Contents Index

Dramatizations of Frankenstein, 1821-1986: A Comprehensive List

Steven Earl Forry

English Language Notes, 25:2 (December 1987), 63-79

"This is, perhaps, the foulest Toadstool that has yet sprung up from the reeking dunghill of the present times."1
Elsewhere I have cited William Beckford's condemnation of Frankenstein, scribbled on the fly-leaf of his copy of the first edition, as the kind of wrongheaded remark that fortuitously drops into the wily critic's lap.2 Several contemporary critics concurred with Beckford, but in general the novel received quite mixed reviews upon its publication by Lackington in January of 1818. From the British Critic's observation that "these volumes have neither principle, object, nor moral" and the Quarterly Review's opinion that the novel "cannot mend, and will not even amuse its readers, unless their taste have been deplorably vitiated," to La Belle Assemblée's judgment that it had "extreme interest to recommend it" and Walter Scott's famous Blackwood review that lauded the novel's "plain and forcible English, without exhibiting that mixture of hyperbolical Germanisms with which tales of wonder are usually told," critics quickly seized on this novel by an author many assumed to be a man, if not Percy Shelley himself.3 And although by the end of the summer of 1818 Thomas Love Peacock boasted in correspondence to Percy Shelley that the novel was "universally known and read,"4 its sales proved insufficient to warrant a second printing. Worse, in 1823 the success of a tawdry melodrama entitled Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein from the pen of Richard Brinsley Peake, a thirty-one-year old hack and employee of the English Opera House, was the sole reason that a second edition made it into print. Peake's melodrama immediately initiated a string of other dramatizations, capturing the public's imagination and {64} ire,5 and setting in motion a vogue for dramatizing Shelley's novel that extends to the present day. To date over ninety dramatizations have been undertaken.6

Pre-Karloffian dramatizations played an important role in disseminating popular conceptions -- and misconceptions -- of Mary Shelley's novel, from the incipient gothic melodramas such as Peake's Presumption, Henry M. Milner's The Demon of Switzerland (1823) and The Man and the Monster (1826), and Merle and Antony's Le Monstre et le magicien (1826) to their burlesque counterparts -- Humgumption; or, Dr. Frankenstein and the Hobgoblin of Hoxton, Presumption and the Blue Demon, and Frankin-Steam; or, The Modern Promise to Pay -- through political burlesque in the form of William and Robert Brough's Frankenstein; or, The Model Man (1849), the musical comedy of Richard Butler and Henry Chance Newton's Frankenstein; or, The Vampires Victim (1887), the farce of Paul Dickey and Charles Goddard's The Last Laugh (1915), and finally Peggy Webling's drawing room melodrama Frankenstein: An Adventure in the Macabre (1927). For example, whereas in Shelley's work Frankenstein appears as a scientist inspired, as he observes, by "natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term,"7 the dramatizations transformed him into a hubristic alchemist. And whereas the novel combined the techniques of romance and realism in one virtually self-destructing narrative, employed the doppelganger theme to suggest that the created was the creator's double, presented in Frankenstein a portrait of the Byronic hero-villain, and implied tragic analogues between every character (each being both victim and victimizer), the early melodramas developed solely the romance (or gothic) roots of the story, abandoned the doppelganger theme in favor of the simplified Byronic hero-villain (Frankenstein) tormented by a dumb show villain-hero (the Creature), and simplified the plot by removing Walton's narrative, confining the action to twenty-four {65} hours, and reducing the major characters to four types: the hero, the villain, the persecuted heroine, and the comical rustic.8

Prior to my own work in this field, six critics have attempted to document these early dramatizations.9 No two discussions wholly agree, and all repeat egregious errors. To cite but one example, Donald Glut's The Frankenstein Catalog (1984), which contains the most recent discussion, still refers to Robert and Barnabus Brough's Frankenstein; or, The Model Man (1849) as Frankenstein; or, The Vampires Victim and to Richard Butler and H. Chance Newton's Frankenstein; or, The Vampire's Victim (1887) as Frankenstein; or, The Model Man. The Catalog lists fifty-three plays, two of which are not plays at all. The Devil Among the Players (item 1195) is a poem that appeared in the Opera Glass magazine on 9 October 1826, and Presumption; or, The Fate of the Episcopals (item 1250) is simply an announcement published in the radical miscellany The Episcopal Gazette (1832) to satirize the dominance and intransigence of the Church of England. Glut also lists a performance of Presumption in 1824 produced by the "Senior Wranglers of Brasenface College." No such performance existed; rather, the description derives from the playbill of Frankenstein; or, The Model Man in which Frankenstein is described as "The Student Senior Wrangler of Brazenface College, in the University of Krackenjausen."

{66} Much less has been written concerning the nature of post-1931 dramatizations. Donald Glut's Catalog contains the only extensive discussion of these plays, and it must be admitted that here his work significantly improves upon his earlier efforts. Still, Glut fails to draw any meaningful conclusions about these works or to place them in any systematic historical context. As I conceive of the whole, the plays of this period may be divided into at least four groups, although several plays overlap and many other small variations exist. Significantly, and not surprisingly, each trend develops in reaction to the impact of cinema, first to the eight movies that comprise the Universal cycle (1931-1948), and then to the enormous amount of b-rate productions spawned by "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957), the first of the Hammer cycle.

The first group includes comic dramas in the tradition of Universal's "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948). These dramatizations achieve their comic effect simply through parody and allusion. For example, Tom Eyen's Frankenstein's Wife (1969), one of four plays in the program Four "No" Plays, mocked the pretentiousness of the then popular Living Theatre Frankenstein. But the true efflorescence of this type of comic adaptation may be dated from 1970 when Sheldon Allman and Bob Pickett mercilessly spoofed Frankenstein in their I'm Sorry the Bridge is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night, which featured not only Frankenstein and his Creature, but Igor, Count and Countess Dracula, the Mummy, and Prince Rex Talbot. Following suit, the dramatis personae of Steven Otfinoski's delightful Love of Frankenstein (1979) includes Ygor, Bella Lugosi, a transvestite Ludovic Praetorius, the Creature's bride, and a lycanthropic Lawrence Talbot in the role of a timid Reverend. A playbill for the production portrays the Karloff-Creature delivering a box of Valentine chocolates to his mate (Fig. 1). In the stage directions to The Frankensteins are Back in Town (1981), Tim Kelley, the most prolific adaptor of Shelley's tale, specifically indicates that the Creature's mate wear a "hairstyle in the classic 'Bride of Frankenstein' film." The cover drawing of his The Bride of Frankenstein (1976) presents a flower-bearing Boris Karloff and an angry-looking Elsa Lanchester. And on the cover of his Frankenstein Slept Here (1974), a Karloff-like Creature sits erect upon an operating table connected to a transformer that showers the laboratory with electrical sparks.

{68} Dramatizations of the second group reject distortions wrought on the myth by popular media and return to the novel as a source of inspiration. For example, many playwrights now quote directly from the novel. Fred Fondren's Frankenstein (1981) concludes with the Creature paraphrasing the last words of the novel. Victor Gilanella's much maligned Frankenstein (1981), which lost two million dollars when it closed on Broadway the day after its premiere, opens with a voice-over in which Walton narrates his letters to his sister. Similarly, Alden Nowlan and Walter Learning's Frankenstein: The Man Who Became God (1974) opens aboard Walton's ice-bound ship with Walton reading from his diary-like letters. Several playwrights even state their outright opposition to the cinematic dominance of the myth. Tim Kelley remarks in the preface to his Frankenstein (1971) that it is "perhaps the truest adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic yet." In the preface to Frankenstein: The Man Who Became God (1974), Nowlan and Learning announce: "Our play . . . is . . . the first dramatic version faithful in design and spirit to the book." John Edwards has a similar goal when in the program notes to Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1958) he writes: "Our production is the novel -- just as Mary Shelley wrote it -- without a line changed or rewritten." Most importantly, these dramas debunk any presentation of the Creature as a ferocious beast bent on man's destruction. Kelly forthrightly observes in the preface to his 1971 drama: "The Creature of Mary Shelley is not the monster of the film versions." Libby Jacobs echoes this concern in the preface to her absorbing Sparks (1984): "The Creature who confronts Victor is not the clenched monster of the Hollywood versions of the novel, but is instead the flawed, articulate innocent conceived by Mary Shelley." In plays like Fred Fondren's Frankenstein (1981) and especially Laurence Maslon's recent Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1985) the Creature expresses enormous sensitivity and intelligence. In fact, Guy Paul's brilliant performance as the Creature in the latter production saves a rather lackluster dramatization. In the case of Fondren's play, the Creature exhibits more humanity than any other character. And as in the novel, the play concludes with the Creature's promise to destroy himself in a funeral pyre.10

{69} The third group contains the widest number of plays because it embraces both Shelley and her adaptors, especially the Universal cycle. Although Ken Eulo's The Frankenstein Affair (1979) presents a provocative biographical reading of Shelley, its playbill still presents a full-length profile of a growling, Karloff-like Creature (Fig. 2). And despite his prefatory remarks to the contrary, Tim Kelly's melodrama contains a somewhat Karloff-like Creature. As the production notes indicate:

his makeup should reveal many stitches. Corners of the mouth, neck, eyes, forehead, as well as the wrist. Perhaps a bolt or two here and there. . . . Some clumsy boots help to enhance the effect and his costume should be dark and threadbare and homespun in appearance. The jacket should be too short in the sleeves to give a "gangling" effect.
In these plays the creation scene represents the best example of the influence of Universal Studios, for electrical apparatus reminiscent of Kenneth Strickfadden still figures as the most popular means of animating the Creature. The creation scene of Dan Duling's exciting A Dream of Frankenstein deliberately alludes to James Whale's film when at its pyrotechnic conclusion the exhausted Frankenstein cries: "It lives! It lives!" The most outstanding creation scene ever presented on stage occurred in Victor Gialanella's Frankenstein. Modelled on Strickfadden's set, Brian Ferren's laboratory contained a test coil capable of producing two million volts and called for 32,000 watts (as compared to 800 to 1,500 watts for a typical Broadway musical).

Playwrights of the last and smallest play grouping politicize the novel in terms of apocalyptic observations of life in the modern age. The first post-1931 dramatist to employ the story in this fashion was Gladys Hastings-Walton, whose Frankenstein: A New Version of an Old "Thriller" (1933) borrowed its plot and dialogue from Peake's Presumption while prefacing the action with the caveat that the Depression was a Frankenstein-like creation. Two years later Alfred Kreymborg employed the same theme in his poem "Frank and Mr. Frankenstein: A Play Upon the Dollar," which criticized the capitalistic ventures of Mr. Frankenstein, a banker, at the expense of Frank, the working man. The Living Theatre Frankenstein (1965) is probably the best-known representative of the "activist" school, although Clive Barker's Frankenstein in Love; or, The Love of Death (A Grand Guignol Romance) (1982) is arguably the most challenging adaptation ever written. The play, set in a banana republic undergoing a state of siege, captures the plight of {73} humankind caught in a dystopic, godless universe. Frankenstein appears as a sadomasochistic vivisectionist who at one point orders that the Creature, like St. Bartholomew, be flayed alive. Driven by such diverse forces as the Grand Guignol, the theatre of Artaud and of the Absurd, Jacobean masques, and Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, Barker's play is unrelenting in its pessimistic view of the sordid acts to which humans somehow aspire. It is a brilliant piece from the hand of a talented playwright.

To this brief overview I now append a comprehensive list of dramatizations of Shelley's novel. In this list the plays are cited by year, playwright, title, and (when known) theatre and date of first production. (All productions occurred in London unless otherwise specified.) For pre-1931 adaptations I include in brackets the locations of manuscripts and typescripts; when a play has been published, I include the publisher's name and the year of publication. I list only plays written to be performed as dramatic pieces, a decision that eliminates such obviously unperformed titles as Presumption; or, The Fate of the Episcopals, the monster-filled sixth act of Hamlet as published in The Man in the Moon (2 (1847):341-45), and Alfred Kreymborg's poem "Frank and Mr. Frankenstein" (1933). Parenthetical numbers following pre-1931 productions indicate the approximate number of performances achieved by each play upon its debut. Citations followed by the word "Glut" and a page reference refer to plays listed in Glut's Catalog that I have been unable to verify. Any additions or corrections to this list will be gratefully acknowledged.11

List of Dramatizations

{74} 1. 1821 -- Frankenstein; ou, Le Promethée moderne [Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal MS. p. folo, aoust 1821./A.T. sc Ms carton 8]. (No record of performances.) [Note: This play consists of a fragmentary manuscript of one act (six leaves) and a single leaf of act two.]

2. 1823 -- Richard Brinsley Peake, Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein (English Opera House, 28 July 1823). [Huntington Library MS., LA 2359; Dicks (no. 431). c. 1865] (37) (Subsequently produced at the Royalty Theatre for twelve nights under the title Frankenstein; or, The Danger of Presumption.)

3. 1823 -- Henry M. Milner, Frankenstein; or, The Demon of Switzerland (Royal Coburg Theatre, 18 August 1823). (8)

4. 1823 -- Humgumption; or, Dr. Frankenstein and the Hobgoblin of Hoxton (New Surrey Theatre, 1 September 1823). (6)

5. 1823 -- Presumption and the Blue Demon (Davis's Royal Amphitheatre, 1 September 1823). (2)

6. 1823 -- Richard Brinsley Peake, Another Piece of Presumption (Adelphi Theatre, 20 October 1823). [Huntington Library MS, LA 2374] (9)

7. 1824 -- Frank-in-Steam; or, The Modern Promise to Pay (Olympic Theatre, 13 December 1824). [British Library MS, Add. MSS 42869] (4)

8. 1826 -- Jean-Toussaint Merle and Antoine Nicolas Beraud [pseud. Beraud Antony] Le Monstre et le magicien (Paris: Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin, 10 June 1826). [Paris: Bezou, 1826] (94)

9. 1826 -- Henry M. Milner, The Man and the Monster; or, The Fate of Frankenstein (Royal Coburg Theatre, 3 July 1826). [Duncombe (vol. 2), c. 1828; Lacy (vol. 75), 1867. Stephen Wischhusen reprinted the Duncombe edition in The Hour of One (London: Fraser, 1975)] (8)

10. 1826 -- Nicolas Brazier, Guillaume Dumersan and Gabriel-Jules-Joseph de Lurien, Les Filets de Vulcain; ou, La Venus de Neuilly; (Paris: Theatre des Varietes, 5 July 1826). [Paris, Duvernois, 1826] (23)

11. 1826 -- Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Antoine-Jean-Baptiste Simonnin, Le Petit monstre et l'escamoteur (Paris: Theatre de la Gaite, 7 July 1826). [Paris: Boquin de la Souche, 1826] (37)

12. 1826 -- Claude-Louis-Marie de Rochefort-Lucay [pseud. Edmond Rochefort], Esperance-Hippolyte Lassagne, and Mathurin-Joseph Brisset, La Peche de Vulcain; ou, l'ile des fleuves (Paris: Theatre du Vaudeville, 10 July 1826) [Paris: Brunet, 1826. Note: The title page of printed play incorrectly dates premiere as 5 June.] (1?)

13. 1826 -- Le Presomteueux (Paris: Theatre de M. Comte, 11 July 1826). (5)

{75} 14. 1826 -- P. Carmouche, Les Filets de Vulcain; ou, le lendemain d'un success (Paris: Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin, 15 July 1826). (?) [Note: Le Journal des Debats (18 July) indicates that "Carmouche," is a pseudonym for "a well-known triumvirate."]

15. 1826 -- Le Monstre et le physicien (Paris: Theatre de M. Comte, 3 August 1826). (29)

16. 1826 -- John Kerr, The Monster and Magician; or, The Fate of Frankenstein (New Royal West London Theatre, 9 October 1826). [London: Kerr, c. 1826] (4?)

17. 1849 -- William and Robert Brough, Frankenstein; or, The Model Man (Adelphi Theatre, 26 December 1849). [British Museum MS, Add. MSS. 43023] (54)

18. 1861 -- Ferdinand Dugue, Le Monstre et le magicien (Paris: Theatre de l'Ambigu Comique, 22 June 1861). [Paris: Librarie Theâtrale, 1861] (60)

19. 1887 -- Richard Henry [pseud. Richard Butler and Henry Chance Newton], Frankenstein; or, The Vampire's Victim (Gaiety Theatre, 24 December 1887). [British Museum TS, L.C. 53392B] (106)

20. 1915 -- Paul Dickey and Charles Goddard, The Last Laugh (New York: Thirty-Ninth Street Theatre, 29 July 1915). [NYPL, TS., NCOF p.v. 303; deposited with Library of Congress on 19 May 1915, TS, D40698] (52)

21. 1927 -- Peggy Webling, Frankenstein: An Adventure in the Macabre (Preston, England: Empire Theatre, 7 December 1927.) [British Museum, TS, L.C.P. 1927 B] (4)

22. 1928 -- Peggy Webling, Frankenstein: An Adventure in the Macabre (Little Theatre, 10 February 1930). (72) [Note: This play is a revision of the 1927 typescript. It was deposited with Library of Congress on 7 September 1928, TS., D86282. In April of 1964 Webling's play was revived by the Little Theatre Club. See The Stage Year Book (London: Carson and Comerford, 1965) 54; see also a review in The Stage (9 April 1964) 15. In the Little Theatre Club production an extra character named Hartz was added. Perhaps he played the part of the laboratory assistant.]

23. 1930 -- John Balderston, Frankenstein (No record of performances). [A complete revision of Webling's Adventure in the Macabre; carbon typescript registered and deposited in the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress on 11 March 1931, DU 9603] (Never performed)

24. 1933 -- Gladys Hastings-Walton, Frankenstein: A New Version of an Old "Thriller" (Glasgow, Scotland) [Typescript in the British Library]

25. 1939 -- Frankenstein [Note: The only reference to this production derives from the New York Post (17 June 1939), which notes under shows scheduled to open on Thursday 22 June: "HARTFORD, Conn. -- Footguard Hill's Capitol Players will give "Frankenstein" as their second bill of the summer."] (9)

{76} 26. 1940 -- Goon With The Wind (Manion, Indiana: Fairmont Public School; Glut 146).

27. 1950 -- Kenneth Monk, Frankenstein (Brighton: Brighton Playhouse, 14 March 1950).

28. 1958 -- John Edwards, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (Ohio: Wright College Theatre, 20 November 1958).

29. 1959 -- David Campton, Frankenstein: The Gift of Fire (Scarborough: Library Theatre, 16 July 1959). [London: J. Garnet Miller, 1973 as Frankenstein: A Gothic Thriller in Two Acts; also printed in 1973 by Miller in Three Gothic Plays: Frankenstein, Usher, Carmilla]

30. 1955-59 -- Frankenstein and His Bride (Los Angeles: Strip City; Glut 145: "Late 1950s").

31. 1965 -- The Living Theatre, Frankenstein (Venice: Teatro La Perla, 26 September 1965). [New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970; City Lights Journal, no. 3, 1966]

32. 1965 -- Carroll Borland, My Fair Zombie (Los Angeles, Presented by the Count Dracula Society, 31 October 1965; Glut, 138).

33. 1963-69 -- Get the Picture (Chicago: LeShow; Glut 146: "Middle 1960s?")

34. 1966 -- Hugh Whitemore, Frankenstein (BBC 2 production, 13 October 1966).

35. 1966 -- Joseph Singer, Frankenstein! (Library of Congress TS, Du 67116; registered on 14 November 1966).

36. 1967 -- San Francisco Mime Troupe, Frankenstein (San Francisco, 1967).

37. 1968 -- Paul Guay, The Battle of the Monsters (San Mateo, Ca.: St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School, n.d.; Glut 146: "Early 1968")

38. 1968 -- Edward Field, Frankenstein (A Play for Children) (Deposited with Library of Congress on 12 November 1968; TS, Du 72884)

39. 1969 -- Tom Eyen, Frankenstein's Wife (One of four plays in the program entitled Four "No" Plays) (New York: Care La Mama, 5 February 1969).

40. 1969 -- Michael Sarne, Frankenstein (Musical) (N.p.: 9 April 1969).

41. 1970 -- Peter Fernandez, Claire G. Miller and Selma R. Brody, Frankenstein (Deposited with Library of Congress on 6 November 1970; TS, Du 78537).

42. 1970 -- Sheldon Allman and Bob Pickett, I'm Sorry the Bridge is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night (Hollywood: Coronet Theatre, 28 April 1970).

43. 1971 -- Tim Kelly, Frankenstein (Stagebrush Theatre, Scottsdale, Arizona, 28 February 1972). [New York: Samuel French, 1974]

44. 1972 -- Sally Netzel, Frankenstein's Monster (Dallas: Dallas Theatre, Summer 1972).

{77} 45. 1972 -- Gilbert Garcia, Frankenstein's Godfather (American copyright DU 85584; filed 1972).

46. 1972 -- H. R. Puffnstuff (Glut 147: "Toured the United States" in 1972)

47. 1973 -- Richard O'Brien, The Rocky Horror Show (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 19 June 1973 (previews); King's Road Theatre, 3 November 1973 (premiere).

48. 1973 -- John Stevenson, Frankenstein (ITV production for series "Once Upon a Lifetime," 2 September 1973).

49. 1973 -- The World Festival of Magic & Occult New York: Madison Square Garden, Spring 1973; Glut 155).

50. 1973 -- Stewart M. Aldowitz, Frankenstein's Nephew on his Father's Side (American copyright in 1973).

51. 1973 -- Off-Center Theatre Group, Frankenstein (New York: Society for Ethical Culture, 1 December 1973).

52. 1974 -- Wolfgang Deichsel, Frankenstein Aus Dem Leben Der Angestellten (Frankenstein: From the Life of Employees) (Zurich: Theatre am Neumarkt, 25 September 1982).

53. 1974 -- Lemuel E. Harris, Frankenstein is a Soul Brother (American copyright C 29917).

54. 1974 -- Del Tenney, Frankenstein Meets Dracula (American copyright DU 89520; filed 22 February 1974).

55. 1974 -- Samuel A. Rulon (book) and John L. Chamness (music), Frankenstein (American copyright DU 90867; filed 8 July 1974).

56. 1974 -- Alden Nowlan and Walter Learning, Frankenstein: The Man Who Became God (Fredericton, New Brunswick, 17 July 1974). [Toronto: Clark, Irwin, 1976]

57. 1974 -- Willard Simms, Thursday Meets the Wolfman [Denver: Pioneer Drama, 1974]

58. 1974 -- Megan Terry (book and lyrics) and Dan Newmark (music), Frankenstein (Los Angeles: Scorpio Rising Theatre, 26 July 1974).

59. 1974 -- Tony Connor, Dr. Crankenheim's Mixed-Up Monster (Oxford Playhouse, 12 December 1974).

60. 1974 -- Tim Kelly, Frankenstein Slept Here. [Denver: Pioneer Drama, 1974].

61. 1975 -- Theodore Roszak, The Crime of Dr. Frankenstein: A Pop Myth and Monster Show (Vancouver, 9 April 1975; Glut 153).

62. 1975 -- Buddy Stern, Frankenstein (Brooklyn: St. John-St. Matthew Emanuel Lutheran Church, 5 December 1975).

63. 1975 -- Alan Ormsby, The Monster Frankenstein! [New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1975: Glut 152).

{78} 64. 1975 -- Frankenstein (New York: Henry Street Settlement, 8 February 1975).

65. 1976 -- Stephen C. Wathen, Frankenstein (American copyright DU 97679; filed 5 February 1976).

66. 1976 -- Frankenstein (New York: Off Center Theatre, July 1976).

67. 1976 -- Tim Kelly, Bride of Frankenstein [Denver: Pioneer Drama, 1976].

68. 1977 -- Stephen Wathen, Frankenstein (Santa Clara, Ca.: Sarratoga Civic Theatre, 5 March 1977; Glut 154).

69. 1977 -- Dallas Murphy, Frankenstein (San Francisco: American Conservatory Theatre, 11 May 1977).

70. 1977 -- Peter Walker and Katherine Jean Leslie, Frankenstein Follies [Elgin, IL.: Performance Publishing, 1977].

71. 1978 -- Georgina Tolson, Frankenstein's Rib (New York: 18th Street Playhouse, 21 January 1979).

72. 1978 -- A Taste of Rocky Horror (San Diego Comic Convention, El Cortez Hotel, July 1978; Glut 154).

73. 1979 -- Paul Guay, End of the Line for Frankenstein (Claremont, Ca.: Mudd Theatre, 5 April 1979; Glut, 146).

74. 1979 -- Steven Otfinoski, Love of Frankenstein (New York: Actors' Playhouse, 21 January 1979).

75. 1975-79 -- James Gillhouley, Frankenstein (Hammersmith; Glut 146: "Late 1970s?").

76. 1975-79 -- Frankenstein (New York: Academy Arts Theatre; Glut 145: "Late 1970s?").

77. 1979 -- Ken Eulo, The Frankenstein Affair (New York: Courtyard Playhouse, 13 November 1979).

78. 1980 -- E. Burns Elliston, Jr., Frankenstein; or, The Doctor Made Me Do It (St. Louis: Golden Showboat Nostalgia Theatre, 19 August 1980).

79. 1980 -- Tim Kelly, The Frankensteins Are Back in Town [Schulenburg, Tx.: I. E. Clark, 1980].

80. 1980 -- Christopher O'Neal, Frankenstein: The Monster Play [Schulenburg, Tx.: I. E. Clark, 1980]

81. 1981 -- Victor Gialanella, Frankenstein (St. Louis: Loretto-Hilton Repertory Theatre, 1979; New York: Palace Theatre, 1 January 1981 ).

82. 1981 -- R. N. Sandberg, Frankenstein (Seattle: Skid Road Theatre, 22 January 1981 ).

83. 1981 -- Dan Duling, A Dream of Frankenstein: A (Black Comedy of Maternal Darkness) (Los Angeles: Fifth Street Studio Theatre, 9 May 1981).

{79} 84. 1981 -- Fred Fondren, Frankenstein (New York: National Arts Theatre, 27 February 1981).

85. 1981 -- Roger David Lewis (book and lyrics) and Lloyd Lockwood (Music), Frankenstein Crankenstein; or, Body Building for Beginners (Hereford, England: Nell Gwynne, May 1981).

86. 1981 -- Greg Sandow and Thomas Disch, Frankenstein (Opera) (C. W. Post, Long Island University, 26 June 1981 ).

87. 1981 -- Marjorie Bicknell, Frankenstein (Chicago: The Theatre Building, 3 December 1981).

88. 1981 -- Echo Theatre Ensemble, Frankenstein (Echo Theatre, 23 December 1981).

89. 1982 -- Clive Barker, Frankenstein in Love; or, The Love of Death (A Grand Guignol Romance (Cockpit Theatre, 13 April 1982).

90. 1984 -- Jim Diaz, Frankenstein/The Broadway Version (A revised and shortened version of Gialanella's Frankenstein; New York: Jim Diaz Gallery, 29 March 1984).

91. 1984 -- Libby Jacobs, Sparks (Akron, Ohio: Coach House Theatre 15 November 1984).

92. 1985 -- Laurence Maslow, Frankenstein (adapted from a treatment by Bob Hall and David Richmond) (New York: City Stage Company, 21 April 1985 [previews]; 24 November 1985 [premiere]).

93. 1985 -- Phillis Craig, Frankenstein's Wife (New York: Court Theatre, December 1985).

94. 1986 -- L. K. Aubrey, Mark Oates, Stephen Pell, Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus (New Hope, Pa.: Tweed Ensemble, Soleburg School Theatre, 6 August 1986).

95. 1986 -- Fred Fondren, Frankenstein's Folly (New York: Prometheus Theatre, 25 October 1986).

96. 1986 -- Penny Rockwell and Joel Greenhouse (book), and Dick Gallagher (music), Have I Got a Girl for You: The Frankenstein Musical (New York: Inroads Theatre, Spring 1986 [previews]; Second Avenue Theatre, 29 October 1986 [premiere]).

Figure 1: The playbill from Steven Otfinoski's Love of Frankenstein (1979).


Figure 2: The playbill from Ken Eulo's The Frankenstein Affair (1979).


Figure 3: Keith Jochim as the Creature in Victor Gialanella's Frankenstein (1981).


Figure 4: Oliver Parker as the Creature and Douglas Breadley as Dr. Joseph Frakenstein in Clive Barker's Frankenstein in Love (1981). Photo: John Greenwood.



1. Howard B. Gotlieb, William Beckford of Fonthill (New Haven, 1960) 61.

2. Forry, "'The Foulest Toadstool': Reviving Frankenstein in the Twentieth Century," in The Fantastic in World Literature and the Arts, ed. Donald E. Morse (New York, 1987).

3. My quotations derive from W. H. Lyles' Mary Shelley: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1975) 168-69. For a discussion of the early reviews see R. Glynn Grylls, Mary Shelley: A Biography (London: Oxford UP, 1938) 315-19.

4. Shelley and Mary, ed. Lady Jane Gibson Shelley and Sir Percy Florence Shelley (Privately Printed, 1882) 2: 327.

5. See Forry, "An Early Conflict Involving the Production of R. B. Peake's Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein," Theatre Notebook 39 ( 1985): 99-103.

6. This figure contrasts with the earlier figure of fifty-eight dramatizations, published as a misprint in Forry, "The Hideous Progenies of Richard Brinsley Peake: Frankenstein on the Stage, 1823 to 1826," Theatre Research International 11 (1985): 13.

7. Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, ed. James Rieger (1974; Chicago, 1982) 45.

8. The most important exception to this rule is Peggy Webling's Frankenstein: An Adventure in the Macabre, written in 1927, revised by Webling in 1928, and then rewritten in 1931 by John Balderston in preparation for a Broadway premiere. Universal Studios subsequently bought the rights to the Webling-Balderston scripts and incorporated several features from them in its 1931 film. For a discussion of these events see Forry, "The Foulest Toadstool."

9. See the following discussions: Elizabeth Nitchie, Mary Shelley: Author of Frankenstein (New Brunswick, N.J., 1953) 918-31; Gordon Hitchens, "Breathless Eagerness," Film Comment 6.3 (1970): 49-51; Donald Glut, The Frankenstein Legend (Metuchen, N.J., 1973) 28-57, and The Frankenstein Catalog (Jefferson, N.C., 1984): 133-55; Radu Florescu, In Search of Frankenstein (Boston, 1975) 151-71; Albert LaValley, "The Stage and Film Children of Frankenstein," in The Endurance of Frankenstein 243-89; and Douglas William Hoehn, "The First Season of Presumption! or, The Fate of Frankenstein," Theatre Studies 26-27 ( 1979-81 ): 79-88. Karl Kroeber's evaluation probably best describes the work of LaValley, whom he terms "disappointingly superficial (especially on nineteenth-century drama). . . ." See Kroeber, "Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century," Studies in English Literature 19 (1979): 733. For a brief discussion of the errors perpetuated in these studies, see Forry, "The Hideous Progenies of Richard Brinsley Peake: Frankenstein on the Stage, 1823 to 1826," Theatre Research International 11 (1985): 30 n. 12.

10. Nonetheless, it must be noted that despite this re-evaluation of the Creature's nature, the majority of playwrights destroy their Creatures on the stage, usually by shooting the Creature numerous times. Sally Netzel's Frankenstein's Monster (1972) stands out because it contains the most gruesome death scene of all. In her play the Creature shoves a burning stake down his throat and, as he writhes on the ground, is shot three times by Dr. Waldman.

11. Glut could not locate information on the following plays: "a 1940s stage show performed by 'Tony Karloff, the Son of Frankenstein'; a 1950s Frankenstein play by Lee Richards, performed in Bangor, Pennsylvania; The Maniac, possibly performed during the 1950s, an existing photo showing the Frankenstein Monster playing cards with a skeleton and a magician; The Monster Show, performed in Brazil; [and] the French puppet show Les Poupées de Paris, featuring a marionette Frankenstein Monster" (133). I have been equally unsuccessful in locating information on these pieces. On page 153 Glut also lists Prometeo Moderno as a play that was performed in London and the United States in the 1800s." I have located information on no such title.