Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Most baby boomer monster kids who rabidly collect Universal Monster toys and merchandise have always had the sense that the Lugosi estate must be difficult to negotiate with.  A serious blow to the state of our pop culture is evidenced by the fine line of monster toys that regularly feature the iconic, unforgettable likenesses of Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Sr., Lon Jr. and Glenn Strange but, unfortunately, usually feature a generic, non-Bela-looking Dracula.  (I usually skip over that one and wonder why they can't use Carradine's likeness instead?)  Well, now in a bizarre reversal, Bela Jr. is raiding the Universal coffers and licensing the all-new BELA LUGOSI as BROADWAY'S DRACULA?!  Though your very eyes may deceive you, this is the Broadway stage vampire not to be confused with the sound-stage, Universal City back lot version of the Transylvanian nobleman!  Yeah, right.  How would you ever know the difference if you didn't have the cumbersome packaging on hand to remind you?  Is it the purple cloak lining?  Does the figure break out crooning 'Lullaby of Broadway' and tap dance?  A light soft shoe shuffle at the very least?  Also, didn't Lugosi actually look different in the stage version as evidenced by the few surviving photos?
On the legit stage, Bela definitely wore a crazier, heavy eye and brow make up that doesn't appear on the new statue.  It will be interesting to see if Universal turns a blind eye to this situation.  I guess in some weird way, Bela Jr. is enacting some well-deserved, delayed revenge for the crummy way the Universal brass treated his dad back in the day!  Broadway Dracula proves once again that payback is a bitch and that there's always a new legal loophole to find if you look hard enough.
What's next?  An unfilmed Ed Wood's GHOUL GOES WEST hand puppet?  A Bela as Armand Tesla in-between-takes on RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE  paper dress up doll?  Perhaps, I can interest you in an OLD MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE porcelain bust?


  1. Weirdly, to me he looks a bit like Martin Landau AS Bela AS Dracula...

  2. Now would Landau have to negotiate with the Lugosi estate, Universal or Disney to issue a Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi as Dracula figure? Do you have to license Chaney's likeness from the Chaney estate or Universal Pictures to issue a James Cagney as Lon Chaney Sr. as Erik The Phantom? It gets crazy...