March 27, 1931
Bela Lugosi appeared on Los Angeles’ KFI Radio to promote the film Dracula. Although no recording of his appearance is known to exist, Bela’s own typed copy of his speech was preserved in one of his scrapbooks:
I read the book, Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, 18 years ago, and I always dreamed to create and to play the part of Dracula. Finally the opportunity came. Horace Liveright, stage producer of New York, acquired the stage rights of the novel and he chose me for the part. I have played the role of Dracula about a thousand times on the stage, and people often ask me if I still retain my interest in the character. I do—intensely. Because many people regard the story of Dracula simply as a glorified superstition, the actor who plays the role is constantly engaged in the battle of wits with the audience, in a sense, since he is constantly striving to make the character so real that the audience will believe in it.
Now that I have appeared in the screen version of the story which Universal has just completed, I am of course not under this daily strain in the depiction of the character. My work in the direction was finished with the completion of the picture, but while it was being made I was working more intensely to this end then I ever did on the stage.
Although Dracula is a fanciful tale of a fictional character, it is actually a story which has many essential elements of truth. I was born and reared in almost the exact location of the story, and I came to know that what is looked upon merely as superstition of ignorant people, is really based on facts which are literally hair-raising in their strangeness—but which are true. Many people will leave the theatre with a shift at the fantastic character of the story; but many others who think just a deeply will gain an insight into one of the most remarkable facts of human existence. Dracula is a story which has always had a powerful effect on the emotions of an audience, and I think that the picture will be no less effective than the stage play. In fact, the motion picture should even prove more remarkable in this direction, since many things which could only be talked about on the stage are shown on the screen in all their uncanny detail.
I am sure you will enjoy Dracula. I am sure you will be mightily affected by its strange story, and I hope that it will make you think—about the weirdest, most remarkable condition that ever affected mankind.
I thank you.