Oh, hey there.
I see you’ve decided to press play.
You might want to reconsider the following broadcast is not for the faint of heart.
This story of such a moral themes with such unsavory characters.
It’s well we’ve warned you.
It’s 1803 London. the Royal College of Surgeons hosts a medical lecture to an audience of doctors and other curious onlookers at the front of the hall stands, Italian physicist Giovanni aldini next to him as a massive battery of copper and zinc and his subject, a corpse a recently executed, convict, who’d been hanged just an hour before for drowning his wife and child, an electrical current runs from the giant battery through Metal rods that aldini is holding he touches them to the corpses face it store.
So it’s rectum, one eyewitness recounted the Striking demonstration to the Times newspaper which or of the deceased criminal began to quiver, the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted and one.
I was actually opened the right hand was raised and clenched and Legs and thighs were set in motion, it appeared to be uninformed part of the bystanders as if The Wretched Man was on the eve of being restored to life.
Electric experiments like these helped Inspire, Mary, Shelley’s iconic story Frankenstein.
It’s one of the first science fiction novels and it came to her in a blood-curdling dream, I have found it.
What terrified me will terrify others and I need only describe this Spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.
From gimlet media.
This is not passed it a show about the stories.
We can’t quite leave behind every episode.
We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.
I’m Simone palamon.
It turns out the last Friday of October has a name Frankenstein.
Friday, it’s a random holiday made up by a random person but if you listen to the show, you know, we love those Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein over Years ago, based in part on the science of the time, but it was also a hugely personal story.
How did her monster become so iconic and why has her story?
Been told and retold, time and time again.
Well Franken, find out after the break.
Now, if you’re like me a girl who chronically didn’t do her assigned reading, you may know Frankenstein less from the novel and more from say, the shelves of a Spirit Halloween store, but the original story, I don’t know.
It’s like what some scientist makes a giant green dude, and maybe there’s like villagers with pitchforks or something.
Turns out, there’s way more to the story of Frankenstein, then can’t be Halloween.
Mary Shelley was only 18 years old.
When she wrote this Timeless story, it was 1816, and she was on vacation one summer in Geneva Switzerland.
It wasn’t much of a summer.
A volcano had erupted in Indonesia causing some wacky weather across Europe.
So it was unseasonable cold, which meant that Mary and her traveling companions were mainly stuck indoors.
We crowded around the Blazing wood, fire and occasionally amused ourselves with some German stories of ghosts, which happened to fall into our hands.
These Tales excited us in a playful desire of imitation to write each a story.
Founded on some Supernatural occurrence, a ghost story writing contest.
Now that’s something our young writer could sink her teeth into Mary had grown up around the literary icons, Mary’s father, William Godwin was a philosopher and political writer, Mary spent hours and her father’s library reading multiple books at once.
She’d listen in on her father’s conversations, with visiting authors scientists and political reformers.
She studied science philosophy, Greek mythology.
Yeah, pretty intense for a teenager but there was one Endeavor She was drawn to Over all the others as a child I scribbled and my favorite pastime during the hours.
Given to me for recreation was to write stories.
Yeah, those scribbles, we’re talking like a 39 quatrain poem in iambic pentameter, you know, like Shakespeare Vibes that her father published when Mary was just 11.
But Mary’s childhood while intellectually rigorous was far from perfect Mary’s mother, the feminist philosopher.
Mary Wollstonecraft died of complications, from childbirth, leaving her husband alone and struggling to care for Mary and her older sister.
But then someone new enters the scene a stepmother, but a kind of wicked stepmother to marry.
This is animal or professor of English and women studies, at University of California.
For Nia Los Angeles.
She’s written a whole book about Mary Shelley’s life.
And Anne says that when Mary’s father remarries to a widow who brings marry a new step brother and sister home.
Life becomes very Rocky, step mother and daughter.
Do not get along when Mary’s 15, her father receives a letter from an acquaintance in Scotland and immediately writes back and says, oh, you want to do something for me?
I have this be Troublesome daughter.
If you’ll just take her off my hands.
And so at the age of 15, she’s shipped off to Scotland by herself to this family strangers.
She spends two years with them.
Imagine your dad tells you to fuck off for two years because you don’t get along with his new wife, talk about pain, Mary eventually returns to London, where she meets a young, ambitious, poet, Percy, Shelley, and Percy leaves, an impression.
He was 7 years old or he was a published poet and novelist very much.
A student-teacher relationship between the two of them.
Well Bears Percy, handsome, intelligent passionate and very married.
But when Percy meets Mary as marriage is in a rough spot and his eyes wander.
Mary is the first to boldly confess her love.
Much to the disapproval of her father, who tries to stop the affair.
But the teen heart wants with a teen heart wants Percy leaves his wife for Mary Run away together to France and Mary’s father, refuses to speak with her, Mary gets pregnant.
She gives birth to a little girl, but the baby is born premature and dies after only two weeks.
Heartbroken Mary writes in her journal of a recurring dream.
Dream that my baby came to life again.
That it had been called and that, we rubbed it before the fire and it lived away can find no baby.
I think about that little thing all day, not in good spirits at such a young age, just 18 years.
Mary had experienced, her parents rejection, the passionate Chase of love and the profound loss of a child.
She’s carrying a With her that cold summer in Geneva in 1816 you think this ghost story contest, she had going with her travel companions would bring some levity, take her mind off of the stresses of her life but she struggles to come up with a story to share.
I busied myself to think of a story, a story to rival those which had excited us to this task.
Now, I thought in pondered vainly, have you thought of a story?
I was asked each.
Morning and each morning, I was forced to reply with a mortifying - and I don’t blame her.
She’s trying to impress a pretty tough audience among them.
Her stepsister Claire the English poet.
Lord Byron and her poet boo Percy, they frequently encourage each other’s writing and they discuss philosophy and science.
One of Percy’s favorite subjects He actually thought of himself.
As a chemist, he went to Oxford studied chemistry or studied, what they call Natural physiology at the time and he was doing all sorts of experiments on electricity electrifying caps.
One time, Percy flew a cat up in a kite in the middle of a storm.
Yeah, like a dark cited, Benjamin Franklin.
Here’s the thing though when the early 19th century electricity was kind of that girl, we were just beginning to capture and study its power.
Remember aldini and his horrific public demonstrations on executed.
Criminals Mary was familiar with these experiments and they intrigued her perhaps a corpse would be reanimated.
Perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured brought together and Dude, with vital warmth.
Perhaps these images of a corpse contorting and limbs.
Convulsing are simmering in the back of Mary’s head.
Perhaps she still haunted by the baby, she’s lost the father who still won’t speak to her and then one night, tossing and turning between sleep and awake.
She has a striking dream.
I saw with shot eyes but acute mental Vision.
I saw the pale student of unhallowed Arts.
Kneeling beside the thing, he had put together.
I saw the Hideous, Phantasm of a man stretched out and then on the working of some powerful engine shows signs of life and stir with an uneasy half vital motion.
When Mary wakes up, she starts driving down a story based on the haunting images of her dream.
She shares it with her traveling Companions, and they’re horrified, which is a good thing.
Remember, it’s supposed to be a ghost story and Percy encourages her to expand her short story, into a novel, which she does Frankenstein.
If you’ve never read the original text, don’t worry.
I’m about to hit you with the highlights.
And since this all started as a ghost story, By the light of a single candle crazed.
Scientist named Victor.
Frankenstein stands over a lifeless body.
He’s left his entire world behind his family.
His future wife, all for the secret project, building his creature then dr.
Frankenstein takes the final step giving his creature a spark of life, and it’s a success.
But when the creature opens, his eyes, dr.
Frankenstein is horrified.
The creatures dull.
Eyes are frightening his yellowish skin fails to conceal, the muscle and arteries beneath.
And he Towers at a staggering eight feet.
The doctor runs from his creation, which he now finds hideous.
The Hulk of a creature escapes off into the night.
We hear screams Forever people cross his path.
But he isn’t just some murderous monster when he comes across a family.
He secretly observes them and learns language literature and music but when the family discovers the creature, they beat him and chase him from their home.
Rejected by every corner of society.
The creature seeks out his creator for answers.
He finds dr.
Frankenstein and tells him that he’s deeply lonely and in pain and so he asks dr.
Frankenstein for a solution, a companion.
Hey even go stories, need a love plot.
Dr. Frankenstein feels.
Sorry for his creature and agrees to make him a companion but then doubt and fear set in.
How could he unleash another monster on the world?
The scientist destroys the companion.
In Revenge, the creature kills, dr.
Frankenstein’s closest friend and his future wife.
Learning this dr.
Frankenstein is determined to destroy his creation.
He chases him up into the icy Arctic but cold sick and worn down dr.
Frankenstein succumbs to illness and dies in his Pursuit.
The creature Mourns the death of his creator.
His Only True Companion.
And at last the creature runs off into the dark of night towards the Arctic pole and certain death even The Abridged version.
Get some good man.
So how did we get from the story of a science experiment, gone awry and some classic bad parenting to the green monster.
We all know and love today.
Trick-or-treating outside your door.
It wasn’t easy.
Mary story, could have ended here.
There were critics that were positive about it, but a lot of them early on said this is objectionable, it’s horriffic, it’s disgusting.
It’s appalling, the monster leaps from the page and into the real world after the break.
Welcome back my Franken friends before the break and 18 year-old Mary Shelley one, her vacation, ghost story, contest assuring Frankenstein into the world.
That’s often referred to as sort of a landmark.
If not the beginning of the science fiction, genre itself, this is theater professor and Scholar dr.
Jeanne T in she’s studied theatrical adaptations of Frankenstein and she says that at first not everyone.
What Mary had created here.
She was creating a story that was so ambitious.
So ahead of its time that that in and of itself, offended tastes and sensibilities, actually an 1818.
When Mary initially published Frankenstein.
She did so anonymously and that makes sense, being a woman author attracted negative attention shortly after the novel was published.
Shhhhht a reviewer in the British critic wrote.
The writer of it is, we understand a female.
If our authors can forget the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should, and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment.
But there was another big sore spot for a 19th century Society structured around religion, the creation of life, without God was a big No-No and its review of the novel.
At the time, the Edinborough magazine, wrote wheel up, we’ll see why it should have been written.
We are accustomed happily look upon the creation of a living and intelligent being as a work that is fitted only to inspire a religious emotion.
Yet, despite the harsh critiques, there was one group that saw potential in Frankenstein.
So Frankenstein was first adapted in 1823 as a stage, play written by Richard, brinsley Peak called presumption.
Yeah, he didn’t even call it Frankenstein Genie says presumption took some Liberties, I say this with absolute love the play.
It doesn’t read like Shelley’s novel much at all.
It’s very much, a melodrama and appealing to melodramatic tastes and sensibilities of the day.
There’s action Are singing.
There’s pantomiming and humor and a Frankenstein was going to appeal to The Wider public.
It needed to draw a bold line between good and evil and Peak draws this line by introducing a new character, a nervous lab assistant.
My first only hired me because he thought I look so stupid.
Stupid, but am I stupid though?
To be sure mr.
Frankenstein is a kind man and I should respect him but that I think’s as how he holds converse with somebody below with a long tail horns and Hooves.
This lab assistant Witnesses, dr.
Frankenstein making this creation and he immediately is like you’re doing the work of the devil.
The creature isn’t even referred to as the creature or Monster his referred to as a demon.
Mary actually saw the production on August 29th. 1823, there she is sitting in the audience, in the theater.
People are on the edge of their seats for the final chase scene and Mary watches as onstage dr.
Frankenstein, stumbles after the demon into the snowy mountains, he points a gun at the demon and shoots.
And then this triggers an avalanche, that kills them both.
Oh, the drama audience’s.
Eat it up.
In a letter to a friend, Mary recalls that night seeing her monster alive on stage, played by English.
Actor, Thomas Potter cook, but lo and behold I found myself famous.
Well the story is not well managed but cook played The Creatures part extremely well, I was much amused and it appeared to excite a breathless, eagerness and the audience.
If I were Shelly, I don’t know that I could find the same Grace.
Not after seeing a bunch of theater, kids, give my novel The Riverdale treatment.
But tearing this story apart and sewing it back together as something that would happen over and over.
Again, I’ve read some adaptations that were just wild.
It’s hard to believe, they were ever basing.
It on anything that Shelley wrote, there’s been tons of parodies and comedic adaptations.
There’s an adaptation where the creature dies by falling into a volcano.
By 1826, there were 15, different melodramatic adaptations of the story, including that one with the volcano.
That’s from a play called the man and the monster the story of Frankenstein had officially taken off.
People recognize the character of the mad scientist and his monster, and whatever form they took on the stage and political cartoons, even in advertisements.
But the monster that you recognize that Halloween costume, version, that wouldn’t come around until Frankenstein.
Karloff in 1931.
Universal Studios had just put out Dracula and quickly saw a promising future for the horror genre and their lineup, the stock market had just crashed America was entering the Great Depression Ian audiences just wanted an escape from reality.
And what better way to get that than with horror and Frankenstein, I can imagine that there are people going to the movie theater in 1931, that haven’t encountered a film like this yet makeup artist Jack, Pierce spent months, developing the monsters.
Iconic look and feel.
Agreeing scarred face, framed by jet black hair, a flat top head, and a sharp brow line bolts in the neck.
A look that Eclipse to any previous designs and would make any future designs forgettable.
The effort paid off because it’s the look, you know, and the look you love The first close-ups, you see a Boris Karloff on film.
It is jarring.
It is scary that eyes the way that they are lit.
There’s a lot of influence that is taking from German expressionist films in that era.
You see the shadows in the light.
It’s just beautifully shot in that way.
The movie brought Frankenstein’s monster to life for audiences and a way that no other adaptation had done before with an iconic image, which was important.
Because, while Universal Studios couldn’t copyright Frankenstein, you know, it’s in the public domain.
It could copyright the monsters.
You look, it’ll mean it, it’s strange, right?
You can go to the store now and you can pick up a Halloween decoration and it will look like horse karloff’s monster in this, you know, and of course Universal Studios cashed out on its iconic image.
There were sequels Bride of Frankenstein, son of Frankenstein, the ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein meets The Wolfman and over the years, many others have taken a shot with Mary’s mad scientist and monster, the story continues to morph.
There’s Young Frankenstein.
It’s a Mel Brooks parody version of the story.
It’s a lie, it’s a lie, the slasher Bride of Chucky.
A horror about a murderous doll brought to life.
What a crock, there’s Tim Burton’s Twist on the story.
Edward Scissorhands and which the monster is a guy with scissors for hands.
Where are your parents?
Your mother, your father.
I would say, definitely, part of the reason that Frankenstein has had the longevity that it has, is because it hasn’t kept telling Shelli story again, and again, that it has shifted, it that has taken the sort of core essential components, at least the characters and doing what they want with them the story shape-shifts, but it’s framework is still there.
And this extended life of Frankenstein, is something that Mary Shelley herself anticipated.
After seeing presumption that first theatrical adaptation, perhaps she didn’t know quite how far her story would travel but she saw it evolving.
And in a way out growing her carrying on without her, she wrote about giving her monster a last send-off in the preface of an 1831 revised edition of her novel.
And now once again, I bid my hideous, progeny go forth and prosper her hideous.
Progeny her novel.
Now, her own monster in all of these Frank and versions.
There is one last adaptation.
I want to mention a 2011 play from London’s National Theater.
It takes us back to some of Mary’s original themes of what it means to be human and the destructive pain of Rejection and it’s told from the creatures perspective was all that I read, all that I learned, I discover how much I do not know.
Better meal, I like hailstones questions.
But no answers.
Who am I?
Where am I from?
Do I have a family?
He is not a monster out of the gate.
He’s just a human born and doesn’t fit in, and it’s cruel.
How people treat him?
And it’s cruel that dr.
Frankenstein abandoned him and even when he encounters dr.
Later, again, we sense.
The fact that in some ways the creature is far.
More intelligent than dr.
And what he understands about humanity and will continue to see this story written again and again in any and every genre cartoon and live-action film and Stage Shelley’s novel sticks with us.
And not just because it’s groundbreaking one of the first in the science fiction genre.
But because Shelley wrote a myth, a myth, that could be passed.
Sit down through generations, a myth that wrestles with Timeless themes.
That get to the very heart of our anxieties around creating life around losing it.
Our desire for love and connection, a myth that is two centuries.
Later still relevant a mirror reflecting back Humanities ugliest, impulses to reject to abandon to fear.
What we do not understand And really, what could be a more enduring horror than that?
Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media.
This episode was produced by Nick, Delle Rose next week, we’re bringing back not past it trivia Edition.
But this time with a special election themed spin.
Our producer is Olivia Briley.
Our associate producer is remotely, Philip, Laura Newcomb is our production assistant, the supervising producer is Erica Morrison, editing by k.t. feathers axed.
Ponte and Andrea be Scott voice acting by been Britain, and Shelly shenoy as Mary Shelley fact-checking by Ian, Michael sound design and mixing by Emma Monger original music, by Sachs kicks, Ave Willie, Green, Jay bless Peter, Leonard and Bobby Lord.
Our theme song is took Ileana by Coco with music supervision by Liz Fulton, technical Direction by Zach Schmidt show art by Elysee Harvin and Talia Rahman.
The executive producer at CSP media is Zach Stewart Ponte a, the executive producer from gimlet Is Matt schulze, special.
Thanks to the National Theater of London.
Their 2011, production of Frankenstein is available to watch on National Theater at home at stars, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny, Lee Miller and alternating roles as both the creature and Victor Frankenstein, find it at NT, 80 home.com.
And to Lydia Pole, Green Abbie ruzicka Dan Behar gen hon, Emily wiedemann, list Styles, Ariel, Joseph and Josh Bianchi follow not past it.
Now to listen for free exclusively on Spotify click the little bell next to the follow button to get notifications for new episodes and while you’re there hey why don’t you read us 5 Stars?
You can follow me on Twitter at Simone.
Plannin, thanks for hanging, we’ll see you next week.
I’ve given this giant mug that, you know, looks like the Boris, Karloff green head and bolts in it, and I use that for a long time.
And then, of course, he broke.
But the nice thing about breaking a Frankenstein mug, as you can glue it back together and it still looks like you’re honoring Frankenstein.