The legendary Chicago-based horror film host will be showing Universal Studios’ 1943 adaptation of “Phantom of the Opera.” The fun starts this Sat., March 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV. Filmed in three-strip Technicolor, the 1943 version of “Phantom of the Opera” was directed by Arthur Lubin and was produced by George Waggner.
Who was in the 1943 version of “Phantom of the Opera?”
The actors appearing in the 1943 version of “Phantom of the Opera” were Claude Rains (as Erique Claudin), Nelson Eddy (as Anatole Garron), Susanna Foster (as Christine DuBois), Leo Carrillo (as Signor Ferretti) and Hume Cronyn (as Gerard).
Actors that were originally set to appear in the 1943 version of “Phantom”
According to the American Film Institute’s entry on the film, the studio originally wanted to remake “Phantom of the Opera” in 1940. Universal star Deanna Durbin was originally considered to play the role of Christine DuBois, opposite Broderick Crawford. Studio executives also considered to reformat “Phantom of the Opera” into a comedy with Universal’s comedic duo, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
George Waggner originally considered Lon Chaney, Jr. to play the lead role of the “Phantom.” Lon Chaney, Sr. played the role of the Phantom in Universal’s 1925 silent adaptation (which was the senior Chaney’s most famous role).
The “Phantom” stage (a.k.a. The “Paris Opera House” setting)
Stage 28, better known as the “Phantom” stage on the Universal lot was used for the Technicolor remake. The stage was originally built for the studio’s 1925 version. For Lubin’s screen adaptation, Universal executives spent $100,000 to make minor adjustments to the 1925 set, including soundproofing material.
The “Phantom” stage setting was used in numerous Universal productions over the years, including “Dracula” (1931, with Bela Lugosi), “Man of a Thousand Faces” (1957, with James Cagney as the senior Lon Chaney), “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967, with Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore) and “The Sting” (1973, with Robert Redford and Paul Newman), according to Variety and Curbed: Los Angeles.
What happened to the “Phantom” stage?
In 2014, Universal Studios officials decided to demolish Stage 28 at the Universal City, California lot, according to Ted Johnson’s 2016 Variety article on Universal’s recent studio renovations.
Johnson noted that the original “Phantom” set was preserved before demolition and that Universal was considering placing the set in a museum setting (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ planned museum in Los Angeles, according to studio officials). Back in 2014, Johnson reported that Universal officials determined that it was a “difficult decision” to tear down Stage 28.
The blog Inside Universal published pictures of the demolished stage at the Universal lot in Hollywood in August 2014.
Winner of two Academy Awards
The 1943 version of “Phantom of the Opera” won two Academy Awards for Art Direction (John B. Goodman and Alexander Golitzen; Interior Decoration: Russell A. Gausman, Ira S. Webb) and Cinematography (Hal Mohr and W. Howard Greene).
Other screen adaptations of “Phantom”
In addition to the 1925 and 1943 versions of “Phantom,” Britain’s Hammer Studios produced their own version of “Phantom of the Opera” in 1962 featuring Herbert Lom as the Phantom (released by Universal in the states).
A 1989 adaptation was released with Robert Englund as the Phantom. An Italian-produced adaptation was released in 1998 with Julian Sands in the title role and a 2004 screen adaptation (of the Andrew Lloyd Weber stage musical) was released with Gerard Butler as the Phantom.
Watch Svengoolie’s upcoming showcase of “Phantom of the Opera” (1943) this Sat. on Me-TV!
With an ensemble cast featuring Claude Rains, Susanna Foster, Leo Carrillo, Hume Cronyn and Nelson Eddy in eye-popping Technicolor, fans of vintage Universal horror films will not want to miss Sven’s upcoming presentation of “Phantom of the Opera” this Sat. on Me-TV!
Sat. Evening, 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV
Update (for Frederick/Washington area viewers of Me-TV on WJLA-TV 7.2/Comcast 204 and other area cable providers): WJLA is planning to keep Me-TV on their subchannel (the channel listings for WJLA’s Me-TV subchannel on area cable systems were quickly restored with the regular Me-TV schedule)! However (in case anything happens to WJLA’s Me-TV subchannel) – “Silver Screen Reflections” will still be on the lookout for further details.
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208 (“Svengoolie” is time-delayed due to TV-11’s 10 p.m. newscast on their Me-TV subchannel)