Spotlight on: Boris Karloff!
|1931: A Star is Born. The movie: Frankenstein.|
|Born William Henry Pratt, the renamed Boris Karloff had been acting in small parts since the silent era.|
|Here's Boris taking in the sights in one of his sixteen (!) movies in 1931 alone, Five Star Final. |
|Boris ran with his Frankenstein stardom. Here he plays Fu Manchu for MGM in 1932.|
|This picture gives me the chills. Seriously. Boris as Imhotep in The Mummy (1932).|
|Universal next put them in one of their rather strange all-star sketch |
pictures, The Gift of Gab (1934).
|Plastic surgeon and all around nutter Bela Lugosi gives Boris |
a face only a mother could love in The Raven (1935).
|Bela's back to being the hero and Boris is a crazed radioactive|
killer in The Invisible Ray (1936).
|Their neat teaming was on 1939's Son of Frankenstein. |
Karloff is back as the Monster, and Bela gets his finest
post-Dracula role as the broken necked Ygor.
|Their next Universal picture was Black Friday (1940) but Boris |
and Bela share no scenes in the picture, so here's a publicity photo
instead. It was their last Universal movie together.
|Over at RKO they were joined by Peter Lorre for the musical comedy thriller |
You'll Find Out (1940) with bandleader Kay Kyser and his Kollege of Musical
Knowledge. This is also Boris's only starring role with Ish Kabibble.
|Their final teaming was for The Body Snatcher (1945).|
Boris starred, Bela 's character was added to get him
into a movie with Karloff one last time.
|Since in the 1940's Hollywood still hadn't figured out that Asians might be best suited to play Asian detectives, here's Boris as Mr. Wong.|
|After three times in the Monster's boots, Boris returned to the Frankenstein series for the sixth entry, House of Frankenstein (1944), but this time he took the easier job - the mad scientist. Glenn Strange takes over as The Big Guy.|
|Boris got to appear on Broadway too, in shows like Arsenic and Old Lace, where his character murders everyone who says he looks like Boris Karloff, and in Peter Pan, as Captain Hook, as seen here.|
|By the 1950's Boris was still hard at work, and as this headshot shows, could play dapper villains as well as monsters.|
|He wasn't adverse to working on television either, serving as the host of the great show Thriller (just out on DVD), and the little seen series The Veil, pictured here, and also on DVD, though a little harder to find.|
|Boris teamed with Vincent Price for Roger Corman's The Raven (1963) which was nothing like the 1935 version.|
|As the 1960's wore on, despite increasingly fragile health, the tireless Karloff became the elder statesman of horror films, as seen here in a very atmospheric shot from Die Monster Die! (1965)|
|Boris won a Grammy award for his narration of the classic television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1966.|
|However, Boris shot scenes for four Mexican horror movies in California in 1968, just months before he passed away at the age of 81. The films (The Fear Chamber, The Sinister Invasion, House of Terror, and The Snake People) were completed in Mexico and released posthumously, the last more than two years after his passing in 1971. No, they're not very good, and they ended up with more R rated material in them than I think he would have been comfortable with, but they are Boris Karloff movies and are worth watching, just to see him.|