Is That A Fact!?
Aubrey Beardsley’s “On This Day” Fun Facts and Trivia
On this day, in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published.
Such is the lasting impact of Dracula that today is also known as Dracula Day, and Australian slang for unattractive and slovenly is “drac”. You know you’ve made it when your work becomes part of Australian vernacular.
Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland, but did not get out of bed until he was 7 years old. He later described himself as “naturally thoughtful” and said that “the leisure of long illness” gave him lots of thinking time, which he could turn into his writing later in life, such as the famous Dracula. And famous it is. Apparently around 1000 novels and 200 films have been made about Count Dracula. Is that all?!
Dracula is said to have been inspired by a friendship with the actor, Sir Henry Irving, and a shared holiday at Whitby, on the English coast. After reviewing one of Irving’s theatre performances, the two became friends and Bram Stoker went on to manage Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in London. And there’s a reference to this in the 1992 film of the book, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, when Mina (Winona Ryder) walks past advertising for the Lyceum Theatre and a Henry Irving play.
One of the main protagonists in Dracula is not actually Count Dracula but is in fact Professor Abraham Van Helsing, a man with many letters both in his name and after it. As well as being a doctor he is a kind of vampire hunter and basically Count Dracula’s arch nemesis (and scene stealer).
Van Helsing was famously played by Peter Cushing in the gothic Hammer Horror films and Peter Cushing was born on this very same day in 1913! Peter Cushing also played Dr Who in Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965), replacing William Hartnell (much to his dismay) who was the Doctor in the TV series. Throughout the TV series William Hartnell wore a wig because he had quite short hair and the Doctor had long hair. Which is interesting because the extras who played the Thals got paid extra for losing hair, and agreeing to have their chests and armpits shaved.
And speaking of wigs, today is Wig-Out Day! Wig-Out Day was invented in Bellingham, Washington in 2006 by sisters, Alice and Kate Clark. It took off so well in downtown Bellingham, that it has now become a national treasure and is celebrated on the last Friday of May every year!
And that’s a fact!