Super Mates 105: House of Franklin-Stein Part 1

Return to the House of Franklin-Stein! Chris and Cindy kick off their 10th Annual HoF series with discussion on James Whale’s immortal Universal classic film, The Invisible Man, featuring a deliciously mad performance by Claude Rains!

 Plus, another invisible foe vexes the Dark Knight in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “See No Evil”, guest-starring Michael Gross and a very young Elizabeth Moss!

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Clip credits:

The Invisible Man(1973) directed by James Whale, music by Hans Roemheld

Batman: The Animated Series “See No Evil” directed by Dan Riba, music by Shirley Walker

“The House of Franklinstein” by Terry O’Malley, of Stop Calling Me Frank

19 responses to “Super Mates 105: House of Franklin-Stein Part 1

    1. Ha! Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that, but good point. On the other hand, the mold that grew in the cave below the manor/lab of Dr. Edelman in House of Dracula was used to cure Larry Talbot…so maybe they were redeemed in the end?

      Speaking of plants, The original or 70s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers would pair well with BTAS’ “House and Garden”. Hmmmm….

  1. So, you could program a double feature of Claude Rains in “Phantom of the Opera” and “The Invisible Man” and still not get a single movie’s worth of his face!

    Interesting story about the actor who turned down a part if not credited above Rains: he was Chester Morris. His legacy in horror is secure, he played a detective in 1930’s “The Bat Whispers” an influential film (it can’t NOT be an inspiration to Bob Kane in creating the Bat-Man) that was forgotten and has been rediscovered. I’ve only seen it once, and I don’t remember anyone who wasn’t The Bat, but from pictures it looks like he would have been as suitable to play a not-quite-leading-man handsome, mustached fellow who’d keep an old flame’s photo on his mantle even though she’s the fiancée of a friend. As for his actual career, he ran into a double-edged success, playing Horatio Black, or Boston Blackie in a long-running series of films until no one would see him as anything else

    1. Yeah, I can’t believe I failed to mention Rains played the Phantom in the color remake! Too many irons in the fire.

      Which is why I failed to remember Chester Morris’ name. Thanks for the info! I think Kane always claimed the Bat Whispers was an influence on Batman. On that particular note, I tend to believe him.

  2. Kel and I went to a screening of THE INVISIBLE MAN earlier this year, it holds up INCREDIBLY well considering, as you guys pointed out, it’s 90 years old! It is confounding how Universal never used him in any of their “Monster Rally” movies, considering how easy it would have been to do it–as opposed to the confused timelines of the Wolfman and Frankenstein.

    BTW–the theater we saw it in, the Colonial in Phoenixville, PA, claims it might have been the theater that Claude Rains visited one time when TIM was showing there in the 1950s. As you mentioned, CR lived in Pennsylvania, not far from where the theater was. Apparently he took his daughter, and pointed out to the ticket taker who he was by doing lines from the movie. Have no idea if its a true story, but it sounds great.

    Glad to have HOF back!

    1. That’s a good point about the Monster Rallys! The invisibility formula could have transferred to any number of the mad scientists in those films. The scientist, an assistant, or even some one like Ygor could have become an Invisible Man! Imagine an Invisible WOLF Man! Of course, the closest we got was the cameo gag at the end of A&C Meet Frankenstein. The original cut scene cameo?

      I love that you saw the film in that theater! Rains’ daughter mentions that legendary screening on the special features documentary on the various releases of The Invisible Man on DVD and Blu-Ray.

  3. Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again, when we delight in candy corn and disrobed Grundies and Gentlemen Ghosts frolic in the autumn leaves… 😛

    Interesting that you covered that episode of the animated Batman, as I only very recently (like last week) watched it for the first time. I agree that it’s rather good and kind of creepy. I was also surprised when I saw that Michael Gross and Jean Smart did the voices of Ventriss and Helen in the credits. I’ve otherwise usually been able to recognize some of the ‘celebrity’ voice actors, but did not catch those at all.
    Anyway, fun show as usual. Looking forward to more.

    1. I don’t know if I’d use the word “delight” to describe a naked, frolicking Grundy…but to each their own!

      I think its great that there are folks still discovering the DCAU shows (or certain episodes) for the very first time. Andrea Romano was such a wonderful casting and voice director, often times she got a very real, subdued performances from her actors, even pretty recognizable ones like Gross and Smart. I had forgotten both of them were involved in this episode too!

      Thanks for listening, and commenting!

      1. Well, the ‘delight’ was supposed to very ironically only refer to the candy corn, but if you took it to encompass Grundy and the Ghost as well I’m not going to yuck your yum…

  4. Ah, I missed Terry’s theme song!

    I’m sad to admit, the only version of the Invisible Man I’ve seen is MEMOlRS OF THE lNVlSlBLE MAN starring Chevy Chase. None of the originals, or more recent remakes. I’ve known of the character and concept for nearly as long as I’ve known the other classic movie monsters, and I remember reading a young adaptation of the novel in elementary school, so I was plenty familiar with the story.

    I always loved “See No Evil”. Outstanding voice work from the guest cast and a truly dangerous threat from a one-off brand new villain. The climactic battle, once Batman can see Ventress’ silhouette in the falling water–“Peekaboo”–felt like a justifiably harsh beatdown of a guy who was going to endanger a little kid.

  5. I read H.G. Wells’s book in middle school, and back then my dad asked me if I wanted to watch his DVD of the movie with him, and I was like, “1933? No, thanks.”

    But now that I’m a little older, and after listening to this podcast, I definitely want to check out the movie now, as soon as I find that DVD. So thank you for that.

    I did watch that Batman episode a number of times with my dad, though. And yes, because the plastic bends light around the objects wrapped in it, such as a briefcase, it would bend the light around anything inside it as well. Likewise, Ventress wouldn’t have the issues Griffin did with having to wait after eating food and all that.

    However, my dad pointed out to me that if the plastic bends the light waves around Ventress to make him invisible, that means light waves can’t reach his eyes — making him as blind as a… well, you know.

    1. Ha, good point Isamu. Leave it to Professor Xum to come up with that nugget of information!

      I of course highly recommend The Invisible Man. It looks like it’s streaming on Amazon Prime for free for subscribers. The Legacy sets for each Monster are also quite a steal, with lots of great special features, and all the movies featuring that character.

  6. I know I’m way too late but…… hooray for the return of the House of Franklinstein! I always look to this time of year to hear you folks talk about some greta movies and cartoons. And yes, that “time” has way passed but I’m still celebrating!

    The Invisible Man is a great movie that, like you mentioned, still holds up today! Out of all the original monsters (Drac, Frank, Mummy, and Invisible Man) I would say the Invisible Man plays more like a movie we would see today, opposed to more of the filmed stage plays that the other movies are.

    Griffin’s monologue about his “reign of terror” is chilling. How calm he talks about murdering people (“murders of great men, murders of little men – well, just to show we make no distinction.”) is so freaky that it can still raise the hairs on the back of my neck 90 years later! And then to juxtapose that with his whooping and laughing, playing pranks on people really shows how cuckoo for Coco Puffs Griffin is.

    I’m slowly catching up, but well done again on the House coming back! Keep up the great work!

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