November 26, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon : Day Four

I’ve posted pictures of Boris relaxing on the set of Frankenstein, and Bride of Frankenstein. This time, Boris is enjoying his salutary cup of tea on the set of Son of Frankenstein, back in late 1938. Hey, did this guy ever get any work done?

We’re roughly halfway through the Big Boris Karloff Blogathon. Tons more links to come. I hope you’re all enjoying this as much as I am.

Here’s Day Four. Enjoy! And a Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.

Boris, der Geschichtenerzähler — Boris, the Storyteller — on Six-Shooter. The first video illustrates an episode of Tales of the Frightened with a selection of Karloff photos, and the second clip (you may have to click through to YouTube to see it) is an excellent montage of film excerpts set to An Evening with Boris Karloff, a recording Boris made in 1967, reading from a script by Forry Ackerman. Very neat!

More Tales of the Frightened from The Captain’s Ramblings. Today’s selections are Call at Midnight, Just Inside the Cemetery, and The Fortune Teller. Brrrrrr!

Writer Orrin Grey, who was born on Halloween Eve and claims to be a skeleton, if you believe that sort of thing, continues his exploration and obviously growing appreciation of Boris Karloff through his concise reviews of the Val Lewton films. Today’s offering: The Isle of the Dead.

As remarkable as the Frankenstein Monster was, the most elaborate makeup job ever created by Jack Pierce was the head to toe mummification of Boris Karloff, an astounding creation, seen but partly and very briefly in the opening scenes of The Mummy (1932).

I’ve got a number of stills, and a lobby card from the film up on my picture blog, Monster Crazy.

Here’s a Boris Karloff autograph, and a nice ad mat for The House of Frankenstein, carrying the film’s original shooting title, The Devil’s Brood. On Wouldn’t You Like to See Something Strange?

Ever see a Mr. Wong movie? Need Coffee dot com posts two of them! See Boris in Mr. Wong, Detective, and The Mystery of Mr. Wong.

And still on the subject of Mr. Wong, here’s a jawdropper of a still from Mr. Wong in Chinatown, featuring Angelo Rossitto in Chinese makeup! Posted by Filo Loco on Deadlicious.

Paul Castiglia continues his meticulous survey of Boris Karloff’s horror-comedies with a look at Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, made in 1953.

Paul pans for gold among the dreck, but finds that this particularly tired Jekyll outing fails to transform into a good picture. Still, there the usual wealth of info here, and the detailed analysis that we’ve come to expect from Scared Silly.

If you haven't seen one this yet, check out Dravens Tales today, showing the reconstructed performance of Boris singing Monster Mash on Shindig.

The Lightning Bug writes,The Mummy is a film that only half works, but the half that’s doing the work is doing a hell of a job”. Boris Karloff, wearing makeup like a second skin, gives an hypnotic performance as a man whose love spans centuries. The exotic Zita Johann is the object of his eternal affection. Read Boris’ Other Bride, on The Lightning Bug’s Lair.

Images of Boris, posted on John’s Forbidden Planet: A poster from The Ape, the Frankenstein Monster attended by his weird friend Ygor, Boris beaming pure evil in The Black Cat and… Fire, BAD!

Halloween Spirit surveys Boris’ radio career, chalking up an astounding 800 appearances over a period of 25 years! Listen to The Wailing Wall, an episode of Inner Sanctum, on Orange and Black.

This being Thanksgiving in the USA, Caffeinated Joe gives Thanks to a Legend, a sentiment we all share. Offerings include the Jack Pierce segment from This Is Your Life, Boris Karloff, and a great excerpt from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Dave Lowe's cartoon offering of the day: Thanksgiving, the Karloff Way! On Para Abnormal.

Shades of Grey looks at The Out-of-Character Karloff in three rarely seen films.

There’s Boris as victim in the compact techno-thriller The Night Key (1937), the subdued, refined Oriental sleuth in Mr. Wong, Detective (1938), and the sinister fashion designer (!?) in Lured (1947), in which Boris squares off with Lucille Ball. A wonderful post!

Steered by writer-director-producer Arch Oboler, Lights Out! was the quirkiest of radio’s golden age horror programs, its supernatural tales gleefully unencumbered with rationale. Ivan G. Shreve Jr. zeroes in on Cat Wife, a singularly bizarre episode that leaves Boris babbling at the end. A great read, on Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

Boris isright at home in that big old castle as a master sorcerer” in the 1963 version of The Raven, directed by Roger Corman and co-starring the likes of Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Hazel Court, and a young Jack Nicholson. A capsule review of the film is up on Fear Fragments.

Illustrator Rob Kelly sneaked in a picture of Boris in his illustration for Time Out New York. At least, he swears it’s there. Can you see it? On Rob Kelly Illustrations.

Todd Franklin’s word balloon carry actual Boris Karloff quotes. A collection of entertaining images and words, on Weird Hollow.

Wow! Dave Kirwan is doing a knockout series of quick Karloff sketches and caricatures (as seen here), on Kirdoodle.

More art? How about a Constructivist-school Karloff Collage? By J. Mendez, on The Ladies and Gents Auxiliary.

The Great Karloff A1 Steak Sauce Experiment. On Wouldn’t You Like To See Something Strange?

The Frankenstein Monster was never really green. Except maybe for his thumbs. Boris loved gardening, and actor Charles Starrett had a great story about it. A wonderful anecdote, posted on Peeping Tom.

Also on Peeping Tom: Lon Chaney’s advice to Boris, and Boris’ own recollection of Frankenstein, and, well, being Frankenstein.

Writer Joshua Reynolds has four posts up on his super fine blog, Hunting Monsters.

First up: It took a downscale studio, Monogram, to get Boris into a mangy monkey suit, resulting in B-movie brilliance. Joshua examines the succinctly titled The Ape, from 1940, and you can click through and watch the whole film. Go ahead, it’s 62 well-wasted, poverty row minutes.

Next comes Joshua’s appreciation of Karloff’sunpleasantly sublime” turn as the evil mastermind in the un- and, in fact, never-was-PC Mask of Fu Manchu, a film committed in 1932.

In Post #3, Joshua charts the evolution of the Frankenstein Monster through Karloff’s three portrayals. It’s a very perceptive and essential essay.

Finally, Joshua spotlights The Ghoul, Karloff first British film, from 1933. The long-lost and mercifully found film, sometimes underrated and often skipped over, deserves every Karloff fan’s attention. Click through to see it in its entirety. When Boris rises from his crypt, this movie really starts cooking!

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Gurinchi! Mike Jones looks for Boris and Dr. Seuss’ character in Japan. On My Two Yen’s Worth.

The Screamstress posts a number of Karloff clips, including a look at You’ll Find Out and its triumvirate of mighty menaces, Boris, Bela and Peter Lorre.

Here’s an capital essay that addresses one of the least-discussed aspects of Boris Karloff’s massive influence, namely, the selection and proper placement of the master’s movie posters. Let’s face it, you don’t slap a Mummy one-sheet on just any old available surface! And have you ever asked yourself how deeply the convoluted intrigue of Charlie Chan at the Opera can impact the correct placement and appreciation of its title card? Have you? And take Frankenstein… Conversation piece or fashion accessory? Hm?

Caftan Woman fearlessly tackles Decorating With Boris.

The Igloo Keeper, in character, contemplates The Body Snatcher and its doomed protagonists. There’s a poster selection, including one that’s hilariously misleading. A wonderful review on Igloo of the Uncanny.

Andrew Sztehlo offers succint reviews of two classic Boris and Bela collaborations of the early 30’s: The Black Cat and The Raven. On Andrew’s Weekly Musings.

I posted previously about Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford’s Robot-13, a comic book streaked through with Frankenstein references. Now, in a post written especially for the Blogathon, writer Thomas Hall acknowledges the essential influences of Mary Shelley and Boris Karloff on his work. On Enlightened Words.

Blogger ZedWord postulates a direct relationship between Boris Karloff’s iconic performance as the Frankenstein Monster and the modern zombie in film, with persuasive examples of howKarloff's influence… has permeated the conventions of zombie culture”.

It’s a strong argument that addresses Karloff's enduring stature, and an all around gem of an essay, on The Zed Word.


rob! said...

I love that pic of Karloff in unfinished Mummy make-up! Never seen that before!

Btw, I worked Karloff-as-the-Monster into this week's Time Out New York potrait. He's tiny, but he's there!

Peeping Tom said...


The missing link for the Charles Starrett anecdote about Karloff:

More anecdotes on Peeping Tom Tumblelog:

Lon Chaney talks to Karloff

Karloff memoirs

plus a lot of nice photos and movie stills.

Wings1295 said...

Thanks for including my post. Glad I was finally able to take part!

Shonen King said...

Greatest blogathon ever!!!!
Can you please add Blacksun to the list. Made a post today.


alexkirtoon said...

Wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying the Karloff-athon this week.
I thought I should mention that the link to kirdoodle in this post doesn't lead to that site, but instead leads to some of my paintings that you were gracious enough to post earlier this year. Kirdoodle is the blog of Dave Kirwan, my incredibly talented father.
I didn't have time to contribute this go-round, but I thought I'd point you to this piece I completed and posted last month:

Pierre Fournier said...

Kirdoodle link is fixed. Thanks!

jim mcdermott said...

Portrait of Boris Karloff art prints
Art prints: 2010 Portrait of Boris Karloff illustration,
Size: paper 12" x 18" image 11 3/4" x 14 1/2" each print hand signed by the artist.
Price: $40.00 each. (includes shipping)