Thursday, December 26, 2013

LIONEL ATWILL AND FAY WRAY WAX NOSTALGIC ON THEIR 80TH ANNIVERSARY


Another film with its 80th anniversary this year is Warner Bros. MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM. Directed by Michael "Casablanca" Curtiz, it starred Lionel Atwill in another of his famous "mad doctor" roles and a pre-KING KONG Fay Wray. Shot in an early Technicolor process, it premiered 18 February 1933 barely two months before being overshadowed by the Eighth Wonder of the World.

MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM is notable to Monsterologists for its gruesome makeup of Atwill, who, as Ivan Igor, survived a fire early in the film but was disfigured by the flames. The startling makeup effect was created by Ray Romero and Perc Westmore. FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #81 (December 1970) featured a two-page spread showing the unmasked Atwill about to turn Fay Wray into a human candlestick.

FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #81 (Dec 1970)
Lionel Atwill as Ivan Igor unmasked.
An autographed photo of Lionel Atwill.

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