Thursday, October 11, 2012


Today Your Humble Narrator enjoyed an excellent lunch at Haiku Grill with Vince LaRue, an up-and-coming illustrator who’s visiting from Normandy. Here we are just after…

In addition to my idiotic squint, I look like late-vintage Orson Welles.

This week (October 8) would have marked the 93rd birthday of Dead End Kid/Bowery Boy Gabriel Dell, so…

Monster-of-the-Week: …this week let’s give the nod to Count Dracula. That is to say, to Dell’s vinyl version of Count Dracula, from the 1963 spoken-word album Famous Monsters Speak.

Each side of this LP, which was peddled in the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland, featured a dramatic monologue, one by the Frankenstein Monster, the other by Drac. The Frankie side doesn’t quite come off, but Dell’s Dracula, speaking Interview With a Vampire-style to a nosy writer who has disturbed his slumber, is memorable (it was scripted, by the way, by Cherney Berg, author of many spoken-word records for kids and son of Gertrude Berg, of radio’s The Goldbergs).

Dell was a comedian and impressionist after his Bowery Boys years, and he hammed his Bela Lugosi voice, which he had already played for laughs on The Steve Allen Show, to the corny hilt on Famous Monsters Speak. It creeped me out pretty good when I heard it at a friend’s house as a kid.

Years later The Wife, having no idea I knew the record, gave me a CD re-release of it. I still listen to it now and then—I just played it last week, to inaugurate October.

A couple more RIPs: To Alex Karras, passed on at 77, who despite his legendary status with the Detroit Lions will for many of us be most fondly remembered as Mongo in Blazing Saddles. I‘ll always disagree with his assertion that “Mongo only pawn in game of life.

RIP also to Turhan Bey. I was amazed, quite candidly, to learn he was still alive. He was 90; I was amazed he was that young. I always liked him, even when he was sending Kharis the Mummy off to murder somebody.

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