Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Black Friday Feeling

Bela isn't cut out for the mob
He can't chisel or flout rules or rob
In mad science, as vamp,
He's a lion, the champ
In this biz he's a doubtful old slob.

David Cairns

Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940): Béla Lugosi was originally cast as the brain-swapping scientist, but when Boris Karloff decided to switch roles, Lugosi was given the secondary part of a gangster. Pictured with Lugosi are Raymond Bailey and Stanley Ridges.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Slack Friday

With a range that is...well, isn't vast,
As a gangster poor Bela's miscast
Out of place as a tough
He's a waste in this stuff
It's with fangs he excels and will last.

Béla Lugosi plays mobster Eric Marnay in Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940). Left to right: Lugosi, Paul Fix, Edmund MacDonald, and Raymond Bailey. Fix later played the marshal on The Rifleman, MacDonald picked up a hitcher in Detour, and Bailey ran a bank on The Beverly Hillbillies.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Frye Baby

With a setting and lighting Germanic
In a sweat, he's uptight, almost manic 
Lightning hits, thunder cracks
Little Fritz can't relax
His pants wet as his fright turns to panic.

Dwight Frye as hunchback Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Our Dwight Frye-Days feature makes a comeback.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Skull of Hard Knocks

With a ganef-pinched brain in his head,
Was the monster insane as they said?
When this scourge was created  
Any urge was G-rated
But, despondent, in pain, he saw red.

Donald B. Benson

Boris Karloff is the memorable monster of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Dwight Stuff

Need a robber of caskets by night?
Not a problem, just ask quirky Dwight
Though a bit of a jerk
And unfit for most work,
The poor slob finds the task a delight.

Dwight Iliff Frye (February 22, 1899 – November 7, 1943); here with Colin Clive in a still from Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dead and Dumb

Mute monster? Eschew such a role!
Bela wants scenes to chew: why play troll?
So the thing goes to Boris
Who flings his thesaurus
And he's haunting, imbued with a soul.

David Cairns

Bela Lugosi famously turned down role of the Monster in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931), feeling it didn't have any lines. The role went to Karloff, and helped to make him famous.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Borne In a Trunk

Man of mystery, shameless, perverse
In a mist he will gamely disperse
When he's shipped in a chest
It's equipped with a crest
Who could miss it? His name's in reverse.

Lon Chaney Jr. is "Count Alucard", aka the Son of Dracula (Robert Siodmak; 1943).

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ham, Cheese, and Wry

These gnarly film horrors are three
From snarling Pete Lorre you'll flee
While Bela Lugosi
With hell-spawn gets cozy
Boris Karloff will pour you some tea. 

Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff have fun in You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940). Title sandwich by Donald B. Benson.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Exception That Proves the Ghoul

Peter's loose-lipped and swilling, quite tight
Bela's sluiced to the gills every night
Amid drink strong and heady
One stinker stays steady
No abuse of distiller's delight.

David Cairns

Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff have fun in the otherwise forgettable You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Donald Schmuck

D. Trump is a new kind of bad
He tweets his opponents are "sad"
He wins yet he's sore,
Thin-skinned, and, what's more
The creep is a indebted to Vlad.

Art by Brent Engstrom for Topps! Here's his blog.

From Beer to Eternity

Once burned by a little ol' cross
You adjourned to start hitting the sauce
As the former king vamp,   
Now performing in camp,
You've learned to submit to such dross.

Top: Edward Van Sloan and Bela Lugosi in Dracula (Tod Browning; 1931). Above: Bela Lugosi and Ian Wilson in Mother Riley Meets the Vampire, also known as Vampire Over London and My Son the Vampire (John Gilling; 1952).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Boarder Incident

This bat wants to crash in your cellar
He's natty, his fashion sense stellar
But he'll do things perverse
To your beautiful nurse
For a rat he's a passionate feller.

Dr. Edelmann (Onslow Stevens) is visited by Baron Latos, aka Count Dracula (John Carradine): House of Dracula (Erle C. Kenton; 1945).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Wringing the Bela

Half-shot, you've been losing plum roles.
Your lot? Playing peasants and proles.
No crown for the Count,
Now down for the count.
Ask not for whom, Bela, it tolls.

Donald B. Benson

In The Wolf Man (George Waggner; 1941), Lon Chaney Jr plays the title monster; In a supporting role, Bela Lugosi plays Bela the gypsy.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bela Lugosi's Red

He'll select neither Zin nor Merlot
Will say "Blecch!" to a winning Bordeaux
Eschew juice of the grape
But cut loose on the nape
From the neck Bela's dinner doth flow.

Bela Lugosi goes for the throat of Helen Chandler in Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Meet Coot

It's a shame your acclaim took a beating
But then, fame is a dame that is fleeting
Wags exclaim "He's a wrap!"
As your name adorns crap
Who can blame those who came to this 'meeting'?

No, Bela Lugosi doesn't play Bela Lugosi in Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (William Beaudine; 1952). His character's name is Dr Zabor.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Days of Wine and Bozos

The Bela that we know was scary
Till forced by the vino to tarry
With clowns Bud and Lou,
Mother Riley (It's true!),
And finally fake Dino and Jerry.

Donald B. Benson

Top: Bela Lugosi and Arthur Lucan (Mother Riley) in Mother Riley Meets the Vampires (1952). Above: Poster for Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (William Beaudine; 1952), co-starring nightclub comedians Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo in roles approximating the then popular duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bela Lugosi Meets Bela Lugosi

Enthused, full of lust, almost drooling,
You used to bring gusto to ghouling
But you landed in traction
And abandoned all action
Now abusing, it's just too damn grueling.

Bela Lugosi contemplates his career trajectory in Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (William Beaudine; 1952). For many years, Lugosi had been receiving treatment for sciatic neuritis, and eventually he became addicted to morphine and methadone.

Monday, February 6, 2017


This werewolf is soggy and stinking
Not scary, just groggy and blinking
There's a reason he's bleary
And queasy, not eerie
It's the hair of the dog he's been drinking.

David Cairns

Lon Chaney Jr. as tormented Larry Talbot, The Wolf Man (George Waggner, 1941).

Friday, February 3, 2017

Wino Where I'm Goring

"I never drink wine," says Count Drac
But he revels in pints for a snack
At a gash in your throat
He will gnash, slurp and gloat
A beverage fine as cognac.

David Cairns

Bela Lugosi is Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Damp Vamp

No pallor: his cheeks are quite ruddy
But gallons of leaks red and bloody
Didn't get Bela pickled
The wetness that trickled
Was formaldehyde, reeking and cruddy.

David Cairns

Ed Wood stock company members Vampira (Maila Nurmi) and Bela Lugosi guest star on The Red Skelton Show. June 15, 1954.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Alcohol Count

When his rancid old canines have sunk in
Your chance to see daylight has shrunken
You'll be bled for nutrition
And he'll spread his condition
Then prance off all swaying and drunken.

Vampira (Maila Nurmi) and Bela Lugosi appear on The Red Skelton Show (1954). Title and assist by antsy David Cairns.