November 25, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon : Day Three

On a break, but still burdened with heavy makeup right to his fingertips — notice the burned hand — Boris and fellow ex-pat Colin Clive enjoy a tea moment.

Have a cuppa, won’t you, and enjoy the Blogathon, Day Three! with Boris, Colin, and all the gang.

Here’s Filo, so it must be midnight! Boris appears in makeup for Frankenstein 1970, with a strangely prophetic caption, on Deadlicious.

The voice stylings of Boris Karloff! Boris sings The Monster Mash on Shindig — the lost performance is recreated — and duets with Rosemary Clooney, and Bela Lugosi. On Six-Shooter.

View the documentary The Man Who Made a Monster, on Dravens Tales.

The Melody of Death, a text piece that appeared in Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery comic book issue number 24 tells the true (?) story of an old Hungarian song that drove listeners to suicide. Senski investigates the story behind Gloomy Sunday on Heart in a Jar.

Boris plays a sinister swami in Abbott and Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff. Paul Castiglia examines the film in great detail on Scared Silly, his blog devoted to classic Hollywood horror-comedies.

Up on Monster Crazy today, I have a selection of images I liked from among our Blogathon contributions.

Rob Kelly created a custom poster for The Body Snatcher. It'll knock your sock off. Go look.

Writer Orrin Grey continues to explore the films of Boris Karloff with a reflection on Bedlam, the atmospheric thriller that provided the actor with one of his most evil characters. It’s up on Who Killed Orrin Grey?

Bob Deis keeps a fascinating and very handsome blog devoted to the Men’s pulp adventure and so-called “Sweat” mags published in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Using the Karloff theme as a springboard, Bob examines the work of illustrators Basil Gogos, James Bama and Norman Saunders, all famous for their monster movie work for magazines, kit boxes or trading cards, and "connects the dots", tracing their evolution back to their adventure pulp days.

A great read, on Men’s Adventure Magazines.

Here’s another wonderful image from the collection of artist Richard Sala. This one is the cover of a Chicago newspaper supplement promoting the Boris-hosted series Thriller (1960-62). Art is by cartoonist Al Hainke.

Lights Out! Listen to The Dream, recorded by Boris in Chicago, 1938, on Orange and Black.

Immenso Boris Karloff, Immenso Mario Bava!” Zonekiller reviews Black Sabbath, aka I tre volti della paura, on the Italian blog Scaglie.

From Denmark, Søren Henrik Jacobsen remembers seeing Frankenstein on TV as a child and having to turn it off because it was so scary. The title of his post translates as “Boris Karloff has followed me since I was nine years old!”, and includes his impressions of the Karloff and Lugosi collaborations, The Black Cat and The Raven.

Boris and Bela… Good friends? Bitter rivals? Competing cereal mascots?

Mike Segretto examines the parallel trajectories and crossed paths of horror’s biggest stars on Psychobabble.

As a young actor, almost a century ago, Boris Karloff barnstormed through Western Canada and parts of the United States, learning his craft the hard way, sometimes ending up stranded and penniless in wayward towns. By the time he got to Hollywood, he needed side jobs lugging building supplies or driving a lorry just to make ends meet.

In motion pictures, the lives and fortunes of an actor were lorded over by the studios. Contracts were not negotiated, they were imposed, and working conditions were often abysmal. Karloff, of course, succeeded in films no doubt beyond his own wildest dreams and, by the Thirties, he was a star, with a star’s salary. And then he went and put everything on the line, back when unionizing was perilous to both your financial and physical well-being.

Actor Mark Redfield charts Karloff’s early career, his struggles and his triumphs, and his pioneering work as a proud actor and a passionate human being, to become one of the founding members of the now prestigious Screen Actor’s Guild. It’s a fascinating, revelatory tale, posted on An Actor’s Notebook.

Mark, as Boris himself would say, “Full marks!

Radioactive meteorites! Weird, green, glowing people! Boris Karloff meets H.P.Lovecraft! Bill Adcock of Radiation-Scarred Reviews offers a appreciation of Die, Monster, Die!

Mark Hodgson reflects on his love for Boris, and reviews the fast-paced British-made thriller of 1939, The Man They Could Not Hang, on Black Hole DVD Reviews.

In 1944, Boris played an extremely mad scientist in Universal’s first “monster rally”, combining the likes of The Wolf Man, Dracula, the Hunchback, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s Monster in the very crowded House of Frankenstein. Here’s an entertaining review on Cavalcade of Awesome.

The guys over at the sports blog My Briefs attempt to revive, Frankenstein-like, their mascot. The results may shock you… It might even horrify you!

He taught us about death”. Thus begins a brilliant quote about Boris Karloff, written by Ray Bradbury. Must read! Up on Peeping Tom Lost Eyeways.

On the Italian version of Lost Eyesways, here’s an appreciation of Boris’s Targets (1968).

And a sister blog to the above, the Peeping Tom tumblelog carries a large selection of eye-popping stills, screen caps, lobby cards and posters from all stages of Karloff career. A real treat!

With a series called Starring Boris Karloff, in 1949, Boris was one of the first movie stars to embrace television. For those of us growing up as Monster Kids through the Fifties and Sixties, Boris regaled us with frequent appearances on variety and drama series. Ivan G. Shreve casts a wide net, sampling Karloff’s guest shots on Suspense, The Gale Storm Show, The Wild Wild West, I Spy and the legendary Lizard’s Leg and Owlet’s Wing episode of Route 66.

It’s a post stuffed to the rafters with wonderful memories and tons of info, on Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

An executed Boris is revived, to deadly effect, in the trim, taught, Warner Brothers shocker, The Walking Dead (1936). Steve Miller reviews this underrated classic on The Boris Karloff Collection.

B-Sol, host of the eminently cool Vault of Horror proposes a list of Boris Karloff’s 10 Best Roles, Besides You Know Who. And a terrific list it is. See if you agree.

Apparently, The Grinch was much, MUCH nastier than we thought. Cartoonist Dave Lowe reveals the horrible truth, on Para Abnormal.

From his unique vantage point in Japan, Mike Jones surveys the films in which Bolisu Kaarofu played Asian characters.

Also on Mike’s blog, My Two Yen’s Worth, get a load of these Japanese Frankenstein toys. See the Visages of Boris.

My friend Mandra has turned his Draculand blog over to the Karloff Blogathon this week.

First, here are 10 artists’ interpretations of Boris and Frankenstein. Next, an Icons Radio Hour show devoted to Boris, with the participation of daughter Sara.

There's a fine selection of Karloff movie posters up on The Cathode Ray Mission. Note the Bride of Frankenstein poster from 1935, when Universal was pushing Boris simply as “Karloff”, à la Garbo.

Note also the Scarface (1932) posters. First one has Boris billed as Boris “Frankenstein” Karloff. The second has Karloff moved up in billing.


rob! said...

Fire bad, tea good!

My contribution for today--a custom Body Snatcherposter!

Zonekiller said...

Great blogathon! I thank you and make the compliments for the splendid post. I cannot wait to read the others...from Italy we partecipate, in our small, with immense to like...
PS: You can add my blog to the scheduled list as well. My post is in
Alive Karloff!

Unknown said...

Great entries! Fabulous stuff!

Love the art, too, like the BODYSNATCHER poster!

Peeping Tom said...

I'm afraid our email addresses are not working.
I've sent my links yesterday :)
I'll copy them here:

A collection of photos, movie posters and movie stills continuosly updated at the Peeping Tom official tumblog:

A first homage to Boris Karloff with a reflection about the relation between the actor and the characters, starting from the Peter Bogdanovich's movie Targets:

A second homage to Boris Karloff with a rare text by Ray Bradbury (in english):

I hope you'll add them in the official post. Best regards.

Peeping Tom

robby431 said...

I forgot to sign my blog up for the Karloff Blog-a-thon. Check out my blog! A couple of entries down are some photos posted for Karloff's birthday. I'll add more Karloff photos tonight!

Fred said...

Regarding the missing Monster Mash from Shindig, the weird thing is that the rest of the Karloff episode is intact and can be found on Youtube as well as other sites. I think Dick Clark may be to blame for the missing Monster Mash. I recall about 35 years ago watching a Dick Clark music compilation show on a Saturday afternoon in my parents' bedroom (the rest of my family had no interest and were watching some other show on the only other color tv set in the home, which was in the den on the first floor). Among the usual clips from American Bandstand of Steppenwolf and Jefferson Airplane lipsynching their hits, was a clip of Karloff singing Monster Mash in black and white with a set consisting of a lab with testtubes. It was the only time I ever saw the clip, but it appeared to be from the same set as the Shindig show all those Halloweens ago. I'm guessing that Dick Clark's editors snipped the clip from the show and never bothered to put it back.

Pierre Fournier said...

Interesting theory, Fred. Perhaps the Karloff sequence can still be salvaged, if it's embedded into the Dick Clarke compilation show.

Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

Incredible blogathon!! Lots of awesome stuff!

Robert Deis (aka "SubtropicBob") said...

Pierre - Thanks for your kind words about my Men's Adventure Magazines blog and congratulations on your awesome blogathon! Great job of orchestration and promotion! I bow down to your blog knowledge and prowess -- and love your blog!