I vant to hug my child

Bela Lugoisi Jr., wearing a school uniform from Elsinore Naval and Military School in California, visits his father on the set of Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Active in the political revolution of his native Hungary 100 years ago, Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó fled to Germany in 1919. A veteran of over 170 stage plays and several silent films in his homeland where he was known under the stage name Arisztid Olt, the 6-foot-1-inch actor with piercing blue eyes rebranded himself after his hometown of Lugos and went on to appear in a dozen German films billed as Bela Lugosi before moving to the United States in 1920.

A decade later and approaching 50 years old after playing the role in American theaters for three years, his name would soon become forever etched in Hollywood history as the mesmerizing, bloodsucking Count Dracula in Universal’s 1931 horror masterpiece, “Dracula.”

Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery and has written features, columns, and interviews for over 750 newspapers and magazines.

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