1941: One Night of Horror

Bat Head 2

One Night of Horror

Orpheum Theatre. Waterloo, Iowa

The Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, April 30, 1941


He might be a horror man to the movie public, but to his son he’s just “Daddy,” and to the neighborhood kids he’s the man who makes the funny faces.

He’s Bela Lugosi, Hollywood’s horror man who gained fame ’way back in 1927 on Broadway with his characterization of Dracula. In Waterloo, he is playing in the stage play, “One Night of Horror,” at the Orpheum theatre.

Bela likes babies, drinks milk, collects stamps and is good to his wife, only “putting on” his mysterious expressions for the public—and his pay check, which isn’t small.

“It’s no harder to play a horror part than a romantic lead,” Lugosi declares, “It’s just another mood created by the same effort.”

His son, Bela, Jr., 3. In Hollywood, doesn’t take him seriously. “Daddy’s just acting,” the little fellow says.

On stage, or in the movies, the horror man shuns makeup, creates his character by facial expression only, wearing no masks.

Lugosi was born in Lugos, Hungary, and came to the United States when he was 32 years old. Since 1912 he has been making pictures in Hollywood, but started his horror films in 1931.


May 2-8, 1941

Oriental Theatre, Chicago, Illinois

Daily Times, Chicago, Illinois, May 2, 1941

Doris Arden Says:


How to make friends and influence movie-critics, or how to break up a party:

The formula (which we learned just the other afternoon and are reporting here in case some of you have trouble persuading your guests to go home) is a novel one, and here’s how it’s worked: First, you get hold of Bela Lugosi, the big chills-and-shudder gentleman: then you catch a gorilla: one at a time, you introduce them to your guests—and by that time, everybody that isn’t paralyzed had fled! See how simple it all is?

Mr. Lugosi, who is appearing on both the stage and screen of the Oriental theater this week, was the guest of honor the other afternoon at an eventful little party. It was all very nice, really—with Mr. Lugosi being charming and friendly, instead of frightening (in fact, there wasn’t recognizable leer or grimace or scowl to be seen) and with all the other guests relaxing comfortably while he described himself as a hard-working actor and a home-loving gentlemen who avoided night clubs.

You can see how serene everything was at this point. In fact, we had no idea that at the next moment a gorilla was to come lunging through the door in one tremendous bound—a big handsome specimen of a gorilla that could obviously break iron bars in two, uproot trees or overturn locomotives! Well, that’s how parties are broken up!

The rest of the afternoon, we don’t mind saying, is something of a blur to us—but at least we’ve got Mr. Lugosi’s word for it that he was scared too. So, if you’ve always wondered what it took to make a big horror-man turn pale with fright, now you know.

Mr. Lugosi is starred on the Oriental screen this week in The Invisible Ghost, along with Polly Ann Young and John McGuire—and it’s a picture, he assured us, in which there are plenty of murders. On the stage, he is the star of a revue which titled One Night of Horror, in which it is his job to sneak around and terrify the rest of the cast.

The picture which he has just finished in Hollywood is The Black Cat, another thriller. About five years ago, Mr. Lugosi appeared in a picture with the same title—this one, however, is based on the Edgar Allan Poe tale, and the cast includes Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford and Ann Gwynne.

Once we returned to sanity after our frights, we were introduced to Carmen Negri, the gentleman who was perspiring in a gorilla costume and who is Mr. Lugosi’s partner on the Oriental stage this week. Mr. Negri has made a career out of masquerading as a gorilla, first appeared on the screen in the screen in the famed film Ingagi. He proudly displayed his costume which, he said, is equipped with a zipper down the back, made out of bear skins, and rubber which has been molded into a peculiarly realistic and terrifying face.