Louise Carroll| For The Ledger
Halloween is almost upon us. Bats, spiders and jack o' lanterns are the dcors of the day and boo is the buzz word. I like all fall decorations the leaves, the cornstalks, the scarecrows and the fall flavors.
I don't do any spooky decorating. I have a stuffed pumpkin, a tin jack o' lantern and a little scarecrow that is in with my huge mother-in-law tongue plant. That's as good as it is going to get here. I'm just not into skulls, bats, spiders and all the spooky stuff, but I applaud the creativity of some of the ultra scary home decorations that I see.
When my sons were young enough to go trick-or-treating, we had a box of clothing and masks that they could put together for costumes, a white shirt, black pants, a pirate hat and an eye patch and they were ready to go. Mummies were a natural because strips of old sheets were easily wound around and even easier was cutting eyes in a sheet and being a ghost. I see a lot more elaborate costumes now, but I'm sure it is the same fun.
If we had an election for the king of Halloween, Dracula would be a front runner along with Frankenstein and mummies, but my vote would go to Dracula. First of all, because he takes it seriously and dresses for the part, wearing a tuxedo and a cape. No borrowed parts from other people, no raggedy looking mummy wrappings and nothing as mundane as a bed sheet to look ghostly. On Halloween, there will be a number of Draculas of all sizes, so you could meet one. It would be best to keep an arm's length away because you can't be sure.
Dracula has class, as he should because he is Count Dracula and royalty should have a sense of style. You have to feel sorry for Dracula because there he is in his tuxedo looking very debonair and he can't even check it out in the mirror. Remember he doesn't have a reflection in the mirror so he can't even admire his regal bearing or check to see if his tie is straight.
Dracula was created by Bram Stoker, who has been dead for more than 100 years, but his characteris the ageless vampire.
Dracula came to America from England when in the late 1920s Bela Lugosi played the title character in the play, "Dracula." He was elegant in the tuxedo and is strangely seductive. I read about this. I didn't actually see the play.
Lugosi said, "I have never met a vampire personally, but I don't know what might happen tomorrow."
He also had advice for lovers. "To win a woman, take her with you to see 'Dracula.'"
It isn't my idea of a chick flick, but it might be good advice. The woman might pretend to be afraid so she can hold the guy's hand.
In 1931, Hollywood brought Dracula to the screen and to Halloween when Lugosi played the title role in the Universal Studio film. The stage show had the image of Dracula but the movie brought him to theaters all over the United States where he could give goosebumps and chills to larger audiences.
In the movie, Dracula remained elegant and never flashed any of those fangs we have come to associate with the caped bloodsucker.
Lugosi was born in Transylvania or Romania or Austria depending on what reference you read. I like Transylvania best; it has that spooky vibe. He brought the refined flair to Dracula with the tuxedo and cape and the figure of the elegantly dressed vampire remains. Lugosi wore an ornamental medal on his chest, but we aren't sure if it was just something he liked to wear or if it had any meaning. I would like to believe that it was a real medal awarded to Count Dracula for his humanitarian works. If you just can't live without a replica of the medal, you can buy one online for about $300. Personally, I can do without so don't give it to me Christmas.
Lugosi (1882-1956) was an actor who played romantic roles including Romeo before he brought Dracula to life on the screen. After his Count Dracula fame, his life was downhill as directors couldn't get the Dracula image out of their minds and his life ended sadly. At the time of his death, he was so poor that his family could not afford his funeral. Frank Sinatra quietly paid for the funeral.
Happy Halloween and I leave you with these words of advice:Beware of men in tuxedos and capes. You can easily tell if he is a vampire. Just get him to stand next to you in front of a mirror. If only your pale, frightened face is looking back, run!
Louise Carroll is a columnist and correspondent for The Ledger.
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Dracula is Halloween royalty after all, he is a count and dresses the part - Ellwood City Ledger
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