St. Joan vs. Boris Karloff

Karloff in "The Lark"

Karloff in “The Lark”

I’ve loved the classic Universal monster movies since I was a kid in the 1970s. That was the decade of the “Monster Kids,” who became fans thanks to a combination of TV showings of classic films, Famous Monsters of Filmland and Castle of Frankenstein magazines, and endless parodies of the characters made famous by Karloff, Lugosi, the Chaneys, and others.Lark_2.inline vertical

Karloff was always my favorite, and not just for his roles. By the time of the monster boom, we had an image of him as a kind of gentle old uncle hosting programs like Thriller and telling stories on record albums and the occasional cartoon. To this day, Karloff films are still my go-to viewing to cheer me up, which I guess is pretty perverse. The pathos and humanity he brought to his characters gave me an escape from dark times, and they still do. I’ve been delighted to be able to share the classic films with my kids and have them become fans too.

I have quite a few monster sites, blogs, and pages in my feeds, and one thing that crops up again and again are picture of Uncle Boris sipping tea. Tumblr is kind of a mystery to me, so I thought I’d toss up some of these pictures and other Universal and classic monsterabilia for a lark at a site called Boris Karloff Drinks Tea because why the heck not.

Today’s shot has some Catholic overlap: it’s Karloff in Jean Anouilh’s The Lark, a play about St. Joan. He originated the role of Pierre Cauchon, the French bishop and English partisan who persecuted St. Joan of Arc (played by Julie Harris). The full text of the play is here. You can watch it here. Karloff was nominated for a Tony for the performance.

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