Did You Know…

Director John Hughes made his directorial debut at Universal with the film Sixteen Candles (1984). Starring Molly Ringwald as the high school sophomore everyone forgets on her 16th birthday, Sixteen Candles (1984) marked one of the first entries in a line of successful films that marked the 1980s as a generation of teen angst, frustration and social apathy. As one of the most influential directors speaking out for this generation, Hughes redefined the teen comedy genre by adding a sense of seriousness and depth to his characters. He was also responsible for jumpstarting the career of a group of young actors that we associate as the “Brat Pack.” Director John Hughes continued his exploration in the 1980s teenager with other Universal films like The Breakfast Club (1985) and Weird Science (1985). Hughes passed away in 2009 leaving behind a legacy of timeless films that still resonate to today.


Did You Know…

Boris Karloff is only one of many legendary actors that portrayed Frankenstein’s Monster in numerous Universal productions featuring the character? Beginning with Frankenstein (1931), Karloff, along with the iconic make-up designed by Jack Pierce, set the precedent to which we recognize the famed movie monster on-screen today. Karloff also portrayed Frankenstein’s Monster in the follow-up films The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939).

Do you recognize any of the other actors portraying Frankenstein’s Monster? One actor, who originally played the Wolf Man in The Wolf Man (1941) appears as Frankenstein’s Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). Also, Universal’s original Count Dracula takes the role of Frankenstein’s Monster in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). This actor, strange enough, was originally cast by the studio for Karloff’s role in the original 1931 production.

Following these portrayals, another actor famous for his career in westerns would play Frankenstein’s Monster in three Universal productions: House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Along with other interpretations of the famed monster in the Hammer Films franchise, we would see another modern version of Frankenstein’s Monster in Van Helsing (2004).


Did you know…

There was once a school on the lot for Universal’s contracted child stars?  Formerly located on the lower Universal lot, the school was set in a little gray cottage that sat adjacent to the old executive bungalows. The cottage was later converted to a three-room schoolhouse in 1939 to consolidate the teaching of child actors in one location.  Before this time, young starlets were educated whenever possible on the movie sets.

Gladys Hoene (pronounced “Haney”), was the lone teacher at the school from 1939 – 1962.  Qualified to teach everything from kindergarten to college courses, Mrs. Hoene was responsible for the education of many child actors, including Deanna Durbin, Ann Blythe, Donald O’Connor, Gigi Perreau, Piper Laurie, and Sandra Dee.  9-year-old Elizabeth Taylor attended the school in 1941 during the filming of her first feature film, There’s One Born Every Minute.

Mrs. Hoene worked under the supervision of the Los Angeles Board of Education, and the lesson plans were based on a close cooperation between Mrs. Hoene and each student’s regular public or private school teacher.  All high school diplomas at Universal’s school were awarded by University High School in Los Angeles, although the students rarely attended the school.

Some of the last students at Universal’s little schoolhouse were Mary Badham, Philip Alford, and John Vegna, who starred in Universal’s 1962 production, To Kill a Mockingbird.  The school was demolished in March 1965 to make room for the current Universal City Plaza.