By William Henry Pratt
Count Dracula is maybe best known for the many, many movies that this vampire has starred in. With a
dozen or so telling and re-telling, the original story written by the Count’s creator Bram Stoker and based
on the novel that started it all. This vampire has also been in many movies having nothing to do with the
Stoker story such as Taste of the Blood of Dracula, Billy the Kid vs Dracula, Dracula vs Frankenstein,
Scares of Dracula, Dracula Prince of Darkness, Dracula Dead and Loving It, The Monster Squad and so
on and so on, you get the idea.
But did you know that this vampire has also a great run on television
as well? Count Dracula has been in horror shows such as Buffy, TV made
movies like the re-telling of the Stoker story on the BBC and has even
been in kid shows like the Monster Squad TV series from the 70’s, The
Drac Pack and The Grovey Gholies. Dracula was even one of the main
cast members of the Munsters TV sitcom, although better known in the
show as Grandpa. But playing co-star to other monsters, this vampire
never had his own TV series until the 1979 short run series called Cliff
Hangers took to the airways.
This show was divided into three very different storylines with one being about Dracula. The story took
place in modern day LA of 1979 having Dracula trying to fit in the 20th century by living as a normal man
and taking a night school teaching job, where of all things, he teaches history. Easy to talk about
something when you lived it, but as he tries to go about his life, his true identity is discovered and a blood
bath soon followers.
As implied in the show’s title, each of the three episodes as
well as the one with our vampire ended in a cliff hanger where
most often the people Dracula was after were held in some form
of danger until you saw them get out of the peril in the following
week’s episode. Even the Count himself ended one show by him
fighting to survive in the wake of the rising sun. Although this was
the first time Dracula was played straight and not in a comedy or
children’s show, the series didn’t last long and it would take an-
other 11 years before the Count would rise again on television.
In 1990, a new series rose called Dracula The Series and it
too took place in the modern world with this time Dracula now a
wealthy business man living under an assumed name. But again,
he is discovered for the monster he is as two teens and their
grandfather battle the Lord of the undead. Played funny as well
as straight, this syndicated series shown on Saturday afternoons,
well at least where I saw it, was not the best show ever. But the
vampire who, by the way, was the very first blonde Dracula, was
a very entertaining show. It ran for two seasons until it was given
the stake. After Dracula The Series ended, it would take another
23 years before the vampire would rise again.
In 2013, NBC gave a try to a new Dracula TV show, and this
time it took place in the 1800’s. However despite having a some-
what good storyline, the show didn’t seem to play to horror view-
ers and seemed to make the series a straight up drama. It could
have worked and the show was just starting to get its sea legs
and get good when NBC pulled the plug on the show and once
again Dracula out stuffed back into the box.
But this vampire was not done yet and returned not as the
star of the series but one of the main cast of creatures in the
series Penny Dreadful. Combined with the Frankenstein mon-
ster, Dr. Jekyll and his counterpart and a host of other creepy
creatures, the show ran for a few years on cable.
Okay so Dracula’s run on TV was never ever long lasting, but
his impact is nonetheless everlasting. Like the vampire himself,
Dracula someday will return to the small screen I’m sure and when
he does, he’s going to have plenty of bite.