1940: Mixed Blessings

In 1940 Bela Lugosi appeared in four films and toured in vaudeville on the East Coast for five weeks. The films include his last co-starring role at Universal with Boris Karloff (Black Friday), his only film with Peter Lorre (a comedy at RKO, You’ll Find Out, also with Boris Karloff), and a murder mystery (The Saint’s Double Trouble). In all the movies, his billing outranks his screen time. His parts are small—in The Saint movie so small that his character does not even need a name.

His only true starring role in 1940 is in The Devil Bat, the first of his mad doctor poverty row films that would dominate his movie career through the World War II years. In his interviews, he seems happy to be working and in demand, though the oddest article of 1940 shows that he was still trying to break his stereotype. His attempts to find a decent role away from horror and villainy involved his name very tangentially in a young and perhaps disturbed woman’s suicide. Had Bela “Dracula” Lugosi not added spice to an already juicy story, he would not have been mentioned at all in the coverage.

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Modern Screen, January 1940

Modern Screen Magazine, January 1940

HORROR MEN TALK ABOUT HORROR

by Martha Kerr

Bela Lugosi, famed Dracula of stage and screen, purveyor of more shudders, creeps and chills than any man on stage or screen, gave me his idea of horror. A more practical, everyday, utilitarian brand of horror than that expressed by Mr. Rathbone or Mr. Karloff.

Bela Lugosi said, “I have just emerged out of a period in my life, a period of such horror as neither rattling bones, ghosts that walk, vampires that arise out of their graves, Dracula himself, nor Frankenstein’s monster could possibly give me. I have felt my spine melt to jelly as I read The Beetle, Singers of Fear, The Turn of the Screw, famed among horror stories, but I could read them on my death-bed now and laugh as I read by comparison with the horror I have known.”

“Horror, to me, comes not from the other world but from this one. I did not work for two years,” said Mr. Lugosi, with such stark simplicity that the very skeleton of fear rattled its lean, bared bones. “During that time I had a son. My first child. Horror, to me, is what I lived through during those two years. Horror, to me, is sitting, as I sat night and day, day and night, by the telephone, thinking, ‘Now comes the call…now…now…now!’ Horror, to me, is knowing that if the call did not come, there would not be food in the ice-box, nor light nor heat nor a place for my unborn baby to lay his head, nor a roof over the head of his mother. There is no agony like it.”

“Horror, to me, is losing our home as we did. Our home into which I had put all of my savings. Horror, to me, is learning that you cannot influence your destiny. Horror, to me, is the reptilian sting of the knowledge of my own stupidity, my own lack of foresight, my belief that because I had always worked, I would always work.”

“I sat by the phone until I grew into the chair. I haunted, as Dracula himself could not have haunted, agents, studios, casting offices, places where Lugosi might profitably be seen, be remembered. Horror, to me, is the moving picture of myself, an actor, struggling for another chance, a contract, a week’s work, a day’s work, a bit, an extra job. And knowing that the more I struggled, the more frantic and therefore the more obvious my squirmings and gaspings, the more I was defeating my own ends. For horror is knowing that you won’t find anybody to give you a hand when you are down. A down-&-out actor is already a ghost haunting the corridors where once he walked a star.”

“At long last, you come home one day, as I came home, and your wife tells you that the call has come and the gates are opened again!”

“No, I am not afraid of the supernatural. I am afraid only of the horror I have just described. Now, horror, to me, concerns my baby. Horror that an automobile will pass over him when he is old enough to run about at play. Horror that a hand may snatch him from where he sleeps. Fear, of course, fear is what I am trying to say. Fear is horror. Not fear for one’s self—fear for those you love better than yourself. Fear lest through your failure they may go hungry, go cold, go homeless or be hurt. Fear for those I love—that is what horror means to me.”

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You'll Find OutBoris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in a scene from You’ll Find Out

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Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1940

Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood

HORROR MEN OF SCREEN JUST PAIR OF HOME-LOVING FOLKS, AFTER ALL

by Hedda Hopper

It was a dark and stormy night. Mist hung over the mountains like a halo in search of a hero. It was the sort of dreary California evening Miami papers boast about in headlines. And it made me think of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi; and when you think of wither or both of them, you can’t sleep anyway. So I decided to call and try to arrange an intimate, heartless-to-heartless talk.

Half an hour later, caressed by the fog, I found Boris Karloff’s Coldwater Canyon castle looming in front of me. The yelp of a dog pierced the still-born feeling of the night and sent an involuntary chill up my spine. But the whine of the hound brought my host to the gate, and the warmth of the crackling fire, the tumbler of sherry from a vat on the bat and broad smiles from Karloff and Lugosi made me feel at home.

HOME-LOVING DADDY

The Karloff estate is a showplace and Boris is proud of it because he planned and did most of the garden with his own hands. There is no wallpaper nor stucco work anywhere within the home, the walls are white brick, plain, solid substantial looking. The house is on a hilltop and completely surrounded by woods—an ideal setting for the type of picture you’re likely to see its owner featured in. Incongruous are the nursery touches trailing through the living room, said parlof and bar—rattles, dolls and hobby houses. Karloff’s happiness is centered upon Baby Sara Jane, born on the 51st birthday of her dad, November 23, 1938.

Karloff can’t get over the courage of women. “When we were expecting Sara Jane’s arrival any minute I was in the midst of making Son of Frankenstein. Instead of comforting Mrs. Karloff during the time when I thought she needed it most, she bolstered my courage. How unreal her nerve makes all the characters I’ve ever played in pictures seem.”

Then I thought of a story that went the rounds after the baby’s birth—a story that he was called from the studio and ran to the hospital in the frightening makeup of “Frankenstein.”

HOLLYWOOD LEGEND

“That was just a Hollywood legend,” he smiled, “When I asked the director how much longer he would shoot and told him why I was so interested, he merely said, ‘Shooting for the day is over, go down to the hospital and meet you new master.’”

Bela Lugosi grinned and said, “I know how it was. I went through hell when our boy was born. It gave me such a scare and I was so nervous I took to smoking cigars.”

“But, Bela,” Karloff said, “I thought cigars made you more nervous.”

“Not me; I smoke cigars without nicotine. It’s the nicotine that makes you nervous!”

I listened and thought how silly sitting here on a spooky night listening to two men who have given millions the jitters worrying for fear smoking will make them nervous. And I wonder if these men had been afraid to sleep alone in the dark when they were boys. Karloff said emphatically “No.” And Lugosi  said he wasn’t afraid to sleep in the dark because other members of his family slept in the same room, but many years later, when he came to Hollywood and rented a huge home, he lived alone but didn’t like it.

HAUNTED, MAYBE?

“I hired a couple, but they slept in a different wing of the house. It was so deathly still that every rustle of the leaves crackled like dynamite and I’d wake with a start. For months, I read till dawn, then, fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.”

I asked how he overcame lonesomeness.

“Oh! When I married my first wife,” he replied.

“What do you mean—your ‘first’?”

“Well,” he shuffled uneasily and said: “I’ve been married four times. First one was for companionship, which I got for two years. My second marriage lasted 14 days…”

“What? Didn’t you renew her option!”

“Say,” Bela went on, “that 14 days was a lifetime compared to my third. That lasted three days. Then I learned my lesson. Marriage is a matter of a good break, like a good part. But I found her six years ago. She’s wife, mother, goddess, watchdog, secretary and angel, all combined. And I don’t think anybody could be happier.”

Mr. Lugosi’s matrimonial sweepstake gave me the feeling that even Tommy Manville might be a happily married man someday.

Suddenly I jumped a foot. That haunted house feeling got me. Something was rustling around my ankles. And when I looked down, discovered a duck. Karloff roared.

“Don’t let Abigail get you,” he said, “Abigail was a birthday present and she’s so tame she eats out of my hand. I leave water in the pool all winter so she’ll have a place to sleep and she gets along beautifully with 11-year old Persian cat, Whisky, and the parrot.”

“Who’s Whisky?” I inquired.

Karloff whistled, and in came the blackest Scotty I’ve ever seen.

“Is that the wolf who yelped when I breezed in?” I asked.

“Sure. Whisky’s the only dog I have left.”

IMPORTED HORROR

Both bogey-man came from Europe. Lugosi, a Hungarian, became an American citizen 10 years ago. He doesn’t take his citizenship for granted; feels he’s lucky to be an American, and thinks every naturalized American and every person born here should kneel every morning and utter a prayer for being an American.

Karloff , on the other hand, hasn’t become a citizen yet. “This was the land of opportunity for me,” he said sincerely, “but it never occurred to me to take out papers.”

I wanted to get a little more of the bogey-mean stuff and I asked both gentlemen if they read detective stories. They don’t. Both prefer biographies, Gunther and Shakespeare to thrillers. They don’t mind being called bogey-men because it pays so well. Only difficulty is that it takes more out of them physically because it’s no cinch to work in heavy makeup for those grotesque characterizations.

“Any credit that I got on the make-up in Frankenstein, Karloff remarked, “should go to Jack Pierce, Universal’s ace make-up man. When Director Whale saw me in The Criminal Code, he thought I just might be the one he wanted for Frankenstein; but when I auditioned for the part, it was Pierce’s genius and not mine that won.

Lugosi said: “Even the part of the bloodthirsty “Dracula” didn’t haunted me. This may sound like a publicity story. But during the making of Dracula, I had an infected finger and when the doctor cut it and it bled a little, I fainted and couldn’t go back to being “Dracula” for two days.

MEN, NOT MONSTERS

Both men agree that wherever they go, they’re recognized and, as soon as they’re introduced, the person who meets them looks them over, then remarks: “Scare me,” or “I didn’t sleep for weeks after I saw your picture,” or “You really are normal, aren’t you?”

They get lots of crank letters, but are far from being the fan’s pets. Talking about fan mail reminded Lugosi of the time John Barrymore got an eight page letter from a fan who raved about how wonderful John was and ending up with: “Won’t you please try to get me a picture of Rin Tin Tin autographed with his paws. That’s like Douglas Fairbanks meeting the King of Spain and the King asking only about Fatty Arbuckle.

The company was so charming I didn’t realize it was getting really late—too late for a woman to be alone on the road. Besides, I thought I had enough of the private lives of the bogey-men to make a column, but before leaving made them promise that if ever a romance took place between Miss Sara Jane Karloff and Mr. Bela Lugosi, Jr., I’d be given the scoop. I can see the headline now: Preacher Ties Knot for Dracula’s Daughter and Son of Frankenstein” or better still: “Bogeymen Give Away Dracula’s Daughter and the Son of Frankenstein.”

Oh, boy! On, girl! Oh, bogey!

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On the set of You'll FinD Out

Bela Lugosi, unidentified crew member and Peter Lorre on the set of You’ll Find Out

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The Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1940

Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood

MASTER OF HORROR PICTURES EXPLAINS FEAR PSCHOLOGY THAT PUTS THEM OVER

by Hedda Hopper

A siren scream on Hollywood Blvd. Before I knew what I was doing I was out of my chair and halfway out the door.

“Hold on, Hopper,” I said to myself, fighting that impish instinct which was pushing me out to investigate.

“It’s probably an auto accident and you never could stand the sight of blood. You’d better get back to your desk and finish that column.”

It worked for a second more, until the second siren.

The time I was down the elevator in such a hurry that I even forgot to put on the oriole laying an egg on a velvet nest (the salesgirl said it was a hat).

I elbowed my way through the crowd down the street—and if you’ve ever seen Hopper’s elbows in action you’ll know what I mean. I had plenty of practice on the subway when I commuted for five years to Long Island.

It wasn’t a particularly busy time of the day but there must have been 150 people crowding around the police car and the ambulance.

It was a bad smashup. One driver was laid out on the sidewalk: a young interne was administering first aid while the cops were extricating the other. “Please stand back. Let’s give him some air.”

Why Do They Do It?

The crowd pushed back grudgingly, but began pressing forward again. Their faces were a study. I saw curiosity on some, relief on others. Some said, “Gee I’m glad it’s not me.” There was fear on all. Definitely fear.

The interne repeated his plea and finally called one of the patrolmen to clear a space around the victim. The people didn’t leave. They stayed right there until they bundled the poor fellow off to the emergency hospital.

It all happened in a couple of flashes. Next thing I knew, I was back at my desk, thinking (Yes, I really do, occasionally). “Hopper, what makes people do that?” my brain kept asking.

“What made you follow that siren? What makes most of us run to a fire, crowd ’round a street brawl, fight our way through the crowd to see the house from which the little boy was kidnapped, drive pell mell to the scene of a train wreck?”

Similarity Noted

Is it because we’re cruel and mean at heat and like to see other people suffer? Is it because death and horror fascinate? Is it an imp of some kind that’s bottled up most of the time but pops out the cork like fizz water and sends us doing thing we just can’t resist?”

Just then another thought popped into my head, which prompted this column. Maybe there is a connection between inner instinct that drives us to an accident and the urge that keeps us waiting in line in front of a theater to pay money to get scared out of a year’s growth  by a Lugosi’s “Dracula,” a Karloff’s “Frankenstein,” or a Lorre’s “M.”

Let’s take Bela first. I found him sitting on the set for You’ll Find Out, watching Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre doing a scene that gave me the creeps. Karloff and Lorre were plotting a way to dispatch Helen Parrish into Kingdom Come.

With their usual delicacy they decided to tie a spear point to a heavy chandelier so it could be released with a twist of the wrist without warning to the victim below. Just then Lugosi spotted me. “What’s the matter, Hopper? Got a chill?”

“I’m disgustingly healthy, thanks. But you boys are turning me into a doddering old woman with those antics.”

“Oh, come on. I’ll bet you enjoyed it,” laughed Bela. “And there are millions like you all over America,” he went on. “That’s why horror pictures never lose money. People love being scared. They can’t help it.”

“Horror pictures aren’t made by accident. They serve a definite demand on the part of the public. Take this Kay Kyser picture.”

“Like other scary pictures, You’ll Find Out will establish the villain as something monstrous—only in this there are three. Then we’ll make you feel that Helen is your own sister and the hero your own son.”

“By the time the story gets rolling, you’ll be biting your nails and trying to keep your hair from standing on end—that is, if your emotional responses are normal.”

“I agree, but why?”

Fear Still Rules

“Because,” said Lugosi, “you gave the skeleton banging in the closet of your prehistoric past a chance to get out for an airing.”

“What skeleton?” I asked, feeling that maybe Lugosi knew too much about me.

“A skeleton called fear,” he said gravely. “No matter how smart or sophisticated, we’ve never been able to master that old dormant fear aroused in or ancestors thousands, maybe billions of years ago. A horror picture gives you something to fear that is real to you, as long as you are under its spell.”

“Today, we’ve vanquished the beasts. We laugh at wind and rain. We live in cozy air-conditioned houses. We know how to store crops against the lean years. Yes, we’ve licked hunger. We’ve learned how to fight most diseases and in the process we’ve almost forgotten the meaning of real fear.”

Faith One Factor

“But that original feeling won’t quite let us forget. If still lurks deep down in the subconscious. It makes us restless, gives us a craving for a more dangerous and adventurous life than we’re leading. It makes some of us explorers, other race drivers, some even deep-sea divers. We just have to let off steam. We lap up all the latest news from Europe for the same reason.”

“Every generation takes us one step farther away from the jungle and the memory of its lurking, lurid dangers. When we watch a movie and keep hoping the hero will triumph over the evil monster we’re showing our faith in the one fundamental truth of humanity’s future—that good will triumph over evil.”

To which I said, “Amen.”

And so I believe it will be, even in this present war, as it has in all the others. But when peace finally settles again over the earth, let us for once in the history of the world, do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

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You'll Find OutLugosi, Lorre and Karloff in a publicity still for You’ll Find Out

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The Evening Times, Massillon, Ohio, November 13, 1940

HOLLYWOOD’S THREE BOGIE MEN STREAMLINED BUT BRING SHIVERS

by Lorena Carleton

Central Press Correspondent

Hollywood, Nov. 13 — The boogie men have gone streamlined.

But don’t relax! They still can make your hair stand on end in electrified spikelets.

Yes, the Three Leers are all duded up. Bela flaunts a swathe of metal cloth that would make some glamor girl a dandy cocktail frock and a turban worthy of Lilly Dache. Peter Lorre wears a decorous dinner jacket while Boris Karloff is the biggest surprise of all in white tie and tails. In fact he looks suave enough to make the heart of most any woman over 25 do a definite pitty-scoot.

But be careful! And don’t accept that orchid corsage! It’s tied with a baby cobra.

Time was when the public was satisfied with one bogie man, but not now. Today they demand a batch. Surely there is a reason for such wholesale horror-hankering.

IT GOES BACK YEARS

Lugosi—good old Dracula—traces the urge back to our ancestors. Back to that era when caves, instead of night clubs and penthouse apartments were lined with leopard skins. Back to that era when women never had to use tweezers on their eyebrows because they were habitually lifted arches of fear, over quick-moving watchful eyes.

In those dim, lone gone days, people developed an exceptionally keen fear instinct that warned of danger. However, as time went on the cavemen—when they were not on hunting expeditions or dragging their mates around by the hair of the head grows devoted love—invented weapons to conquer various beasts, until here we are, in the present with a perfectly good, well-developed capacity for fear and not enough work for it to do.

So, as an outlet for our instructive danger craving, we take out fright by proxy, as it were. Some read murder mysteries, preferably an Agathe Christie with 10 victims, or go see horror pictures. If you like horror pictures, you’re not crazy, Lugosi claims. You’re simply atavistic.

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Transcribers Note: The article below is a very odd piece on the suicide of a young woman with slight and questionable ties to Lugosi. Why the author singles out Lugosi for bitter jabs is unknown. I have never seen this article in print. Around 1970, there was a copy in the clippings files at the Lincoln Center Library in New York (and like almost everything in those files, it is now missing). Yolande Evans was born Iris Fontana, in New York in 1913, to a family of newly arrived Italian immigrants. Iris often used alternate names. As Yolanda Bartolotti, she married and soon divorced in 1930, and made the news as a stowaway on the Ile de France ocean liner. Iris then travelled aboard, principally to China. She returned to New York claiming to be an agent and writer in theatre and movies, but I have been unable to find any mention of her in show business news. Yolanda married Harry Evans in 1939, and took her own life in April 14, 1940, apparently the night that Harry moved out of their apartment. Whether her correspondence with famous actors, including Lugosi, is genuine or forged has not been determined.

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1940 King Features

CHALLENGE TO THE BOGEY MAN

Horror Champ Lugosi Offered Yolande Evans $10,000 for a Plot;

Now He Might Use Her Hair-Raising Life-Story as a Prize Picture Plot,

and Without Cost

by Charles Neville

Just two months ago, Bela Lugosi, screen boogey man, who achieved immortality as Dracula, offered Yolande Evans, play broker, world traveler, leading figure in many adventures, $10,000 in cash for a story that would fit the shocking character by which the public believed him possessed. “I like horror parts sincerely,” he had said, “but not exclusively. I like a part with a little of everything in it. Romance, too.” Just such a story was developing in Yolande Evans’ mind, but she did not sell it to the eerie actor. He was disappointed when he did not hear from her—until he read that she had killed herself. Where, now could he get that story? Well, he has the story and without paying $10,000 or $1 or even a dime. What is here set down represents a rough sketch, a first draft of Yolande Evans’ story. Any journeyman scenarist can fill in detail and dialogue. The scene of the story swings between Hong Kong and Hollywood, with a long interval on Broadway, a brief interval in a French jail, and episodes in many American cities. She seemed pursued by a horrible hallucination of fear that at times appeared to assume almost human form and within her heart burned an insatiable longing for love. So, she came to know many men, to encounter exotic adventure in many forms and finally to seek in suicide sanctuary from the pursuing fear! They found her dead, alone in her smart New York apartment with gas pouring from three burners in the kitchenette stove and on the telephone table a pad with the beginning of a penciled memorandum. “Call up ____.” Neighbors said that her broker husband, Harry Evans, had left the apartment the night before carrying several suitcases. Pictures affectionately inscribed and letters from celebrated screen and stage stars were found, too. Edmund Lowe, Dorothy Mackaill, Lenore Ulric, Gladys Cooper, Ruth Chatterton, Edward Everett Horton,  and others were represented. Apparently, almost all wanted plays and stories but Lugosi was most insistent. He offered $10,000 cash! Death came to her as the German troops were slashing across Scandinavia into which Hitler’s squadrons had been admitted by traitors. Of course, this must have been pure co-incidence—but Yolande had made mysterious trips to Europe and the Far East, with passports issued under strange names and the coincidence may be worth noting, Mr. Lugosi. As detectives dug deeper they found a fantastic figure developing, a dark, beautiful girl, ever on the wing as if pursued, often changing her identity. French, she was assumed to be, and she left the assumption pass, but the fact seemed to be that she was the daughter of Tuscan parents who came to live on New York’s East where the child, Yolande, was born. Yolande, Iris, Uelanda and other names she used in New York but even before that—at seventeen—she was the heroine of an elopement, imprisonment and estrangement! Ten years ago, she met a young transportation man who infatuated her at first sight. They were married two days later. Fear seemed to seize her then and within three weeks, she pleaded with the bridegroom to leave town with her at once. He refused. Penniless, she left him disappearing utterly, while the bridegroom searched the city. Two days after the girl vanished, she reappeared—on the high seas, climbing from the hold of the Ile de France on which she cleverly stowed away. Doesn’t Yolande Evans’ story begin pretty well, Mr. Lugosi? The dark child of the tenements, with the angelic face and fear-haunted eyes…the first thrill of love…the elopement and marriage…and flight again…with the big steamship …and the fear and terror gradually taking form…can’t you see yourself the personification of that bat-like figure, Mr. Lugosi? By all the rules of fiction, the little starving stowaway should have captivated captain and crew and dominated the luxury liner, but Yolande didn’t. She was assigned quarters with the steward and put to work for her board. By all the regulations of romance she should have met a French nobleman, a Hollywood producer, a Broadway millionaire—perhaps she did, but none of these did anything about it, so far as the record shows, at that time. But the idea, though trite, is still good, Mr. Lugosi. When the liner docked at Havre, the stowaway was tossed into jail for five days. Home she came and thereafter was lost to fame for several years. There came after five years, the expedition to Hong Kong and by that time, the transportation man and Yolande had parted and perhaps forgotten one another. As Iris Fontana, in 1935, at twenty two years of age, Yolande went to the Orient to study war conditions for publication and radio broadcasting. She returned last October and opened a Broadway office with a branch in Hollywood and gradually she became a figure of importance in the sphere of stage and screen—China—California—and Broadway in the middle—with fear taking more definite form gradually and Yolande feeling the increased need of protection. She hid behind other names than Yolande Palmer, Iris Patten, Iris Johnston. Yet officially she was Yolande Evans on Broadway and in Hollywood, after she met Harry Evans. She made money, too, and her Hollywood activities prospered. Then, just when things appeared at the peak, the vague fear became very definite and after Evans removed his luggage, Yolande could not stand life alone. Even the Lugosi offer of $10,000 and 10% meant nothing. Why? The question remains open, wide. Why that strange, swift trip to the Orient and the prompt Hollywood connection that followed her return? Why the endless changing of her name? Why the fear—and the suicide? There’s your story, Mr. Lugosi, and what do you think of it?

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The Devil Bat one sheet poster

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From the pressbook of The Devil Bat

SCARED MOVIE FAN PROVIDES BELA LUGOSI WITH NEW ROLE

{Transcriber’s Note: The article below is from the Press Book for the 1941 release of The Devil Bat. It would have used in newspapers in towns playing the movie. As with all press books, the quotes attributed to Lugosi may be fabricated}

An amusing experience and an opportunity to play a completely new and different role was recently afforded Bela Lugosi.

In Hollywood, scene of so many artistic and jealous feuds, the conduct of the leading Horror Men is a refreshing change from the usual pattern of these artists. Rather than being envious of and embittered at each other, they are not only friendly, but thoroughly interested in each other’s work. They never fail to see their rivals’ pictures and their discussions later have helped each of them to improve their work, which accounts for the amazing betterment of the quality of their type of production.

Thus it was quite natural for Bela Lugosi to drop into a neighborhood theatre one evening where one of Hollywood’s other Bogey-Men was attempting to scare the audience out of its collective wits.

“He was doing a mighty fine job, too,” commented Lugosi, “for suddenly in a particular savage and horrifying scene, the young lady on my left, a perfect stranger, gave a terrific gasp and the next thing I knew she had thrown her head around and against my shoulder.”

So, Bela Lugosi, the big bad Bogey-Man found himself consoling a fair damsel in distress, something he has not done since the early days of his career.

Finally, the young lady recovered enough to relax her grasp and as the picture ended, Lugosi gallantly asked her if she would care for an ice cream soda.

“The more I thought about it, the more amusing it became,” he continued in recounting this strange adventure, “for the young lady; so profuse in her thanks for my ministrations, had no idea that her mysterious knight was another Bogey-Man. I debated whether or not to tell her and finally decided it was worth another spell of hysterics.”

“Imagine her amazement, then, when I revealed my identity.”

“At first, she refused to believe it,  but after I had emptied the contents of my wallet and shown her a driver’s license and visiting cards, she admitted I was not telling her a fib. She laughed heartily at her strange adventure, then suddenly her face clouded.”

“But darn it,” she fumed, “it’s really happened but when I tell the crowd in the office tomorrow, nobody will believe a word of it.”

Lugosi has not seen the young lady since, but if she goes to view his performance in The Devil Bat, she had better go well prepared.

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The Devil Bat Half Sheet Poster

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The High Point Enterprise, High Point, North Carolina, May 25, 1941

THE DEVIL BAT MORE HORRIBLE THAN DRACULA

SAYS LUGOSI

No less an authority than Bela Lugosi himself, who played the leads in both productions, asserts that for sheer dramatic tension and unadulterated horror, The Devil Bat, his latest starring vehicle which opens today at the Rialto Theatre, far outshines that masterpieces of another year, Dracula.

Devil Bat has afforded Lugosi with the meatiest role of his long career and to it he brings a completely new and different approach and interpretation. George Bricker’s story which begins with an interesting study of injustice to a highly sensitive mind allows Lugosi to use his entire bag of tricks, and a mighty full bag it turned out to be.

Lugosi admitted not only to his friends and associated but also to the press that this role in Devil Bat has provided him with the most interesting problems of his career. In Devil Bat he admits he has used an entirely different approach to his subject, one which has elicited huzzahs from critics and fans alike. He has thrown overboard the old rules and uses forms and patterns both startling and new.

For those that like eerie and unusual entertainment a là Lugosi, this picture should not be missed at the Rialto today or tomorrow.

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