The Tuesday Program
October 17, 1939
Bela guested with singer Mary Martin and strongman Charles Atlas on Walter O’Keefe’s CBS show. In a comedy scene, Bela played a werewolf with a “terrible case of rabies.”
The Lewiston Daily Sun, October 17, 1939
Charles Atlas, “World’s Strongest Man,” and Bela Lugosi will be heard with Walter O’Keefe over the WABC-Columbia network tonight.
Richmond Times Dispatch, October 17, 1939
The New York World Telegram, October 17, 1939
BELA LUGOSI CAN IMAGINE NO HORROR QUITE SO BAD AS HAVING A HORROR THAT RUNS OUT ON YOU
He Came Back on a Revived Dracula and Now Things Are Rosy in a Scary Way
By H. Allen Smith
There was no doubt about it. Someone was in Room 3601. There were noises such as might be made by a body being dragged across the floor. There were thuds now and again, and occasionally a weird sound like a moan. Yet nobody came to answer the door buzzer.
So back downstairs to the lobby of Essex House and another phone to Room 3601. It brought an immediate response. “Yes,” said the deep, hallow voice. “I have been here all the while. Alone. Come up.”
This time the door of Room 3601 was ajar. No one was in view, so we walked into the living room. Suddenly from the bedroom came scream that was as suddenly cutoff and followed by a burst of hellish laughter.
Bela Lugosi stood in the doorway, a boyish grin spreading over his dark face, a bottle of sulphur water in his hand.
“Come in,” he urged. “Sit down. It is nice that you come. But I am a horror man to everyone, so I give a little atmosphere.”
It was quite early in the morning and Mr. Lugosi had on a bright red robe over his pajamas. He drinks imported mineral water so heavy with sulphur that it expands the walls when a bottle is opened.
“It smells,” he agreed, “like rotten eggs, but tastes good. I have come East to be on the radio with Mr. MacKeefie.”
Translated from the Hungarian, this last sentence means that Mr. Lugosi is here for a guest shot with Walter O’Keefe at CBS tonight, when we will play a werewolf with a terrible case of rabies.
In Hollywood, Mr. Lugosi recently finished a role in “Ninotchka” with Greta Garbo. It was the first traffic he ever had with the glamorous Swede and he’s all for her. He’s the kind of fellow who, if he didn’t like her, would say so in spades.
“We are both racketeering in mystery,” he said. “She is mysterious by publicity and I am mysterious by trade. I thought she would be a spoiled badness, but she was not. I did not fall in love with her at first, but later yes. She is so damn human it is wonderful.”
LOW IN HORROR
Mr. Lugosi has gone through some trying times during the last few years. He confesses that the economic horrors almost got him down. The days of defeat were bitter, because they followed on a period of fine prosperity.
“I had a fine big house,” he said, “with plenty of servants and big automobiles. Then comes the non-horror fad. Bela cannot get a job. I lost everything. I lost my house and my cars and we move to a little house I lease. Next comes the baby. I tell you, I had not enough money for it. The actor relief fund helped me pay for the baby.”
Then one day the owner of a small Hollywood theater, facing bankruptcy, started reviving old horror pictures. He brought in “Dracula” and it ran for five weeks.
“One day,” said Lugosi, “I drive past and see my name, and big lines, people all around. I wonder what he is giving away to the people—maybe bacon or vegetables. But it is the comeback of horror, and I come back.
Universal went to work on “Son of Frankenstein.” Then Mr. Lugosi shipped to England to make “Dark Eyes of London.” Next came the part of the sinister butler in “The Gorilla,” then “The Phantom Creeps” and “Ninotchka.” His next picture assignment is “Friday the 13th.”
“It all happens, you see when the baby comes,” he explained. “It is like the proverb the peasant have in Hungary—God makes a place in the pasture for the new lamb. New we have a small house. I do not have to telephone from room to room to find out where my wife is. Not if I had millions would I go back to the old way.”
Doesn’t he ever get tired of being typed as a horror-man?
“I could say yes,” he agreed, “but I don’t. We are all after the little dollars to pay the rent, and so long as we get the little dollars, it is all right. But remember that for 20 years, I was a straight actor, never even a villain. Then Universal says: ‘Lugosi. Horror. Box Office. Fine’ And I am horror.”
Ellensburgh Daily Record, November 9, 1939
Man About Manhattan
By George Teacher
The other afternoon during a Walter O’keefe rehearsal, one of the actors let loose with a scream that almost shattered the microphones. The entire cast just glanced up and went on with their business, that is, the entire cast with one exception. The exception took almost ten minutes to recover from the scare and shock. His name is Bela Lugosi, the horror man of the screen.