Horror History: Hamilton Deane

hamilton-deaneHamilton Deane
Born 1880 – Died Oct. 25th, 1958

Hamilton Deane was a actor and playwrite back in the late 1800’s, first appearing on the stage before his 20th birthday. While he worked with the Henry Irving Company (the one that Bram Stoker was the stage manager for), he went on to form his own troupe in the early ’20s. He wanted to bring Stoker’s Dracula to the stage and spent 4 weeks writing it out when he was sick with a bad cold.

Deane was the man responsible for turning Dracula from the monster he is in Stoker’s novel, to the urbane, well spoken (with an accent of course), well dressed in a tuxedo and flowing cape. He wasn’t the monstrous creature from the novel, or like the one from the unauthorized German film Nosferatu, where he was a rat-like creature. Deane’s play was a big success, with him playing the role of Dr. Van Helsing, and played for many years.

When it came over the states, it was rewritten by American playright John L. Balderston, where it also was a big success. It was this adaptation, the combined ideas from both Deane and Balderston, which pretty much what the Tod Browning film was based on. A few years later, he would also commission a play adaptation of Shelley’s Frankenstein be scripted as well.

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