Monday, February 15, 2016
A FRIEND OF KARLOFF
In IT'S ALIVE! THE CLASSIC CINEMA SAGA OF FRANKENSTEIN (A.S. Barnes $ Co,/Tantivity Press, 1981), Gregory William Manks mentions that several of Boris Karloff's closest friends were frequent visitors to his "little farm" located at 2320 Bowmont Drive in L.A.'s Coldwater Canyon. Karloff bought the property that had been previously owned by Katherine Hepburn, claiming (of course!) that the place was haunted. All this was possible as a result of the overwhelming success of FRANKENSTEIN and his subsequent contract with Universal. The film studio didn't always remunerate the actors that were responsible to fill their coffers (ex. the often snubbed Bela Lugosi), but Karloff was one they didn't want to lose.
One of Karloff's good friends was Robert Armstrong. Armstrong was also enjoying fame for his breakout role as adventurer and filmmaker, Carl Denham in RKO's KING KONG. The property, complete with gardens, farm animals, a swimming pool and barbecue, and, haunted or not, was sure to have been a welcome surcease from the rigors of Hollywood.
Above is a photo of Armstrong from the Spanish film fan magazine CINE-MUNDIAL (September 1932) and below is a dramatic shot in the April 1932 issue of MODERN SCREEN. Both shots were taken when Armstrong was poised to bring back to civilization Kong, The Eighth Wonder of the World!