View Full Version : Boris Karloff
January 21st, 2004, 02:37 AM
THE Frankenstein Monster has quite a list of credits, including non horror!
- A-1 comercial
- MAD,MAD MONSTER PARTY
- Targets, the first feature film by Peter Bogdanovich, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Karloff, basically playing himself, is horror veteran Byron Orlok, who was making a personal apperance at a drive-in playing one of his films (actually, footage from Corman's "The Terror") with a sniper is on the loose. In the ending, Orlok faces down the sniper and stops him, mimicing his own image on the drive-in screen.
- Ronson lighter commercials
- He appeared in the Broadway play "The Lark" opposite Julie Harris, which was boradcast on network TV back in 1955.
- He made many appreances on the Milton Berle show, I've Got a Secret; played "Mother Muffin" on "The Girl from
U.N.C.L.E." and "Singh" on "Night of the Golden Cobra" on "The Wild Wild West."
- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the original): He narrated the cartoon.
- There's also the Boris Karloff And Friends ' 60s LP album. The Universal Monster Army (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UniversalMonsterArmy/) should be hosting it.
January 21st, 2004, 12:46 PM
Wasn't Karloff in some old Beach Party type movie as well??
January 22nd, 2004, 08:15 AM
You must mean 'Ghost in the Invisble Bikini', where he suffered along with Basil Rathbone.
Dear Uncle Boris, even in the worst of films he was always incredibly entertaining to watch. Even his atrocious Mexican films made in the year before his death are amusing. And of course, I'm such an admirer of Karloff, I even envisioned him playing not one but three of the characters from my last novel.
Currently, I'm holding out hope that Columbia will release some of the Karloff films in their library to DVD. Near as I can tell, they have rights to 'The Black Room', 'The Man They Could Not Hang', 'Before I Hang', 'The Walking Dead' and another mad doctor one whose title momentarily elludes me (it features Peter Lorre in a humourously miscast turn as a small town hick sheriff). Of course, the real gem is whoever is sitting on the DVD rights to 'The Body Snatcher'. Karloff's Cabman Grey is one of the nastiest yet charming characters he ever played. Then there is MGM and their Karloff film, 'The Mask of Fu Manchu' which desperately needs a DVD release.
January 22nd, 2004, 01:18 PM
Somewhere in my basement I have a VHS copy of an old Dick Tracy movie serial which featured Karloff as a character called "Gruesome"
Pretty cool stuff. He was a master.
And thanks for the help Morgoth
January 25th, 2004, 10:46 PM
Karloff also played Captain Hook numerous times in the stage version of Peter Pan and Col. Kurtz in the television adaptation of 'Heart of Darkness'.
He would be on set in his wheelchair with an oxygen tank and mask but when it came time to shoot, he was ready like the pro he always was and continued right up until his health wouldn't allow him to work. Truly one of the hardest working actors and he died as he wanted: "with his boots on".
The animated legacies of Karloff and Lugosi are quite interesting: Karloff gave us The Grinch...'whose heart grew...' and Lugosi left us with Chernabog from Disney's Fantasia. Although an animator subbed in for the aging actor's body, that's definately Lugosi's hands and leering face!
Kind of appropriate that one of our favorite "monsters" would *leave us with a warm, fuzzy animated character and Hollywood's Dark Prince was animated as a hideous, monsterous slavic demon....
Speaking of TARGETS, it is available on DVD with an informative interview/monolgue by Peter Bogdonavich.
February 13th, 2004, 01:39 AM
There is also the THE GHOUL and the VURDULAK (sic?) segment of BLACK SABBATH.
COMEDY OF TERRORS (a minor role, but he's terrific!http://www.rodansroost.com/ikonboard/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif Some people say it was
demeaning but Boris turned it into a comedy gem, especially with the scene where he gives a funeral eulogy that would not only have the corpse turning in its grave but coming back to throttle the speaker! The subject of his tribute was Basil Rathbone's character. Originally, according to some sources, Boris was to play that character but his physical condition (especially his bad leg) ruled that out. There would have been a lot of physical activity, even without doubles. That part, the miser and the Shakespeare freak Mr. Black, went to Rathbone and Boris took on the role of Hinchley the undertaker. He pretty near stole the show from Vincent Price, which is no easy accomplishment in the comedy department!
THE MUMMY (way scarier than the new one!http://www.rodansroost.com/ikonboard/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif http://www.rodansroost.com/ikonboard/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif
THE BLACK CASTLE (Universal) - a good gothic thriller with Lon Chaney, Jr. also.
"The Black Prophet" episode of the TV version of SUSPENSE in which he plays Rasputin and a young Leslie Nielsen is the prince who tries to kill him - on live TV!
THE DEVIL COMMANDS
There is also an episode of Route 66 he starred in with Lon Jr. and Peter Lorre. The premise is old horror film actors arguing if monsters are still scary to the public. Lon played a hopeless horror fan and Boris a mummy and the wolfman. This was set against the backdrop of the O'Hare Airport in Chicago and a National Secretaries Convention!
THE OLD DARK HOUSE
His variety show appearances usually had him spoofing his sinister image but he always did it with a twinkle in his eye - at least when he wasn't scaring the tweets out of the stars of the show!
February 13th, 2004, 02:01 AM
wow, I'd love to see what Karloff did with his role as Rasputin! Hopefully somebody will dig that one up for some collection.
Two TV series Karloff did are also worth noting: Thriller and an unaired series called 'The Veil' which Something Weird Video was nice enough to release on DVD. Rather like less-pretentious Twilight Zone stories, the little capers on 'The Veil', with the Jack the Ripper episode being especially gruesome and chilling. Thriller of course was a mystery and horror show that was extremely well made, favourite episode having to be Thriller's version of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Premature Burial', and a piece called 'The Grim Reaper' that featured a young William Shatner and a cursed portrait of the ghoulish figure in the title.
February 13th, 2004, 02:35 AM
Some key sites:
Boris Karloff Home Page (http://www.karloff.com/) (official). The random pics are a great start!
A Filmography (http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~u0e53/karloff.html)
MP3's (http://www.otrcat.com/boriskarloff.htm) (This site also lists Peter Lorre, Orson Welles and Vincent Price Collections!http://www.rodansroost.com/ikonboard/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
Vintage radio shows (http://www.radiolovers.com/)! Check the Mysteries section for some shows by Boris Karloff. The SciFi/Superheroes section has Frankenstein, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Haunted Tales of the Supernatural. There are also some great comedies. All are mp3 and FREE!
The book, DEAR BORIS (1975, by Cynthia Lindsay) is prefaced, "To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die," the words his widow, Evie, put under his death notice in the London papers.
It's hard to believe it has been 35 years since his departure this past February 2nd... http://www.rodansroost.com/ikonboard/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
February 15th, 2004, 12:18 AM
WAR OF THE WORLDS and something to listen to on the way to work might be what we usually think of RADIO but check out radiolovers.com (http://www.radiolovers.com/) for "The Boris Karloff Show", which was sponsored by Reader's Digest. It was meant to be educational. Each episode only runs about six minutes but the show ran for 12 years and was one of the final things he did. One is about Stratford-On-Avon and how it was ignored as William Shakespere's birth place until local merchants did something about it. There's also the bizarre murder of magician Chung Ling Soo. "The Story Of Wood" is about how important it is even in modern architecture.
The Music section has Boris as a guest star on the Kraft Music Hall hosted by Al Jolson.
April 24th, 2004, 11:31 PM
"The Man Who Changed His Mind"
When Boris Karloff appears on the DVD cover you know this is another fine example of a role that suits him best – the mad scientist. And this time he isn't a kindly doctor simply misunderstood by his peers in the scientific community. Dr. Laurience (Karloff) is truly a bona fide evil genius, in possession of a mind-swapping device with a personal agenda that is not for the betterment of mankind ... but perpetual body-swapping immortality.
In the past few months, several Karloff titles on DVD have surfaced:
"The Devil Commands", "The Ghoul" and now, *"The Man Who Changed His Mind".
Each is an exhilarating, nostalgic trip back in time when special effects were nothing more than electric arcs, sparks and a whiff of smoke. The true SFX *was the affect actors like Karloff had on their loyal audience. They made the unbelievable, believable.
This newly remastered DVD release from Shanachie Entertainment Corp. is part of their British Cinema Collection. The quality for this 1936 film is beautiful, making a welcome addition to the film library of any Karloff aficionado.
It retails for $19.95 but deepdiscountdvd.com has it for $14.83. You can also pick it up at Creepy Classics. If you're not into online shopping, it will probably eventually show up at Suncoast Video.
Unfortunately, titles like "The Devil Commands" haven't turned up at the local Wal-marts so this might not either. "The Ghoul" has been offered there once or twice but it's on a major label.
-- Joe Shingler
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