Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Bela Lugosi's Homes


Recommended Posts

Bela moved around a lot, especially in the 1930s and 40s. I was able to find some pictures of his houses as they used to be, and went by to take pictures of what they look like now.  It's crazy how much disparity there is in the quality and size of his homes. He goes from small apartments before Dracula, to very large homes, and then back to smaller apartments again. I put all the addresses and pictures I had in a video here: 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect that there is more fascination today among film buffs with Lugosi than Boris Karloff, much of that because of the tragedy of his private life. Further enhancing the Lugosi story, of course, was Martin Landau's touching Oscar winning performance as him in Ed Wood in 1994, a film which undoubtedly introduced the actor to many film fans vague about Bela's place in Hollywood history until they saw that film two decades ago.

 

When Lugosi got the opportunity to play Dracula on screen for only the second time (excluding Return of the Vampire) in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein he received $8000 for about six weeks work. Ironically, it was not Lugosi, but Karloff to whom Universal turned in order to promote the film, even though the Englishman was on record as not caring for any film that poked fun at the Frankenstein Monster.

 

Five years later, with the success of Meet Frankenstein (with Lugosi seeming to get little credit for the film's popularity), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was made, with Karloff receiving $15,000 for three weeks work. Karloff, of course, also made A & C Meet the Killer with the comedy team, another film that wouldn't have been made without the success of Meet Frankenstein first. Yet poor Bela never again received any kind of consideration to be reteamed with Bud and Lou again.

 

Karloff was frequently heard to express sorrow for Lugosi in his later years of drug addiction and career decline. "Poor Bela" he was known to say. Yet when the suggestion was made to co-star the two actors once again, Karloff let it be known he wasn't interested.

 

Who can say for sure the reason for Karloff's reluctance to have possibly assisted Lugosi getting a badly needed career boost in those final years. There has, of course, been much speculation about the kind of relationship the two actors had, with the film Ed Wood having Landau as Lugosi using foul language regarding Karloff that some who knew the man say would have been out of character for him.

 

Boris-Karloff-Bela-Lugosi-boris-karloff-

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
.......

 

Boris-Karloff-Bela-Lugosi-boris-karloff-

My favorite Karloff-Lugosi pairing is Robert Wise's rendition of THE BODY SNATCHER (1945).

Not sure about the pay disparity between them in that one, but since Karloff had the 'meatier' role, I imagine that the difference was substantial for the day.

Still Bela's part most definitely helped 'make' that movie for me.

Always try to watch it whenever it's on.

BTW, really enjoyed ED WOOD (1994). Two very interesting and tragic figures.

 

Really liked the little video tour of Bela's old abodes. Thank you.

His day in the sun after DRACULA (1931) was brief, so easy to see how he went from small, to big, back to small again. I imagine that if he was around today he'd be a member of the "Tiny House" movement sweeping the country.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I read an internet source that said Lugosi got $500 a week on a seven week shoot when he made Dracula. The word soon got out within the Hollywood studio community that he could be got dirt cheap. That same source said that Bela was paid $5000 for his work on The Raven while Karloff got double that.

 

One of my favourite Lugosi performances was one of his most effectively restrained, playing Legendre, the zombie master in WHITE ZOMBIE, the independent production from the Halperin brothers in 1932. He had great screen presence in that film (not that he didn't in all of them), and brought a dignity to his characterization.

 

Vintage-Hollywood-Makeup-Tutorial-1932-M

 

As far as his pairings with Karloff are concerned, my favourite film has to be their first, THE BLACK CAT, a fascinating excursion into Grand Guignol. SPOILER ALERT: It's not often that you see a film in which "the good guy" strips the skin live off the body of the bad guy.

 

tumblr_ldnjnku9in1qdx4k4o1_1280.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I read an internet source that said Lugosi got $500 a week on a seven week shoot when he made Dracula. The word soon got out within the Hollywood studio community that he could be got dirt cheap. That same source said that Bela was paid $5000 for his work on The Raven while Karloff got double that.

 

One of my favourite Lugosi performances was one of his most effectively restrained, playing Legendre, the zombie master in WHITE ZOMBIE, the independent production from the Halperin brothers in 1932. He had great screen presence in that film (not that he didn't in all of them), and brought a dignity to his characterization.

 

 

 

As far as his pairings with Karloff are concerned, my favourite film has to be their first, THE BLACK CAT, a fascinating excursion into Grand Guignol. SPOILER ALERT: It's not often that you see a film in which "the good guy" strips the skin live off the body of the bad guy.

 

 

 

$500 a week is very good paid for an actor that was basically a nobody.      Anyhow just like with the current fuss over pay;  one needs to get a better agent!

 

There are so many variables when it comes to paying an actor and if the pay is 'worth it' from the studio's POV that I don't know how one measures if the compensation was 'fair'.    

 

PS:  It also helps if one isn't seen as desperate.   e.g. Grant Green was one fine jazz guitar player but everyone in the industry knew he had a major heroin problem.     So one could get him as a side man for a cut rate as long as they worked about his 'issues' and ensured he was taken care of.     Yes, uncool on the part of the record producers but Green begged them for these gigs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing regarding the issue of "money" in this piece I'd like to bring up is that in Antonia's video she brings up her astonishment at Bela "only paying $32,000" for one particular home he purchased.

 

Now, I don't know and Antonia didn't mention what year that purchase took place, but I'm going to guess that it was somewhere around the mid-to-late 1940s, and so remembering that in 1963 my parents purchased a home in the South Bay area of L.A. for half that amount, I wouldn't think spending twice that amount 20 years earlier and before the SoCal real estate boom of the postwar era wouldn't have been all that much of a bargain at the time, and even for a home in one of the more upscale neighborhoods of L.A.

 

(...and which now reminds me of a line Dick Van Dyke says to Debbie Reynolds in 1967's DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE set in an upper-middle class L.A. area, and that goes something like: "And here I've worked my tail off so we can afford this beautiful $47,000 home!"...betcha if we could find that home and "zillow" it, the present market value would be at least $1.5M)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing regarding the issue of "money" in this piece I'd like to bring up is that in Antonia's video she brings up her astonishment at Bela "only paying $32,000" for one particular home he purchased.

 

Now, I don't know and Antonia didn't mention what year that purchase took place, but I'm going to guess that it was somewhere around the mid-to-late 1940s, and so remembering that in 1963 my parents purchased a home in the South Bay area of L.A. for half that amount, I wouldn't think spending twice that amount 20 years earlier and before the SoCal real estate boom of the postwar era wouldn't have been all that much of a bargain at the time, and even for a home in one of the more upscale neighborhoods of L.A.

 

(...and which now reminds me of a line Dick Van Dyke says to Debbie Reynolds in 1967's DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE set in an upper-middle class L.A. area, and that goes something like: "And here I've worked my tail off so we can afford this beautiful $47,000 home!"...betcha if we could find that home and "zillow" it, the present market value would be at least $1.5M)

 

Wow!! I can't believe houses were so cheap. I really didn't do any research regarding the market price of homes in LA back then. This was proooobably 1938, according to what I've read. I guess I just assumed since a house like that in the area is now worth upwards of 4 or 5 million, it had to be at least 100,000 or more. How I wish I could have gotten into the LA real estate a few decades earlier  :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow!! I can't believe houses were so cheap. I really didn't do any research regarding the market price of homes in LA back then. This was proooobably 1938, according to what I've read. I guess I just assumed since a house like that in the area is now worth upwards of 4 or 5 million, it had to be at least 100,000 or more. How I wish I could have gotten into the LA real estate a few decades earlier  :P

 

Well, you're young(and like I told ya before in another thread of yours..cute as hell), and so I can certainly understand your lack of knowledge regarding the history of the L.A. area real estate market, Antonia. ;)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Would like to see more Lugosi on TCM...especially his Universal films. He would make a great October SOTM.

Ahhh yes, I"ve been wanting this for years.  He would be a perfect choice for October SOTM.    He was hilighted ONCE during SUTS but that was over ten years ago now.  Come on TCM, he deserves the recognition.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bela moved around a lot, especially in the 1930s and 40s. I was able to find some pictures of his houses as they used to be, and went by to take pictures of what they look like now.  It's crazy how much disparity there is in the quality and size of his homes. He goes from small apartments before Dracula, to very large homes, and then back to smaller apartments again. I put all the addresses and pictures I had in a video here: 

 

 

Wasn't Bela's real house used in the film by Ed Wood?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing regarding the issue of "money" in this piece I'd like to bring up is that in Antonia's video she brings up her astonishment at Bela "only paying $32,000" for one particular home he purchased.

 

Now, I don't know and Antonia didn't mention what year that purchase took place, but I'm going to guess that it was somewhere around the mid-to-late 1940s, and so remembering that in 1963 my parents purchased a home in the South Bay area of L.A. for half that amount, I wouldn't think spending twice that amount 20 years earlier and before the SoCal real estate boom of the postwar era wouldn't have been all that much of a bargain at the time, and even for a home in one of the more upscale neighborhoods of L.A.

 

(...and which now reminds me of a line Dick Van Dyke says to Debbie Reynolds in 1967's DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE set in an upper-middle class L.A. area, and that goes something like: "And here I've worked my tail off so we can afford this beautiful $47,000 home!"...betcha if we could find that home and "zillow" it, the present market value would be at least $1.5M)

 

According to the inflation calculator,  $32,000 in 1930 equals to $440,046 today.  

 

$47,000 in 1967 is $337,892 today.

Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the inflation calculator,  $32,000 in 1930 equals to $440,046 today.  

 

$47,000 in 1967 is $337,892 today.

 

That is a general inflation calculator and isn't relevant at all to home price inflation especially in So Cal.

 

e.g.  the home my parents purchased new in 1965 cost $36,000  (we moved from LA to the OC after the Watts riots).    It would sell for around 800K - 900K today.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a general inflation calculator and isn't relevant at all to home price inflation especially in So Cal.

 

e.g.  the home my parents purchased new in 1965 cost $36,000  (we moved from LA to the OC after the Watts riots).    It would sell for around 800K - 900K today.

 

Depending where you live, houses can go down in value as well.  My post were to reflect how much they paid at the time.  Agreed the price for an average home is outrageous  (the only thing can't be made in China).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending where you live, houses can go down in value as well.  My post were to reflect how much they paid at the time.  Agreed the price for an average home is outrageous  (the only thing can't be made in China).

 

Yes,  housing prices can take wide swings (like going down) that are unrelated to the overall inflation index.   But that just makes my point that housing prices and the general inflation index don't have much in common and therefore are irrelevant to the current discussion about Bela's home.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

.... and so remembering that in 1963 my parents purchased a home in the South Bay area of L.A. for  ...

 

Dargo stimulated my own little trip down memory lane....

 

My mom left rural Missouri during WW2.

She was just a young teen, but had decided that the last things she wanted to be was either a farmers wife or a school teacher, so she and a friend loaded up an old jalopy and headed west, following the old Route 66 highway. 

She said the trip was harrowing for a couple of young girls, and the car broke down on a more than one  occasion, but they managed to make it!

She picked oranges and grapefruit, and worked in a Kerr's jar factory, for a while to survive.

But thanks to her brothers, she had a mechanical mind, and nimble hands, and eventually found a job in the burgeoning aircraft industry.

She decided that California was the place to be, and one day, a few years later, I was born.

She said my first home was in a tiny apartment above a pawn & knick knack shop in down town LA.

LA had street cars in those days.

 

I have some spotty memories of my earliest childhood, but for a while we lived in a small cottage she rented just off the strand in Hermosa Beach. I remember some old timers surf fishing there for corbina, and early one morning I took a little stroll down the beach and got lost.

Looking at the strand from the shore, all the houses appeared the same to me. I was crying, and ended up at this tiny little life guard shack. I was taken inside, and offered some very dry rye crisp crackers to pacify me, while the young man made some calls. After what appeared like a very long time (to a very little boy), I was reunited with my mom.

 

I lived for a while with my grandparents in Missouri, while my mom remained in Southern California.

She eventually saved up enough money for a down payment on a small house in Manhattan Beach. I remember that she used to sometimes fret about the $9,000 mortgage.

She was then working for a small electronic component 'subsidiary' of Howard Hughes' Aircraft, just a short drive away on Sepulveda Blvd.

We lived in the "Tree" section of the town, between Rosecrans and Valley Drive.

The house was small, but had both a front and big fenced-in back yard to play in. The street in front of our house was still unpaved, and during a heavy rain would flood in the low areas, creating shallow "lakes" that kids could use inner tubes to "raft" in.

Most of the older houses in the neighborhood were small (generally with one or two bedrooms and a bath). Some were set back on huge lots. One old guy even had a small vineyard in his yard.

It was a great place for families with kids to grow up, and we loved exploring the surrounding neighborhoods. We'd often stage fierce "capture the flag" 'wars' in the large vacant lots.

Most mom's stayed at home, while the dads worked. One income is all it took then. Every neighbor knew all the neighborhood kids and, for the most part, kept a watchful eye on us.

At night the Standard Oil refinery would light up the sky burning off what they considered then as unsaleable gas byproducts.

We used to call El Segundo "El Stinkundo" because of that refinery.

It seemed like every little beach community had it's own pier, and Redondo's "horse shoe" pier was a great place to go. There used to be a fishing barge off Manhattan Beach, and there was a boat that would ferry people out there from the pier to catch the "big ones."

We'd have campfires at night on the beach at Playa Del Rey, while waiting for the florescent green surf to appear, when the grunion were running.

When I was in high school I used to surf between Manhattan Beach Blvd and Marine Avenue. That, for a time, was "our" beach.

There was a stable at Rosecrans & Sepulveda, where you could keep horses and ride them along some trails in the undeveloped areas.

 

In 1959, my mom bought her first new car, a Ford Galaxy that she paid around $3,000 cash for.

In the mid 60s you could buy a brand new Ford Mustang convertible for around $2,500.

In 1969 a friend of mine bought a new 2 cylinder, air cooled, Honda sedan from the Honda motorcycle shop in Manhattan Beach.

He paid around $1,000 for it at that time (less than a dollar per pound). The tiny car had a 5 gallon plastic fuel tank under the back "seat" and got over 40 mpg. It came with a great little AM/FM radio capable of drowning out the road noise. It didn't have a synchronized clutch, and you had to double clutch when shifting, which made it kind of tricky driving up the hills in Palos Verde, but it was a fun and cheap little car to drive. Hell on double dates though!

 

Some time during high school I saw my first hundred thousand dollar house being built on our block. That's what someone paid for it then. Most of the neighbors were amazed that someone would pay that kind of money for a house!

My future ex wife's father bought a large two story multi bedroom house in Torrance in the mid sixties, and paid $35,000 for it in a new tract cul-de-sac development. It had bathrooms upstairs and down, and seemed like a mansion compared to my mom's little house. 

Then in the early 70s, a real estate developer offered our neighbor $100 K for her little house.

The property taxes kept going up, and up, and began squeezing lower income families, and older folks on fixed incomes out of their homes.

The writing was on the wall.

 

The last time I visited my "old" neighborhood, I could barely recognize it.

Aside from the names of the streets, most of the houses were very different.

The house at my old address consumed the entire lot. No back yard. No front yard. All house!

Every property on my old block was listed at well over a million dollars each.

 

So many, changes.

My old high school was absorbed by TRW, no doubt due to the changing demographics... Hard to raise a family when it takes two very good incomes to support a house.

The wilder areas of my youth, long gone or changed beyond recognition. Polliwog pond, where I used to catch frogs and crawdads (and set free my pet caiman), long drained and developed. Sand Dune park, closed and restricted.

The old Standard Oil refinery was gone, and all that corporate land along Rosecrans developed into elite "gated" community housing. The "El Stinkundo" of my youth was just a memory.

 

Hard to imagine that I ever grew up there. :(

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Aah yes Stephan, I remember well those old South Bay days you've just describe so well.

 

If you surfed between Manhattan Beach Blvd and Marine Ave as you said, I'll bet we might have unknowingly seen each other back then, as that was the location this "Gardena Inlander" here would most often go to body surf and check out the bikini-clad "chicks". Used to buy sandwiches and cokes at that liquor store on the NW corner of Marine and Highland Avenues all the time.

 

Re the little '69 Honda 600 sedan...I also had a friend who had one of those neat little cars back then. It was pretty much like a Japanese Mini Cooper and was the first model of car Honda would import into the States and that began the now auto industry giant's great success. I understand one in decent shape now days are goin' for a pretty good chunk o' change in the collect car market.

 

And re the big increases in size of the Manhattan Beach houses you saw take place...I think the first time I ever heard the word "McMansion" was in the late-'70s and specifically in description of all the bigger houses that went all the way to the property lines of their lots and which had replaced all the little beach bungalows there before in that now very upscale and expensive South Bay city.

 

Thanks for this little walk down "The Strand" and Memory Lane, my friend.

 

(...btw...where do you reside today?...as you know, I retired to picturesque Sedona a few years ago...sure miss the beach, though...but NOT the L.A. traffic at all, of course) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...