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Jan 12, 2014
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Biographic
Steve McGarry

Frankenstein's Monster

Mary Shelley was only 19 years old when she wrote "Frankenstein."  First published in 1818, the novel captured the public's imagination, and was quickly adapted for the stage.  The first of three silent movie versions was released in 1910, and featured Charles Ogle as The Monster.  James Whale's classic 1931 film, starring Boris Karloff as the monster, made "Frankenstein" a household name and established the iconic look of the creature.  

Karloff played the monster in two more movies - 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein" and 1939's "Son of Frankenstein."

Karloff's makeup was the work of former amateur baseball player Jack Pierce, who used green greasepaint (which photographed as gray) for the ghastly skin tone, and blackened the creature's fingernails with boot polish.  The stiff-legged gait was achieved by fitting Karloff with asphalt0spreader's boots and two pairs of pants over steel struts.

The 1940s saw the monster featured in a series of "B" movies, culminating in the 1948 comedy "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

The tale has subsequently been spoofed many times, including by Ml Brooks in the 1974 hit "Young Frankenstein," and the creature's look was the inspiration for Herman in the TV comedy series "The Munsters."  Britain's Hammer Studios resuscitated the monster in 1957 with Christopher Lee in the role, and the studio continued to make "Frankenstein" movies into the 1970s, twice casting Dave Prowse, the giant actor who would later fill out the Darth Vader costume in the "Star Wars" series.  Perhaps the most notable actor to portray Frankenstein's creature in recent years was Oscar-winner Robert de Niro in Kenneth Branagh's 1994 version.  The latest big-screen incarnation, "I, Frankenstein," is based on a graphic novel by actor Kevin Grevioux, and sees Aaron Eckhart play a superhuman creature battling demons to save the world!
Jan 26, 2014
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