Friday, April 28, 2017

Putting the Mean in Menial

As sidekick he's morbidly quirky
Besides, he's just horribly jerky
This bent over ghoul
Contentious and cruel,
Is decidedly morally murky.

Fritz (Dwight Frye) taunts the Monster (Boris Karloff) in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Dwight Frye-Day happens every week at LimerWrecks.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sunset and Vain

On the screen, Norma's glamour would thrill
Showbiz queen learns that drama can kill
When she's violent to Holden
It ain't silent or golden
Final scene played as ham for DeMille.

David Cairns

Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) vamps in the dramatic final sequence in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gloria Swan-Song


Bill gets shacked up with Swanson and Stroheim
She's an actress from Von's long-ago prime
Bill's not thrilled with these roles
And gets filled full of holes
So he's whacked, and he's gone, now it's show-time!

David Cairns

Gloria Swanson is ready for her close-up in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Romancing the Crone

This writer who knows he's a dud
Still might earn repose as a stud.
The star, once adored,
Gives car, room and board.
But slight her, the crow's out for blood.

Surly Hack and Donald B. Benson

Gloria Swanson and William Holden in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Promotional Stuntman

This character clearly was scheming
To scare and to hear us all screaming
Quite simply, Bill Castle
At gimmicks was facile,
Our terror and fear left him beaming.

Director, producer, screenwriter, and actor William Castle (April 24, 1914 – May 31, 1977) in a promotional photo for his film 13 Ghosts (1960).

Stool Pigeon English

To relax, Bela swears by the boozing
But the fact is, he's wary of schmoozing
For his underlings laugh
At each blunder and gaffe
As his accent is very amusing.

Bela Lugosi makes a somewhat unlikely gangster in Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940). Title by David Cairns, who hails from Scotland. David and I often find ourselves at odds over pronunciation, with our limericks adrift somewhere mid-Atlantic.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Inhuman Resources

None too bright, Fritz's goals aren't big
Cause a fright, play the troll, find a gig
Now he works for this doc
So the jerk's on the clock
And each night there's a hole he must dig.

Fritz (Dwight Frye) and Henry (Colin Clive) get to work in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Friday is Dwight Frye-Day here at LimerWrecks. Title by the ever-resourceful Donald B. Benson.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Hack...and How to Net Him

Before it's too late, Joe, turn back!
Through that door lies a fate that's pure black
It'll lure you with cash
And you'll sure make a splash
But what horrors await in the sack!

"Hack" writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) stumbles upon the mansion of silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It's Stroheim, Folks!

Butler Max called the shots long ago
Silent black-and-white thoughts he would show
Now that muteness is traded
For beauty that's faded
Fade to black on besotted old pro.

David Cairns

Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950). Erich von Stroheim is Max Von Mayerling, former husband and director of, now devoted servant to silent film star Norma Desmond.   

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Driving Miss Crazy

In that squat limousine, he's erect
The Isotta-Fraschini effect
He's her butler and go-fer
And nutty old chauffeur
Plus her shots on the screen he'll project.

David Cairns

Erich von Stroheim and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950). Title by film-crazy Donald B. Benson.

Monday, April 17, 2017

High-Flogne Verse

When slapping your face with cologne
That flapping means you're not alogne.
Get ready for biting
Since each bat alighting
Is lapping your blood as you grogne.

Donald B. Benson

Béla Lugosi and Alan Baldwin in The Devil Bat (Jean Yarbrough; 1940). Lugosi breeds a deadly giant bat, and creates an after-shave lotion which attracts it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hardcore Stenography

Her employer can't keep his eyes off her
He'd destroy both his peepers to boff her
Is Betty in peril?
He's sweaty and feral
Though she's coy, what the creep boss will proffer!

David Cairns

Betty is chased around the office in Betty Boop's Big Boss (Dave Fleischer; 1933).

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fritz and Starts

Old Fritz had the nastiest shock
When the git got cast down with one knock
This hound with a hump
Hit the ground with a bump
Smashed to bits on the plaster-cast rock.

David Cairns

Dwight Frye is Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Dwight Frye-Day happens every week at LimerWrecks.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stooge Fright

This triad of terror once towered
Till poor Bela's stardom had soured.
Later on, AIP
To revive the grim three
Made Vincent the trio's Shemp Howard.

Donald B. Benson

Top: Peter Lorre, Béla Lugosi, and Boris Karloff in You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940). Above: Karloff, Lorre, and Vincent Price in The Raven (Roger Corman; 1963). AIP is American International Pictures, distributor of The Raven.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Good Friday?

This movie's so bitter and black,
The jolliest character's Jack.
On "Dragnet", that's him
All stoic and grim --
The sort who'd give Wilder a whack.

Donald B. Benson

Famous for playing Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet, Jack Webb is assistant director Artie Green in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bat Essence

The flittermouse scents the night air!
If you're skittish, or gentle, beware!
That whiff that you're soaked in
You'll get sniffed out and croaked in
If you're bit in this dental affair.

David Cairns

In The Devil Bat (Jean Yarbrough; 1940). Béla Lugosi breeds a deadly giant bat that is drawn to an after-shave lotion he has concocted. The victim here is Suzanne Kaaren.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tales From the Kept

Here's a writer who's tied to a purse.
Not a fighter, his pride's none the worse.
But are feeds and the perks
Worth her needs and her quirks
Till the night the free ride turns perverse?

Surly Hack with Donald B. Benson

William Holden and Gloria Swanson take a drive down Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pen Pal

Says Olive, "I'm telling no fib.
I'm dead against sexual lib!"
She's guarding her pink well
So in Betty's inkwell
The sailor man's dipping his nib.

Donald B. Benson

Popeye the Sailor (Max Fleischer, Dave Fleischer;1933) was billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, but, Betty makes only a small appearance, with Popeye starring in his first animated appearance.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cane Mutiny

This pipsqueak with cane is a scandal
Of crypts he's a dangerous vandal
Unruly and vile
Like a ghoul he'll defile
But slippery brains he'll mishandle.

Dwight Frye-Days celebrates actor Dwight Frye, here as Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931).

Thursday, April 6, 2017

William Beholden

Life's not fair in this town, fortune cruel
Why not pair with a clownish old ghoul?
But ashamed to accept
By a dame you've been kept
You narrate face down in a pool.

Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder; 1950) is narrated by the floating corpse of failed screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden). From Wikipedia: "The original edit opened with a scene inside a morgue, with the assembled corpses discussing how they came to be there. The story began with the corpse of Joe Gillis recounting his murder to the others. The (preview) audience reacted with laughter and seemed unsure whether to view the rest of the film as drama or comedy." We're beholden to Donald B. Benson for the title.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Walk on the Wilder Side

His ride in arrears, Joe's dead broke
His pride and career are a joke
With Norma he shacks
(Plus formal-wear Max)
Eyes wide in the drink he will soak.

Joe Gillis (William Holden), Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), and Max Von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim) form the perverse triangle in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950). Title by mild mannered wild man, Donald B. Benson.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Bela Prompter

Can a corpse spin a yarn, tell a plot?
It seems warped, purest blarney, a blot
To perform exposition
Needs a warmer condition
If you're torpid you'll tarnish and rot.

David Cairns

Molly Lamont has been Scared to Death (Christy Cabanne; 1947), but narrates the story anyway. Bela Lugosi is top-billed. Title by always prompt Donald B. Benson.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Talking Dead

This bod's lost the gift of the gab
Swear to God, it's a stiff on a slab
Turning blue, getting cold
It's all through growing old
So it's odd when it sits up to blab.

Molly Lamont is Scared to Death (Christy Cabanne; 1947), but still manages to narrate the story. And a dead narrator is the only thing this nonsense starring Bela Lugosi shares with Sunset Boulevard. Title by Donald B. Benson, feeling dead inside.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

See Her Shorts at the Cinema

An evening of dinner and drink
Can be an investment (wink wink).
But to quickly recoup,
You should date Betty Boop:
To make her takes just pen and ink.

Donald B. Benson

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Michael Bay Watch


No master of yore, he's 'today'
Much faster than boring cliché
All boisterous noise
The Joyce of teen boys
A blast! We adore MICHAEL BAY!!!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Night Shifty

Fritz works when the moon sheds its light
He's a jerk, a buffoon, and a blight
The dipstick will crack
His whip on your back
This quirkiest goon isn't 'right'.

Dwight Frye, Boris Karloff and Colin Clive in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). It's Dwight Frye-Days at LimerWrecks.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lab Rant

Half-human, he's very depressed
Was doomed when he dared to self-test
He knew it was risky
But soon he grew frisky
One assumes it put hair on his chest.

Doc Brewster (Béla Lugosi) turns himself into The Ape Man (William Beaudine; 1943).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wanted: Undead or Alive?

In a show about criminal rats,
Fast dough, faster women and gats,
Lugosi's adrift
With lowlifes and grift
And the going gets grim without bats.

Béla Lugosi plays mobster Eric Marnay in Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940). With Edmund MacDonald (right). Title by David Cairns, who never leaves us wanting.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Simple Simian

Is Lugosi affecting a limp?
Does he mosey erect like a chimp?
Is that fur at his cuffs
That's emerging like ruffs?
Heaven knows he's bedecked like a simp.

David Cairns

Béla Lugosi sports a frock coat in The Ape Man (William Beaudine; 1943).

Monday, March 27, 2017

There's Something About an Aqua Velva Plan

Innocuous aftershave lotion,
Or noxious and crafty new potion?
Just a pat on the face
And a bat will give chase
This blockhead once laughed at the notion.

Béla Lugosi, Alan Baldwin and John Ellis in The Devil Bat (Jean Yarbrough; 1940). Lugosi plays a scientist who develops and aftershave lotion that attracts a gigantic killer bat. Title by aquatic Donald B. Benson.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sham Poodle

She started her days as a doodle
A cartoon portraying a poodle
Then her form was revised
To party, and sway and canoodle.

David Cairns

Image: Dizzy Dishes (Dave Fleischer; 1930). Introduced in 1930 as a nameless poodle (note the ears) dressed in flapper fashions, the original Betty was the girlfriend of established Fleischer star pooch, Bimbo. In 1931, New Yorker Mae Questel took over vocal duties for Betty, providing her trademark squeaky voice. The following year, the character was officially christened as Betty Boop and assumed her more familiar human form, although she maintained her romantic interest in Bimbo for several films.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Smitten With a Whip

With a whip he's a cranky young guy
He lets rip till you're spanked and could cry
But his newly-found status
Is due for hiatus
Soon you'll grip him and yank him up high.

David Cairns

Dr. Waldman (Edward van Sloan) and Henry (Colin Clive) discover that the Monster (Boris Karloff) has hung Fritz (Dwight Frye), using the whip Fritz had lashed him with. Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

America's Most Haunted

Count Drac as a Hollywood hood?
Does he smack around molls like he should?
Does he wear a fedora?
Maybe scare Nick and Nora?
Then crawl back into squalor for good?

Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940) stars Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi and Anne Nagel. Title by almoist haunted David Cairns.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

There's Morphine Where That Came From

Quite at ease playing zany neurotics,
Japanese, or else any exotics
This character star
From the bar won't stray far
As he freezes his brain with narcotics.

David Cairns

According to The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre, as a young man, Lorre suffered a ruptured appendix and underwent surgery. When a second surgeon treated further complications in 1925, he prescribed morphine to soothe the discomfort. This was the beginning of Lorre's lifelong dependence on morphine. Image: The Lost One (Peter Lorre, 1951)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dialect For Murder

With an accent incredibly thick
Bela lacks in street cred, sounds ridic
Racketeering's not right
Drac seems weird, without bite
His attacks cause no dread in this flick.

David Cairns

Béla Lugosi as your standard Hungarian gangster in Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Three Wise Menaces

Three menaces bend in a huddle
Old friends, with their tendrils they cuddle
And, brandishing knives
And handguns, the lives
Of enemies end in a puddle.

Baddies Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff conspire in You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

She Boops to Conquer

From days of the pre-code hot mama
To sex symbols in Cinerama,
The tangiest poon
In any cartoon
Was Betty, the feline's pajama.

Donald B. Benson

Betty Boop in Red Hot Mamma (Dave Fleischer; 1934).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hail to the Thief

Groucho's pumped up with power in "Duck Soup"
They blast trumpets, strew flowers, loudly whoop
But no prince, he's a heel
He'll throw insults and steal
Like that chump in his tower - what a poop!

David Cairns

Top: Zeppo and Groucho Marx in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933); Above: Mike Pence and Donald Trump in Beelzebub Over the White House (Alan Smithee; 2017).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Stooge Struck

A profane little ditz and what's more
Mundane little Fritz ain't top-drawer
The guy's unprepared   
By surprises is scared
Which explains why the brain hits the floor. 

Dwight Frye as Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Drop everything, it's Dwight Frye-Days.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thrifty Shades of Crayola

It's rotten and witless "suspense"
The plotting omits common sense
Though they shot it in color
It could not be much duller
Not a lot at such little expense.

Lobby cards for Scared to Death (Christy Cabanne;1947). Top: Béla Lugosi, Molly Lamont; Above: Gladys Blake, Lugosi, Angelo Rossitto, and Nat Pendelton. One of only two color films with Lugosi, and the only one with him as a star. It's awful, but it does contain a few eerie visual bits, caught here. Title by nifty Donald B. Benson.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Apes of Wrath

A criminal scientist/monkey
And his simian, spine-snapping flunky
Two screwballs who kill
Tap fluids at will
It's flimsy, it's minor, it's clunky.

Dr. James Brewster (Bela Lugosi) spots his next victim in The Ape Man (William Beaudine; 1943). With Emil Van Horn in the ape suit. A Monogram release.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Play Mystic For Me

Don't doze near Lugosi the mystic
Lord knows the old pro goes ballistic
The guy gets his kicks
With dynamite sticks
And those who oppose turn statistic.

Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre do their best to enliven the wretched Kay Kyser comedy, You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940).

Monday, March 13, 2017

Brokeback Monkey

The perverted old quack flips his wig
Now a spurt from your back he would swig
But before this ordeal
He gets floored by Emil
And his vertebra crack like a twig.

David Cairns

Emil Van Horn is the man in the ape suit, hench-monkey to Béla Lugosi, The Ape Man (William Beaudine; 1943). Attempting to reverse his condition, Lugosi injects the spinal fluid from his murder victims. Makes sense to me. Title by Donald "B for Brokeback" Benson.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hench Frye


You'd wager the slob's not too bright 
Engage him for jobs done by night 
Low-rung, not topnotch,
He'll bungle and botch
Enraged torch-lit mobs will make right. 

Colin Clive and Dwight Frye in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Dwight Frye-Days does the dirty work at LimerWrecks.