Tuesday, November 23, 2010

              Happy Birthday, Boris Karloff...

             William Henry Pratt never fit you, you always looked like a Boris Karloff.

             There is a story attributed to Karloff, that he was working at Universal playing bit parts and one evening he was given a ride home by the studio's biggest star, in fact one of the biggest stars in silent pictures, Lon Chaney. According to Karloff, Chaney advised him "The trick of this business is to do something totally different from the rest so they'll take notice of you." Chaney, if anyone, would know about that. Nobody could do what Chaney could do. Karloff never even tried, and the irony was not lost on him that when he finally found his niche, he kept being compared to Chaney.
             Even though he didn't do his own makeup,  he was as versatile as the elder Chaney. The Frankenstein Monster was one of only 15 roles he'd played that year (1931). He and James Cagney were  founding members of the Screen Actors Guild. He never lost touch with his stage roots, going back to Broadway on numerous occasions.

           And yes he played the Frankenstein Monster. He played it brilliantly, in a performance that holds up to this day. Bearing in mind Chaney's advice he never complained about typecasting.  On the contrary, he  said that "The Monster was the best friend I ever had".
            Mine too, Boris...


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