The tag line for 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein", is, "The Monster Speaks!" Here, it's "The Monster Sings!" We have a bad habit of pigeonholing actors and actresses. In the case of Glenn Strange, that pigeonhole might be a "B" Western movie Henchman, a television Western Bartender, or the last of the "Universal Pictures" "Frankenstein Monster's". Yes, they're all applicable, but they really don't tell you about the man.
This is a look at the many talents of one particular character actor and a real Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, cowboy!
George Glenn Strange was born on August 16, 1899, in the town of Weed, in the New Mexico Territory. The State of New Mexico wouldn't be created until January 6, 1912.
George's father, William Russell Strange's, Irish line, had married wives from the Native American Cherokee Nation, and he brought that bloodline to his son. While, his mother, Sarah Eliza Byrd Strange, brought her son a more historic marriage. She was descended from the 1614, British born, Virginia settler, John Rolfe, and his Powhatan Native American wife, Pocahontas. Making Sarah's son the eighth- generation grandson of the couple.
Having been born eight-days earlier, on August 8, 1899, in Weed, was George's cousin, Taylor McPeters, his mother was Sarah's sister Leona Byrd McPeters. The two boys would grow up together, and, while, Glenn stayed Glenn! Taylor took the more colorful name of "Cactus Mack", as both a musician and "B" Western actor.
The Strange family moved from Weed, New Mexico, to Cross Cut, Texas, where George's father was a bartender, but shortly afterwards, both the Strange and McPeter's families became ranchers in Coke, Texas. Both boys had similar interests, learning ranching, and music. In the case of George, he learned to play, by ear, both the fiddle and the guitar. In 1910, he started appearing at local fairs and rodeos, but I could not determine if Taylor was with him.
At some point, the two families moved to Wilcox, Arizona, still as ranchers.
On April 29, 1920, Glenn Strange married Flora Eola Hooper, from Duncan, Oklahoma, and the couple would have two daughters, Wynema, and Juanita. Most biographies of the couple put a question mark after the marriage date and imply they divorced, but there is no information on when that might have taken place.
However, looking on the website, "Family Search", I found this additional information about Flora. She was born on September 12, 1904, in Comanche, Oklahoma. The wedding took place in Cotton, Oklahoma, but apparently one day earlier, on April 28, 1920. Their daughter's full names were Vera Wynema Strange, and Eva Juanita Strange. Flora apparently did divorce Glenn, because in 1935, Flora was living, along, in Hastings, Oklahoma, with the girls.
Another cousin was born in Wilcox, on December 31, 1920. His name was Rex Evie Allen and he would drop the middle name to become "B" Singing Cowboy, Rex Allen.
It is this time, during the pre-Hollywood years of both cousins, the facts are not as clear as it should be. For example, the "Arizona Range News", quotes the granddaughter of "Cactus Mack", Julie Ream, as saying this about the cousins:
Their mothers, who, like their sons after them, did everything together, made their way to Texas, where they taught their boys ranching, then eventually came back to their families in Willcox,https://www.myheraldreview.com/news/willcox/a-strange-tale-for-halloween/article_1cbbd4d0-d70d-56fc-9246-c3a82fb5e323.html
That above, out of context quote, seems to imply that the cousin's families were living in Wilcox, Arizona, before going to Texas. Also, that the boys went to Texas with only their mothers, which we know isn't true. Unfortunately, there is no clarification in the article and it switches to the acting careers of the cousins, especially Glenn, and Julie Ream's grandfather's early musical career.
In fact, many of the on-line sites, without mentioning their sources, have the exact worded biographies found on IMDb, by Gary Brumburgh / email@example.com.Who, as of this writing, has mini-biographies for 1,222 actors, he has written for the website.
There is mention that George was appearing on radio in Houston, Texas, in 1928, but which radio station is not mentioned, or if this was a one-time appearance, or long-time engagement?
THE ARIZONA RANGERS
We know as fact, that both George and Taylor became members of "The Arizona Wranglers" Western singing group, starting in 1929, touring the country and performing at Fairs and Rodeo's.
Above left, with the harmonica in his mouth, is six-foot, five inches, now, Glenn Strange, who was nicknamed, "Pee Wee", by the group. To his immediate right, on guitar, is Taylor, calling himself, Curtis McPeters, but still going my the nickname, "Cactus Mack".
There is a story, I could not verify, that before becoming an actor, Glenn Strange once boxed Italian Boxer and Wrestler, Primo Carnera. For the story to be true, as stated on several websites. The boxing match could only have occurred during the tiny window, between January 1, 1930 and February 7, 1930. Because Primo Carnera first arrived in the United States in 1930, and Glenn Strange started acting in February of that same year.
The Mounted Stranger released on February 8, 1930
The "B" Western starred Hoot Gibson as "Pete Ainslee", forgotten Louise Lorraine as "Bonita Coy", and director John Ford's older brother, Francis Ford as "Spider Coy".
While, uncredited Glenn Strange, below, was the "Cowhand playing the Harmonica".
Eighteen uncredited roles followed, in "B" Westerns that starred Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Tom Tyler, with descriptions such as "Singer", "Cattleman with Plaid Shirt", "Barfly", and "Cowboy from Texas".
In "The Texas Tornado", released on April 1, 1932, and starring Lane Chandler. Glenn Strange portrayed the uncredited role of a "Rustler", but this was also the first time he sang solo on-screen. The song was "Cabin in the Valley".
Portraying "Tom Kirby, aka: The Black Ghost", was Creighton Chaney, below, before he became Lon Chaney, Jr.
WESTWARD HO released on August 19, 1935
John Wayne may have been the star, but it's the following group of "Vigilantes" known as "The Singing Riders aka: The Arizona Wranglers" that is of interest here;
The group is singing the title song, "Westward Ho". In the picture, Glenn was credited in the role of "Carter", and "Cactus Mack" was uncredited in the role of "Hank, a Henchman". While, Jack Kirk, Charles Baldra, and Charles Sargent had uncredited roles, just described as "Singing Riders".
Also, in the picture is a solo song by Glenn Strange, "The Girl I Loved Long Ago".
THE NEW FRONTIER released on October 5, 1935
In this picture, credited Glenn Strange portrayed "Norton", with his name misspelled as Glen Strange, there would be other times. Also in the movie, are other members of "The Arizona Wranglers" in uncredited roles, including Glenn's cousin, "Cactus Mack", as "Tex-a Henchmen". For this motion picture, Glenn wrote the groups two songs, "The New Frontier", and "Outlaw Range".
For Kermit Maynard's, Ken's brother, "His Fighting Blood", released on October 15, 1935, "The Arizona Wranglers" were renamed "The Singing Constables", and each member was uncredited. The reason for the change was the story is set in Canada.
STORMY released on October 22, 1935
Noah Berry, Jr. was "Stormy", and Jean Rodgers was "Kerry Dorn", in story of a young man looking for his thoroughbred horse that became lost during a train wreck.
Note the above tag line:
Hear THE FAMOUS ORIGINAL ARIZONA WRANGLERS!
Of course, the group performed "The Old Chisholm Trail", but also, "A Cowboy's Dream".
Three more films followed and then there was the:
LAWLESS RANGE released on November 4, 1935
John Wayne portrayed "John Middleton".
"The Arizona Wranglers" portrayed the "Singing Cowhands".
Glenn Strange, was the "Singing Voice of John Wayne", in addition to being one of the "Singing Cowhands". He also was the uncredited, "Henchmen" for Yakima Canutt's, secondary villain, "Joe Burns"
Above left, Yakima Canutt, facing John Wayne is Frank McGlynn, Jr. as "Frank Carter", and on his right is Glenn Strange.
I take a look at the singing cowboys of the 1930's and 1940's in my article, "John Wayne Was A Singing Cowboy: Singing Cowboys and Cowgirls in the Movies and on Television", found at:
Released on December 3, 1935, was a motion picture drama about firefighters, entitled, "Suicide Squad", and uncredited Glenn Strange, had the role of a "Singing Fireman". His one song was, "When You and I Were Young, Maggie".
That picture would be followed by two "B" Westerns and:
Flash Gordon chapter one, released on April 6, 1936
In the Cliff-Hanger, Glenn Strange portrayed three roles, a Robot, Ming's Soldier, and Gocko. I could not locate a picture of Glenn as one of "Ming's Soldier's", but the following stills are of his "Robot" and "Gocko".
The last movie with "The Original Arizona Wranglers" was "Left Handed Law", released on April 1, 1937, and starring Buck Jones, but Glenn Strange wasn't in it. However, two-days later, on April 3, 1937, the "B" Western, "Hittin' the Trail", starring Tex Ritter, was released. Glenn Strange portrayed an uncredited "Posse Rider", but he also wrote and sang "The Vagabond Song aka: The Renegade Song" in the feature.
Sometime in 1937, I could not locate the exact month and date, Glenn Strange married Minnie Pearl Thompson. They would have one daughter, Janine Laraine Strange.
Every site I have found, but one, takes it cue from either IMDb, or Wikipedia, that Glenn and Minnie stayed married until his death.
However, there is the website, "Geni", https://www.geni.com/people/Glenn-Strange/6000000027848069102
That site adds a third wife, Otrela Spalding Strange, and a son, Buddy Glenn Strange, born in 1931. Which would imply that he divorced Flora prior to that year and married Otrela, and if the year of his marriage is correct to Minnie, divorced Otrela, perhaps in 1936. I leave that to my reader to decide.
THE DAYS OF A COWBOY HENCHMAN
In 1937, Glenn Strange was in a transition period from singing cowboy to full-time "Henchman".
Singer, actor, Dick Foran was in his "B" Western period and was the star of "The Cherokee Strip", released on May 15, 1937. Uncredited Glenn's role was that of "Harry, Fiddle Player and Band Leader" and he performed the song "Along the Old Frontier".
The following still, taken at the "Iverson Movie Ranch", was to promote the motion picture and points out the two stars of the picture, Dick Foran as "Dick Hudson", and Jane Bryan as "Janie Walton". Along with "B" Western child star, Tommy Burp as "Barty Waltson, and of course Glenn Strange as "Harry".
Glenn had the uncredited role of a "Singing Hillbilly", in the background, of the Martha Raye and Bob Burns musical comedy, 1937's "Mountain Music". That movie featured George Hayes, two-years before he became sidekick, "Gabby Hayes". It would also be two-years before Glenn Strange was involved with music in another motion picture.
In 1937's, "Blazing Sixes", starring Dick Foran as "Red Barton, the Singing Cowboy". Glenn Strange had fifth billing as "Peewee Jones".
Above left, Joan Valerie using his birth name of Helen Valkis as "Barbara Morgan", Glenn Strange as "Peewee Jones", and Mira McKinney as "Aunt Sarah Morgan".
Seventeen "B" Westerns and two forgotten dramas later, on July 8, 1938, "Pride of the West", was the first of three, 1939, "B" Westerns starring William Boyd as "Hopalong Cassidy" and giving Glenn Strange credited roles. In "Pride of the West", he was "Saunders-Henchman", in "Sunset Trail", Glenn Strange was a "Bouncer", and "In Old Mexico", the actor was "Henchman Burke".
Ten more roles and Glenn Strange had a break from "B" Westerns, portraying, of course, a "Henchman", in "Columbia Pictures", fifteen-chapter Cliff-Hanger, "Flying G-Men", chapter one was released on February 2, 1939.
On February 25, 1939, Glenn Strange had thirteenth billing in the Cliff-Hanger, "The Lone Ranger Rides Again, as "Thorne".
Above sitting, Stanley Blystone as "Murdock", John Beach as "Hardin", and standing, Glenn Strange as "Thorne".
On March 18, 1939, "Monogram Pictures" released the "B" Western "Lure of the Wasteland". You will not find Glenn Strange in it, or his name on any cast listings. However, he wrote the song, "Winds of the Wasteland", that is heard in the picture.
Not including "Lure of the Wasteland", Glenn Strange found himself in another twelve pictures with a variety of major and minor "B" cowboy actors in the leads.
Then came an interesting "B" Western with an interesting "B" cast.
DAYS OF JESSE JAMES released on December 20, 1939
Roy Rogers portrayed "Roy Rogers". Leonard Franklin Slye became Roy Rodgers on April 20, 1938, after Gene Autry walked away from Republic Pictures over not getting a pay raise.
George "Gabby" Hayes portrayed "Roy's" sidekick "Gabby Whittaker". This was only Hayes' sixth motion picture with his new nickname.
Donald Barry aka: Don "Red" Barry aka: "Red Barry", portrayed "Jesse James". On the poster the actor is seen as the largest person in the foreground.
Glenn Strange portrayed "Cole Younger", and is immediately to Barry's left.
Above, Glenn Strange as "Cole Younger" speaking to Roy Rogers.
In the cast, "Cactus Mack" portrayed the uncredited "Worthington's New Recruit Deputy".
The plot had a group of bankers robbing their own banks and blaming the "James and Younger Gangs". It's up to Roy and "Gabby" to straighten things out and arrest the real men behind the robberies.
Three more forgotten "B" Westerns and then a small role in an "A" List motion picture.
DARK COMMAND released April 15, 1940
As to billing, John Wayne as "Bob Seton", was now second to his 1939, "Stagecoach", co-star, Claire Trevor as "Mary McCloud". Third billing went to Walter Pidgeon as "William 'Will' Cantrell" in this fictional story of "Quantrill's Raiders".
Also in the cast was Roy Rodgers as "Fletch McCloud", and George Hayes, not "Gabby", as "Doc Grunch".
Unfortunately for Glenn Strange he had the uncredited role of "Tough Yankee #1", and his cousin "Cactus Mack" was uncredited as a "Townsman".
"Dark Command" is part of an article I wrote comparing the real facts to the "Hollywood Facts" about the American Civil War. That article, "The American Civil War Through the Eyes of Hollywood", can be read at:
Glenn Strange continued in another eighteen "B Westerns, but only two roles were "Uncredited". During that time he was called a "Henchman", three times, but even his roles with names like, "Manny", and "Gray", didn't disguise his typecast description.
Another example was his one non-Western, 1940's, "San Francisco Dock", portraying a longshoreman named, "Mike", but just another henchman for the villain of the film. The "B" drama starred Burgess Meredith, Irene Hervey, Barry Fitzgerald, and Robert Armstrong.
In 1941's, "Saddlemates", starring Robert Livingston, Bob Steele, and Rufe Davis, the current members of "Republic Pictures", "The Three Mesquiteers", Glenn Strange portrayed Native America, "Little Bear". That same year, Glenn appeared in another of his several William Boyd, "Hopalong Cassidy" entries, "Wide Open Town", as "Ed Stark-Henchman".
BILLY THE KID WANTED released on October 4, 1941
In "Billy the Kid Wanted", Glenn Strange portrayed "Matt Brawley", for a change not a "Henchmen", but the town boss and main bad guy.
On December 12, 1941, looking exactly as he does in the previous motion picture, Glenn Strange now portrayed "Vic Landreau", in another Buster Crabbe entry, "Billy the Kid's Round-Up".
On February 12, 1942, Glenn Strange's third motion picture with Buster Crabbe, "Billy the Kid Trapped", was released, he played "Jim Stanton"
Later in 1942, Glenn Strange's name was buried in the additional cast listings for the Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, and John Wayne, "The Spoilers", as a "Deputy".
However, three motion pictures later:
The motion picture was directed by Sam Newfield. Who became a legendary "B" director, because of his film output between 1926 and 1964, of two-hundred-and-seventy-three motion pictures and fifty-six episodes of just three television shows.
Fred Myton wrote the screenplay, his output between 1916 and 1952, were one-hundred-and-seventy screenplays and two television scripts, almost all "B" Westerns.
Johnny Downs portrayed "Tom Gregory". Downs' career began as a child actor in 1916, he was both a singer and dancer, and he played "Johnny" in the Hal Roach "Our Gang" series from 1923 to 1926. By the time his film career ended in 1953, the only film genre he had not appeared in was Science Fiction.
Ann Nagel portrayed "Lenora Cameron". Her first film work was as a "Ballerina" in the Mack Sennett, 1932, comedy, "Hypnotized". Nagel would bounce around from one film to another and never made it big.
Nagel did co-star with Gordon Jones in both 1940's Cliff-Hangers, "The Green Hornet", and "The Green Hornet Strikes Again". She was also fourth billed in 1940's, "Black Friday", starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.
Glenn Strange portrayed "Petro". Strange had just been seen in a "B" Western starring Ray "Crash" Corrigan, part of another "Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)" series, about a group of good cowboys the studio called, "The Range Busters". The picture was "Boot Hill Bandits" and Glenn played "The Maverick". He followed this picture, as "Stokes", in 1942's, "Romance on the Range", starring Roy Rodgers and George "Gabby" Hayes".
This plot has "Dr. Lorenzo Cameron" coming up with the idea of turning American soldiers into wolf men to fight the Nazi's. His grand plan is being laughed at by four professors he knows. Cameron develops his wolf serum and injects it into his simple minded gardener "Petro" and sends him to kill each of the four professors.
The subplot has "Cameron's" daughter, "Lenora", falling in love with a newspaper reporter, "Tom Gregory". "Gregory" is investigating the strange death of a little girl. When the professors start being killed, this leads "Gregory" to "Lenora" and her father.
In the end the transformed "Petro" kills "Dr. Cameron", as a fire rages out of control in the laboratory, and "The Mad Monster" dies within it.
Glenn Strange's make-up was by Harry Ross, "B" movie make-up artists Ross would later work on 1948's, "Unknown Island", 1951's, "Two Lost Worlds", 1951's, "The Lost Continent" and 1953's, "Mesa of Lost Women".
In another entry of "The Range Busters" series, 1943's, "Haunted Ranch", without Ray "Crash" Corrigan, who had moved to "The Three Mesquiteers" series, Glenn Strange portrayed "Rance Austin". On the film credits Glenn was billed as "Glen Strange".
Glenn's next six motion pictures included the Walter Huston and Ann Harding, 1943, "Mission to Moscow", in the uncredited role of "A Southerner in Montage", and the Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Massey's, 1943, "Action in the North Atlantic", in the uncredited role of "Jake"
It was also directed by Sam Newfield, who used his actors well to confuse the audience until the climax reveals the real murderer.
Looking at the above poster:
George Zucco portrayed "Amos Bradford aka: The Raven". Zucco had just played twin brothers in the 1943, Horror movie, "Dead Men Walk". He followed this picture with the Gracie Fields and Monty Wooley comedy, 1943's, "Holy Matrimony".
Wanda McKay portrayed "Lee Winfield". "B" actress McKay just had sixth billing, as an nurse, in the flag waving 1943, "Corregidor". She would follow this picture as an uncredited "Chorus Girl" in the Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, and Zasu Pitts, 1943, "Let's Face It". Three other uncredited "Chorus Girls" were played by Yvonne De Carlo, Noel Neill and Marie Windsor.
Noel Madison portrayed "Mike Bardoni", lower right corner of poster with George Zucco. Madison only appeared two more times after this motion picture. He had started on-screen in 1930 and ended his career in 1948 with seventy-four roles, there was a time span of five-years between his final two-films.
Robert Livingston portrayed "Allen Bentley", he was also billed either as Bob, or Robert Randall. He was just seen, as Bob Livingston, in the 1943 "B" Western, "Death Rides the Plains", and followed this picture, using the same name, in another 1943 "B" Western, "Wolves of the Range".
I. Stanford Jolley portrayed "Whitey Coe", he's located under the raven on the right. Like Glenn Strange, Jolley is always the "Heavy" in "B" Westerns. He had just been in the 1943 Western, "Death Rides the Plains", and the actor followed this picture with 1943's, "Wolves of the Range".
Charles Middleton, billed as Charlie Middleton, portrayed the "Sheriff". Middleton will always be remembered for portraying "Ming the Merciless", in the "Flash Gordon" Cliff-Hangers. He would next be seen in "Chapters Six, Seven, and Eight" as "Ken Colton", in the 1943 Cliff-Hanger, "Batman", the cape-crusader's first on-screen appearance.
Glenn Strange portrayed the credited role of "Andy". Strange portrayed the uncredited role of "Lem", in the Randolph Scott, Claire Trevor, and Glenn Ford 1943, "A List" Western, "The Desperadoes". Glenn followed this feature with another Buster Crabbe "Billy the Kid" "B" Western, 1943's, "Cattle Stampede", in the uncredited role of "Boss Coulter".
The real Dora Hand was never linked to Bat Masterson, but the dance hall singer and actress in Dodge City, Kansas, was linked to James H. "Dog" Kelley, the mayor of Dodge City from 1867 to 1871. She was mistakenly shot and killed in an ambush by a suitor that was acquitted of murder.
In this fictional tale, Glenn Strange had the full-credited role of "Walker", seen below with Albert Dekker in the following two-stills.
The storyline in the "Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)", Sam Newfield directed feature has part of the same story line found in 1955's, "Tarantula".
J. Carrol Naish portrayed "Dr. Igor Markoff". Naish had just been in 1944's, "The Whistler", based upon the popular radio drama, as "The Killer". After this picture he would be seen in the second film of a Horror trilogy, 1944's, "Jungle Woman", co-starring Evelyn Ankers and Acquanetta, as the female gorilla turned into beautiful "Paula Dupre".
Above, J. Carrol Naish, Wanda McKay as "Patricia Lawrence", and Ralph Morgan.
Wanda McKay had fourth billing in 1944's "Voodoo Man", behind the Horror team of Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, and George Zucco.
Glenn Strange portrayed "Steve, the Giant". He had just portrayed an uncredited character called, "Big Muscle", in the Nelson Eddy and Constance Dowling musical, 1944's, "Knickerbocker Holliday", set in 1650 "New Amsterdam". Following this feature, but instead of being called, "Billy the Kid", Buster Crabbe, was now called "Bill Carson", in 1944's, "Valley of Vengeance". It was the same series of "B" Westerns but with a name change for the star, and Glenn played "Marshal Barker".
"Anthony Lawrence" is a rich successful concert pianist with a beautiful daughter and "Dr. Markoff" wants both. "Markoff", here's that connection with 1955's "Tarantula", is experimenting with a serum that gives his victims, acromegaly. He injects "Lawrence" with it, and threatens not to give him the antidote unless he signs over his money and daughter to the mad scientist.
"Steve" is his assistant and becomes giant size at one point.
However, it was what followed those forgotten movies that has remained somewhat of a classic piece of Horror:
HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN released on December 1, 1944
Boris Karloff portrayed "Doctor Gustav Niemann". He had just been seen in "Universal Pictures", 1944, "The Climax", which was originally planned as a direct sequel to 1943's "Phantom of the Opera". There was an edited out quick scene of movement by Claude Rains, after the roof collapsed upon "The Phantom", to set up the sequel, but Curt Siodmak was ordered not to write "The Climax" as the planned direct sequel. Boris Karloff next appeared in producer Val Lewton's, 1945, version of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Body Snatchers", directed by Robert Wise.
Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lon Chaney, portrayed "Lawrence 'Larry' Talbot aka: The Wolf Man". To start, Creighton Tull Chaney didn't mind, too much, being called Lon Chaney, Jr., but until his death. Creighton did mind being called Lon Chaney and believed that name deluded his own acting skills and made people think of his father, not him. Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lon Chaney, had just been seen in another "Inner Sanctum Mystery", 1944's "Dead Man's Eyes", and followed this picture with his last appearance as "Kharis", in 1944's, "The Mummy's Curse".
My article on Creighton, Lon Chaney, Jr. 'Of Mice and Werewolves", may be read at:
John Carradine portrayed "Baron Latos aka: Count Dracula". Carradine had co-starred in 1945's, "Alaska", and the Shakespearian actor followed this role with tenth billing in the Fred Allen and Jack Benny, 1945 comedy, "It's in the Bag!"
Peter Coe portrayed "Carl Hussmann". Coe had just co-starred with Maria Montez and Jon Hall in 1944's, "Gypsy Wildcat". He followed this Horror entry with 1944's, "The Mummy's Curse".
Lionel Atwill portrayed "Inspector Arnz". Atwill had just been in 1944's, "Secrets of Scotland Yard", and would be seen in the Horror mystery, 1945's, "Fog Island".
Dropping thirteen places below Elena Verdugo, to the twenty-second name on the official cast list was Glenn Strange, with full credit, portraying the "Monster".
Glenn Strange was "TECHNICALLY" the fourth actor to play the "Universal Pictures Frankenstein Monster". Prior to Glenn it was Boris Karloff-three times, Lon Chaney, Jr-once, and Bela Lugosi-once.
Below, the great Jack P. Pierce applying make-up to Glenn Strange.
As to the screenplay, according to Tom Weaver, Michael and John Brunas, in their 1990, "Universal Horrors", writer Curt Siodmak said:
the idea was to put all the horror characters into one picture. I only wrote the story. I didn't write the script. I never saw the picture!
Siodmak's original story was entitled "The Devil's Brood" and is very different than the screenplay.
The actual screenplay was written by Edward T. Lowe, Jr, who started with scenarios in 1912 and moved to screenplays with the advent of sound. His first sound films were a series of twelve African documentary shorts, but in 1933, Lowe wrote "The Vampire Bat", starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, and Melvyn Douglas. Then it was mainly only mysteries in the original "Charlie Chan", Bulldog Drummond", and "Sherlock Holmes" series.
My article on the man who created the 1941, "Wolf Man", and that famous poem and came up with the idea of "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man", Curt Siodmak, called, "CURT and ROBERT SIODMAK: Horror and Film Noir", may be read at:
The Monster Mash of Edward T. Lowe Jr's screenplay:
"Dr. Niemann" and his assistant "Daniel" escape from prison when the walls literally come down in an Earthquake. He finds the traveling Horror show of "Professor Lampini", kills him, assumes his name, and goes after those that put him in prison. One of "Lampini's" exhibits is "Dracula's" skeleton, "Niemann" pulls the stake out and as "Baron Latos", "Dracula" comes back to life (?)
"Baron Latos" seduces "Niemann's" first victim's granddaughter, "Rita Hussman" and kills "Burgomaster Hussman", played by Sig Ruman. Being chased by the townspeople, "Neimann" pushes "Latos'" coffin out of his wagon into the sunlight and the "Baron-Count" becomes a skeleton once again.
"Niemann" and "Daniel" now move to the flooded ruins of "Castle Frankenstein" in Visaria. The two find the bodies of the "Frankenstein Monster" and "Larry Talbot" frozen in ice. "Niemann" frees them and promises to cure "Larry" of being a werewolf.
"Dr. Niemann" is, of course, lying to "Talbott" and wants the "Frankenstein Monster" to kill two more of the men who sent him to prison. Meanwhile, "Larry" turns into the Wolf Man and kills a villager.
"Niemann" and "Daniel" save a gypsy girl named "Ilonka" and "Daniel" falls in love with her, but she has fallen for "Larry Talbot". "Daniel" tells "Ilonka" what "Talbot" is, but that doesn't stop her love.
The "Frankenstein Monster" is revived, "Larry" becomes the "Wolf Man", who fatally attacks "Ilonka", but for her love, she shoots and kills him with a silver bullet before dying.
"Niemann" blames "Daniel" for what has gone wrong, and in their argument, the "Frankenstein Monster" throws "Daniel" out of a window to his death. The villagers show up and chase the "Frankenstein Monster", holding the squirming "Dr. Niemann" into a swamp, and they both sink into quicksand.
All of the above takes place within the seventy-minutes of the movie.
Three "B" Westerns, one, 1944's "Can't Help Singing", was a musical Western, starring Deanna Durbin and Robert Paige, that followed "House of Frankenstein". Then the uncredited role of a "Cowboy", in the "A" List, 1945, "Saratoga Trunk", starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman and Flora Robson.
All leading to the return of the "Frankenstein Monster".
HOUSE OF DRACULA released on December 7, 1945, proved you couldn't keep good monsters dead for long.
Although he had nothing to do with this motion picture, the poster's tag line:
THE DEVIL'S OWN BROOD!Was suggestive of Curt Siodmak's original story line for the previous "House of Frankenstein".
Although the screenplay was again written by Edward T. Lowe, Jr. It now took two writers, Dwight V. Babcock, 1944's "The Mummy's Curse", and George Bricker, 1940's "The Devil Bat", to create the story line for Lowe's screenplay.
The motion picture was directed by Erle C. Kenton, who besides directing the previous monster-fest, had directed 1942's "The Ghost of Frankenstein".
Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lon Chaney, portrayed "Lawrence 'Larry' Talbot aka: The Wolf Man". He had just portrayed "Grat Dalton"in 1945's, "The Dalton's Ride Again", and followed this picture with another "Inner Sanctum" mystery, 1945's, "Pillow of Death", co-starring Brenda Joyce.
Above, Lon Chaney, Jr. with make-up artist Jack P. Pierce.
John Carradine portrayed "Dracula aka: Baron Latos". Carradine had just been in Charles Laughton's, 1945, "Captain Kid", and followed this role with 1946's, "The Face of Marble", co-starring Robert Shayne.
Martha Driscoll portrayed "Miliza Morelle". Blonde actress Driscoll came and went, as they say, in the 1940's. She had last played "Mary Bohannon", in 1945's, "The Dalton's Ride Again", and followed this Horror film, co-starring with Tom Neal, in the crime comedy 1946's, "Blonde Alibi".
Have we seen this scene before? Above, John Carradine and Martha Driscoll.
Lionel Atwill portrayed "Police Inspector Holtz". The busy Atwill had just been in 1945's "Crime, Inc,", and followed this picture with the Cliff-Hanger, 1946's, "Lost City of the Jungle". Atwill made one other motion picture, 1946's, crime comedy, "Genius at Work", which would be released first in Canada, in August 1946, four-months after his death on April 22, 1946.
Onslow Stevens had the very juicy role of "Dr. Franz Edleman". Stevens was just seen in the Roy Rogers "B" Western, 1944's, "Hands Across the Border", and would follow this film in Alan Ladd's, 1946, war drama, "O.S.S.". Fans of Science Fiction know Onslow Stevens as "Brigadier General Robert O'Brien" in 1954's "THEM!"
Above, Onslow Stevens and John Carradine.
Jane Adams portrayed "Nina, the Hunchback". Her first husband was a Navy pilot who was killed in action. Her second husband was an Army Lieutenant that rose to the rank of Major General and after the Second World War. He oversaw "The Veterans Administration", and Jane Adams retired from acting.
Forget all of that:
Back on April 3, 1944, when production began on "House of Frankenstein", at the same time "Variety" and the "Hollywood Reporter", announced plans for a sequel titled "Wolf Man vs Dracula" with Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi. On May 19, 1944, Bernard Schubert, 1935's, "Mark of the Vampire", turned in the first draft of a screenplay. Ford Beebe, 1942's, "Night Monster", was to direct the new picture, but it was put on hold to finish "House of Frankenstein", and Beebe moved to other work.
In parallel to the release of "House of Frankenstein", producer Paul Malvern gave screenplay writer Edward L. Lowe, Jr., the script for "Wolf Man vs Dracula", to rewrite. Lowe turned out "Destiny", dated April 13, 1945, that was very close to a continuation of the earlier motion picture. Enter, Dwight V. Babcock, and George Bricker, who redid Lowe's story and handed it back to Lowe for completion as a screenplay.
Somehow, "House of Dracula", opens with "Baron Latos", alive (?), and arriving at the castle home of "Dr. Franz Edelmann", looking for a cure for his vampirism. While, the town of Visaria, has been moved to the top of a mountain over looking the ocean, . The kind doctor believes a series of blood transfusions will cure the "Baron", and "Edelmann" uses his own blood for the first transfusion.
"Latos" now moves his coffin into "Edelmann's" basement. Next, there's a knock on the door and its, of course, "Larry Talbot" seeking a cure to stop him from turning into the Wolf Man. He's told to wait for the doctor, but leaves and goes into town as the full moon is about to appear. "Talbot" goes to the local jail and has "Inspector Holtz" place him in a cell for everyone's safety. Both "Holtz" and "Dr. Edelmann" watch "Lawrence Talbot" transform into the Wolf Man, but are safe with him in the jail cell.
Despondent over turning into a werewolf once more, "Lawrence Talbot" leaves "Dr. Edelmann's" castle, and throws himself over a cliff into the ocean below, but the current carries "Talbot" into an unseen cave.
"Dr. Edelmann's" other assistant, the hunchback "Nina" follows "Milizia", who in turn, is being followed by the "Baron", and discovers he doesn't have a reflection in a mirror.
In one of his sane moments, "Dr. Edelmann" operates on "Larry Talbot", in his other personality the doctor murders his gardener and one of the townspeople figures it out.
Four forgotten uncredited roles and Glenn Strange once again met Bud and Lou, in the motion picture they're on the record as not wanting to make.
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN released June 15, 1948
Above is the release poster for the motion picture, please note that the actual title was:
Bud ABBOTT & Lou COSTELLO meet FRANKENSTEIN
Overtime the title was shorten to the more familiar "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein".
There actually were two directors on the motion picture, but the only credited director was Charles Barton. Who directed the comedy duo in 1946's, "The Time of Their Lives", 1947's, "Buck Privates Come Home", 1947's, "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap", before this feature. After this feature, he continued to direct Abbott and Costello in 1948's, "Mexican Hayride", and 1949's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff". Later, for Walter Elias Disney, Charles Barton directed 1957's, "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty", Seventeen episodes of televisions "Zorro", 1959's original, "The Shaggy Dog", and 1960's, "Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus".
The uncredited second director was animator Walter Lantz for the animated opening title sequence.
Both, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Bram Stoker were given credit for the source of the screenplay.
On it were three actual screenplay writers:
Robert Lees, co-wrote 1940's, "The Invisible Woman", 1941's, "The Black Cat" and Abbott and Costello's "Hold That Ghost". Six years later he co-wrote Abbott and Costello's, 1947, "Buck Privates Come Home", and "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap".
Frederic I. Rinaldo, was the co-writer on all of Robert Lee's screenplays mentioned above.
However, John Grant was the personal writer of Bud and Lou. He worked on all their motion pictures between 1941's, "Buck Privates", through 1955's "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy". Grant also wrote material for the duo to use, while hosting eight episodes of televisions "The Colgate Television Comedy Hour", between 1953 and 1955.
By this picture, the new owners of "Universal Pictures" had fired make-up artist Jack P. Pierce, see my article of him, and replaced Pierce with Bud Westmore of the make-up family. Bud Westmore was told to find ways around the costlier and time-consuming methods of Jack Pierce.
Compare the following still with even the make-ups in 1945's, "House of Dracula". The more obvious is with Lon Chaney, Jr's, "The Wolf Man", but the forehead piece on Glenn Strange does stick out below.
My article, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Universal Studio Classic Monsters", can be read at:
Bud Abbott portrayed "Chick Young", and Lou Costello portrayed "Wilbur Grey". The comedy duo had just appeared in an overlooked motion picture directed by Charles Barton. This was "The Noose Hangs High", released on April 5, 1948. They followed this picture with 1948's, "Mexican Hayride", but overlooked was a short they appeared in, "10,000 Kids and a Cop", an eighteen-minute documentary about Lou's "Jr. Youth Foundation" for the prevention of juvenile delinquency.
Lon Chaney, Jr., as Lon Chaney, once again portrayed "Lawrence Talbot aka: The Wolf Man". He had just been in the "B" crime drama, 1948's, "The Counterfeiters", and followed this feature co-starring with Lloyd Bridges, in director Irwin Allen's, 1948, "16 Fathoms Deep".
Bela Lugosi portrayed "Count Dracula". His last movie appearance was 1946's, "Scared to Death", co-starring George Zucco. Bela followed this film with a 1949 appearance on the television anthology series, "Suspense", in a production of Edgar Allan Poe's, "A Cask of Amontillado".
Glenn Strange portrayed the "Monster". Glenn had an uncredited role as a "Renegade", in the "Wild" Bill Elliot "B" Western, 1948's, "The Gallant Legend". He followed this picture with the uncredited role of a "Guerilla Raider in the Saloon", in the Red Skelton, Brian Donlevy, and Arlene Dahl, 1948 comedy, "A Southern Yankee".
Jane Randolph portrayed "Joan Raymond". Besides this motion picture, the best of Jane Randolph's twenty-two roles, was as Kent Smith's love interest, first in producer Val Lewton's, 1942, "Cat People", directed by Jacques Tourneur, and Lewton's sequel, 1944's, "Curse of the Cat People", directed by Robert Wise.
Charles Bradstreet portrayed "Dr. Stevens". This picture was the eighth of the actor's ten films.
The plot is simple, two railroad baggage handlers, "Chick Young" and "Wilbur Grey", are to deliver two crates containing exhibits to "McDougal's House of Horror's".
However, nothing is as simple as that:
"Wilbur" has a beautiful girlfriend named "Sandra", and "Chick" can't figure out what she sees in him, but Sandra's always worried that "Wilbur" might hurt his head. "McDougal" arrives and warns them that they better handle the crates carefully and he tells "Sandra" that they contain the remains of the real "Count Dracula" and "Frankenstein Monster". However, "Sandra" doesn't really seem interested.
On her private island, "Doctor Sandra Mornay" welcomes "Count Dracula", and reveals that it is "Wilbur's" brain she wants to transplant into the monster.
Naïve "Dr. Stevens" now appears and questions "Sandra" about all the new specialized equipment in the basement laboratory. She becomes scared that the plans for "Wilbur" may have accidently been discovered, after "Wilbur" admits he got lost and was in the basement. "Sandra" feigns a headache and suggests that the other three go on to the masquerade ball without her, accompanied by "Dr. Stevens".
After the four leave, "Dracula" approaches "Sandra" and turns her into a vampire and, next, they appear at the masquerade ball.
"Joan" soon disappears, "Sandra" lures "Wilbur" into the woods, attempts to bite him on the neck, but fails.
Meanwhile, "Joan" and "Dr. Stevens" have found each other and with the boys, they all run from the castle with the "Frankenstein Monster" in pursuit. "Dr. Stevens" sets the pier on fire as the four escape in two boats and the pier burns destroying the monster.
From the "Frankenstein Monster" to a cowhand on a cattle drive, Glenn Strange portrayed the uncredited, "Naylor", in director Howard Hawks', 1948, "Red River", starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift.
Leo Gorcey and the Bowery Boys
The "Bowery Boys" started out in the 1935 Broadway play "Dead End", as the "Dead End Kids". That same group of young actors, including a life-long friend of my father's, Bobby Jordan, appeared in the 1937 movie version and seven other motion pictures. On the above poster are two other original "Dead End Kids", Huntz Hall and Gabriel Dell. In 1940, the group was renamed, "The East Side Kids", and in 1946, the remaining members of the "Dead End Kids", and some new young actors, morphed into "The Bowery Boys". In that group they lasted into 1958 in one form or another under Huntz Hall.
The other interesting billing is:
ATLAS The MONSTER played by GLENN STRANGE
Above is second billed, Huntz Hall portraying "Sach", and first billed, Leo Gorcey portraying "Slip Mahoney".
Glenn Strange was third billed as "Atlas the Monster". He would follow this picture portraying "Big Joe" in the, Maureen O'Hara and Macdonald Carey, "B" Western, 1950's, "Comanche Territory".
Mad scientist, "Dr. Druzik", played by Alan Napier, wants to transfer "Sach's" brain into "Atlas". Where have we heard this before, and it's up to the "Bowery Boys" to stop him.
"Atlas" gave Glenn Strange a chance to show off his comic acting abilities. While, Huntz Hall got to play the monster for once, sort of.
Glenn Strange, next portrayed a "Union Colonel" in director John Huston's, 1951, version of Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Course", starring Audie Murphy.
Five more forgotten movies that included an early made for television picture, 1951's, "Trigger Tales". Which was actually an unsold pilot for a Western series about a man named "Trigger Saunders", played by James Warren. In it, Glenn Strange portrayed "Blake", and his cousin Cactus Mack was "The Sheriff".
The following year saw Glenn Strange portraying "Pirate Captain Jonas", not on the Spanish Main, but on televisions "Space Patrol", in the "Mystery of the Flying Pirate Ship", Season Two, Episode Thirty-One, August 2, 1952.
"Space Patrol" was a classic Science Fiction television show from the early 1950's. My article on that program and others, "Boldly Going Before Kirk and Spock: 1950's TV Science Fiction", can be read at:
Glenn still wasn't done with Bud and Lou, and on December 26, 1952, he appeared in "The Vacation", the Fourth episode of Season One, of televisions "The Abbott and Costello Show".
Seven more feature film roles followed, after which, Glenn Strange found himself working mainly on television starting in late 1953, on the forgotten dramatic anthology series "Your Favorite Story". Glenn was a Native American in one of two Season Three episodes of Jock Mahoney's Western series, "The Range Rider".
Glenn Strange started to show up in episodes of "Buffalo Bill, Jr.", "The Gene Autry Show", "The Cisco Kid", "The Adventures of Jim Bowie", "Annie Oakley", "Judge Roy Bean", and "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin", to name a few of the many television Westerns the actor was appearing on, and if you had more than one television set to watch. A person may have been able to see as many as forty-six Western television shows on the air in one week.
My article, "HI HO SILVER, AWAY: The 1950's When WESTERNS Dominated the Airwaves", can be found at:
On May 28, 1957, director John Sturges released his classic Western "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.
Above is Ted de Corsia as "Shanghai Pierce", directly behind him is Glenn Strange in the uncredited role of "Pierce Henchman in Saloon".
The film was followed by a short mixture of movies and television, including playing a convict in Elvis Presley's, 1957, "Jail House Rock", and appearing on the Western television shows, "Casey Jones", "The Restless Gun", and "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon".
Glenn Strange between 1958 and 1973, appeared on another nineteen different television programs with titles such as "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp", seven times, "Death Valley Days", six times, "The Rifleman", seven times, and "Rawhide", twice.
However, one television series stands above the rest:
For seventy-five episodes from September 17, 1955 through November 14, 1959, the role of "Sam Noonan, the Bartender" was portrayed by Bert Rumsey. I could not locate why he left the show, but the character was dropped after that.
On March 18, 1961, Glenn Strange portrayed a uncredited character named "Sam", in "Old Faces", Season Six, Episode Twenty-six. It would take nine more episodes without him, until Season Six, Episode Thirty-six, June 3, 1961, with the title of "Melinda Miles", before Glenn returned to "Gunsmoke", as a character described as a "Man".
From that point forward he was "Sam", occupation "Bartender", like his father was once years before. Glenn would be listed on the shows credit with the full character name of "Sam Noonan", only nineteen times, out of the two-hundred-and-forty-five episodes, that Glenn Strange was on "Gunsmoke".
Glenn Strange's last appearance on "Gunsmoke" was in "The Hanging of Newly O'Brien", Season Nineteen, Episode Eleven, November 26, 1973.
On September 20, 1973, two-months-and-six-days before his final on-screen appearance, Glenn Strange passed away from lung cancer.
Over his acting career, Glenn Strange played Three-hundred-and-sixty-two different roles.