[Image is Public Domain Wikipedia. Mary Shelley]
With Samhain and Hallowe'en just around the corner, it is no shock that one monster and his creator have their day in October. Celebrated annually on the last Friday of October is Frankenstein Friday.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) composed a gothic novel (published in 1818) about a man, Victor Frankenstein, who is a brilliant scientist and is interested in chemistry and natural philosophy. Victor, fascinated by the human frame and wonders about the principle of life, he learns how to animate a lifeless body (Shelley, 40-41).
In November, Victor’s dream of life becomes his nightmare. The body Victor brought to life with “…limbs…in proportion,” and “…his features…beautiful.” “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips” (Shelley, 44). When Victor saw his creation after waking from a nightmare, he realizes what he has done and runs out. Leaving his creation alone and confused, in which the creation leaves the apartment only to learn that society shuns and fears him.
Victor’s creation is known as ‘The Monster.’ ‘The Monster’ has killed people (in defense or revenge), yet has shown compassion. There was no one to teach ‘The Monster’ how to live, how to work and the difference between right and wrong. Something to think about on Frankenstein Friday, what do you think would have happened if Victor did not abandon ‘The Monster,” but nurtured him and taught him?
Okay, now you know, some, background about Victor Frankenstein and his ‘Monster.’ Now some information on the day itself. In 1997 Ron MacCloskey created Frankenstein Friday. He creates the day in honor of Mary Shelley and Boris Karloff (1887-1969), who he deems are the parents of Frankenstein’s monster. Ron MacCloskey is a producer, CEO, and host for “Classic Movies with Ron Macloskey.” Ron gives out talks and presentations about the classic movies and Frankenstein’s monster.
[Image from Wikipedia Commons. Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster]
Boris Karloff portrays ‘The Monster’ in the 1931 movie “Frankenstein” and the 1935 movie “Bride of Frankenstein,” by director James Whale (1889-1957). In 1939 Boris Karloff reprised his role as ‘The Monster’ in the “Son of Frankenstein,” by Rowland V. Lee (1891-1975). The film stars another horror icon, Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) as Ygor.
[Image from Wikipedia Commons. Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's Monster with Boris Karloff]
In 1944, Boris Karloff was no longer ‘The Monster’ but a physician. In “House of Frankenstein,” Boris Karloff’s role is, Doctor Gustav Niemann. Glenn Strange (1899-1973) portrays ‘The Monster.’ Glenn Strange continues the role of ‘The Monster’ in the 1945 movie “House of Dracula” and in the 1948 movie “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.” He reprises ‘The Monster’ role in 1954 on the Dean Martin (1917-1995) and Jerry Lewis (1926-2017) comedy show, “The Colgate Comedy Hour,” along with Bud Abbott (1895-1974) and Lou Costello (1906-1959).
In the 1958 film, “Frankenstein 1970,” by Howard W. Koch (1916-2001). Boris Karloff is not ‘The Monster,” but the creator, Baron Victor von Frankenstein. Mike Lane (1933-2015) takes on the role as ‘The Monster.’ Lane reprises the role as ‘The Monster’ in 1968 on “The Monkees” television show in the episode called, “Monstrous Monkee Mash.” In 1976 he portrayed, Frank N. Stein AKA ‘The Monster,’ in the television show, “Monster Squad” and in the 1988 movie, “Grotesque.”
In 1967 an aminated comedy, “Mad Monster Party?”, Boris Karloff is the voice of Baron Boris Von Frankenstein. Allen Swift (1924-2010) does the voice for ‘The Monster.’ In 1972, Allen Swift reprised his role as the voice of ‘The Monster’ in “The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie,” called, “The Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters.”
[Image from Wikipedia Commons. Charles Ogle as 'The Monster']
Before Boris Karloff, in 1910, J. Searle Dawley (1877-1949) creates a short film, “Frankenstein” with Augustus Phillips (1874-1944) playing Victor Frankenstein and Charles Ogle (1865-1940) playing ‘The Monster.” In 1921, Eugenio Testa (1892-1957) directed a short film, “II mostro di Frankenstein.” Luciano Albertini (1882-1945) portrays Baron Frankenstein, and Umberto Guarracino portrays ‘The Monster.’
Boris Karloff is not the only ‘Horror Icon’ to be in a Frankenstein film. In 1957, “The Curse of Frankenstein.” Peter Cushing (1913-1994), portrays Victor Frankenstein, while Christopher Lee (1922-2015), portrays ‘The Monster’ AKA The Creature. In 1958, Peter Cushing reprised his role as Victor Frankenstein AKA Doctor Victor Stein in “The Revenge of Frankenstein.” In 1967, Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein (re-animated) in “Frankenstein Created Woman.” In 1969/1970, Peter Cushing, once again is Baron Frankenstein in, “Frankenstein Must be Destroyed.” All the films are directed by Terence Fisher (1904-1980).
[Image from Wikipedia Commons. The cast of "The Munsters"]
It was not till 1964 when Ed Haas and Norm Liebmann gave a name to ‘The Monster.’ The name, Herman Munster, played by Fred Gwynne (1926-1993). He did not just get a name, but a family. His wife, Lily Munster. His son, Eddie Munster (How was a werewolf born to a vampire and Frankenstein’s monster, adoption?). A niece, Marilyn Munster. And let’s not forget, good ole Grandpa (Lily’s father). The whole family is known as “The Munsters.” In Season 2, Episode 26, Dr. Victor Frankenstein IV makes an appearance, he is played by John Abbott (1905-1996).
[Image from Dark Universe Website]
In May of 2017, Universal Pictures reveals a name for a series of films starring the classic monsters, “Dark Universe.” The series kicked off in June of 2017 with the release of “The Mummy,” directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise. Bill Condon will direct a “Dark Universe” film, “Bride of Frankenstein.” Per IMDb, Javier Bardem will portray ‘The Monster.” Per IMDb, Dark Universe will make a “Frankenstein” film. The cast and crew are all unknown. All the movies are linked to the organization Prodigium, which is led by Doctor Jekyll.
Who is celebrating Frankenstein Friday? Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine, California will have fun activities for the children and learn the Monster Mash. Treasure Kids Academy in Orlando, Florida will have children dressing up like Frankenstein’s monster and his monster friends. In Edinburgh, United Kingdom, the adults will have their celebration. The Mash Tun will have specials and celebrating; it also kicks off their Halloween Charity Night, which starts on October 28th - 31st.
How can you celebrate Frankenstein Friday? You can stream “Young Frankenstein” and “Penny Dreadful” on Netflix. You can rent Frankenstein from a video store or YouTube. You can have a bonfire outside or warm up by a fireplace and read Mary Shelley’s, “Frankenstein.” Or, you can throw your own Monster Bash (pre-Halloween party), where everyone comes dressed up as the classic monsters. If you wish to freak people out on Franky Friday, just walk around town as ‘The Monster,’ and have his monster friends join along. Share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever social media with the hash tags, #FrankensteinFriday and #FrankyFriday.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus, Dover Publications, 2016. ProQuest E-book Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/lib/snhu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4542986.