Before television, families clustered about the radio listening to serials and soap operas, quiz and variety shows and no one dared speak. Before radio was also before the age of labour saving devices and families spent their evenings mending the trappings of their lives, or else reading if they could. There was never any conversation except at the dinner table, if that was permitted, and, more importantly, there was never anything much to talk about either. That television killed conversation is a delusion—what it did was provide so much information and so many things for people to talk about that their days and lives weren’t long enough to get it all in. It was not the death of human communication, but the end of a long desperate silence.
...I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew too well.
As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph.
But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan’s great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat ; whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris’s bowie knife plunged into the heart.
It was like a miracle ; but before our eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled to dust and passed from our sight.
In a stroke of sheer genius, Bram Stoker cobbled together a whole bunch of myths, superstitions and historical facts largely from the Romanian region of Europe, and created Dracula. There was a myth that vampire bats sucked human blood (not so); there was a mad count who indulged great cruelty called Vlad the Impaler who lived in an appropriate castle; there was an actual Count Dracula who had nothing to do with any of the above and must have despised Stroker mightily; there was always a belief that the undead walked. Stoker’s imagination added the coffin-bed, the stake through the heart, garlic and onions (interchangeable) and the inability to survive in sunlight. The book is terrific and moviemaker Tod Browning and Bel Lugosi did the rest. Like Frankenstein, Dracula too is one of the few characters from literature who have become household words, carrying their meaning into the lives even of those who have never read the book.