Doing the monster mash at Malibou Lake 1

This lakeside fol-de-rol is featured in the fun new book, Location Filming in Los Angeles, by arts·meme pals Mark Wanamaker, Karie Bible and Harry Medved. The book describes how Universal shot the controversial scene on location at a lake in Malibu State Park eighty years ago this September.

You can obsess on this story to your heart’s content on Frankensteinia:

On this day, September 28, and on the 29th, in 1931, director James Whale and his crew, with actors Boris Karloff, Michael Mark, and 7-year old Marilyn Harris, shot the controversial drowning scene at Malibou Lake (not ‘Malibu’), about 30 miles west of Universal studios.

Karloff was uneasy with the scene, but Whale insisted it was necessary. A few weeks later, preview audiences were appalled and the scene was removed.

Ironically, the resulting jarring cut, just as The Monster reaches for the little girl, suggests a fate worse than drowning for poor Maria.

The scene, thought lost, was found in the late ’70s and restored to the film.

Fellow blogger and monster-maniac from Montreal, Pierre  Fournier, wrote the above and, further, tasked an L.A. writer, John Cox, to blog about the spot where the Little Maria scene was shot.

Pierre also gave permission to publish his great find, a photo, above, of the two Brits, director James Whale and actor Boris Karloff, on a smoking break in Southern California.

What a get-up Karloff’s got himself up in!

little maria photo: bison archives, mark wanamaker
ciggie break photo: frankensteinia, pierre fournier


Like this? Read more:

One comment on “Doing the monster mash at Malibou Lake

  1. TB Sep 25,2015 12:08 pm

    I know this is an old posting, but I thought I’d mention that the gentleman who has the original high quality photo portrayed above currently lives at Malibou Lake and has written a book about the lake and surrounding areas. His name is Brian Rooney, he’s a historian and author.

    The original photograph is much wider and shows much more detail than the fuzzy one listed here.

    I am not Brian Rooney promoting my book. I am just a guy who went to one of his presentations and saw the original photo (and lots of others).

Leave a Reply