They're in my head. I've had enough hurt already in my life. Now I want to be happy. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye. Remember, it is the last you will ever hear from me, so think it over. I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have as happy a life too. I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn't come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence.
Bela Lugosi is extremely sentimental about the land of his birth. In his own element, at the Hungarian Club, I have seen tears on his cheeks, heard him sob like a child, at the haunting, bittersweet melodies of his native land, played with all the primitive fierceness of the Magyars, by the gypsy orchestra. Temperamental—and with the keen sensitiveness of the true artist—he seems pathetically out of place in the mad whirligig of light and color that is Hollywood.
His natural reticence mistaken for unsociability, Lugosi is a lone wolf. And his very loneliness lends him an air of sinister mystery, upon which the ladies and gentlemen of the press have pounced with diabolic glee. If you could know the real Lugosi—if you could see him as he romps with his beloved dogs; listen to him as he speaks, reverently, of the land that fostered him—you would be amazed at the gentle philosophy of the genius who created fiendish Dracula.
More than anything else, he deplores the fates that have destined him to eternal fiendishness. Bela Lugosi is one of the real actors in the profession. Innocently enough I made the horrible mistake of questioning his original intentions. We have academics that specialize in the art, and we study for it, as your American men study to be doctors, lawyers, etc. Although a few of our American contemporaries who served their apprenticeship behind the wheel of a truck, or on the business end of a shovel, are doing nicely thank you.
But he prefers not to speak of them.
Often than not, the press reports have been more fictional than otherwise. I prefer not to discuss it. Clara Bow, The Brooklyn Spitfire. While refusing to discuss his romantic adventures, Lugosi makes no secret of his love for his dogs. And it is a beautiful thing to behold. For they return his affection with a worshipful adoration, a faithful devotion, that the lonely man had not found in human relationship.
When he is talking they lie quietly at his feet, following his every gesture with approving eyes. But let him rise and move across the room, and they are on him like a flash, leaping at him, barking joyously, begging, dog fashion, for a romp. Dracula, a beautiful Doberman—whose evil eyes and strikingly sinister appearance are strongly suggestive of the fantastic being for which it is named—is his favorite.
She had recently starred in a canine Blessed Event, and Lugosi led me down to the kennel to inspect the pedigreed progeny. Perfectly marked, the eight puppies were identical, miniature carbon copies of their sleek, graceful mother.
Laughing happily, the Master Fiend went down on his knees, arms outstretched to encircle them all. And they mussed his hair, tugged at his tie, left multiple dusty smudges on his immaculate white flannels, while they yelped madly in concert. I watched the scene in amazement. And, as I watched, Lugosi raised a strangely transfigured face to mine.
An unexplainable emotion gripped me. Where was the fiend, in human form? I left him there. It was a beautiful picture to carry away with me. The evil shadows had fallen away, and I had seen the real Lugosi. Genial, sincere, and—sadly enough—misunderstood…and lonely. John Chartres Mather had been in theatre since age Taking his lead from Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musicals, the young man staged local revues in his native Edinburgh.
After a year as stagehand in Dundee repertory, he took on London. Through the war years, he launched musical revues to entertain British troops. John also did tenures as stage director on the road and on the West End. By the late s, still in his mids, John was producing his own musical revues. Musicals were expensive undertakings; they lost big when they failed and earned big when they succeeded. Fine Feathers temporarily made him rich. His labor of love, Out of This World, folded in previews, a devastating setback financially and personally.
John needed to get into something new. How did you decide to produce Dracula? I was having drinks with a few friends in London. Charles Feldman, head of Famous Artists, was there.
By coincidence, Gordon White had mentioned it to me also a few weeks or months before. So, that was when I first thought about it seriously. First, I had to make sure I could book it. I took the idea to the theatre agents. Booking agents wanted to see my budget for publicity posters in detail: The plan was always to get into the West End.
Early in the tour, I had a verbal agreement with the Garrick theatre: After 3 weeks below the limit, the theatre could give it a two week notice. Tour for 6 to 8 weeks and then into the Garrick Theatre—that was the plan. I had dates lined up for the tour, and would have cancelled them if the call came from the West End. I never intended to tour for 24 weeks. In , Americans-in-the-flesh were in vogue. Danny Kaye had been coming over regularly, and there was a demand for more.
And I knew I could pull Dracula together pretty quickly. Fronting up—supplying the supporting acts that come on before the star attraction. For that I could get the show started and keep it on the road for as long as I had to. They were my partners in Chartres Productions, but they never had much to do with Dracula.
He thought we were crazy, but he handled the negotiations to contract Bela. Well, they were my partners, and we used the same office, so I put their names on the programs. Gordon died a few years ago in California, a very wealthy man. George Routledge had some legal and money problems and left the business a few years after Dracula.
He lives in Denmark now. I knew Lee well, and his partner Betty Farmar. He ran off with the leading lady and all the money from one of his productions, and got caught. I met Bela and Lillian when they landed in Southampton. Bela looked as if he were going to die. He always looked that way. Bela was very charming, very humble, not conceited in the least.
For the first 2 or 3 days of rehearsals, he only walked through his part. I was wondering about cancelling the whole thing. On the third day, Dickie Eastham asked the cast to do their read-throughs in character. Bela stood straight and awed everyone. Bela had always looked like a tired old man—very gray, very old and bent, years older than his actual age. He spoke very slowly, softly and mumbled a bit. This all changed when he was onstage—the transformation was complete: When he was Dracula, he had this twinkle in his eye.
He was so charming, and then so evil. I think Dickie and me both went to Southampton to meet Bela and Lillian. I put them into a hired limousine and hurried ahead to London. I had the flat stocked with goodies, and a bottle of champagne waiting. I had made a reservation at Carlton Towers, a table by the window for 6: Oh, she was awful! It was mutual loathing from the first day. Well, I must say that everyone else on the tour speaks well of her. Well, she was an extraordinary woman, but a pain-in-the-ass. She took notes through the rehearsals, and interfered. I had it out with her once.
After that, she sat in the back of the stalls; but still kept those notes. Lillian looked tough and was a strong woman, physically. At dress rehearsal, a hamper was in the way. Lillian lifted it and set it on the table.
I went and looked inside—it was filled with books and files. I was curious and nudged it to check its weight, and wondered if I could have lifted it. Lillian seemed desperately unhappy. I think she had a terrible inferiority complex. She had a strident voice, heavy Chicago accent. Nothing ever pleased her—in restaurants and the theatre, anywhere. She browbeat Bela, who just seemed to tune her out and accept it.
She was bitter about how Bela was treated—Hollywood had once been at his feet, studios phoning constantly, but now they shunned him. If anything, they think Bela controlled her life.
I think Lillian bullied Bela, a bit—treated him like a child. She sent food back in restaurants. I think Bela was used to this, since he just munched away. She was always at the side of the stage—every night. Dickie stands by his much more favorable memories of Lillian, but strongly confirms that John and Lillian simply never got along. John, as the producer of a tour that was not quite what she and Bela expected, saw a side of that affection that few others did.
I have to ask you something directly. There has always been a persistent claim that Bela was never paid for the Dracula tour.
Bram Stoker — 'Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring.'. Enter freely and of your own will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone.
Oh, he was definitely paid. Everyone, every actor in every show I ever produced was paid. I treated Bela and Lillian well. Bela was always marvelous, once you got to know him. At our first meeting in Southampton, I thought he looked so feeble and I really feared for the production, but he never let us down. I dined out with them often, especially during rehearsals in April. I did that with all the stars of my shows. He never drank that much in front of me. Before dinner, I would go to their flat on Chesham Road to pick them up. Once, while Lillian got ready, Bela sat me down on the sofa, and brought out a huge scrapbook of old clippings.
They were from his days in Hungary. They were obvious rave reviews. Bela went through them one by one.
It was very important to him, I think, for me to know about his days before Dracula. The rehearsals started in bare rooms above the pub on Pont Street. For the second week, we moved to the Duke of York Theatre. It had a one-set play on at the time. Sep 10, Lizzie 2 books view quotes.
May 30, Brenda books view quotes. Feb 05, Ceph 0 books view quotes. Nov 01, Trish 2, books view quotes. Oct 08, Oct 07, Bradi books view quotes. Sep 26, Hanne books view quotes. Sep 16, Sep 05, Jemetienne 3 books view quotes. May 26, Louise 19 books view quotes.
Nov 27, Jennifer 0 books view quotes. Apr 06, Philip books view quotes. Feb 24, Eris books view quotes.