Saturday, March 28, 2015
ABBOTT & COSTELLO'S MONSTER MASKS
At about 55:35 of Universal's classic (and I really do mean classic) horror comedy, ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), we see the boys trying on their masks for the masquerade party. Lou's looks like a Mr. Hyde character, but Bud's is definitely a werewolf mask, which, of course, doesn't sit too easily with the person they're showing it off to -- Larry Talbot!
We may be under the assumption that the masks are made of rubber, but we can plainly see that they are quite rigid when worn. That's because the material is really papier mache. They were made by makeup artist, Emile Lavigne, who also helped to apply the makeup to Chaney's Wolfman, Glenn Strange's Frankenstein monster, and Lugosi's Dracula (I think by this time Lugosi acquiesced to having someone else apply his makeup).
The makeup crew for A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN was star-studded: Bud Westmore was at the helm (naturally), and Lavigne and Jack Kevan assisted. Carmen Dirigo, who also worked with Jack Pierce, tended to the hair and wigs. I suspect that with two supremely capable talents like Lavigne and Kevan, Westmore -- as he did in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON -- mainly supervised. Lavigne and Kevan nevertheless went uncredited.
Incredibly, the two masks survived the years and were sold at auction in 2007 for a combined total of nearly $20,000. Lavigne held on to them as keepsakes until his death in 1990, when his family assumed his estate.
I can't end this post without mentioning that, after Bud and Lou show their masks to Talbot, the dialogue leads into one of the funniest lines ever in a horror comedy film:
Talbot: I know you think I'm crazy but, in a half an hour the moon will rise and ... I'll turn into a wolf.
Lou: Yeah, you and 20 million other guys!