Quick reminder- today in Elk Grove Village, I face off against the town’s mayor, each of us having a pig assigned in a race- and the loser will have to be sawed in half! (Not the pig- though I’d guess, eventually, it’ll be part of the breakfast special at Denny’s…)I’m signing autographs there too- just check under our “appearances” tab…
Meanwhile, tonight on ME-TV, down in bayou country, the problem isn’t pigs- it’s bats- one in particular, in fact, as Lon Chaney Jr. brings the vampire legend to America in “Son of Dracula”!
In this 1943 Universal flick, the occult-obsessed daughter of a New Orleans plantation owner invites a Hungarian count she met in her travels overseas to visit the family home in America. When a greeting party awaits his arrival at the train station- he is not aboard- but some of his luggage- large boxes, in fact- are there…and one of the enterprising welcoming committee notices that the spelling of Count Alucard’s last name backwards is…Dracula! What a coincidence!
The luggage is taken to the “Dark Oaks” estate of the family- where a huge party is held that night- and , suspiciously, the old family patriarch, Colonel Caldwell, suffers a heart attack and dies- never mind those marks on his neck… that same night, Count Alucard finally shows up. Did I use the word “suspicious”- or any form thereof?
When the Colonel’s will is read, the occult- steeped daughter Katherine surprises everyone with a newer will- which appears to be valid- that gives her sister Claire all the money- and leaves Katherine with the drafty old mansion, whose servants appear to be leaving the premises- but she’s just fine with it. She also seems to be abandoning her fiancé, Frank, for the Count, and a midnight elopement! When Frank fights back, there is an alleged murder- whose victim reappears, apparently fine- new victims with bite marks are found- and a visiting expert on the undead helps prove that the Dracula family still exists- and appears to be the source of the current mayhem!
This rare turn for Lon Jr. as Drac Jr., right before John Carradine picked up the torch in “House of Frankenstein”, comes two years after he played his definitive role of Larry Talbot in “The Wolf Man”- and perhaps his moustache in this film was meant to differentiate the role from Talbot. We also get his perennial co-star, Evelyn Ankers (whom he often enjoyed tormenting!), as the sister Claire. We’ll tell you about other cast members, including one who was a part of an iconic Christmas classic- and, reveal a “first” among Dracula pictures that occurs in this film- as well as a glaring contradiction of vampire lore! Of course, there’s a lot of Sven Dracula shtick to round out the show…
“Son of Dracula” runs tonight on Me-TV at 10 pm eastern, 9 pm central, 1 am on San Francisco’s KOFY, and please check your local listings for the run time where you live. In the Chicago area, you get your additional dosages of Sven- the 11 am WCIU program is “The Mummy’s Hand”; and , at 3 pm on U Too, it’s another vintage Sven oldie- “Beach Girls and the Monster”- which also runs this week in San Francisco on Me-TV in the KOFY 20.2 earlier timeslot. It seems our San Francisco fans have adapted pretty well to the two timeslots on the sister KOFY stations- I’ve been getting fewer confused complaints lately!
See you on your TV or at the Little Boots Rodeo- I’ll have the exciting results of the pig race and subsequent sawing in tomorrow’s blog!