Tales of Tomorrow is a science fiction American anthology series that was performed and broadcast live on ABC from 1951 to 1953. The show’s run is not impressive due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is that ABC was the least popular network at the time and the show was often riddled with problems – it was very early television. However, the stories depicted on Tales of Tomorrow were impressive, most from popular books and authors and some later shown in different versions on the highly regarded The Twilight Zone. Also impressive were the stars that made appearances on the show. These included Boris Karloff, Thomas Mitchell, Lee J. Cobb and Paul Newman, among many others.
Tonight’s Story: Frankenstein
Lon Chaney Jr. … The Monster
Allyn Edwards … Announcer
John Newland … Victor Frankenstein
Mary Alice Moore … Elizabeth
Peggy Allenby … Elise the maid
Raymond Bramley … Elizabeth’s Father
Michael Mann … William
Farrell Pelly … Matthew the butler
Directed By Don Medford
Teleplay By Henry Myers
Novel By Mary Shelley
Sound Nick Carbonaro
Makeup Artist Vin Kehoe
Original Air Date: January 18, 1952
Season 1, Episode 16
Filming Locations: New York City
You may want to keep an eye out for a few things that make this particular episode memorable – its flubs. Although mistakes were very common during the early days of television, before many of the players got used to working with the equipment and/or actors made natural mistakes without a chance for a second take, this one stands out among the most notable in that regard.
It is widely reported that Lon Chaney was very often imbibing while this was being shot and would confuse rehearsal with the actual shooting. So, after being told to beware of destroying props during rehearsals, he is seen on this live recording picking up things while in fury as The Monster then placing them down gently so as not to destroy them for future use. In fairness, Chaney always denied that story and attributed his confusion to the make up, which was difficult to work with. In any case, this is historically significant and worth seeing for horror, classic TV or Chaney fans. Although, I must also mention that cutting the Frankenstein story down to approximately 23 minutes would leave obvious holes. And it does.