#1
Old 10-29-2001, 10:40 AM
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This being the Halloween season I am seeing a number of vampire costumes/movies of late and have noticed a standard part of the typical vampire costume seems to be a medallion of some kind. It's a gold colored, eight pointed star with a red gem set in the middle. Is this an actual medallion of some type or is it just something that Bela Lugosi wore in the first Dracula movie that got stuck in the standard image of what a vampire should look like? If it is something real, what is it supposed to be? TIA
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#2
Old 10-29-2001, 11:09 AM
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Go to Google and search Dracula's Medallion. One source seemed to agree with you. Another one had to do with Count Chocula breakfast cereal. Still another says that the Order that the original Count Dracul belonged to had medallions.

Here is a quote from the cereal link: [Quote]Controversy erupted when Jewish groups complained to Big G that Dracula's medallion resembles a star of David. After some news coverage, the medallion was removed. While the medallion box is collectible, the redesigned Dracula box is more valuable and rare. More new box designs continued, most notable was the "flicker eye" boxes featuring close-ups of all the characters faces, with those vinyl-ribbed flicker faux-holigram glued onto the box. After eye theft was reported by markets nationwide, the boxes were wraped in plastic. The eyes seemed to follow you down the cereal aisle. Quite a terror-ific experience likely to result in a purchase! Soon, new marshmallow designs were introduced[/b]
#3
Old 10-29-2001, 12:06 PM
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I think it's an invention, probably started during the Hamilton Deane stage play and continued through to the Universal movie, after which point it became -- well -- Universal. The Deane stage play (later altered by John Balderston) gave us the bit about Dracula wearing that high-collared big satin cape -- it was needed for a bit of stage magic -- a trapdoor escape when Dracula turns into a bat.

I don't think any such medal appears in the novel. I'll check my copy of The Annotated Dracula tonight. There are photos of the original stage production in David Sklar's Hollywood Gothic, which I'll also check. Interesting bit of trivia -- Bela Lugosi did not originate the role of Dracula in the Deane play -- Raymond Huntley did. He died only a few years ago. He had to provide his own evening dress for the play. If he is responsible for this bit of costuming, it might be because he just happened to have an impressive medallion lying around.


IIRC, there is no medallion in the movie Nosferatu. Count Orlock's costume in that is a pretty drab and depressing middle European coat.
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#4
Old 10-29-2001, 12:40 PM
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I've seen the medal in some stage constumes. I've always assumed that it represented his status as a member of the Transylvanian nobility. He is/was a count and the medal might be the symbol of his rank.
#5
Old 10-29-2001, 03:56 PM
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Of course, the real issue with Count Dracula is how he always managed to look so marvellously well-groomed and perfectly dressed. I mean, it's not as if he can look in a mirror, is it?

(Okay, yeah, it's a very old pre-fame Eddie Izzard line).
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#6
Old 10-29-2001, 10:10 PM
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Okay, I've looked through Hollyood Gothic, The Annotated Dracula, and Skal's V is for Vampire, and I find -- to my utter surprise -- no pictures of Bela Lugosi wearing a medallion. Not in the original Dracula, or in the quasi-Dracula Mark of the Vampire, or in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (although it's possible he wore one there, amid the costume changes). The only place where Bea Lugosi's Count Dracula seems to wear a cape is in the Aurora plastic model kit. It may actually have originated there. A paint-by-number kit marketed around th same time might also have had the medallion. If true, this could mean that the medallion was he result of Universal Studio's "codification" of their "classic" monster appearances in the reviving of "monster culture" in the late 1950s/early 1960s. (Neither Huntley, nor Murnau wore medallion as Dracula. Nor did Carlos Villarias as the Spansh-languge Dracula in the 1931 Universal version.)



So -- the most likely answer seems to be possibly in Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, or more likely the medallon was added by studio artists circa 1960.
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#7
Old 10-31-2001, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ianzin
Of course, the real issue with Count Dracula is how he always managed to look so marvellously well-groomed and perfectly dressed. I mean, it's not as if he can look in a mirror, is it?

(Okay, yeah, it's a very old pre-fame Eddie Izzard line).

Low powered vampires!!
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