“In 1931, Bela Lugosi became world famous playing Count Dracula in the now classic film. He became forever linked to his great portrayal, and stereotyped as a movie monster and mad doctor. He would never escape the shadow of Dracula.
“In 1951, with horror films out of fashion and 68 year-old Lugosi all but out of work, he and his wife Lillian went to England to star in a stage production of Dracula. Their hope was to bring Dracula to London’s West End, in a revival that would propel Lugosi back to stardom.
“The story that grew around Lugosi’s 1951 Dracula told only of failure. The production was allegedly under-funded, and run by amateurs who hoped Lugosi’s name alone would bring success. After some clumsy delays, Dracula opened, flopped and closed. Lugosi was never paid; and he and Lillian were stranded in England until the Mother Riley film gave him the cash to return home . . .
“Not quite – for the myth did not match the few facts available. Clippings files in libraries and private collections showed that the 1951 Dracula had played in various cities in Britain over many weeks. Playbills turn up at memorabilia fairs, as do the postcard-size photo portraits, autographed in blood-red ink, that Bela handed out to his British fans. Memoirs and histories of post-war British theatre mention the 1951 tour.”