Comic Adaptations of Frankenstein


Comic Adaptations of Frankenstein


As early as 1933, the Whale-Karloff production (1931) had transmuted into such cartoon derivatives as "Betty Boop's Penthouse" (1933), "Mickey's Gala Premiere" (Disney), and "Bosko's Mechanical Man," a six-minute Looney Tunes release from Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers produced a steady stream of adaptations of and allusions to Frankenstein, including "Porky's Road Race" (1937, with an animated Borax Karoff), "Porky's Movie Mystery" (1939), "Sniffles and the Bookworm" (1939), "Hollywood Steps Out" (1941, in which the Monster dances a conga), Bugs Bunny in "What's Cookin' Doc" (1944), "Hare Conditioned" (1945), "Hare Tonic" (1945), and "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" (1946). Other animated works include "Magoo Meets Frankenstein" (1960), in which the Monster has a chicken's brain; Mr. Magoo, Man of Mystery (1967); and the feature-length Man Called Flintstone (1965).

In 1934 The Inventors (directed by Al Christie) portrayed Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle's creation of Stoopenstein, who later goes out of control. The Monster makes an appearance in the musical comedy Hellzapoppin' (1941).

Joseph Kesselring made Karloff's distinctive appearance a central part of his Broadway version of Arsenic and Old Lace, although Frank Capra was unable to convince Karloff to take the role in the 1941 film version (released 1944).

In 1948, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello took on the Wolfman, Dracula, the Invisible Man, and Frankenstein's Monster in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein , featuring Glenn Strange as the Creature. (Karloff, by this time seeking to escape the role that made him famous, agreed to pose for publicity photos "as long as I don't have to see the movie.")

Other comic adaptations include:

  • The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (1954).
  • Young Frankenstein (1974).
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) features Tim Curry as the alien transvestite, Doctor Frank N. Furter, who creates the Arian Rocky.
  • Tim Burton's Frankenweenie (1984)
  • The black comedy Frankenhooker (1990), directed by Frank Henenlotter.