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Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. Headshot

A Trio of Intriguing New Film Factoids!

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Why was Bela Lugosi so inept in his single rendition of the Frankenstein monster? Did glamorous Honor Blackman once portray a blind woman? What is the secret behind actress Vera Miles' name?

These absorbing film factoids relating to entries in the sci-fi/horror/mystery genre are now revealed:

-Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the Frankenstein monster in 1944's "Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man" has been ripped by film critics down through the years as being awkward. But, in remaining faithful to the previous sequel, "The Ghost of Frankenstein" (1942), where the brain of Lugosi's character Ygor was implanted in the creature after which it went blind due to an incompatible blood type, he was supposed to be visually challenged, thus accounting for his clumsiness. However, scenes explaining this were deleted, making it appear that Lugosi was inept.

In "The Ghost of Frankenstein," Lon Chaney Jr. portrayed the creature throughout, even after the brain transplant, with Lugosi's voice dubbed in at the end. Chaney also played the creature in the 1952 "Frankenstein" episode of TV's "Tales of Tomorrow" where John Newland of "One Step Beyond" fame was Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Ruehl Fact: The role of the grave robber Ygor, which he essayed in both "The Son of Frankenstein"(1939) and "The Ghost of Frankenstein"(1942), was Lugosi's favorite other than his cherished characterization of Dracula!

- Gorgeous Honor Blackman, co-star of "The Avengers" TV series and the 1964 007 flick "Goldfinger," was cast as a blind woman in an episode ("Blind Justice") of the 1959 British TV series, "The Invisible Man."

Interestingly, Patrick Macnee (as John Steed) was merely a secondary character during the first year of "The Avengers," assuming the lead only after Ian Hendry did not return for the second season.

Ruehl Fact: Despite the producers' objections, Macnee opted to carry an umbrella as a weapon in "The Avengers" rather than a gun because he had seen too many comrades killed by bullets during WW2!

- Actress Vera Miles, star of the superb 1961 "Twilight Zone" episode "Mirror Image" about a woman who sees her doppelganger in a bus station, was born Vera Ralston, but had to change her name when she arrived in Hollywood where Vera Ralston (star of 1944's "The Lady and the Monster") was already firmly entrenched. Miles, who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" (1956) and "Psycho" (1960), was his 1st choice for the female lead in "Vertigo"(just named the best film of all time), but was pregnant at the time and could not accept the role that ultimately went to Kim Novak.

Ruehl Fact: Vera Ralston's given name was Vera Hruba, which she used as a skating star. But, Republic Pictures mogul Herbert Yates, whom she later married, christened her with the surname of Ralston in an endeavor to Americanize the Czech actress who spoke English with a pronounced accent: in some films, she was billed as Vera Ralston, in others, as Vera Hruba Ralston.