A ‘Frankenstein’ who will never live

The show’s human stars included John Keradine, who will play his final role, as a blind beggar.

Gianella Keradine was doing such nonsense – B movies, commercials. He was an old man, but he still had that deep, rich, whiskey sound. During the previews, Jay rented a screening room and showed us “Frankenstein” and “Friendstein’s wife” [from 1935, in which Carradine had an uncredited bit part]. Someone turned to him and said: “It’s such a great film. What do you remember He stood for a minute and said, “Two days’ work.”

Carrie Robbins, costume designer His hands were so battered with arthritis that he could not dress himself. I had a lovely small-sized dresser that could hide in the “fireplace” of the old man’s hut and help him.

The role of Victor Frankenstein went to William Converse-Roberts, a recent graduate of Yale Drama School, who will enter Broadway. After extensive auditions by other actors, the animal part went to Keith Joachim, who began the role in St. Louis.

Gianella No one was nailing it. I went to To and said, “You have to bring Keith.” They didn’t want to do that. They wanted at least someone with New York credibility.

Martorella Keith’s audition was going well. We had 10 minutes, and it would finish reading half an hour. Then that afternoon she came back to the make-up she had made [for St. Louis]. I wrote in my diary, “He completely turned himself into a horror into the throat.” I can still see the faces of Tom, J and Victor. They were in awe.

The show began loading at the Palace on October 23, 1980. The crew started with 15 stah nds, which quickly reached three dozen. The beginnings of the previews were delayed by the complexity of Douglas Schmidt’s set, which rotated on a huge turntable, and by issues with effects such as the Tesla Coil, whose full intensity was advanced during rehearsals.