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More Intriguing Factoids From the Sci-Fi/Horror/Mystery Genre!

10/28/2013 11:45 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Herman Brix's injured shoulder made Johnny Weismuller a star! Color suddenly materialized in several black-and-white films! Blake Edwards was uncredited in 17 of his first 19 acting film roles!

-- Herman Brix was set to star in 1932's Tarzan the Ape Man, but dislocated his shoulder playing a running back in 1931's football film, Touchdown. The "Tarzan" role went to Johnny Weismuller and the rest is cinematic history! He did star in 1935's The New Adventures of Tarzan, an independent production filmed by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, who had hand-picked Brix for the role. After that came a succession of action roles in serials such as The Shadow of Chinatown (with Bela Lugosi) and The Fighting Devil Dogs. But, he was unable to break the action film mold, so reinvented himself as Bruce Bennett (the most popular of several possible names he had conjured up). With his new identity, he became a second lead in such Humphrey Bogart dramas as Dark Passage (1947) and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), and horror flicks such as The Alligator People (1959) and The Cosmic Man (1959). He also worked extensively on TV, such as guesting 5 times on Science Fiction Theater and 5 times on Perry Mason. Ultimately, he retired to concentrate on being a Beverly Hills real estate agent.

Ruehl Fact: Brix/Bennett died at the age of 100 in 2007 from the complications of a fractured hip!

-- Color suddenly appearing in a black-and-white film: In 1957's I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, the movie unexpectedly became color with the revelation of the completed entity (Gary Conway) created by Dr. Frankenstein (Whit Bissell). Unfortunately, because part of his head was visible, from the back, there was a gradual revelation of his face rather than a sudden unveiling, which mitigated the shock effect.

In The Tingler (1959), as the mute wife (Judith Evelyn) of a scheming husband (Philip Coolidge) is being terrorized by him in an effort to materialize the tingler in her spine which will kill her because she cannot scream to dispel it, her sink abruptly becomes filled with red blood in this B&W film, with a similar blood-red sequence near the end as he is victimized by a supernatural force.

In Mighty Joe Young (1949), the burning building scene near the end, where Joe becomes a hero, appears in color. And, in 2 low-budget B&W Robert Lippert productions, color suddenly appears: in Rocketship X-M (1950), the surface of Mars is suddenly tinted pink, and in Lost Continent(1951), the jungle plateau inhabited by dinos suddenly is tinted green. When shown on television, some of these colorful entries remain B&W, depending on which channel they are being aired on.

Ruehl Fact: In The Return of Dracula (1958), when Jennie (Virginia Vincent), a girl transmogrified by Dracula (Francis Lederer) into a vampire is staked, red blood briefly gushes from her chest in this B&W flick. However, in an inconsistency, when Dracula falls upon a huge stake in a mine at the end, there is no colorization!

-- Blake Edwards, creator of the Richard Diamond, Private Detective and Peter Gunn gumshoe TV series and producer of The Pink Panther films started out as an actor in 1942. After 19 minor roles (17 of them uncredited), he finally secured his first significant part in 1946's Strangler of the Swamp, where the wrathful spirit (Charles Middleton) of a ferryman falsely hanged for murder seeks vengeance against all of those responsible for his tragedy, including the actual killer's son (Edwards). He continued to act only until 1948, turning then to writing, directing, and producing.

Ruehl Fact: Charles Middleton was best known for essaying the role of Ming the Merciless, emperor of the planet Mongo, in 3 Flash Gordon serials (1936,1938, and 1940).

Video link to Rocketship X-M (Preview)

Video link to Strangler of the Swamp