Dracula - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Some might argue that the ATT blog is running short of photographs because we keep using the same ones over and over, but others might say that we keep using the same ones because there's just so much to see in them.  We like to side with the second argument, although there may be merit in the first.  We are back talking about the Omrod Giant World of Miniatures today, and the same diorama depicting forty horror films.  Although we've been talking about classics already, today is a super-classic, if that's a word.  Dracula.  The inspiration is a tiny little magazine cover in the right hand side of the close-up image.  It is the classic picture of Bela Lugosi, whose 1931 depiction of the character in the Tod Browning version became the standard against which all other Dracula films would be compared.

The famous vampire first appeared in Bram Stoker's famous 1897 Gothic horror novel.  Written in the form of various diary entries, letters, ship's logs and other written records, it tells of the mysterious Romanian, who moves from his Transylvanian castle to London, England, while strange things happen along the way.  Not the first vampire story, Dracula is easily the most famous.  And the Tod Browning Dracula is easily the most recognizable, despite the fact that Christopher Lee portrayed the blood sucker far more times during the 1950s and '60s for the British Hammer Films company than did Lugosi.  

In fact, Dracula has been depicted so many times on film and television  and in numerous countries such that it's impossible to count them all.  Or, if not impossible, kind of boring.  We got up to fifty-three different movies, dating from 1920 through 2012, before losing interest.  The point was made.  He's been everywhere and will likely continue to show up for many years to come.  Why?  What's his appeal?  You tell us!
QUESTION:  Who played Dracula in Francis Ford Coppolla's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula?
A)  Keanu Reeves
B)  Tom Waits
C)  Gary Oldman
D)  Winona Ryder
ANSWER BELOW

GARY POWERS.  Have you seen the Oscar-nominated Stephen Spielberg film Bridge of Spies?  It was recently released on blu-ray and dvd.  If you haven't, it is worth the time.  It is based on the true Cold War drama of a spy exchange that happened on this day in 1962 at the border between East and West Berlin between Soviet spy Rudolf Abel and American pilot Gary Powers.  It's one of those too-amazing-to-be-true tales that is, in fact, true.

Born on this day in 1902, Jimmy "The Shnozzola" Durante became an unlikely star during the 1920's, and maintained his fame until his death in 1980.  Famous for his large nose, he was a comedian, singer, pianist and actor.  This multi-talented performer started his career in vaudeville and wound up on the big screen.

QUOTE:  Be nice to people on the way up, because you meet them again on the way down. - Jimmy Durante

ANSWER:  C)  Gary Oldman