The legendary Berwyn/Chicago-based monster film host will present his big broadcast showcase of “Frankenstein” (1931), this Sat., May 4 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central on Me-TV (as part of Sven’s “Monstrous May” festival of classic Universal “Frankenstein” monster features).
This will be the “kick-off” film in Sven’s Universal “Frankenstein” tribute throughout the month of May on Me-TV. Other Universal “Frankenstein” masterpieces in Sven’s Sat. “Monstrous May” festival will include “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935, on May 11), “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948, on May 18) and “The Ghost of Frankenstein” (1942, on May 25).
Adapted from Mary Shelley’s novel, the 1931 production of “Frankenstein” was directed by veteran Universal director James Whale. Whale also directed the Universal screen adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The Invisible Man” (1933, with Claude Rains and Gloria Stuart) and the landmark Universal “Frankenstein” monster sequel, “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935, with Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester).
This will mark Sven’s fifth coast-to-coast big broadcast of Whale’s 1931 Universal monster classic on Me-TV. He previously showcased ‘Frankenstein” back in Nov. 2013, Nov. 2014, Oct. 2015 and Sept. 2017.
To quote Universal’s ending motto, “A good cast is worth repeating.” Who was in Whale’s Universal production of “Frankenstein” (1931)?
The players who appeared in James Whale’s classic Universal adaptation of “Frankenstein” were Boris Karloff (as Frankenstein’s monster), Colin Clive (as Dr. Henry Frankenstein), Mae Clarke (as Elizabeth), Edward Van Sloan (who played the dual roles of Dr. Waldman and the introductory prologue announcer, Sloan played Van Helsing in Tod Browning’s 1931 Universal monster masterpiece with Bela Lugosi, “Dracula”), John Boles (as Victor Moritz), Dwight Frye (as Fritz; Frye was also known for his role of Renfield in 1931’s “Dracula”), Marilyn Harris (as Maria), Frederick Kerr (as Baron Frankenstein), Francis Ford (in an uncredited screen role as Hans, Ford was the older brother of director John Ford) and Lionel Belmore (as the Burgomaster).
A rare pre-Boris Karloff Universal “Frankenstein” concept poster with a sketch of Bela Lugosi’s planned portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster
According to the American Film Institute’s database article on “Frankenstein” (1931), Bela Lugosi was originally considered for the role of Frankenstein’s monster. A concept poster art drawing of Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein’s monster was designed by Universal, according to IMDB.
Jack Pierce’s extensive creation of the Universal “Frankenstein” monster make-up design for Boris Karloff
According to Felicia Feaster’s article on “Frankenstein” (1931) for Turner Classic Movies, veteran Universal make-up artist Jack Pierce spent three months researching various elements for Boris Karloff’s distinctive “Frankenstein” monster make-up design. During his research in creating the “Frankenstein” look for Karloff, Pierce was interested in multiple fields, including electrodynamics, criminology, anatomy and medicine. Pierce took five hours to apply the “Frankenstein” monster make-up design on Karloff.
Mae Clarke was not the first choice for the role of Elizabeth in “Frankenstein” (1931)
According to IMDB’s trivia section on Whale’s 1931 Universal monster classic, a young Bette Davis was originally considered for the role of Elizabeth in Universal’s production of “Frankenstein.” According to additional details from Feaster’s TCM article, James Whale preferred Mae Clarke to play the role of Elizabeth in his Universal monster production. That same year, Clarke appeared in the uncredited role of Kitty in William A. Wellman’s Warner Bros. gangster crime drama, “The Public Enemy” (1931); with James Cagney.
“Frankenstein” (1931): A mammoth box-office success
James Whale’s Universal production of “Frankenstein” (1931) was made on a $250,000 budget. Whale’s production grossed over $12 million at the box office. During the original coast-to-coast theatrical release of “Frankenstein” (1931), audiences were spooked by Boris Karloff’s portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster and reportedly fled from the neighborhood cinema venues, according to additional details from Feaster’s TCM article.
Be sure to watch/record Svengoolie’s big broadcast of “Frankenstein” (1931, part of Sven’s “Monstrous May” salute to classic Universal Frankenstein films), this Sat. on Me-TV!
With Karloff, Clarke, Clive, Van Sloan, Boles, Frye, Harris, Kerr, Ford and Belmore, along with Whale’s direction, Pierce’s make-up effects and Kenneth Strickfaden’s famed “Frankenstein” laboratory equipment, you will not want to miss out on Svengoolie’s big broadcast of “Frankenstein” (1931), this Sat. on Me-TV! A perfect treat for all fellow super SvenPals from coast-to-coast and fellow aficionados of classic Universal Studios monster features! Highly recommended for the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals and Universal monster enthusiasts with Sven’s additional fun facts, Doug Graves’ parody song and Kerwyn’s “mail call” segment!
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 super #Svengoolie SvenPals (via Twitter) everywhere during Sven’s big “Monstrous May” broadcast showcase of “Frankenstein” (1931), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Sven’s recent Rondo Award win! Extra! Extra! Extra! According to the official Rondo Awards site and Svengoolie’s official Twitter feed, Svengoolie recently won the 17th annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for the category of “favorite horror host (of 2018)!” ‘
Congratulations and three cheers to Sven on winning the recent Rondo Award and congratulations to all nominees and winners of the 17th annual Rondo Awards! On behalf of the entire crowd of fellow coast-to-coast super SvenPals, keep up the excellent work, sir! Here’s to more Sat. night Me-TV big broadcast monster/horror/sci-fi feature film classics, Sven! -C.H.
“Flashback” Silver Screen Reflections blog posts on Sven’s Oct./Halloween 2015 big Me-TV broadcast showcase of “Frankenstein” (1931) and Sven’s Sept. 2017 big broadcast presentation of “Frankenstein” on Me-TV!
Minor schedule changes to Me-TV’s “Super Sci-Fi Sat. Night” and “Red Eye Sci-Fi” (late Sat. night/early Sun. morning) lineups: According to Me-TV’s official website, there will be minor changes to Me-TV’s “Super Sci-Fi Sat. Night” and “Red Eye Sci-Fi” lineups beginning on May 4. Here is the updated schedule: “Wonder Woman” at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT, “Svengoolie” and his classic monster/horror/sci-fi film showcase at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, *“Star Trek: The Original Series” at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT, the new addition of Quinn Martin’s “The Invaders” series at Midnight ET/11 p.m. CT, *“Lost in Space” at 1 a.m. ET/Midnight CT (in place of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker”), “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” at 2 a.m. ET/1 a.m. CT, “Land of the Giants” at 3 a.m. ET/2 a.m. CT, “The Time Tunnel” at 4 a.m. ET/3 a.m. CT, the return of the TV adaptation of “Planet of the Apes” at 5 a.m. ET/4 a.m. CT *and the twinset of “Alf” will be moved to 6 a.m. ET/5 a.m. Central.
*Denotes schedule switch.
Fellow Chicago/Berwyn/Antioch super SvenPals and beyond! Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow super Svengoolie SvenPal Jamie Lee will be appearing with the PM&L players for the new and upcoming PM&L Theatre stage rendition of Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning comedy play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!” Directed for by Mark Badtke for the PM&L ensemble, Jamie will be reprising her role of Nina in the upcoming PM&L rendition of Durang’s play!
According to the official site for the PM&L Theatre, the upcoming PM&L rendition of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” will take place from Fri., May 31 to Sun., June 16 on weekends (Fri. evenings, May 31, June 7 and June 14 at 8 p.m., local time; Sat. evenings, June 1, June 8 and June 15 at 8 p.m., local time and Sun. afternoons, June 2, June 9 and June 16 at 2:30 p.m., local time) at the PM&L Theatre (877 N. Main St., Antioch, Illinois 60002)! Online ticket orders are now available and box office ticket orders will open on Mon., May 20 (according to the PM&L site, ticket prices are $15 and $18).
Congratulations and three cheers to Jamie and the entire PM&L Theatre ensemble/cast on their upcoming theatrical stage renditions of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” in May and June, on behalf of the entire crowd of fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals from coast-to-coast! We’re all cheering and applauding for you! -C.H.
And be sure to give generously/spread the word to help one of Jamie’s friends from the PM&L players ensemble through her friend’s official “GoFundMe” site (to help offset costly medical expenses)! –C.H.
In relation to “Frankenstein” (1931):
**And speaking of the “Shock!” package, a 1957 Screen Gems text-based trade ad touting the ratings success of the package of classic pre-1948 Universal monster/horror features with “Frankenstein” in Chicago and Baltimore, including a mention of WBKB-TV (the future WLS-TV) 7 and future Me-TV affiliate WBAL-TV 11!
“Frankenstein” (1931) is also available from Universal Studios on Blu-Ray, DVD and through participating digital streaming/video on-demand providers. The 1931 classic is also available in Universal’s “Frankenstein” monster franchise anthology film set on Blu-Ray and DVD, “Frankenstein: The Complete Legacy Collection.” The film is also available in Universal’s “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection“(“Universal Monsters: The Essential Collection“) Blu-Ray anthology film compilation set. “Frankenstein” is also available in Universal’s “Classic Monsters Spotlight Collection” DVD compilation set.
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