“Showmanship”: Promoting Val Lewton’s The Body Snatcher with Karloff and Lugosi

Produced and written by Val Lewton (as Carlos Keith), The Body Snatcher released by RKO on May 25, 1945.
Directed by Robert Wise the film starred Boris Karloff as Cabman John Gray.
Bela Lugosi receives prominent billing on the marquee but his role in the movie was a minor one.

Motion Picture Herald,  December 1, 1945:

body7_pe“Tombstones and coffins on marquee of the Globe theatre, Bridgeport, Conn, gave atmospheric touch to manager A. L. Domain’s Hallowe’en program.”

body3_pe“Not too ostentatious, but this front on ‘Body Snatcher”, designed by L. Swift, city manager, at the Capitol in Macon, Ga., did an effective selling job.”

The promotion begins on the next Lewton film with Karloff.

Motion Picture Herald, November 10, 1945:
body5“Boris Karloff visits the Brooklyn Museum to view the Arnold Boecklin painting, ‘Isle of the Dead’, which inspired his latest RKO Radio picture of the same name.”

Isle of the Dead” released September 1, 1945.


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.



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