No Traveler Returns
February 24, 1945
Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, California
February 26-March 9, 1945
Curran Theater, San Francisco, California
March 13-19, 1945
Metropolitan Theater, Seattle
The Seattle Times, March 13, 1945
BELA LUGOSI ‘SWEET,’ DESPITE HORROR ROLES,
When Mrs. Lillian Lugosi asked the jewelry clerk for the bat pin, a very odd look appeared on the jewelry clerk’s face.
The jewelry clerk of course didn’t know that Mrs. Lugosi is the best pipe stuffer west of the Mississippi, and also the wife of Bela Lugosi, famous as “Dracula,” whose portrayal of horror roles on the stage and screen has won him international fame.
Bela Lugosi, a calm, blue-eyes gentleman, described by his wife as “sweet,” opens tonight at the Metropolitan Theatre in the play, No Traveler Returns, a horror production of generous proportions.
She Looked Long for Pin
It took me months to find this bat pin,” explained Mrs. Lugosi, who sat beside her husband this forenoon in the Olympic Hotel without trembling.
The golden bat on her left shoulder seemed about to flit away on some ghastly mission. She stroked it gently.
“I knew immediately when I saw it that it was just what I wanted,” she said. “I knew it was mine. There was, however, a very peculiar look in the clerk’s eyes when she sold it to me.”
Mrs. Lugosi conceded it is her custom to stuff her husband’s pipes and see that they are drawing well before he puts them to his lips.
“He is a constant smoker,” she said. “When he is outside the house he smokes cigars. The moment he comes in, he lays down his cigar, and I have to have a pipe ready for him.”
Harmless Tobacco Used
“He consumes so much tobacco we use the denicotinized variety.”
“She’s a better pipe stuffer than I am,” said Bela Lugosi said.
“You’ve always said the pipe tasted sweeter when I did it,” said Mrs. Lugosi. “Drawing on a pipe,”she added, “is the only way you can tell if it’s packed properly. I like doing it, but I’ve never been tempted to smoke a whole pipe. I enjoy just that much.”
Lugosi denied that portraying the horror roles which have brought him notoriety has in any way altered him fundamentally. Mrs. Lugosi agreed.
“Oh, no!” She cried. “He’s sweet! Playing these roles doesn’t change him in the least. We’ve been married 12 years, and he’d already played Dracula on Broadway in 1927 when I met him.
She Can Stand It
“I went to see him in a horror role before I married him, of course, just to see if I could stand it.”
Mrs. Lugosi said her husband picks out all her clothes.
“I sneak out now and then and get something, but it’s always a flop,” she said. “When I come back with it, he gives me a Dracula look.”
“All I do is go back into the room in the shop, and he picks out things.” Her fingers darted rapidly here and there, indicating her husband pointing at things. “What he picks out is always swell.”
Shoes, though, she added, are her private affair.
Bela Agrees on Shoes
“Bela has tried to pick them out,” she declared, “but he doesn’t have the ‘feel’ for shoes. Shoes are my private preserve. We agree on everything, of course, and Bela agrees on the shoes after I get them. That’s the sweet side of him coming out.”
Lugosi, who was born in Lugos, Hungary, has had 30 years of stage experience.
“I first went on the stage in Budapest,” he said. “We are trained differently in Europe. There we learn to play all roles. Here in America an actor is trained to develop his own personality. Then the personality is featured.
“In Europe you learn to subdue the personality. Dracula was just another part of me. Playing it didn’t alter me fundamentally. It’s fun to play parts like that.”
Lugosi said he always had been an honest, straightforward citizen until called upon to play Dracula.
“There is one thing about it, however,” he added. “When you play straight parts, you have hundreds of actors competing with you. In this line of work the field of competition is limited. And as a specialty, of course, it has been very fine economically.”
In his current vehicle Lugosi plays a Hindu servant who is much brighter than he appears to be through the first two acts.
“He is,” said Lugosi, “really educated, although he camouflages it. He is a very reprehensible character, very foreboding, very ominous.”
The Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Washington, March 1945
BELA LUGOSI OFF SCREEN “VERY SWEET”
by Ann Stewart
Bela Lugosi sat idly flexing his double-jointed fingers yesterday while his intimates told us that he is really a gentle-type man, very harmless and very sweet.
We gave him every opportunity. We asked him if he wanted to put money in blind-men’s cups and to help old ladies across the street.
“Never,” said Lugosi. “But if the ladies are young I sometimes stand very close to them in elevators,” and he smiled in a pleasant Dracula sort of way.
“Bela is tired,” his wife explained. “He’s just had four hours’ sleep. Sometimes when he’s tired he does net a bit of a temper. I’ve found it best, for instance, not to speak to him at all for 45 minutes after he’s been working. But after he’s had a bottle of beer and a meal he relaxes and is quite lovely.”
So we tried again. We asked him if he doesn’t tire of scaring people.
“Not unless I am unsuccessful,” replied Lugosi, and a sad look came into his pale blue eyes. “Sometimes,” he said slowly, “children ask me to make faces for and then…they laugh.”
Seeing that this was a painful subject, Ian Keith, who plays with Lugosi at the Metropolitan in No Traveler Returns, rushed garrulously into the breach and spoke of many things—of waiting 20 minutes for a cup of coffee: of spending the morning taking long-distance phone calls for a Mr. Zion because the Olympic Hotel had for some reason decided that he was Mr. Zion; of the way these horrible motion pictures have ruined the perception and the ears of the theater audience; of his own interest in writing and reading murder mysteries which should be solved, by the alert in the first scene of the second act.
“It is not necessarily Lugosi who done it,” he said, turning to Lugosi, “Is it sweetness?”
Lugosi then scrunched himself into a large tan overcoat and a small checkered cap, explaining all the while that he does not give a hoot for murder mysteries and that he spends his free time reading books on “social economy” and the like.
The cap, he said, he wares only while traveling or when going to night clubs.
“So I will not have to check a hat and pay a quarter,” he explained.
Something he picked up in an economy book, no doubt.
Bela Lugosi and Ian Keith
Long Island Star-Journal, April 4, 1945
THAT’S SHOW BIZNESS
Ian Keith was tested by Director John Ford for the role of General MacArthur in the forthcoming film, “They Were Expendable.” He was okayed at $1,000 a week with a 15 week guarantee. But the actor nixed the bid. Keith decided to do a play with Bela Lugosi, for 10 per cent of the gross. The legit was out two weeks and folded in Seattle!