Ivan Butler

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Ivan Butler

April 9 1909-May 17, 1998

Ivan Butler April 9 1909 - May 17, 1998

As a member of Hamilton Deane’s Number One, or ‘Red’ touring company, Ivan Butler played the role of Lord Godalming in the 1920s and 30s. In Harry Ludlam’s A Biography of Dracula: The Life Story of Bram Stoker (New English Library Ltd., 1977), Ivan recalled, “I can still remember the first week of that amazing tour, where we played in large theatres in such towns as Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester, Blackpool, Liverpool, Leeds, Preston – packing them in. There was a famous curtain speech at the end of the play when the actor playing Van Helsing, bidding the audience goodnight and telling them not to be afraid when they went to bed, suddenly changed his manner, reverted to the accent and character of the play and finished: ‘Just one word of warning, ladies and gentlemen … there are such things.’ One night the string which made the bat fly broke, and the bat ‘sailed in through the window and landed in the footlights, where it stayed glaring unwinkingly out at the audience. As it was supposed to be Dracula in one of his guises, it made his eventual entry a little difficult.” He knew the play well before he donned Dracula’s cape.
Ivan wrote several plays, including Crime Out Of Mind (1949) Columbine in Camberwell (1953)Paper Chain (1953) with Falkland L. CaryIn and Tranquil house (1954). Later in life, he became a writer and film historian. His published books include, The horror film (1967), Religion in the cinema  (1969) Horror in the Cinema  (1970), Cinema of Roman Polanski  (1970) ‘To Encourage the Art of Film’: The Story of the British Film Institute (1971), Cinema in Britain: An illustrated survey (1973), Murderers’ England (1973), The war film (1974) Silent Magic: Rediscovering the Silent Film Era (1987), Murderers’ London (1992). He appeared in the documentaries The Road to Dracula (1999) and The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster, in which he shared his memories of Hamilton Deane’s stage production of Frankenstein, for which he was a prompter before taking on the role of Victor Moritz.

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March 8-?, 1948

Bedfored Theatre, Camden, London


Ivan Butler’s leather-bound 1948 script of Dracula

Dracula Script 1

Dracula script 2

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