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MEET THE REAL SON OF DRACULA; BELA LUGOSI JR.'S REFLECTIONS ON A DAD HE COULD COUNT ON.



Byline: Carol Bidwell Daily News Staff Writer

He was mystified mys·ti·fy  
tr.v. mys·ti·fied, mys·ti·fy·ing, mys·ti·fies
1. To confuse or puzzle mentally. See Synonyms at puzzle.

2. To make obscure or mysterious.
.

When he and his friends went to the movies, the other boys would cower cow·er  
intr.v. cow·ered, cow·er·ing, cow·ers
To cringe in fear.



[Middle English couren, of Scandinavian origin.
 in their seats, cover their eyes and scream as the sinister image of Count Dracula Count Dracula is a fictional character, the titular antagonist of Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula. Some aspects of the character may have been inspired by the 15th century Wallachian Prince, Vlad III the Impaler. , the ultimate vampire, flickered across the screen.

``I always wondered why the other kids were afraid,'' said Bela Lugosi Noun 1. Bela Lugosi - United States film actor (born in Hungary) noted for portraying monsters (1884-1956)
Bela Ferenc Blasko, Lugosi
 Jr., now 59 and a Glendale entertainment attorney. ``It was just Dad up there.''

It wasn't easy growing up as ``Dracula's son.'' While the relationship held a certain cachet cachet /ca·chet/ (ka-sha´) a disk-shaped wafer or capsule enclosing a dose of medicine.

ca·chet
n.
An edible wafer capsule used for enclosing an unpleasant-tasting drug.
 among his youthful peers, it was a constant source of teasing when he became a teen-ager.

``I just wanted to blend into the lockers then,'' he recalls. ``But the name was always there. And people always knew that name.''

Today, the junior Lugosi - who, with his partners, represents heirs of entertainment figures for licensing and merchandising purposes - says he's proud that his father still is remembered for the role that made him famous.

An image of Lugosi in his Dracula cape and makeup now appears on a U.S. postage stamp postage stamp, government stamp affixed to mail to indicate payment of postage. The term includes stamps printed or embossed on postcards and envelopes as well as the adhesive labels. . Many of his early movies have been remastered and rereleased on video for whole new generations of fans; the Alex Theatre The Alex Theatre is a historic landmark located at 216 North Brand Boulevard in Glendale, California of the United States of America. It is currently owned by the City of Glendale and operated by the Alex Regional Theatre Board.  in Glendale will show the full-length version of the 1931 movie ``Dracula'' on Oct. 25. And Dracula merchandise will be among items sold at Knuckleheads, a new movie nostalgia store opening mid-November in the Glendale Galleria The Glendale Galleria is a large 3 story regional shopping mall located in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California. It is the second largest mall in Los Angeles County. It is located in Downtown Glendale. ; one of Lugosi's original Dracula capes will take center stage in the store's mini-museum.

``I think if Dad could see all this, he'd be surprised that people still remember,'' Lugosi Jr. said. ``But I think he'd like it. It's wonderful. He's left a permanent mark all over the world.''

Although he played many other roles, Lugosi is best-known for his portrayal of the Hungarian count with a thirst for blood in ``Dracula,'' the movie that made generations of little kids look in the closet one last time before they went to bed.

But long before he came to Hollywood, Lugosi - who was born Bela Blasko in October 1882, later taking his stage name from his hometown of Lugos, Hungary - was a classically trained actor in his native country. In the Hungarian National Theater, a Shakespeare company, he was ranked the top performer.

Then World War I intervened. Lugosi became a member of the daredevil Hungarian Ski Patrol A ski patrol is an organization that provides first aid and rescue services to skiers and participants of other snow sports, either at a ski area or in a backcountry setting. , suffering a leg injury that would trouble him for the rest of his life.

Politically active

After the war, he became politically active, forming a union for actors. But the new communist government opposed the union, and, when it became dangerous for him at home, Lugosi fled to Germany with his first wife; she later returned to her family, ending the brief marriage.

Before coming to America in 1921, Lugosi made several German films. He met and married his second wife, Lillian, a fellow Hungarian emigre who gave birth to his only son, in Hollywood. (After their 20-year marriage ended, Lugosi married three more times.)

Lugosi's first portrayal of the vampire Dracula was in 1927 on Broadway in a play that ran for more than 1,000 performances. He repeated the role in the 1931 movie version of the play, introducing himself to film audiences with the heavy accent and deliberate speech so many kids have since tried to imitate: ``I - am - Drac - ula. ...''

From then on, Lugosi was Hollywood's aristocrat of evil, the personification personification, figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstract ideas are endowed with human qualities, e.g., allegorical morality plays where characters include Good Deeds, Beauty, and Death.  of darkness and danger thinly concealed by continental charm. Impeccably attired in evening clothes and a commodious com·mo·di·ous  
adj.
1. Spacious; roomy. See Synonyms at spacious.

2. Archaic Suitable; handy.



[Middle English, convenient, from Medieval Latin
 black cape, with slicked-back hair and eyes that seemed to see into your very soul, he was suave but scary, charming but chilling, tantalizing tan·ta·lize  
tr.v. tan·ta·lized, tan·ta·liz·ing, tan·ta·liz·es
To excite (another) by exposing something desirable while keeping it out of reach.
 but terrorizing.

In short, just the character to scare little kids to death on a Saturday afternoon at the movies.

But to the little boy who was his son, Lugosi was just ``Dad,'' the loving man he had to go to to plead for a new bike or extra spending money.

``I think it dawned on me who he was, what he did, when I'd go places with him and he'd get so much attention,'' Lugosi Jr. said.

One of his favorite times with his father was the summer when he was 12 and his dad was appearing in summer stock plays in New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. . The trip became a father-and-son outing.

``As we'd drive along, he'd talk about the geology of the countryside, the things we'd see. He was very well-educated - self-educated - and he tried to impart that to me. And he taught me to canoe that summer.''

While Lugosi loved to act, he was frustrated that studio executives saw him only as the vampire, capable of stretching no further than to portray a mad scientist or other screen megalomaniac meg·a·lo·ma·ni·a  
n.
1. A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.

2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
.

Interviews in a coffin

When Universal Pictures told him it would make a good story if he gave interviews while lying in a coffin in his Dracula get-up, he did it. But tales about him wandering around the house in full Dracula makeup and costume are totally false, his son said.

``They were costumes, put on only when he worked,'' he said.

Over the years, the Years, The

the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]

See : Time
 classically trained actor chose to appear in some terrible movies, mostly because he spent money as fast as he made it and grabbed whatever lucrative roles were available, film historians say.

His last film - ``Plan 9 From Outer Space'' (1956) - was about a bunch of aliens who believe they can rule the Earth by reanimating corpses from a San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley

Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills.
 cemetery. Directed by Ed Wood Jr., it is hailed as perhaps the worst movie ever made. Lugosi died after only two days of shooting; a taller, thinner man took over the role, playing the rest of the film with a cape drawn over his face.

Lugosi Jr. said he doesn't know why his father appeared in the films he did.

``Maybe everything he did was a good idea at the time,'' the actor's son said. ``One thing I know: His performances were always good, no matter how bad the movie was.''

In his later years, Lugosi's performances were hampered by an addiction to drugs, prescribed medication he took to ease the pain of his war injury. In 1955, he had himself committed to a state hospital as a drug addict, kicked the drug habit, married for a fifth time and even returned briefly to films before he died.

Discouraged acting

Lugosi Jr. said his father discouraged him from becoming an actor, saying it was an unstable profession and allowed too little family life. He recalled the loneliness of spending first through sixth grade in a military academy and the subsequent years (until ninth grade) spent living with his grandparents grandparents nplabuelos mpl

grandparents grand nplgrands-parents mpl

grandparents grand npl
 while his parents traveled on movie-related trips. He chose a more stable profession: the law.

He earned his law degree from USC An abbreviation for U.S. Code.  Law School in 1964, and until 1993 specialized in business, oil and gas, environmental, real estate and tax law. Then he joined a lawsuit filed by attorneys Earl and Robert Benjamin, stepsons and heirs of ``Curly Joe'' DeRita, one of the last of the Three Stooges Three Stooges

U.S. comedy team. It was originally formed as a vaudeville team in 1923 by brothers Moe and Shemp Howard (1897–1975, 1900–55), who performed with “Ted Healy and His Stooges.
, over who had the legal rights to the Stooges' name and images. The suit ended 4-1/2 years later with a ruling in favor of the Benjamin brothers.

The Benjamins and Lugosi Jr. formed their own partnership - Comedy III, which licenses and markets Stooges merchandise along with items sporting images of Lugosi/Dracula, W.C. Fields, Mae West, Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers, Jackie Gleason Herbert John "Jackie" Gleason (February 26, 1916 – June 24, 1987) was an iconic American comedian, actor, and musician.

One of the most popular stars of early television, Gleason was respected for both comedic and dramatic roles.
 and Annie Oakley.

As Halloween nears, costume shops are filled with Dracula masks, capes and fangs for scores of revelers who try to become Dracula for a night. But Halloween at the Lugosi house was pretty much like the holiday at any other house in the neighborhood: Junior would dress up and go trick-or-treating; his famous father would answer the door and hand out candy to the kids.

No fancy makeup, no fangs, no Dracula cape.

But still, Lugosi managed to scare the kids, his son recalled.

``They'd hear his voice and be scared to death.''

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1) Although he played many other roles, Bela Lugosi is best-known for his portrayal of the Hungarian count with a thirst for blood in ``Dracula.''

(2) ``I always wondered why the other kids were afraid,'' says Bela Lugosi Jr., now 59 and a Glendale entertainment attorney. ``It was just Dad up there.''

David Sprague/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.
Homebuddy
R. Eileen Erlsten (Member): Bela Lugosi,Jr. 11/1/2010 3:47 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. I have always loved your father in his role of Dracula and with the accent he was just absolutely perfect for the part. I understand that he was "just" Dad when up there on the screen,to all of us other kids he was Dracula! Thanks for sharing your times with your father. It's nice to know that not all Hollywood actors and actresses ignored/ignore their children in the pursuit of their own lives.

 Reader Opinion

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 18, 1997
Words:1403
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