Arsenic and Old Lace Tour
Bela Lugosi is said to have turned down the lead in a touring production of Arsenic and Old Lace for fear of losing film work. However, he did accept the role two years later and toured very successfully in the play in 1943 and 1944. Ironically, this resulted in him being unavailable for the role of Dracula in House of Frankenstein (1944). The role went to John Carradine who also played the vampire count in the 1945 sequel House of Dracula.
Rockford Register-Republic, September 3, 1941
Short true story: Here’s a yarn that proves my old contention that an actor, in spite of everything, is always an optimist. A year ago Bela Lugosi, the scare expert, was hard-pressed for money and having great difficulty finding a job. Then his luck turned and he was cast in several pictures. Not long ago, Bela was offered a roadshow lead in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” the sensational stage hit played by Boris Karloff in New York. It was a swell offer and Lugosi was ready to sign – when he noticed a clause compelling him to stick for “the run of the play.” That scared him. He turned down the job – because he feared the show would be such a success that it might keep him from pictures too long!