Tuesday, October 19, 2010
31 Days of Halloween - Day 19
Above is the Dracula crest ring that Bela Lugosi had made for himself in 1943 and wore when he reprised the role of Dracula in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). The stone is carnelian with a silver overlay. It later became part of Forrest J Ackerman's astounding collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror memorabilia where it could be found on the ring finger of his own left hand.
According to Forry the ring "has also been on the finger of Christopher Lee, John Carradine, Boris Karloff, Frank Langella, John Phillip Law (the Angel of Barbarella has played the Thirsty Count on the stage), Carroll Borland (Lugosi's protegée), Boris Karloff [sic] and other vampiric personalities. I believe that would also include, as I remember, Vampira and Barabara Steele and Reggie Nalder."
When I first read that in 1981 I took it to mean that it became a tradition and official adornment for anyone playing Dracula, until I realized that Karloff never played Dracula and Carroll Borland appeared with Lugosi in Mark of the Vampire in 1935, way before the ring was made and anyway Lugosi would have been wearing it if he had it. Of course she never went on to play Dracula either. And so on. What this really means as that at some point when Forry met these various individuals he asked them to put on the ring (I don't know if he photographed any of them wearing it) just so he could build its ephemeral pedigree of Dracula associations. I wonder what each of them thought of this strange request and if it truly fit on all of them.
Ackerman also was the proud owner of numerous editions of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker including a first edition not only signed by Stoker himself, but, like the ring, a plethora of individuals associated with Dracula, plus Vincent Price who has never had anything to do with Dracula oddly enough. Take a look at the authographs as they appear in the book below.