Fellow Svengoolie SvenPals everywhere will be excited about his upcoming showcase of a classic Universal Studios horror-mystery-comedy adaptation of an earlier studio mystery-thriller feature classic.
Seven years earlier, Edgar G. Ulmer directed his own Universal dramatic horror-crime-adventure screen adaptation of Poe’s “The Black Cat” (1934, with Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lucille Lund and John Carradine).
This will mark Sven’s third coast-to-coast showcase of Rogell’s 1941 Universal adaptation of “The Black Cat” on Me-TV. Sven previously showcased the 1941 version of “The Black Cat” back in Sept. 2014 and Nov. 2016.
Who was in “The Black Cat” (1941)?
The players who appeared in Rogell’s Universal edition of “The Black Cat” (1941) were Basil Rathbone (as Montague Hartley), Bela Lugosi (as Eduardo Vigos), Gale Sondergaard (as Abigail Doone), Alan Ladd (as Richard Hartley), Anne Gwynne (as Elaine Winslow), Hugh Herbert (as Mr. Penny), Broderick Crawford (as Hubert Smith), Gladys Cooper (as Myrna Hartley), Cecilia Loftus (as Henrietta Winslow), Claire Dodd (as Margaret Gordon) and John Eldredge (as Stanley Borden).
Basil Rathbone previously played the role of Baron Wolf von Frankenstein in Rowland V. Lee’s Universal “Frankenstein” monster feature, “Son of Frankenstein” (1939, with Karloff and Lugosi). Rathbone also played the title role of Sherlock Holmes with Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, beginning with Sidney Lanfield’s screen adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1939). Rathbone appeared in 13 more “Sherlock Holmes” films with Bruce from 1939-46 (the first two Holmes films were Twentieth Century Fox productions, the additional 12 Holmes features were Universal productions).
Ten years earlier, Bela Lugosi played the title role of Count Dracula in Tod Browning’s hit Universal monster screen adaptation of “Dracula” (1931). In the earlier Universal-Ulmer feature film adaptation of “The Black Cat” (1934), Lugosi played the role of Dr. Vitus Werdegast (according to IMDB). He also appeared in the role of the gypsy “Bela” in George Waggner’s Universal monster hit, “The Wolf Man” (1940, with Lon Chaney Jr. and Claude Rains). Gale Sondergaard later appeared in the role of Emily with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the comedic duo’s Universal ghost comedy, “The Time of Their Lives” (1946).
Alan Ladd would go onto greater fame for his roles in Frank Tuttle’s “This Gun for Hire” (1942) and George Stevens’ “Shane” (1953). Broderick Crawford was known for his latter roles in “All the King’s Men” (1949), “Born Yesterday” (1950) and the syndicated TV police detective series, “Highway Patrol” (1955-59).
A casting delay in the production of “The Black Cat” (1941)
According to IMDB’s trivia section on “The Black Cat” (1941), the production of Rogell’s 1941 Universal feature was delayed as a result of the last-minute cast additions of Basil Rathbone and Broderick Crawford. Paul Cavanaugh was originally considered for the role of Montague Hartley and Richard Carlson was originally considered for the role of Hubert Smith.
Stanley Cortez’s cinematography caught the attention of Orson Welles
Stanley Cortez’s cinematography for Rogell’s 1941 Universal edition of “The Black Cat” caught the attention of actor-director Orson Welles. After Welles viewed “The Black Cat,” he hired Cortez to work on the cinematography of the RKO-Mercury production of “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), according to IMDB. Welles was impressed by Cortez’s camera angles and lighting styles.
The “Winslow Mansion” setting was used in other Universal features
The interiors for the “Winslow Mansion” set on the Universal lot were used in the studio’s other monster and horror productions, including “The Night Monster” (1942), “The Mummy’s Tomb” (1942), “Son of Dracula” (1943) and “The Mummy’s Ghost” (1944); according to additional details from IMDB’s trivia section.
Be sure to watch Svengoolie’s big broadcast of “The Black Cat” (1941), this Sat. on Me-TV!
With Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Gale Sondergaard, Alan Ladd, Broderick Crawford, Anne Gwynne, Hugh Herbert, Gladys Cooper, John Elderedge, Claire Dodd, and Cecilia Loftus along with Sven’s extended fun facts, Doug Graves’ parody tune and Kerwyn’s “mail call” segment, be sure to watch Svengoolie’s big broadcast showcase of “The Black Cat” (1941), this Sat. on Me-TV! Don’t miss out on Albert S. Rogell’s screen rendition of Poe’s story with Stanley Cortez’s cinematography! Highly recommended for all fellow super SvenPals and aficionados of classic Universal mystery thrillers everywhere!
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/FiOS 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208/FiOS 460
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248/FiOS 460
Live-tweet with all fellow #Svengoolie SvenPals from coast-to-coast via Twitter during his big broadcast of “The Black Cat” (1941), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Me-TV and Figures Toy Co. have officially unveiled a new official Svengoolie collector’s figurine pack, “the Svengoolie monster Set” featuring figurines of Sven, Dracula, the Mummy and Frankenstein’s monster! Now available through the official Sven/Me-TV online store! And to quote the rule of the official Sven/Me-TV online store, “no personal checks!”
Spread the word/give generously to help one of our fellow super SvenPals’ friends: Be sure to donate generously/spread the word to help out one of the friends of fellow super SvenPal Jamie Lee by donating whatever you can to her PM&L Theatre friend’s official GoFundMe fund website to help offset the astronomical costs of additional medical-related treatments. Again, be sure to give generously/spread the word to help one of Jamie’s friends from the PM&L players! Any amount helps! –C.H.
In relation to “The Black Cat” (1941):
Albert S. Rogell’s Universal rendition of “The Black Cat” (1941) is also available on DVD as part of Universal’s “vault series” of rare and hard-to-find Universal features (including selections from the studio’s ownership of the pre-1948 Paramount sound features) and television productions.