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In a production of "Frankenstein," Lon Chaney Jr. played the monster. An urban legend states that Chaney was intoxicated during the live TV broadcast, due to his heavy drinking. In the broadcast (which is available on YouTube), Chaney is handed a chair - but instead of smashing it, he sets it down, and shouts "Break! Break!" while making smashing motions with his hands. However, Chaney later explained in an interview that he was not drunk. Before the broadcast, he had spent four hours in the makeup chair, having his monster makeup applied. When the performance started, Chaney assumed it was a dress rehearsal, and thus, did not break the chair when it was handed to him. Between scenes, the director informed Chaney that the broadcast was happening live, so in subsequent scenes, Chaney didn't hold back and freely broke pieces of the set. (In the YouTube video of the broadcast, he falls out a window and later smashes Dr. Frankenstein's lab equipment.) See more »
The classic January 18, 1952 live TV broadcast of "Frankenstein" with Lon Chaney, Jr. is finally available on DVD!
I had never even heard of this program until I was browsing in my local dollar store and happened to flip through their bin of dollar DVD's and saw a black and orange package bearing the title Tales of Tomorrow with a picture of three men in space suits staring at me.
I picked it up and immediately spotted Thomas Mitchell on the back cover photo. Any television appearance with Thomas Mitchell is worth seeing, but when I saw that the first episode was "Frankenstein," I knew I had a genuine find on my hands!
The three episodes are as follows:
Frankenstein (1-18-52) Starring John Newland and Lon Chaney, Jr. This, of course,is the prize of the lot. Chaney's performance (drunk or not) still hints at the sensitivity and greatness he was capable of. I'm left wondering what he might have done during an "actual" performance.
The Crystal Egg (2-29-52)Stars Thomas Mitchell and is based on a story by H G Wells. Mitchell sees Mars inside the titular crystal egg -which promptly goes missing and there's dirty work afoot!
Appointment on Mars (6-22-52) Leslie Nielsen (looking unusually young and virile) appears as one of a trio of space explorers in this weirdly disturbing drama which comes across as a low-rent adaptation of The Martian Chronicals.
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