Just before Memorial Day, my in-laws stopped for a visit. They brought a wonderful surprise along with them, a lovely vinyl figure of Bela Lugosi as Dracula. The figure is nearly two feet tall and shows Dracula from the scene in the 1931 film where he says “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.”
I did some research and discovered that this Dracula figure came from a kit produced by sculptor Tony McVey and licensed through the Bela Lugosi estate. Tony McVey is probably best known as the lead sculptor for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
According to paperwork that came with the figure, the kit was one of two assembled and painted by a fellow calling himself Monster Man. It is a lovely figure and really feels like Bela is about to deliver his famous line, then turn and continue up the stairs.
One aspect of this particular scene that has always amused me is that just before Dracula appears, we find that his castle deep in the Carpathian mountains is haunted by armadillos and opossums! I gather that Tod Browning, who was a native Texan, liked to put animals from home in his movies.
As it turns out, this scene inspired me to write a poem. You can hear me read the poem at the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2009 Halloween Reading Page. Just scroll down to “The Armadillos of Castle Dracula.”