Hello there funny names fans, and Happy Almost-Halloween!
Everyone ready for tomorrow? Everyone already eaten their entire stash of mini chocolate bars? No? Just me?? Damn. Happens every year. No matter – we’re getting into the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve (eve) around here whether the sugar keeps me awake for days or not.
Get it? Spirit?? See what I did there?!?
Ok. I’ll stop trying to compete with the boys punning abilities and just set the mood instead, shall I?
(Of course it’s the full 13 minute version. Like you even need to ask?)
Now that we have the appropriate soundtrack, it’s time to introduce the subject of today’s post. Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó was born on a dark and stormy night, in an ancient castle on the shores of Transylvania …
I’m kidding. About the dark and stormy night part, anyway.
Béla really was born in Lugos, Transylvania, though. He changed his name to Bela Lugosi after fleeing the Hungarian Revolution in 1919, and eventually settled in New York. He worked odd jobs and took small theater roles, including a part in what is now officially my favourite play in the history of plays: “The Devil in the Cheese”. Apparently others were equally impressed with his foray into the dangerous world of dairy products, because Lugosi was offered the iconic title role in the American theatrical run of “Dracula” not long after.
And then, as they say, a star was born. Certain sparkly faced vampires popular with the tween set have nothing on Lugosi. According to my showbiz sources:
Lugosi’s Dracula was at once so sexy and so haunting that audiences gasped when he first opened his mouth to speak. After a half-year run on Broadway, Dracula toured the United States to much fanfare and critical acclaim throughout 1928 and 1929.
Universal Pictures knew a good thing when they saw one, and the now legendary horror film “Dracula” was released in 1931, with Lugosi reprising his
famous character. Unfortunately, the movie was maybe a little bit too legendary for Lugosi, who found himself typecast as the villain in most of the film parts he was offered thereafter. His luck in his personal life wasn’t much better: although hugely successful by funny names standards, his marriages to Ilona Szmick, Ilona von Montagh, Beatrice Weeks and Lillian Arch all ended in divorce.
As his popularity waned, those four expensive divorces and an even more expensive morphine habit led to Lugosi taking parts in obscure, low budget B movies, like “Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla”. He died of a heart attack in 1956, at age 73.
In a (kind of undead and slightly creepy) remembrance of his greatest success, he was buried wearing his Dracula cape. I can’t possibly top that for a closing line, so I’m off to find some more chocolate. Have a spook-tacular Halloween, all!