Monday, August 27, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

3 New Intriguing Film Factoids!

Why was Bela Lugosi so inept in his single rendition of the Frankenstein monster? Did glamorous Honor Blackman once portray a blind woman? What is the secret behind actress Vera Miles' name?

These absorbing film factoids relating to entries in the sci-fi/horror/mystery genre are now revealed:

-Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the Frankenstein monster in 1944's "Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man" has been ripped by film critics down through the years as being awkward. But, in remaining faithful to the previous sequel, "The Ghost of Frankenstein" (1942), where the brain of Lugosi's character Ygor was implanted in the creature after which it went blind due to an incompatible blood type, he was supposed to be visually challenged, thus accounting for his clumsiness. However, scenes explaining this were deleted, making it appear that Lugosi was inept.

In "The Ghost of Frankenstein," Lon Chaney Jr. portrayed the creature throughout, even after the brain transplant, with Lugosi's voice dubbed in at the end. Chaney also played the creature in the 1952 "Frankenstein" episode of TV's "Tales of Tomorrow" where John Newland of "One Step Beyond" fame was Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Ruehl Fact: The role of the grave robber Ygor, which he essayed in both "The Son of Frankenstein"(1939) and "The Ghost of Frankenstein"(1942), was Lugosi's favorite other than his cherished characterization of Dracula!

-Gorgeous Honor Blackman, co-star of "The Avengers" TV series and the 1964 007 flick "Goldfinger," was cast as a blind woman in an episode ("Blind Justice") of the 1959 British TV series, "The Invisible Man."

Interestingly, Patrick Macnee (as John Steed) was merely a secondary character during the first year of "The Avengers," assuming the lead only after Ian Hendry did not return for the second season.

Ruehl Fact: Despite the producers' objections, Macnee opted to carry an umbrella as a weapon in "The Avengers" rather than a gun because he had seen too many comrades killed by bullets during WW2!

-Actress Vera Miles, star of the superb 1961 "Twilight Zone" episode "Mirror Image" about a woman who sees her doppelganger in a bus station, was born Vera Ralston, but had to change her name when she arrived in Hollywood where Vera Ralston (star of 1944's "The Lady and the Monster") was already firmly entrenched. Miles, who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" (1956) and "Psycho" (1960), was his 1st choice for the female lead in "Vertigo"(just named the best film of all time), but was pregnant at the time and could not accept the role that ultimately went to Kim Novak.

Ruehl Fact: Vera Ralston's given name was Vera Hruba, which she used as a skating star. But, Republic Pictures mogul Herbert Yates, whom she later married, christened her with the surname of Ralston in an endeavor to Americanize the Czech actress who spoke English with a pronounced accent: in some films, she was billed as Vera Ralston, in others, as Vera Hruba Ralston

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Latest HuffPost Blog:"2 Celebrated Authors' Precognitive Dreams"

Two Celebrated Authors' Precognitive Dreams!

Posted: 07/24/2012 5:14 pmReact

Is it possible to accurately visualize the future in one's dreams? According to two of the world's foremost authors,the answer is a decided YES!

America's Mark Twain and his younger brother Henry were both laboring aboard the steamboat Pennsylvania which sailed the Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Louis.

On one dark night in the late 1880s, at his sister's home in St. Louis, Twain awoke in terror from-a-frightful, realistic nightmare. He had dreamed that Henry had died, and that his brother's corpse was lying in an open metal coffin. On his chest was an elaborate bouquet of white flowers marked by a single red rose in the center.

Twain, in his early 20s at the time, could not fall back asleep for several hours. Instead, he lay awake dwelling on his dream's deadly implications.

Two weeks later, he transferred to another riverboat while Henry remained aboard the Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, as the Pennsylvania was steaming into Memphis harbor, four boilers violently exploded. Most of the crew members were critically wounded, including Henry.

He died a few days later. Already, the first part of the nightmare had materialized.

Then, at the local funeral parlor, Twain saw all the victims in their coffins. One was more expensive than the others: it was metal and had been paid for by several local ladies who had adored the handsome Henry.

The nightmare's second key aspect had come true.

As Twain gazed tearfully upon his beloved brother, an attractive young woman quietly walked up to place a spray of white flowers with a single red rose at its center on Henry's chest. The remaining element of the deadly dream had become reality!

Equally famous English writer Charles Dickens actually had two separate supernatural experiences involving loved ones. After his father died, Dickens awoke one morning out of a deep sleep to see his dad seated beside his bed. He was shocked, and yet elated. But, when he reached out to touch the apparition, it dissolved.

Then in 1837, the 25-year-old Dickens became profoundly depressed over the unexpected death of his sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth. He had apparently been in love with her. But his feelings went unrequited, at least in life.

After Mary died, he began seeing her in dreams so vivid that it seemed as though Mary's spirit actually was visiting him from beyond the grave. On one occasion, Dickens claimed Mary's spirit actually materialized before him, floated up to the ceiling and disappeared. Her appearances may have inspired the massive output of literary works he then produced.

Noted parapsychological investigator Brad Steiger, author of "Undying Love" (Berkley), exhaustively researched both cases and declared:

"Without a doubt, Twain and Dickens both had paranormal experiences involving dreams!"