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Home > TV > 31 Monstrous Failures #2: Frankenstein’s Monster

31 Monstrous Failures #2: Frankenstein’s Monster

October 2nd, 2011

The early days of television were a massive experiment, as veterans of other forms of news and entertainment adapted to the challenges and opportunities of video. Before the advent of videotape, live shows were commonplace. One was Tales of Tomorrow, a science-fiction anthology that produced 85 dramatizations over its two year run.

Its 1952 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein starred Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Monster. Chaney, while never able to live up to his father’s legacy as the silent film era’s master of makeup, was at least able to boast that he’d portrayed all four of Universal Studios’ monstrous quartet: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Mummy. So, it must have been quite a coup for the producers of Tales of Tomorrow to enlist him as…

Frankenstein’s Monster!

Legend has it that the heavy-drinking Chaney was soused during production and mistook the live performance for another rehearsal. I am not here to speculate on Mr. Chaney’s condition, but something was definitely up with the way in which he carefully avoided breaking the prop furniture during his rampage. (At one point, he picked up a chair, gingerly set it down, then mimed smashing it.)

I’ve edited together the furniture-moving fun below!

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