Monster Kid Online Magazine #5

Frankenstein’s Monster was ultimately a misunderstood child, thrust into the world by an emotionally unstable and unfit father, to fend for himself. As such, he was naturally drawn to other lonely children. His first (and tragically brief) friendship upon venturing into the world outside the lab was with the unfortunate flower child, Maria in the original FRANKENSTEIN. Later, in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, curly-haired tyke Peter Von Frankenstein made friends with the "nice giant" until the Monster's thinking was skewed by the cruel loss of his mentor, Ygor.

By the time GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN hit theaters in 1942 The Monster had been burned, blown up and dropped kicked into a pit of boiling sulfur and had every reason to give up on new relationships. But when he saw little Cloestine being teased by a group of insensitive bullies, he was instantly drawn to her. Cloestine's hurt and rejection perfectly mirrored the Monster's feelings - those of a naive outsider longing for acceptance. Their friendship gave us some of the most touching moments in horror film history.

Cloestine was played by then four-year old Janet Ann Gallow, who is surely the envy of every Monster Kid for being a part of one of the classic Universal Frankenstein films and performing with such horror luminaries as Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill and Evelyn Ankers. To this day, you can still see little Cloestine in Janet Ann Gallow. Aside from added life experience, Janet seems just as innocent and shy as she was in 1942. Robert Aragon and I recently got together with Janet at her home in Los Angeles County to discuss her role in GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN and her memories of her co-stars in the film.


Robert Aragon: I first met you three years ago at Universal's annual Jacks and Jills reunion. You knew right away why I approached you.

Janet Ann Gallow: Yes, because of "Ghost of Frankenstein". I was very unaware of the vast acceptance of this film. I did not know that it had that much of an impact on anybody.

Any stories of Lon or on the set of "Ghost of Frankenstein"?

Yeah, when Lon took me around to all the people. (He) took my mom and they had a coke highball; rum and coke I guess. But she was a very pretty lady, she had blonde, platinum hair like Jean Harlow, blue eyes and fair skin. She was tall and thin. Consequently she was attractive and I think people thought she was attractive. When she went out and took me out all over the studios they stopped and looked at her. Because she was very attractive and I think that helped a lot for me to get in the doors. She never played the games but she was an attractive lady with a little girl and she was a typical stage mother. She made sure I looked good. She bought me clothes that made me look cute. My hair was always done right. It was all presentation. I was eight years old when my mom passed away! She was a typical stage mother, but when she passed away I went on [making movies] a few years with my father, but I didn’t go any farther.

What do you mean ‘typical stage mother’?

She was out there pushing me. Well, she started when I came back from San Jose. I was born in San Jose, moved to Hollywood and at that time she decided to push me into movies. So I was about four when she started pushing me.

People assume you don’t remember much about "Ghost of Frankenstein", but you remember a lot!

Yeah, because I had to memorize a lot of the script because I couldn’t read so my mother would read it to me and I would memorize other peoples parts so I would know when I had to come in and say my lines.

So that means Ralph Bellamy’s lines; that means Chaney’s movements.

Yes, yes. Bela Lugosi also. I would memorize their lines so I would know when I would come in.

When you think back and you have all these memories how do you remember the Frankenstein film? Any specific memories?

Ygor (Bela Lugosi) is eager to be the donor for the Monster's upcoming brain transplant, but the Monster has other ideas. Cloestine wonders if that might be carrying togetherness too far.

I remember that they introduced me to Lon right away

Who introduced you?

The director. And when I met him he was very nice to me.

Was Lon in costume?

Yes. When he got out of there (the makeup room) I wasn’t sure who he was because I had only met him with his makeup on. But he was very nice to me. I was never frightened with Lon, we got along great. He played with me a lot, let me ride his leg like, you know, the horse type thing. Also, he would take me around and show me to everybody.

And you stayed in contact with Lon?

It was after the film I started going to his house. He asked if I could come over to see him and my mom said ok. He and his wife decided they would have me come over to the house. I went and got pony rides at this other ladies house, played with the miniature copper things that were all over the coffee table in the room.


It's not hard to figure out what the Monster is asking for here. You might say it's a new brainer.

What were they, soldiers?

No, dolls, pots, dishes. They were all over the coffee table. And, they would make me fancy drinks with all kinds of different colors. There would be reds and blues. They were soft drinks, like strawberry and grape and pineapple. They were great.

There was a rumor that he wanted to adopt you. Is that true?

Very true. My mom passed away when I was eight years old, and Lon asked my dad after my mom died if there was any chance of him adopting my brother and I because they did not have any children. My dad said no. I later found out that he had adopted two boys, so he was very sincere. He really wanted to adopt some children.

(editor's note: Although Lon Chaney Jr. and his second wife Patsy had no children together, Lon's two sons, Ronald and Lon were his natural children from his first marraige.)

Did you know about the adoption?

I knew that he had asked my father.My dad said, ‘Lon Chaney wants to adopt you and your brother but I said no.’


A personal note from Janet to readers of Monster Kid Online Magazine.




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