Sirki’s Summons – September 24: The Father (and Son) of Universal Horror

Welcome to the first edition of Sirki’s Summons.

It’s been said that the Undisputed Masters of the genre, Universal Pictures, produced two great eras of horror movies. The first came during the Silent Age, when Studio Boss (and co-founder) Carl Laemmle, served as Producer for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). Other notable horror films of the era include The Cat & the Canary (1927), The Man Who Laughs (1928) (thought by many to be the inspiration for Batman’s arch enemy, The Joker) and The Last Warning (1929).

Though most are of the opinion that the ‘official’ birth of The Universal Horror Film wasn’t until the release of Dracula (1931), there’s no denying that Universal set the standard with these and other classics of the time, and many are viewed as masterpieces, even today.

As for the ‘official’ start, that was headed up by Carl Laemmle , Jr. Under his credit as Producer of an amazing array of Horror Classics, including: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), Murders In the Rue Morgue (1932), The Old Dark House (1932), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935), Werewolf of London (1935) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Sadly, in spite of the fame (and financial success) these films brought the studio, the Laemmles were forced out of Universal in 1936.

Carl Senior was also something of a hero. He sponsored hundreds of Jewish refugees from Laupheim and Württemberg to emigrate from Nazi Germany to the United States, thus escaping the Holocaust. This meant he actually paid both emigration and immigration fees for hundreds of people.

As for Prince Sirki’s summoning them, he did so on this date, September 24, 40 years apart; Senior in 1939 and Junior in 1979. Like father, like son, even unto their final reward.

Also on this day, in 1984, Prince Sirki sent out the Bat-Signal and summoned Commissioner Gordon himself, Neil Hamilton at age 85. Hamilton also played the High Voodoo Priest of the Devil-God, Gamba in The Devil’s Hand (1962).

Finally, on this day in 1975,Prince Sirki sent Japanese director Kenji Misumi to meet Dai Majin. Misumi directed DAIMAJIN IKARU (1966) (aka Return of Dai Majin), the second film in the Dai Majin trilogy.

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