Saturday, October 31, 2015
All Hallow's Eve
That was my Trick or Treat period, those early '"50s in Downingtown, inventing a costume from whatever bits and pieces could be scrounged up about the house and then prowling the dark and chill dark knocking on stranger's doors and demanding treats.
They held an annual parade seven miles south in the county seat, which was West Chester. I marched
I saw a lot of those classic Universal Horror films at the Roosevelt Theater, located on Brandywine Avenue, which followed along the creek of the same name. Those films had a great deal of power upon one way back then and even if I went to the Saturday matinee, as I usually did, it was still always dark out when the show ended during the winter months. I lived almost all the way to the other end of Washington Avenue from the theater and that street tended to be full of shadows if it had any light at all. I would run home or at least as far and fast as I could until my side hurt.
Costumes aren't as much homemade these days either. It is big business now. Today's disguises aren't as politically incorrect as the one I am wearing in the picture on the left in 1957. The witch to my right (your left) was my grandmother and the tough guy to my other side was my mother. Except for the masks everything is homemade.
A couple hours ago I watched the 1931 version of Dracula with Bela Lugosi. That film was pretty scary when it came out, but it a far cry from what you see in horror movies now. For one thing, in a movie about a bloodsucker, you only see one drop of blood in the whole film when Renfield (Dwight Frye) cuts his fingertip while eating at Dracula's castle.
Here is another new fact I learned just today.
In the movie Renfield is a real estate agent bringing a lease to Count Dracula. The Count eventually bends down over the sleeping agent and turns him into a fly eating slave. The scene where Lugosi leans over Enfield totally upset the suits in the production office, who issued a dictate that Dracula was not to assault any males, only females. They feared the homoerotic implications.
Today we would see his fangs pierce the skin and trickles of blood and in the final scenes where Van Helsing hammers a stake through Dracula's heart there would be a gusher of red shooting up. Instead here the camera wanders away from the action and we only hear the sound of the pounding and Dracula's screams.
I don't dress up for the holiday anymore; really, don't celebrate it at all. The last time I donned any masks was during my tenure at Wilmington Trust. We often dressed up for Halloween and had a little party. Below are my appearances in those days.
I went from Mr. Peanut to an M&M.
I came this year as the World's Ugliest Playboy Bunny.
Aren't you glad it wasn't the centerfold?
I was the Phantom of the Opera during the period I was on steroids for my Graves Disease. The disease mad my eyes pop out of my head and the steroids made my face swell up, so I wa
s pretty much hideous like Erik. This customer caused one of my fellow managers totally freak out.
Oh, I still had a mask on in the photo on the right. My face was bad, but not that bad.
Anyway, hope you are having a perfectly haunting Halloween and watch out for all those calories!