Dracula Ring

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ProfGriffin's picture
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Dear Mr. Lee.

I am quite honored to be posting a question that you may answer. I have been a fan of yours for many years and always enjoy your tremendous work. My question is in regards to the Dracula ring that you wore in your performances in the later Hammer films. In particular, Dracula AD 1972. With the greatest respect, I realize your feelings on this film are mixed,..but could you tell me if the ring that your wore on that film was the same ring once owned and worn by Bela Lugosi? The same ring, I believe, is currently on the hand of Famous Monsters Magazine creator Forrest J. Ackerman.
If it is the same ring,..how did you come about using it for the
film(Drunk? Thank you for your time and once again, thank you for your talent and the hours of enjoyment you've brought me.



Admin's picture
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This is an interesting question and is best if Mr Lee gives the full answer himself. It may be some time before he is able to, with the wedding coming up not much free time. I might be wrong, but as far as I know it is was the real thing. That ring maybe now in the hands of a German fan, again not 100% sure.

Only a matter of time bofore we get the full story, expect some answers after the 15th of next month when we are back.

I could always ask him by phone, but I think is better to get the answer by video.



NightTide's picture
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I think I might be able to answer your question regarding the ring worn by Mr. Lee in his Dracula films. It is actually an exact replica of the original, given to Mr. Lee by Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman still has the original, which has been worn previously by Bela Lugosi & John Carradine, among others, in their stage and film appearances as the thirsty Count. Hope that helps a bit! Cheers.



Domenick Fraumeni's picture
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Actually,bit of sad news here. Forry doesn't have the ring anymore. Apparently, it slipped off of his finger during a parade in Dallas a year or 2 back. And he's definitely looking for it.



NightTide's picture
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Actually, Forry didn't lose the ring. It was eventually found and is now housed at his home in Hollywood.



ProfGriffin's picture
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Thank goodness.

All is right with the world.

I've had the incredible pleasure of wearing Forry's
Dracula ring when he came to Austin, Texas
as a special guest for a drive-in festival
we held at a local art house theatre.

Prior to that, I attended the great famous Monsters
convention in Arlington and met this famous and
facinating man.

Sincerely,

Prof. Griffin

PS: Still would love to know for certain waht happened to
Mr. Lee's replica ring (if it was a replica) and if Mr. Lee
has any memories of the ring. (Did Hammer do a lot of publicity on it? etc...)



Domenick Fraumeni's picture
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Wonderful news! See, that's what happens when I hermit for a time and miss staff meetings Smile.



Carmen and Greg's picture
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In the bonus disc, THE MANY FACES OF CHRISTOPHER LEE, which arrived with the SCARS OF DRACULA DVD, Mr Lee shows us the Dracula ring (which, he tells us, is indeed a duplicate of the Lugosi one).

THE MANY FACES... was filmed in 1995, I believe, so I would imagine Mr Lee still has this ring in his possession.

Carmen Smile



Paul Williams's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

From what i have learnt recently,the ring Bela Lugosi gave to Forrest J Ackerman,and from which the mould for Mr Lee's Dracula Ring was made,was from the movie: Abbot and Costello Meet Dracula.
The original 1931 Dracula movie,used,what appears to be a totally different ring.The ring in the original 1931 Dracula movie,appears to be a simple black onyx stone,with no design on it at all.Because there is no reference to this original black onyx ring,it is assumed it was a personal Possession of Bela Lugosi,who brought it to the film set from his home,along with the medallion he wore around his neck.
The cape Forrest J Ackerman has,is also,either from the movie: Abbot and Costello Meet Dracula,or,as most people agree,from the movie: Plan 9 From Outer Space.



David Pecchia's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

The cape Forry Ackerman owns is from Plan 9 from Outer Space, and wasn't really a cape but an overcoat. Bela Jr. owns one of the two capes used in Dracula 1931 and the other Bela was buried in. A guy named Todd, owns the cape from Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. The ring was supplied from Lugosi but the medallion I read was custom made for the film and Bela Jr. owns that also. The Dracula ring Forry owns was worn by Bela for mostly publicity shots and was worn by Bela in Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.



Bill Petersen's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

My main man Bela Lugosi lost or pawned just about anything valuable that he had after his wife Lilly divorced him in the early 1950's.... After Bela Lugosi completed the 1948 film "A & C Meet Franky" from Universal Studios, the Horror film genre seemingly went to hell, along with Lugosi's film career... Bela Lugosi was pretty much broke and cleaned out the last few years of his life... But, I don't feel sorry for him... Bela had a knack of living the good life in the 1930's and 40's, and he spent money as fast as he earned it... Lotsa' old-time actors didn't properly prepare for the "Aging" or "Downfall" process that occurs in every day life.... Well, Bela Lugosi was no different....

MR.BILL

P.S.

The Ed Wood movies paid Bela Lugosi "Booze" and "Soup" money... Them films were bad and Lugosi was starving to stay afloat by doing anything.... Plus, the Sci-Fi generation was not interested in Lugosi, who was in his 70's at the time....



David Pecchia's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

I also read that Bela had his funeral paid for by Frank Sinatra.....



Bill Petersen's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

The 1994 film ED WOOD was great.... Martin Landau and Johnny Depp did an awesome job.... I have this on Video....

Forrest J. Ackerman is like 92 yrs old these days.... How much time has he got? Enjoy him while you can..... He's a great guy....

MR.BILL
USA



Paul Williams's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

I have just received my Christopher Lee Dracula Ring,that i purchased from this website.Juan was kind enough to sign the authenticity document.... Thank You Juan!:cheers:
It is an absolute superb piece of memorabilia,and looks incredible when viewed under a magnifying glass.The box it arrived in is a unique 3D hexagon type design,of clear hard plastic.The 3D hexagon type shape of the box,allows the owner to view the ring,as it is safely inside,but also,magnifies the ring at all the crucial viewing angles.magnificent idea to encase the ring inside that box.I am very small,and my hands are very small also,so i was very surprised to find the ring fitted immediately on my finger.It has a gap on the ring band,so enabling large fingered people to adjust it to fit their fingers perfectly.
I am really pleased with the ring and my purchase of it.I would like to thank Mr Lee,for allowing this ring to be made available to buy.It is THE most precious treasure i possess,and i will cherish it eternally.
Thank you so very much Mr Lee.Beer:cheers::adore:Smile



David Pecchia's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Well, after reading this post, I am a bit disapointed with my purchase now. With my purchase (and received a few emails from other members asking how mine was packaged) feel a little "left out" so to speak. My ring, as well as many others I am sure were sent in a little cardboard tube with the certificate rolled up. My question is....how come the shipping way was changed? Sounds pretty neato.........



Simon Rowson's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Hi everyone,

Regarding the rather potted and confusing history of the various Dracula rings, this is what I personally believe to be the case:

Bela Lugosi wore a plain onyx ring in the original 1931 "Dracula" - whether black or red (or another colour) is impossible to say from surviving stills and screenshots. I honestly don't know if this was his personal possession or not but, considering his numerous stage performances in the role prior to the movie, I would say that this is entirely likely.

Although Lon Chaney Jr wore a similar crested ring in "The Son of Dracula", the now-famous silver ring with red carnelian stone and silver filigree crest was actually first worn by actor John Carradine in Universal's "The House of Frankenstein" and "The House of Dracula" respectively and it perfectly matched the painted crest on his coffin (in at least the latter film). This ring was subsequently worn by Lugosi in "Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein" and was evidently retained by him after filming ceased.
He eventually sold it to an often referred-to but unnamed person who then, in turn, later sold it to Forrest J Ackerman.

Ackerman had a mould taken of the surface design sometime in the early to mid 60's and then had several solid silver rings made - each with a flat crest area and a plain finger-loop soldered on the underside. I believe he gave one of these rings to Mr Lee who subsequently wore it in his portrayal of Count Dracula from "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" onwards.
In the first two Hammer Dracula films Mr Lee obviously wears a gold(?) ring with a flat carnelian or bloodstone finely engraved with a coat of arms (possibly his own family crest?). Please see the death scene in "Dracula" and the resurrection and vein-opening scenes in "Dracula, Prince of Darkness" for clarification.

I too have just bought the CLW Dracula ring and, having compared it to innumerable freeze-frame shots from the five subsequent Hammer movies, I can see that it is a perfect replica of Mr Lee's iconic ring. To say I am delighted would be a gross understatement!

As to the Universal ring, I think the most accurate replica is the Quantum Mechanix (QMx) version (released around three years ago and no longer available) as this was molded directly from Forry Ackerman's original - which, the last I heard, was expected to raise $20,000 - $30,000 at auction following Ackerman's death last year!

Best wishes,
Simon



Simon Rowson's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Hi everyone,

Further to my mail above, I've managed to get a couple of (rather fuzzy) screenshots of Mr Lee's signet ring in the vein-opening scene of "Dracula, Prince of Darkness. These, whilst not great images, clearly show the engraved stone set in gold:

[ATTACH]440[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH]441[/ATTACH]

I believe this ring is rather similar in style to one of my own family's signet rings (although the metal is silver in this case) - two pictures of which I show here for comparison:

[ATTACH]442[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH]443[/ATTACH]

Lastly, I thought members might want to see how I've displayed my CLW Dracula ring (it's far too good to keep in a box!):

[ATTACH]444[/ATTACH]

Very best wishes,

Simon

Ring 003.jpg Ring 004.jpg Ring 019.jpg Ring 018.jpg Ring 025.jpg


Helen Dyer's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Simon, Very nice display of the ring!

Cheers, Wink
Helen

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Always Follow Your Hearts Desire



Simon Rowson's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Helen Dyer;42243 wrote:
Simon, Very nice display of the ring!

Cheers, Wink
Helen

Dear Helen,

Many thanks for your kind words! I used a box-frame designed for displaying 3D objects (like jewellery, butterflies (yuck!) etc) which I lined with self-adhesive black felt before screwing in a small wooden peg (also painted black) for the ring to sit on using strong, double-sided foam tape.
The "Dracula AD 1972" photo was simply run off the using my PC printer and glossy photo paper (although I had previously searched high and low for a famous publicity still from "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" which shows the ring's design in much greater detail).
I've attached a few more shots which, although not great, hopefully clarify what I'm rambling about!

All the best,
Simon

[ATTACH]449[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH]448[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH]447[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH]446[/ATTACH]

PS: This is part of the still I was originally looking for (it's being used in an internet ad at the moment):
[ATTACH]445[/ATTACH]

dracula-ring-silver (2).jpg Dracringcase.jpg Ring 031.jpg Ring 030.jpg Ring 027.jpg


Simon Rowson's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Yet more Dracula ring news!

The following link leads to a very interesting debate and analysis of the ring about to be auctioned from the Forry Ackerman collection. Some people have apparently cast doubt on it's provenance and this article seeks to redress that using many wonderful photos and anecdotes.

Debate & Analysis: Forry Ackerman’s “Dracula” Ring (Profiles in History) : Original Prop Blog

(Whilst this may perhaps be considered a little off-topic on a website devoted to Mr Lee, please bear in mind that, as previously mentioned, the ring in question was used to cast Mr Lee's own Dracula ring which I then believe was presented to him in person by the late Forry Ackerman.)



Paul Williams's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Thank you for posting that link to the blog Simon,it is an excellent site.Regarding whether or not the overall discussions and debates on the different dracula rings,is actually off topic,regarding Mr Lees website and Mr Lee himself,i can assure you,it is not,in my humble opinion.
I actually created two threads discussing the different dracula rings,on two seperate forums.The core basis of the discussions,were about the dracula ring Mr Lee owns,and is kind enough to replicate and sell.One of those threads has been linked to on the blog site you kindly posted a link to.At the time the threads were created,nobody knew much about Mr Lees dracula ring or the other dracula rings,and we all debated about it,along with all the other dracula rings.I even assumed,Mr Lees dracula ring,may have had a black onyx back ground,from the pictures i had seen,but was proven wrong when pictures were posted and i actually bought Mr Lees dracula ring.I must stress,that the end result of all the debating,seems to point to everybody agreeing that Mr Lees dracula ring,is the most accurate and best quality replication of the ring seal.
Here is a link to the original thread:

the dracula rings

And here is a link to the second thread

Dracula 1931 Ring Stills Or Pictures Needed - Universal Horrors - The Golden Age of Horror - Classic Horror Film Board - Message Board - Yuku

My main core interest in creating both threads,was to find out about the Christopher Lee Dracula Ring,in order to buy it,and find out,not only how it compared to the other replica rings,but also what the original 1931 ring actually looked like and if it had a seal.



Simon Rowson's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Dear Paul,

Thank you so much for your comments.
I was already familiar with both of your excellent threads and had, in fact, posted a reply to your alter-ego "Moonvisage" on one of them!

By way of an update, I now believe that the "often referred-to but unnamed person" I mentioned in my first posting on this thread was actually Richard Sheffield who, whilst a teenager, became close friends with the aging Lugosi. Lugosi gave Sheffield the silver and carnelian prop ring and he later sold it to Forry Ackerman after apparently taking a mould of the surface design (which, I believe, he still uses to make one-piece metal replicas).

I must admit to finding it a tad ironic that this -dare I say it?- slightly corny crest design (I mean......a bat for goodness sake?), which was originally created for some of the most dire Universal monster movies of the 40's was later adopted and used to such terrifying effect by Mr Lee in his subsequent , classic portrayals of the 60's and 70's!
Corny or not, I still love the ring in both of it's filmed forms and I always dreamt about owning one (or both!) . Therefore, I was delighted to discover this week that, due to an entirely unexpected act of amazing generosity on one gentleman's part, I will also be able to obtain a very rare version of the QMx replica of the original Ackerman ring. This will certainly complement my stunningly accurate CLW ring beautifully because, to me, they symbolise two separate, but totally interconnected, eras of classic horror movies.

Regarding the need, in my last post, to justify myself in expanding this Dracula-orientated discussion beyond the confines of the seven Hammer films and in deviating from the core subject of Mr Lee - well, if truth be told, I recently feared that I might possibly be irritating or even annoying Mr Lee himself by reactivating this old topic. This is obviously something I never intended and would wish to avoid at all costs.
To explain; - being a very new member, I have only just started to read all the old threads and I discovered one yesterday which clearly states that Mr Lee abhors discussing his Dracula roles - preferring instead to focus upon his myriad other talents and most up-to-date performances. I entirely understand this because, although these films were iconic to my generation, they hardly allowed him to demonstrate his fine skills as an actor.
Nonetheless, I sincerely hope that Mr Lee will understand that these films, whilst possibly unfulfilling and dissatisfying to him, have provided many of us with countless hours of pleasure and that we love to nit-pick over little details like the rings!

All the best,
Simon



David Pecchia's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

I have this photo of the ring worn by Mr. Lee in Dracula 1958 aka: Horror of Dracula. I do not own this ring, a friend of mine does and it was also worn by Duncan Regehr as Dracula in the 1987 film, The Monster Squad.

Leering.JPG


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Re: Dracula Ring

Nice picture David. Thanks for sharing.

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David Pecchia's picture
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Re: Dracula Ring

Thanks Steve....it is a beautiful piece to own. Also a special thanks to Matt for helping me with my upload dilemma.....Thanks again!!

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