Bela Lugosi’s Dead


It was on this day, 60 years ago, that the great Bela Lugosi passed from this world into the next.

Jake Esau remembers that day clearly, and today sent me a very poignant note about it:

I remember distinctly Paul Harvey leading off his noon radio newscast by saying “Dracula is dead” in his trademark staccato delivery; I was 9 years old and about to enter the 5th grade. Lugosi, of course, was one of my favorites, and I was devastated. I had no idea yet of the full story and tragedy of his life.

How lucky Jake was, I thought, to have lived in the world at the same time as the great actor. But we can imagine Jake’s sense of loss – actors like that were the firmament of our young lives. It’s always hard to lose them.  Maybe Lugosi spoke to us a little more than most, with his portrayals of the monsters and darkness the reside in all of us.

Jake was perhaps born a few years too soon — Forrest J Ackerman’s FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and its community was still a few years away — just as I was born a few years too late, after that august publication had passed its zenith.

But as tragic as Lugosi’s life was, think of all the lives he touched in his long career. I hope he was aware of it.



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