Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Son of Frankenstein": You Learn Something New Every Day (Almost)!

This post originally appeared on my now-deleted blog, You Learn Something New Every Day (Almost)!

Wow. Today's post is a "twofor," fellow babies!

While researching yesterday's post, I found a quote on Wikipedia that...

Well, let me explain.

When I was a kid in the 1960s and early 1970s, watching old movies late at night was a passion. (Hey, at that age, there's only a few things about which you can have any "passion.")

I watched a lot of 1930s and 1940s horror films, many of them from Universal Studios. One of my all-time favorites (still is!) was Son of Frankenstein. The first time I saw that film, I watched as several objects, including Frankenstein's Monster himself, were thrown into a bubbling sulphur pit. Each time an object hit the surface of the sulphur, there was a bright blue flash.

Only problem was, Son of Frankenstein was filmed in black & white!

I told my friends about this curious occurrence, and they said I was nuts.

Some time later, I got to watch the movie again, on another station.

No blue flash.

Puzzling, that...

At least until tonight, when I was reading about how early TV broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz showed the sepia-toned beginning and ending segments in black & white instead. The article continued, stating the following:

It was also very common (and even an FCC requirement for early color broadcasters) for TV stations to turn off the color portion of their transmission when broadcasting a black & white show or movie. This was because unusual colors or "color noise" could be seen during the showing of black-and-white programming under some conditions.

Well! There's the explanation. In the case of Son of Frankenstein, that so-called "color noise" translated to my blue flash. The first time I watched the film, the station had not turned off their transmission's color portion; the second time I saw it, that station had.

Case solved... and it only took about 45 years!

Now, I mentioned that today was a "twofor," meaning two for the price of one, so to speak. Here's why:

The gentleman pictured above is an actor named Donnie Dunagan. As a curly-haired little moppet, he played young Peter Frankenstein -- Wolf Frankenstein's son -- in Son of Frankenstein, which would make Peter the grandson of Frankenstein, if you're keeping track!

Well, as I surfed the web for Son of Frankenstein-related posts, I was happy to learn that Mr. Dunagan is still alive. And I learned that he has two major credits to boast of, one being the role of Peter Frankenstein...

And the other being the voice of Disney's Bambi!

Thanks for your time.


  1. This was really interesting David!Really!Enjoy your weekend and that blog is great,should be more people reading it!

  2. Thanks, Candie. Actually, hits on this site are up just a little. Wonder how they're finding me, since I don't even push this site on my Silver Fox blog!

  3. Hey - it's Anastacia from work :)

    That's very cool about the actor & that he was the voice of Bambi, too! Wonder why he never did anything else.


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