Monday, March 27, 2017

There's Something About an Aqua Velva Plan



Innocuous aftershave lotion,
Or noxious and crafty new potion?
Just a pat on the face
And a bat will give chase
This blockhead once laughed at the notion.


Béla Lugosi, Alan Baldwin and John Ellis in The Devil Bat (Jean Yarbrough; 1940). Lugosi plays a scientist who develops and aftershave lotion that attracts a gigantic killer bat. Title by aquatic Donald B. Benson.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sham Poodle



She started her days as a doodle
A cartoon portraying a poodle
Then her form was revised
Anthro-po-morphised
To party, and sway and canoodle.

David Cairns

Image: Dizzy Dishes (Dave Fleischer; 1930). Introduced in 1930 as a nameless poodle (note the ears) dressed in flapper fashions, the original Betty was the girlfriend of established Fleischer star pooch, Bimbo. In 1931, New Yorker Mae Questel took over vocal duties for Betty, providing her trademark squeaky voice. The following year, the character was officially christened as Betty Boop and assumed her more familiar human form, although she maintained her romantic interest in Bimbo for several films.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Smitten With a Whip



With a whip he's a cranky young guy
He lets rip till you're spanked and could cry
But his newly-found status
Is due for hiatus
Soon you'll grip him and yank him up high.

David Cairns

Dr. Waldman (Edward van Sloan) and Henry (Colin Clive) discover that the Monster (Boris Karloff) has hung Fritz (Dwight Frye), using the whip Fritz had lashed him with. Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

America's Most Haunted



Count Drac as a Hollywood hood?
Does he smack around molls like he should?
Does he wear a fedora?
Maybe scare Nick and Nora?
Then crawl back into squalor for good?

Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940) stars Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi and Anne Nagel. Title by almoist haunted David Cairns.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

There's Morphine Where That Came From



Quite at ease playing zany neurotics,
Japanese, or else any exotics
This character star
From the bar won't stray far
As he freezes his brain with narcotics.

David Cairns

According to The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre, as a young man, Lorre suffered a ruptured appendix and underwent surgery. When a second surgeon treated further complications in 1925, he prescribed morphine to soothe the discomfort. This was the beginning of Lorre's lifelong dependence on morphine. Image: The Lost One (Peter Lorre, 1951)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dialect For Murder



With an accent incredibly thick
Bela lacks in street cred, sounds ridic
Racketeering's not right
Drac seems weird, without bite
His attacks cause no dread in this flick.

David Cairns

Béla Lugosi as your standard Hungarian gangster in Black Friday (Arthur Lubin; 1940).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Three Wise Menaces



Three menaces bend in a huddle
Old friends, with their tendrils they cuddle
And, brandishing knives
And handguns, the lives
Of enemies end in a puddle.

Baddies Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff conspire in You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

She Boops to Conquer



From days of the pre-code hot mama
To sex symbols in Cinerama,
The tangiest poon
In any cartoon
Was Betty, the feline's pajama.

Donald B. Benson

Betty Boop in Red Hot Mamma (Dave Fleischer; 1934).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hail to the Thief



Groucho's pumped up with power in "Duck Soup"
They blast trumpets, strew flowers, loudly whoop
But no prince, he's a heel
He'll throw insults and steal
Like that chump in his tower - what a poop!

David Cairns



Top: Zeppo and Groucho Marx in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933); Above: Mike Pence and Donald Trump in Beelzebub Over the White House (Alan Smithee; 2017).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Stooge Struck



A profane little ditz and what's more
Mundane little Fritz ain't top-drawer
The guy's unprepared   
By surprises is scared
Which explains why the brain hits the floor. 

Dwight Frye as Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Drop everything, it's Dwight Frye-Days.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thrifty Shades of Crayola



It's rotten and witless "suspense"
The plotting omits common sense
Though they shot it in color
It could not be much duller
Not a lot at such little expense.



Lobby cards for Scared to Death (Christy Cabanne;1947). Top: Béla Lugosi, Molly Lamont; Above: Gladys Blake, Lugosi, Angelo Rossitto, and Nat Pendelton. One of only two color films with Lugosi, and the only one with him as a star. It's awful, but it does contain a few eerie visual bits, caught here. Title by nifty Donald B. Benson.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Apes of Wrath



A criminal scientist/monkey
And his simian, spine-snapping flunky
Two screwballs who kill
Tap fluids at will
It's flimsy, it's minor, it's clunky.

Dr. James Brewster (Bela Lugosi) spots his next victim in The Ape Man (William Beaudine; 1943). With Emil Van Horn in the ape suit. A Monogram release.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Play Mystic For Me



Don't doze near Lugosi the mystic
Lord knows the old pro goes ballistic
The guy gets his kicks
With dynamite sticks
And those who oppose turn statistic.

Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre do their best to enliven the wretched Kay Kyser comedy, You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940).