Bat Head 2


The Canton Repository, April 3, 1946

These Days

by George E. Sokolsky

These Days by George E. Sokolsky, The Canton Repository, April 3, 1946*

Prescott Evening Courier, May 20, 1946

Hollywood Sights and Sounds


HOLLYWOOD – Calling all fiends! Want really to scare the living daylights out of somebody? The secret, says Bela Lugosi, is sincerity – to feel a deep conviction that you are actually about to throttle or stab or poison or shoot your victim.

“Of cor-r-rse, don’t do it!” rumbled this Hungarian-born stage and screen Dracula, towering menacingly over me, “but you must believe you are going to; the minute you play it with tongue in cheek, the effect is dead.”

Lugosi’s formula for chilling spines includes also a dash of hypnosis, he told me on the “Scared to Death” set.

“I HAVE stoddieed heepnosis and always made it a practice to half or quarter heepnotize my fellow actors on the stage so they would respond properlee.”

Dracula’s heavy-lidded, intense little blue eyes bored hypnotically into mine. I backed away and shook myself like a dog leaving a pond.

Lugosi, a tall, well-built man with distinguished-looking graying hair, a hawk beak and creased, sinister features, could pass, in a feather headdress, for an Indian chief. He said he got the Dracula stage role in New York in 1927 not only because both he and the fictional Count Dracula were Hungarians but also because of some hair-raising business he worked out with his hands. I asked him to demonstrate.

One of his hands slowly approached, then rested its thumb and fingers lightly about my neck. The other turned into a misshapen claw that pawed menacingly toward my left eye. That was enough, thanks, I said.

After “Dracula” on stage and screen (A story, you may remember, about a fiend who turned into a wolf or a bat and sank his fangs into terrified maidens’ jugular veins), Lugosi was typed as a monster. He finds the niche not always satisfying artistically but pretty steadily rewarding monetarily.

LUGOSI committed sundry atrocities on Broadway in “The White Zombie” and in movies like “Murder in the Rue Morgue,” “The Black Cat” and ” The Bat.” What’s the most bizarre manner in which he ever committed murder?

“In ‘The Black Cat,’ I guess,” Dracula said, “where I skinned Boris Karloff alive. Cute, isn’t it!”

Off the screen, Lugosi is a harmless, courtly individual who dwells quietly with his wife and reads books on social problems and economics.

When an automobile knocked a piece out of his German shepherd’s skull, veterinarians fitted in a plastic patch and grieving Count Dracula sat patiently in his pet’s hospital cage while the dog convalesced.