St. Petersburg Times, January 28, 194
In-a-phrase description of Bela Lugosi: Creeper of the B’s.
St. Petersburg Times, March 11, 1942
Dream-disturbing thought: Bela (Dracula) Lugosi turned loose in a blood bank.
Hollywood magazine, July, 1942
The House That Horror Built
by Hoyt Barnett
Dracula! That harbinger of horror, that salacious, sadistic high seer of low slaughter….
Who is this sleek, slithering merchant of madness in white tie and tails who kills with a kiss?
And where does he live?
The North Hollywood real estate board gives the same publicity to his address as it does to earthquakes, for if it were generally known where Dracula lives the board fears nearby house-holders might flee the neighborhood and a panic ensue.
But even Dracula must live somewhere, and the house in which Lugosi lives fits the character he has made famous on stage and screen as a musty attic fits a spook.
A high brick wall runs around the house, and top of this wall, embedded in cement, is enough broken glass to cut the pants off a veteran cavalryman. A huge car gate in the wall is studded with heavy bolts, and beside the gate is a dark stained booth so dim inside that even in broad daylight the single filament bulb casts a glow so low that it but dimly outlines telephone by which visitors make their presence known.
If you are expected , the suave yet icy voice of Lugosi greets you. A buzz only a little less deadly than the whirr of a rattle snake sounds in the region of your kidneys. Your head pivots toward the sound as a spotlight illuminates a doorknob you have not seen before.
Thrusting this small door open cautiously, you stick your head beyond for it is better to lose a head than an entire bodyand peer into a jungle of banana trees. The cement driveway splits inside the car gate to the left. The little door closes behind you with a click as final as the plop of a guillotine.
You step a few paces to the left and peer along this fork of the concrete drive. A building in the distance, a square jail-like thing, is just right for holding prisoners. So you turn to the right and in the distance is a roof-top sticking above the trees.
Huge leaded windows, some of the panes of varied color, give the house an ancient air which is made more ancient still by the low-key of the exterior.
Stepping through the heavy doorway to greet you is a man in shirt sleeves, smoking a heavy pipe. He is taller than six feet and retains the grace of movement coming from well-developed muscles. He smiles slowly, and slowly waves a greeting. He is Dracula – no, I mean Lugosi. There is none other with such expressive hands, such mobile features.
”You want to see my house?”
My summer kitchen. Lugosi points with a householders pride to a barbecue pit beside a low, square building, one side of which is entirely open. I like it particularly in the Spring.
We step closer to the main entrance or the house. Now we are beyond the jungle rim. The concrete drives come together here and you see that the building which resembles a jail is in reality a garage.
The house is tall, yet seems to twist and turn as you walk along its front. This effect is due to the design of the entrances, the large central window and the numerous small ones made of colored bottle bottoms.
At the left is the secondary entrance but instead of being normal doorway it is covered by a roof sloping up from near the ground.
The main entrance is to the right and goes into a circular hall, the interior of which carries a winding stairway. This hall opens into the large living room. At the left end of the living room is a huge stone fireplace that might have been lifted from a mountain lodge in the Black Forest.
As the master craftsman of a hundred horror pictures stands beside the fireplace and carefully lights his pipe, your eyes rest on a huge, pillow piled couch behind him, and you realize it would make a good hiding place for anything, even a body. Then you recall that his latest Monogram picture is The Corpse Vanishes, and it seems the air is more chilly than it was.
At the opposite end of the living room is a sprawling piano finished in rough, iron-bound wood harmonizing perfectly with the fireplace. Lugosi touches the keys gracefully, and his large, strong hands seem somehow like those of a surgeon as he plays.
Next to the piano is a huge Dutch door, divided so the top may be opened independently. You step from the doorway into a jungle crowded angle where two tawny beasts stalk toward you, their lips curled back from gleaming fangs.
“Dont move,” a voice cautions. Then a word is spoken sternly in Hungarian and the two German shepherds speculatively look to their master as though asking, What shall be our nourishment today?
Back in the high-ceilinged living room you notice a balcony above the piano. The effect is weird, for a stream of light from the steeple to the right slashes across it at an angle. You look away for an instant. A board creaks above you and the hair on your neck suddenly seems too short. Then a low voice – Lugosi is standing on the balcony explaining that this is the passageway to the bed chambers, which just now seem unworthy of your investigation.
The dining room opens from the living room. You step through a large, arched doorway into the gloom where a hand hewn table, flanked by heavy, iron-bound chairs, makes you think of a Gargantuan operating table from the Middle Ages. A wall switch clicks and the scene is flooded with a gentle light that wipes out the note of a torture chamber.
A long, low hall leads from the dining room, and opening from it is a bar, complete even to cash register. A lantern the sort you buy if you live far from electric lines, illuminate this replica of a rustic dive. The blue steel of a grim gun barrel reflects this light and since the barrel is sleek and graceful it seems also to reflect the ominous tone of genteel horror that is the keynote of Dracula.
As you walk about the house you are impressed by the almost eerie stillness of the place. Except for a rare squeak of a board that protests your tread, there is no noise. You find you are beginning to feel serene and you almost like the house that horror built.
Then Lugosi remarks with pride, ”I love this house. It fits my personality perfectly.”
You shiver a bit as you realize all of Draculas victims fell under this spell before he slaughtered them.
The Daily Times, Wichita, Kansas, November 6, 1942
BELA LUGOSI DOES FAINTING THIS TIME
Hollywood, Nov. 6 (INS) – In movie theaters of the country, numerous feminine fans were reported to have fainted when they saw the Frankenstein monster upon the screen.
Yesterday, in Hollywood, the tables were turned.
Bela Lugosi, the third actor to portray filmdom’s best known horror character, lost consciousness while strapped to a surgical table during the shooting of a scene from Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man.
According to doctors, the star was a victim of his makeup, which takes four hours to put on, and which is painful in the wearer.
After being revived, Lugosi was sent home to bed.
The Daily Times, Wichita, Kansas, November 6, 1942
HOLLYWOOD MAY BAN ASTROLOGERS
Screen Stars have Relied on Seers
Hollywood, Nov. 13 (UP) – The psychics and astrologers who have been prophet and counselor at fabulous fees to many of Hollywood’s most famous films stars, may be outlawed under a model ordinance drafted today at the request of the county manager’s office.
From the most prosperous of all, Astrologer Norvell, to the most humble reader of tea leaves, they will be forced to look into the future themselves to learn what it holds for them, if the ordinance is adopted by municipalities within the county.
Hollywood—with its temperamental and superstitious population and its big salaries—always has provided seers with well-paying customers.
Norvell is the most prosperous in the film colony today. Among his devotees is Marlene Dietrich, who consults him regularly about her career and private life.
Mary Pickford helped line the pocketbook of the late Cheiro, who died in 1936, leaving a large fortune. She became one of the town’s most famous actresses and richest women and gave Cheiro part of the credit for her success.
Manly P. Hall guides the destinies—under the zodiac—of Bela Lugosi, the movie monster. Once, because he was a friend of Hall, Lugosi was invited to speak at an astrologist convention in San Francisco. He declined, he said, because the stars “were not quite right” for him to travel.
An actress known as Kadja plays small parts in the movies, but at parties such as Mr. Basil Rathbone gives for Hollywood society, she is the center of attention as a fortune teller.
Norvell succeeded Cheiro as Hollywood’s busiest prophet. Besides giving advice to the movie stars in the privacy of his studio, he is making an appearance at a Los Angeles theater. He predicts yesterday that Hedy Lamarr would have two more husbands and that both Clark Gable and Tyrone Power will return safely from the war.
Greensboro Record, November 29, 1942