Interview With Bela Lugosi

Picture Play July 1934


Picture Play, July 1934

Published in the July, 1934 issue of Picture Play, “Big Bad Bela” followed a by-then established format for interviews with Bela Lugosi. In an obligatory set-up, a shuddering reporter fearfully anticipates coming face-to-face with the living embodiment of the horrific characters the actor had become famous for portraying. When the two actually meet, Lugosi is either portrayed as living up to the reporter’s expectations by relating an allegedly true dark and mysterious episode from his life or, as in the case of  Big Bad Bela, as actually being an urbane and charming individual. Writer Joe Mackey spoils his own set-up by revealing that any fears he may have had about Lugosi had already been dispelled when the two met earlier in the year after a performance of Murder at the Vanities in New York. On that occasion the actor proved that he was both “human and humane” by his kindness towards a young disabled fan.

Another staple of interviews with Lugosi, and one which would continue for the rest of his life, was the actor lamenting his typing as a “heavy” and the Hollywood system’s reluctance to allow him to demonstrate the versatility he had displayed as an actor in his early career. Although he was occasionally given the opportunity to appear in non-heavy roles, they were inevitably as supporting characters rather than the starring roles which he craved. Perhaps his career would have taken a much more artistically satisfying direction if he had been prepared to turn his back on the starring roles in the horror films he claimed to despise and instead carve out a niche as a character actor. His unwillingness or inability to do this may have stemmed from something more than just his reluctance to relinquish his star status. Lugosi’s financial footing was always precarious. He was forced to file for bankruptcy at the height of his stardom in 1932. His need for ready cash led to him accepting every role which he was offered. Despite this, he continued to live for the day with little or no thought for the future, a philosophy he would come to rue. During a bleak period of unemployment during the late 1930s, Lugosi lost his house and was forced to apply for financial assistance from the Actors’ Fund when his son was born in 1938. 

That scenario would have been  unimaginable in early 1934. At the time of Joe Mackey’s interview, The Black Cat, Universal’s first star pairing of Lugosi with Boris Karloff, was about to be released. The film would be the studio’s biggest box office hit of the year. With Universal already talking about teaming him with Karloff in two further films, The Suicide Club (which was never made) and The Return of Frankenstein (which was filmed as The Bride of Frankenstein without him), the future must have looked very bright for Big Bad Bela Lugosi.

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Close up Portrait of Bela LugosiHa, Count Dracula himself giving you the evil eye! But don’t be fooled. He’d rather play Don Quixote or something jolly so you can see him as he is in the larger photo.


By Joe MacKey

Lugosi, the screen madman and ogre, is tracked to his home and found to be a humorous, good-natured chap with a pretty wife and three pampered pups.

LUGOSI, the fiend!

I anticipated our meeting with forebodings. Although Lugosi’s residence in Manhattan was a modern apartment house, not even remotely resembling his Castle Dracula, I was certain that the interior would shame a sorcerer’s chambers.

With a vision in my mind of Bela, the master of terror who has chilled millions with his screen demons, I pictured rooms with heavy black hangings, skulls perched atop the piano, and a host barely able to restrain himself from leaping at my throat.

When my fearful forefinger touched the bell, a tall genial gentleman ushered me into a cheery suite of rooms. Surely this was not the home of the weird Bela Lugosi! (Pronounced Bayla Lu-go-see.)

Bela stood looking down at me. The features were those of the man who has raised the blood pressure and lowered the sleeping average of the nation, but the expression was actually benevolent. Benevolence on the face of Count Dracula was an amazing sight.

The Hungarian actor is a muscular chap with twinkling, intelligent blue eyes and an attitude that puts one at ease immediately. There are lines on his face, but they are not from the scowls of monsters. They are from smiling.

And strangely enough, the man who has become celebrated as a film madman and ogre ardently dislikes horror in all its forms. He would rather play Romeo or Don Quixote or comedy parts than creeping menaces.

He describes himself as a heavy by circumstance, not by nature. He bemoans his screen fate and says, “I am definitely typed, doomed to be an exponent of evil. But I want sympathetic roles. Then perhaps parents would tell their offspring, “Eat your spinach and you’ll grow up to be a nice man like Bela Lugosi.” As it is, they threaten their children with me instead of the bogy-man.

“This typing is overdone. I can play varied roles, but whenever some nasty man is wanted to romp through a picture with a wicked expression and numerous lethal devices, Lugosi is suggested. Why, they even wanted to cast me as the Big Bad Wolf in ‘The Three Little Pigs’!”

Big Bad Bela 2

The actor’s tastes are in no way as outré as his film parts would lead one to believe. an example of his quite normal – and quite excellent – taste is Mrs. Lugosi. I had expected to meet an exotic with Machiavelian eyebrows and all the characteristics of a female Dracula, but she proved to be a charming. cultured woman who seems scarcely beyond her teens.

He is too busy for many hobbies but is an animal lover and is devoted to his dogs, Pluto, Hector, and Bodri, which he raised from pups. When his favorite, Dracula, a black Alaskan husky, died he could not work for days,

He is not a movie fan but chooses Mickey Mouse as his favorite screen player.

He considers his portrayal as Cyrano de Bergerac in the Royal National Theater in Budapest his best stage work, and the part that skyrocketed him to fame, that of the vampire count in “Dracula,” best of his film impersonations.

I asked him if he, not being a horror addict, could explain the continued demand for horror pictures.

Lugosi laughed, not the bone-chilling rasp of his movie self, but a pleasant chuckle. “Although I do not relish having my hair stand on end, the popularity of horror pictures is understandable. The screen is the ideal medium for the presentation of gruesome tales. With settings and camera angles alone, the suspense that s so essential in this type of story can be built up.

“Supernatural themes, if deftly handled, are better entertainment for the average moviegoer than love stories or comedies. They are unusual, unique – a departure from hackneyed formula. And they have an almost universal appeal.”

Bela began his movie career in the pretalkie days of 1923, as the villain in “The Silent Command,” and has been playing increasingly heavy heavies ever since.

His current role is opposite that other film fiend, Boris Karloff, in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat.” Following this it is planned to costar the two in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Suicide Club,” and “The Return of Frankenstein.”

“Incidentally,” said Lugosi, “I was originally signed as the monster in “Frankenstein,” but I convinced the studio that the part did not have meat enough.”

It was this role that made Boris Karloff his principal rival for the throne of King of Horror.

Lugosi, however, considers Karloff primarily a make-up artist, and a man inwardly too gentle and kind to be suited for grisly portrayals.

It is an interesting fact that Bela Lugosi was born in Lugos, Hungary, not far from the district where, in bygone centuries, vampires had been horrific realities to the peasants, and more than once a stake had been driven through the heart of a supposed member of the Undead.

One of Bela’s ancestors was the first to settle in Lugos which grew into a thriving village and even today retains the family name of its first citizen.

In New York when he was starring in “Murder at the Vanities” I visited him unexpectedly. A little incident backstage, which he never dreamed would reach print, revealed the true Lugosi.

A youthful paralytic had been waiting to see his idol, Bela, at the stage door. Some one told him after the show and he immediately had the lad carried to his dressing-room. He not only introduced the boy to members of the cast and autographed a photo, but broke a dinner engagement to stay and talk with him. And when the crippled fan left, he told Bela he was no longer just a shadow on celluloid, but a wonderful man. And he meant it.

Lugosi! Human and humane to a fault. I had heard of a huge bat ring with ruby eyes that had been presented to him by the “Dracula” cast, and asked to see it.

“Oh, my ring. Some one stole it.” His eyes became sad for a moment. “I loved that ring. But if whoever has it now will get more pleasure from it than I did, he is welcome to it.”

That is typical of the man who wants to forget horror, and the vampires of Transylvania, the zombies of Hati, voodoo doctors, monsters, maniac scientists, and live here as an American citizen.

And what do you think is the ambition of this premier fiend? It is, in his own words, “To own a dude ranch and live a natural, simple, wholesome life.”

Lugosi – the man!

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NotesPicture Play, July 1934 3

Joe Mackey’s interview contains several inaccuracies:

The Silent Command was Lugosi’s first American film, but he began his film career in Hungary in 1917. See Bela Lugosi Filmography for a complete list of all of his known films.

The Hungarian town of Lugos was not named after one of Bela Lugosi’s ancestors. Born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, his stage name was derived from that of his home town.

Picture Play, July 1934 4

The Bram Stoker Bronze Bust Project

The Bram Stoker Bronze Bust Project

Following the enormous success of the H.P. Lovecraft Bronze Bust Project and the Edgar Allan Poe Bronze Bust Project, sculptor Bryan Moore has set his sights on a third icon of horror literature: Bram Stoker.

Since its publication in 1897, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” has set the standard for the vampire in art, literature, music and film. It’s influence cannot be denied. Scholars have labored over its implications since the Victorian era. Fans, like Moore, have simply enjoyed it for what it is: classic horror at its most potent.

“The character of Count Dracula embodies what we’d all like to be” Moore states. “Sexy, immortal, wise from centuries of lost l’amour, status hard won and enduring to the last. The undead Count represents everything timeless and deathless that never goes out of style throughout the romantic ages.”

As with the Lovecraft and Poe busts, Stoker will be immortalized in bronze to the city of his birth, Dublin, Ireland.

Bryan Moore

“Fans across the globe helped me to place busts of Lovecraft in Providence, Rhode Island and Poe to Boston, Massachusetts. It seemed only fitting that Bram Stoker should return to the Emerald Isle and will be donated to the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square.”

“Placing a bust of Stoker here puts emphasis not only on his personality but also on his nationality” said Robert Nicholson, Curator of the Dublin Writers Museum. “Being born and bred a Dubliner was just as important to Stoker’s genius as it was to that of his contemporary and acquaintance, Oscar Wilde, and to many other writers born here on the cultural faultline.”

Joining Moore in his literary quest of honoring Stoker is no less than Bram’s great grand-nephew Dacre Stoker, who manages the Estate of Bram Stoker as well as co-author of both the sequel to “Dracula” entitled “Dracula; the Un-Dead” and the non fiction “The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker”. Dacre travels the world presenting his informative and entertaining lecture “Stoker on Stoker” to Dracula fans eager to learn more about their favorite author.

“The Bram Stoker Estate is very pleased to endorse the Bram Stoker Bronze Bust Project. The Stoker family would ultimately like to see a statue of Bram displayed in a prominent location in Dublin. A bronze bust is certainly a fitting tribute and this effort by Bryan Moore is to be commended and is worthy of our family’s support.”

David J Skal

Also on board is noted Dracula scholar, author and filmmaker David J. Skal, whose book “Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Screen” paved the way for his much anticipated biography, “Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker”, to be published by Liveright next year.

“Bram Stoker and his extraordinary novel have received serious critical attention only in recent decades,” Skal said. “It’s attention long overdue and this wonderful tribute at an important literary institution will help solidify Stoker’s reputation as one of the most influential imaginative writers of all time.”

Skal will also join Moore at the bust unveiling on May 26th, 2016, the anniversary of “Dracula’s” original publication in 1897. He will also present his first public reading anywhere of passages from “Something in the Blood.”

Something in the Blood

As with the Lovecraft and Poe projects, Moore will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the costs of the bust as well as personally making a financial donation to   Children’s Books Ireland, a local organization that promotes children’s literacy.

“It’s an incredible amount of work for many months to plan and launch these bust projects with the project team, but also incredibly rewarding” says Moore. “So many fellow fans from across the world rally to the cause and help me turn this vision into a reality, which is to celebrate these legendary authors of works that mean so much to the public consciousness and to pop culture. It’s about time that the authors of these classics of horror literature were seen as legitimate scribes of something really special that never becomes dated. Horror will outlast us all.”

All inquiries can be directed to Lizette Webb-Strike at

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Related Posts & Pages

An Interview With Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker interview from the July 1st, 1897 edition of The British Weekly

Staged Reading Of Dracula At The Lyceum Theatre In 1897

Bram Stoker’s own stage adaptation of his novel

Contemporary Reviews Of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Reviews of Dracula From the UK, Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada

The Library 

The Library contains images of some of the many different editions of Dracula, from early and rare editions to modern editions featuring Bela Lugosi on the cover. The library also contains images of books about the stage and screen versions of Dracula, Bram Stoker’s other books, biographies of both Bela Lugosi and Bram Stoker, magazines and fanzines.

There Are Such Things! Bram Stoker Interviews Michael Theodorou About His New Stage Play.

Bela Lugosi’s Plan 9 From Outer Space Cane Sells For $10,000 Dollars At Auction

Bela's Cane

On Monday, November 23, 2015, a cane used by Bela Lugosi in footage filmed by Ed Wood and later incorporated into his famous science-fiction film Plan 9 From Outer Space sold for $10,000 in the “TCM Presents… Treasures From The Dream Factory” auction at Bonhams in New York.

Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 From Outer Space 1

Bela Lugosi in a scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space

Lot 388 in the auction, the 35 1⁄4 inch faux-bamboo wood cane, along with a copy of Plan 9 From Outer Space, had a projected estimate of $1,000-$1,5000, but keen interest from collectors drove the price up tenfold. The successful bidder was Jason Insalaco, the great-nephew of actor Paul Marco, one of Ed Wood’s ensemble of actors who appeared as the character “Kelton the Cop” in the Ed Wood films Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Night of the Ghouls.

Ed wood, Criswell and Paul MarcoEd Wood, Criswell and Paul Marco on the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space

Insalaco, the noted collector of Ed Wood artifacts who located and had restored a long-lost Ed Wood TV pilot called Final Curtain, was quoted as saying, “This treasure will not be stowed in prop purgatory. I look forward to exhibiting this exceptional piece of Hollywood history along with other never-before-seen memorabilia from ‘Plan 9’ and Ed Wood’s personal collection. The fact that Bela personally used this cane provides unique appeal beyond its movie prop prominence. This item has an emotional and historical resonance for Lugosi, Wood, and cinema enthusiasts from around the world. I am honored to be its new caretaker.”


Bela Lugosi in a scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space

The footage in which Bela Lugosi is seen using the cane was shot by Ed Wood in August of 1956 outside the Los Angeles house of actor Tor Johnson. Also a professional wrestler, Johnson appeared with Lugosi in the films Bride of the Monster and The Black Sleep. He also had roles in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space and Night of the Ghouls.

Plan 9 From Outer Space Lobby Card 1Tor Johnson in a scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space

Although it is not known which film this and other footage of Lugosi shot by Wood around the same time were originally intended for, both the actor and the director had mentioned proposed projects titled Tomb of the Vampire and The Ghoul Goes West prior to the filming. Bela Lugosi’s death in August, 1956 put paid to whatever plans they had and Wood instead incorporated all of the footage into Plan 9 From Outer Space, which was scripted after Lugosi’s death.

Bela prepares to testify with new cane.Bela Lugosi preparing to give voluntary testimony at a Senate subcommittee on drug trafficking

The cane is said to have been Bela Lugosi’s personal property rather than just a prop. He did own at least one other cane, which he bought to add a theatrical touch to his voluntary testimony at a Senate subcommittee on drug trafficking in November 1955, two months after his discharge from Metropolitan State Hospital where he was successfully cured of his addiction to prescribed drugs.

After Bela Lugosi’s death, the cane resided in the collection of Forrest J. Ackerman. It was later sold as lot E5 by Guernsey’s in the “Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror: The World of Forrest J. Ackerman” auction in 1987. Ackerman had personally known both Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi, acting as the former’s literary agent.

Bela, Wendayne Ackerman and Forrest J. AckermanBela Lugosi visiting Wendayne and Forrest J. Ackerman at their home

Other Lugosi-related items which at one time formed part of Ackerman’s famous collection included his Dracula ring, the robe he wore in The Raven, a cape made in 1932, which he wore in both stage productions of Dracula and some of the footage used in Plan 9 from Outer Space, and a first edition of Dracula signed by Bram Stoker, Bela Lugosi and many other personalities with a link to Dracula.

FJA 1st Edition

Among the other 397 lots in the auction were a gingham dresses worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, which sold for $1,565,000 and the “Rosebud” sled from Citizen Kane, which sold for $149,000.

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Bela Lugosi’s Iconic Dracula Cape Donated to The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Bela Lugosi Movie Cape Found in Garage Sale.

Bela Lugosi Yard Sale Cape Pulled From Auction

The Return Of The “Mother Riley Meets The Vampire” Robot

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Bela Lugosi and Dracula Return To The Big Screen

Dracula Double Bill 2Bela Lugosi will return to cinemas in his signature role in a Dracula double feature on October 25th and 28th. Part of the “TCM Presents” series, the presentation of both the 1931 English and Spanish language versions of Dracula will give fans a unique chance to see the two films side by side on the big screen.

Both versions were shot on the same sets with the same script. Director Tod Browning filmed the English language version during the day, while director George Melford, who did not speak Spanish, shot the Spanish language version through the night.

It was common practice for Hollywood studios to produce foreign language versions of their films in the early days of sound production, but many of these alternative versions are now considered lost. Melford’s Dracula was itself thought lost until a print was discovered in the 1970s and restored.

Dracula Edward Van Sloan and Bela LugosiEdward Van Sloan and Bela Lugosi in the English language Dracula

Although Bela Lugosi’s performance is acclaimed as the definitive portrayal of the vampire Count Dracula, Melford’s film is considered superior to Browning’s by many critics. While Carlos Villarías, who was encouraged to imitate Lugosi, was unable to match Bela Lugosi’s performance, the Spanish crew were able to create a more artistic film by studying Browning’s dailies and trying to use better camera angles and more effective lighting. Interestingly, the Spanish language version contains some long shots of Bela Lugosi and some alternate takes from the English version. Lupita Tovar, the female star of the Spanish language version of Dracula is, at 105, perhaps the last living connection to Universal’s twin productions of Dracula.

Spanish DraculaCarlos Villarías and Lupita Tovar in the Spanish language Dracula

Dracula was re-released several times during Bela Lugosi’s lifetime. The actor himself claimed in a 1952 TV interview that it was “the only picture in existence in all the world…which seems to be revived in every city in America every year.” Its most spectacular revival came in 1938 when it was re-released as a double feature with Frankenstein. The pairing caused such a sensation that Universal rushed Son of Frankenstein into production, ushering in a new cycle of horror films and restoring the career of Bela Lugosi, who had found himself practically unemployable when horror films fell out of fashion a few years earlier.

The Dracula double feature will be screened in select cinemas at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time on both days. For details of participating cinemas and to purchase tickets, please visit

Dracula Double Bill 1

Dracula double feature trailer

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