Tonight on MeTV- you can knock on wood that a certain dummy from the Svengoolie family ( one besides Sven) steps in to provide a week’s respite from werewolves-in the film that reprises Bela Lugosi’s gripping portrayal of Ygor- who is out to help his massive “friend” return to full power – and deviously try to help himself to said power- in "Ghost of Frankenstein"!
Outraged citizens of the village that Dr. Frankenstein called home feel their homeland is cursed by his legacy-poverty and anguish seem to hang over them like a dismal cloud. They feel that all of tragedies that the Frankenstein family has inflicted on them are the reason for their condition- so they decide to destroy what's left of the Frankenstein castle, in hopes it will lift the curse. They storm the castle, ready to level the evil place- and finally be rid of the wily Ygor, who somehow survived what we thought was his death in the previous film “Son of Frankenstein” and still resides among the wreckage. As they advance with their attack, Ygor realizes he must escape, and heads down to the castle's catacombs- where he discovers the Monster, hidden and preserved in sulfur (after his fall into the sulfur pit in the previous film)! Since it cannot be killed- the Monster is still alive- but devastatingly weakened. Ygor helps the Monster sneak away from the mob destroying the castle, stumbling out into a thunderstorm- where a freak lightning strike helps to re-energize the undying creature! This gives Ygor hope that there may be a way to restore the Monster to his old powerful self- but the only one with the right knowledge to do so would have to be- another Frankenstein! The lone Frankenstein offspring he knows of is surviving son Ludwig Frankenstein, who now practices medicine in Bavaria.
So- the fiendish Odd Couple wend their way there, to the place where Ludwig’s work has met great acclaim. His remarkable research has brought about a major breakthrough in brain surgery- being able to remove a damaged brain- repair it- and then put it BACK in the patient's skull - totally cured! At his side to assist him are two colleagues- Dr Kettering, and one Dr. Bohmer- who was originally his teacher, but was disgraced after a surgical error. Bohmer is grateful for Ludwig’s standing by him in spite of that mishap- but still, he is bitter and more than a little jealous of his protégé’s achievements.
The citizens of Vasaria are treated to Ygor and the Monster making a scene when the Monster innocently tries to help a young girl retrieve her ball. The townspeople, remembering what the Monster has done with another small girl ( you remember, as well-the one he thought would float like a flower?) think the massive brute has grabbed the child with evil intent! It takes many men to take the still powerful Monster into custody! Ygor hides from the crowd, dismayed by their capture of his “friend”.
He realizes that only Dr Frankenstein might be able to save his father's creation. By coincidence, the town authorities also feel that perhaps the doctor can help them deal with the huge silent brute they have restrained. Ygor secretly drops by the doctor’s clinic, and, in no uncertain terms, tells the doctor that he will reveal Ludwig’s familial ties to the hulking menace to everyone- unless he steps in to help the Monster!
Ludwig visits town to help the authorities with their powerful captive- who, upon seeing the doctor, smiles as if in recognition of some family resemblance. As usual, his treatment enrages the Monster, who breaks free and escapes from the police with the help of Ygor. The fugitives take refuge in a hidden part of Ludwig’s clinic, but soon the doctor's lovely daughter finds out the truth about her father's family; and Ludwig finds himself at odds with whether to destroy the monster through dissection- or to restore his father’s creation to his previous power, as he is urged to do by- his father's ghost! (Yes, that’s where the title of this movie comes from!) Bohmer's jealousy and yearning to have his genius recognized and his standing in the scientific community restored leads to some double-crossing as he aligns himself with Ygor -to pull off a dastardly plan that can only make the Monster even more deadly!
This 1942 film falls in the Frankenstein series between “Son of Frankenstein" and "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man", which we will air next week. It gives us the final performance by Bela Lugosi as Ygor- with Lon Chaney Jr. taking on the role of the Monster. Sir Cedric Hardwicke is Ludwig, Lionel Atwill is his aide Bohmer, and stock Universal player Evelyn Ankers is Ludwig’s daughter Elsa. Learn about the cast and the production, and enjoy a visit with the funny and adorable Dana Delorenzo of the late great “Ash VS Evil Dead" TV show – along with the whole movie framed around my "brother" Fraido taking over the show-while I am allegedly out on jury duty! Between him and Sventoonie, we are in the grip of a puppet regime!
"Ghost of Frankenstein" hits your screen on MeTV tonight at 8pm eastern/pacific, 7 central – if necessary, check local listings or at www.metv.com for time and channel in your area. MeTV invites you to again join the scores of Sven fans who live-Tweet during the show on Twitter, keeping our program trending right at the top of the list across the nation- just make sure to use the hashtag #svengoolie . Chicago area viewers can enjoy a second look at Larry Talbot becoming “The Wolf Man”- at 11 am on our CW26 station!
We will be dedicating tonight’s show to our friend Gilbert Gottfried, who passed away this week. Any time he visited our dungeon studio, we knew there would be so many laughs in store. We hope to pay tribute to him in a future program. We were so honored to have him as a fan- and as a friend.
Thanks to everyone who attended the live stage show anniversary of the classic radio showcase “Those Were the Days” last Sunday in Chicago. Appearing as my alter ego, it was great fun to help recreate some classic radio shows- including a George Burns and Gracie Allen routine. It was a great surprise to learn that some of the celebrity participants were longtime fans of our show! Look for more about this event- and Gilbert- in our next monthly newsletter.
We wish those celebrating it a happy Easter tomorrow- while tonight, that bad egg Ygor leads the Monster to turn his enemies into basket cases on MeTV!