Entry updated 30 March 2020. Tagged: Author, Film.
Pseudonym of UK-born actor William Henry Pratt (1887-1969), in Canada and then the US from the teens of the twentieth century; he featured in many silent films from about 1916, including Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927) (see Tarzan Films), based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel; but became famous for his title role in the early sound film Frankenstein (1931) directed by James Whale (see Horror in SF; Mary Shelley). This film and its sequels – beginning with The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – together created the paradigm visual image of the Frankenstein Monster as an ambivalent cultural Icon.
Other Cinema productions featuring Karloff which are given entries in this encyclopedia are: Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927) (see Tarzan Films); The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), where he plays Sax Rohmer's dread Yellow Peril arch-Villain; The Invisible Ray (1936); The Man They Could Not Hang (1939); Black Friday (1940; vt Friday the Thirteenth); Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) (see Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde); and The Sorcerers (1967).
Karloff's role in compiling the three Anthologies published under his name has not been established. They are Tales of Terror (anth 1943), And the Darkness Falls (anth 1946) and Boris Karloff's Favorite Horror Stories (anth, 1965; vt The Boris Karloff Horror Anthology 1965). The stories in Tales of the Frightened (coll 1963), with principal cover billing "Narrated by Boris Karloff", were written by Michael Avallone, originally to be narrated by Karloff on Radio (see Lyle Kenyon Engel). Near the end of his life, Karloff returned to England; he hosted the Television anthology series Out of This World (1962). [JC/DRL]
William Henry Pratt
born Honor Oak, Camberwell [now London]: 23 November 1887
died Midhurst, Sussex: 2 February 1969
- Michael Avallone. Tales of the Frightened (New York: Belmont Books, 1963) [coll: though the stories are by Avallone, Karloff has the major cover credit on the strength of having narrated them for a record: pb/Freeman Elliot]
- Robert Lory. Boris Karloff Presents More Tales of the Frightened (New York: Pyramid Books, 1975) [coll: pb/]
works as editor
- Tales of Terror (Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company, 1943) [anth: hb/]
- And the Darkness Falls (Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company, 1946) [anth: hb/]
- Boris Karloff's Favorite Horror Stories (New York: Avon Books, 1965) [anth: pb/]
- The Boris Karloff Horror Anthology (London: Souvenir Press, 1965) [anth: vt of the above: hb/]
about the actor
- Forrest J Ackerman. Boris Karloff: The Frankenscience Monster (New York: Ace Books, 1969) [pb/Verne Tossey]
- Donald F Glut. The Frankenstein Legend: A Tribute to Mary Shelley and Boris Karloff (Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1973) [nonfiction: hb/]
- Stephen Jacobs. Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster. The Authorised Biography (Sheffield, Yorkshire: Tomahawk Press, 2010) [hb/photographic]
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