Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Boris Karloff was the Consummate Gentleman Monster


My submission for the I, Splotchy Adopt-An-Actor campaign is my favorite actor, Boris Karloff. Among his many accomplished roles on film and on television, Karloff was the definitive Frankenstein monster, the original Mummy, and the narrator for "the Grinch that Stole Christmas", as well as the voice of the Grinch.

Kalroff did not actually become successful at acting until he was 44 years old, when he played the Frankenstein monster for Universal Pictures. Before that he was a bit player on stage and an extra in movies. Nobody is exactly sure how many films he has been in because he was cast as an extra for so many years that and no accurate record was ever kept of his minor roles. Film students to this day still discover previously unknown Karloff roles in classic films where he played an uncredited face in a crowd. He also worked regularly as a ditch digger and a cement truck driver.

Karloff was once asked in his later years how he managed to find the energy to keep working on so many projects.

"Good clean living, up until the age of 6." Was Karloff's reply.

I read his biography when I was a about 12, right about the time I started to watch "Creature Features with Bob Wilkins".

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At Sat Jul 14, 02:14:00 PM, Blogger Splotchy said...


Karloff is great!

I haven't begun to see all his performances, but a few that are among of my favorites (aside from the obvious) are in Targets and the original Scarface.

At Sat Jul 14, 03:58:00 PM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

Great choice. I grew up watching "Frankenstein," and "The Grinch," of course. I love "Targets."

I was looking him up on IMDB a few months ago. He has some Egyptian ancestry, which gave him his exotic looks.

At Sat Jul 14, 04:54:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Super choice, I'm gald to see actors from older movies are not being neglected.

At Sat Jul 14, 05:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creature Feature! If I was outside, someone would call me in to watch so I wouldn't miss it.

I recently watched Karloff in The Mummy, a movie I'd never seen all the way through before. It was really quite good. He was very intense.

At Sat Jul 14, 08:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, Bob Wilkins and his cigar. I seem to recall really bad puns.

Wilkins was sooooo ahead of his times. Without Wilkins, there never would have been an Elvira, or a MST3K.

Thanks for the memories, Dr. Z.



At Sun Jul 15, 08:28:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Splotchy: I didn't realize how many people like him, or even knew who he was until now! I hate to see him categorized with Lon Chaney Jr. (the Wolfman), or even Bela Lugosi (Dracula). I always thought that he was a far better actor then either one of them.

Johnny Yen: I always thought that his most intriguing characteristic was his voice. Aside from his menacing tone, he had a faint lisp, which was actually a handicap for him in the early part of his acting career. Imagine if he had done Darth Vader's voice!

Dr. Monkerstein: I had not thought of that! Perhaps we should revive few others. You've inspired me! I'll do Mae West!

DCup: I loved that show. My whole week revolved around Saturday morning cartoons and "Creature Features" when I was a a kid. The Mummy was amazing in that they did so much with so little. If you watch with that in mind, you begin to realize that they must have had a tiny budget! And yet they really conveyed the idea well.

Tengrain: Oh, he made the worst puns! I remember that I often fell asleep during the second movie, which was usually awfully anyway, but I would get so mad! How could I miss part of "Creature Features"! I would draw pictures of all of the monsters in my binder at school instead of listening to the teacher, and was an avid reader of Famous Monsters of Filmland. I even tried to do monster makeup for Halloween a couple of times, but it always looked really crappy.

At Sun Jul 15, 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Becca said...

Karloff is great but whenever I see him in a movie these days I can't help but think of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood saying "Karloff? Sidekick? FUCK YOU! Karloff did not deserve to smell my shit! That limey cocksucker can rot in Hell for all I care!"

Not that I agree but that scene always cracks me up!

At Sun Jul 15, 11:27:00 PM, Blogger Becca said...

That was probably so distasteful to mention in the comments of a post about how awesome Karloff was...I hope I didn't offend you...

At Mon Jul 16, 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Yes, I saw that film, and I really thought it was great! And no, I don't mind that you quoted the film at all. Lugosi could only really play two parts, Hungarian and extra Hungarian.

At Mon Jul 16, 07:23:00 PM, Blogger SamuraiFrog said...

My favorite Karloff performance was "The Body Snatcher." Great choice!

At Tue Jul 17, 02:20:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

I love that movie! I didn't mention it in the post because I figured that most people have not heard of it. That is one my favorites!


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