Red Skelton vs. Bela Lugosi, The Wolfman, and Vampira
This video was considered lost for some time. Now it is preserved, hopefully forever, on Youtube. The rumor was that Bela had become angered by Skelton’s ad-lib style and was unable to keep up with it, being such a serious professional. (It’d be hard for most actors to keep up with Skelton, I daresay.) Some reports even claimed he’d pitched a fit. This video proves those rumors false. Actually, you can tell from watching this video that Bela had some comedic chops. Aside from the Abbott and Costello movies, where he played Dracula as the straight man, he never really got the chance to show that side of his talents. Too bad. The same is true to a lesser extent of Long Chaney, Jr and Vampira.
This video is a treasure. It puts a smile on my face and a little lump in my throat. There was some confusion as to when it actually aired. A special Halloween edition of Skelton’s show aired on October 27th, 1953, and some believe this to have been that program. However, it is officially listed as having aired on June 15, 1954. Perhaps they did a Halloween show with Bela, and it went over so well that they decided to do another one the following summer? I dunno. Either way, this show brought Bela and Vampira together a full 5 (or 6) years before their legendary (almost) pairing in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE!
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!