Classic Hollywood Stories

Phantom of the Opera (1943), 80th anniversary podcast interview

Last night (Friday the 13th) I was a guest on Tommy Kovac’s horror film podcast “Splat From the Past”. We celebrated the 80th anniversary of the release of Nelson Eddy’s starrer “Phantom of the Opera” (1943) featuring Claude Rains as the Phantom. The gorgeous Technicolor film (nominated for two Oscars) had a rocky beginning, first envisioned as a comedy for Abbott and Costello; later with Deanna Durbin suggested as Christine; with Boris Karloff and Charles Laughton among the suggested Phantoms! I shared information from my interviews with actress Susanna Foster (Christine), sound director “Brownie” Bernard B. Brown, and actor Hume Cronyn. Also discussed is the Jeanette-Nelson relationship and my friendship with Jeanette’s sister, Blossom. Not sure what Nelson’s black hair in this film was all about but his singing is glorious especially captured with a special sound booth built just for him! When you watch the film, in his opera sequence before the chandelier falls, listen carefully for Nelson to dub some tenor and basso one-liners!