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  • Writer's pictureTony Elvin

Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein .. with Wine

Thank you so much to everyone that joined us for Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein with Wine on Friday night.

Read on for details on all the wines from the evening, our gallery of photos, and a coffin full of trivia.

As promised, these are the wines we found in the baggage department .. and enjoyed ...

From Romania with Love ..

Wine 1 - Bostavan DOR White Brut Sparkling Wine (Chardonnay & Pinot Blanc & Feteasca Alba) £11.99 Transylvania Wines – online

Traditional method sparkling. Decanter 89 point wine. Hand picked and sorted grapes. Vineyard plots of Onesti and Etulia.

Zesty green apple, stone fruits, a touch of grassiness and a soft, creamy mousse.

Wine 2 – Sorcova Pinot Grigio - Waitrose £7.99

From the South West of Romania, Banat, Romania's smallest wine region. History back to Roman Empire in 3rd century. Banat bordered by Serbia to the south, Mures Valley to north Banat Mountains to the east. Warmer than most of cent Europe but coolest Romanian region.

Grapefruit, peach and maybe blood orange on the nose! Melon and apple with citrus on the palate.

Wine 3 – Feteasca Regala, Atlas Range - ASDA £5.00

Feteasca Regala, the Royal Maiden. Award winner, 92% avg rating on the ASDA website, featured by Olly Smith on Saturday Kitchen. Another from the mountainous Banat region.

Soft stone fruit on the nose, NECK-terine and citrus flavours in the mouth!

Wine 4 – La Umbra Merlot - Waitrose £7.49

Prahova Valley, between Bucharest in South and Brasov (Transylvania) in central Romania.

La Umbra, meaning shade, was inspired by the Romanian tradition to enjoy wines sitting in the shade of a large tree in the outdoor summer kitchen found in every rural home.

Full bodied, friendly wine, with red berry flavours and spice.

Wine 5 – Solonomar Reserve Red, Cabernet, Merlot, Feteasca Neagra, £9.99/£8.99 Majestic 14.5%

Feteasca Neagra, magically blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to create a luscious, rich and intense wine

Dark violet, with notes of ripe plum and blackberry on the nose, this is a full bodied wine packed with dark fruit flavour. Blackcurrant, plum and blueberry with a gentle hint of vanilla spice. Rich and soft and juicy.

Monstrous Gallery

Terror-ible Trivia

Some highlights from last night's trivia ...

Lou Costello didn't want to make the movie, declaring, "No way I'll do that crap. My little girl could write something better than this." A $50,000 advance in salary and the signing of director Charles Barton, the team's good friend and the man some call their best director, convinced him otherwise.

Although he would play similar vampires, ghouls, zombies, et al, in other films since Dracula (1931), this would be only the second, and last, time that Bela Lugosi would play Dracula in a feature film.

Ian Keith was originally considered for the role of Count Dracula, a part he was up for in Dracula (1931), because Universal originally wasn't interested in hiring Bela Lugosi. According to the DVD's audio commentary by film historian Gregory W. Mank, Lugosi's manager met with the head of Universal and shamed him into giving Lugosi the role by saying, "He IS Dracula! You owe this role to Lugosi!"

Bobby Barber was employed for the film as a "court jester". It was his job to keep the energy level up through a series of practical jokes and deliberately blown takes. Often when Lou Costello expected Lon Chaney Jr. to come through the door, Barber would run in wearing a hat and cape and immediately run back out. Bela Lugosi enjoyed Barber's antics as long as he was not the victim. On one particular occasion while filming a scene in which the solemn and sinister Dracula descends a staircase, he was followed by Barber, who imitated his every move. After the cast and crew burst into laughter Lugosi glared at Barber and yelled in his thick Hungarian accent, "We should not be playing while we are working!" and then stormed off the set.

Glenn Strange won the Frankenstein role by chance. Makeup artist Jack P. Pierce had seen him on the Universal lot when he was playing a pirate in a film. Pierce paid him $25 to stay late in order to try out some makeup. He covered the mirrors with paper and applied the Frankenstein makeup. Only when he was finished did he allow Strange to see what the mystery makeup actually was. It was at that moment that he decided that Strange would inherit the iconic role.

Boris Karloff refused to play the monster, but as a favor to Universal he agreed to do publicity for this film--as long as he didn't have to see it. In several photos taken by Universal's publicity department, he is seen standing in line purchasing a ticket at a theater in New York City where the film is playing, and in other stills he is shown admiring the poster art for the film outside the theater lobby. Karloff later starred with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) as well as Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953).

Despite working for Universal for many years, makeup artist Jack P. Pierce was not under contract. With the changeover from Universal to Universal International came a desire to expedite movies and save money. Pierce was let go, and Bud Westmore and Jack Kevan's rubber appliances were used in place of Pierce's more time-consuming designs. The rubber head appliance that Glenn Strange wore to play the Frankenstein monster was so waterproof and fit him so tightly that, after a few hours under the lights, he could shake his head and hear sweat rattling around inside.

The scene where Lou Costello was punched through the door was an accident. The Monster's fist was supposed to smash between Bud Abbott and Costello, but Costello accidentally took a tiny step forward while delivering his line and put himself into the line of fire. The punch was a real surprise, but Costello kept the scene going, creating a classic moment.

This was the final Universal film to feature Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, and The Wolf Man, until Van Helsing (2004). This was also the first time that Dracula and the Wolf Man are presented as deadly enemies, with the latter being the "good guy." The same idea was expanded in Van Helsing (2004).

Quentin Tarantino has cited this film as a big influence on him on how to blend different genres.

In September 2007 "Readers Digest" selected this film as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time.

Lon Chaney Jr. wound up playing two monsters in this movie. One day, during shooting, Glenn Strange tripped over a camera cable and broke his ankle. Chaney, who wasn't working that day, put on the Frankenstein costume and makeup, and played the monster in the scene where Dr. Mornay is thrown through the window. He'd previously played the Frankenstein monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942).

Vincent Price provides the voice of the Invisible Man in the final shot, interacting with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. However, Price was not involved in Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951).

We look forward to welcoming you back to another of our events very soon but why not check out our website or sign up to our monthly mailing list to find out about new events first:

Abbott, Costello, Tony and the Wine Events Co Crew


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