So happy to kick stop this tour today with author A.G Howard sharing some trivia about the story which inspired Roseblood.
Little known Phantom facts…
I first read The Phantom of the Opera in high school for an English project. But as I reread the book again more recently along with researching the author and the Broadway/Hollywood versions to lend authenticity and atmosphere to RoseBlood, I found some details that I’d long since forgotten, and a few that I never knew.
I’d like to share those gems with you today.
Original book facts:
- Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera was originally published as a poorly received serialized novel in 1909, which actually plays a huge role in my story line:
- The young soprano, Christine, had dark blonde hair and was from Sweden, lending credence to the rumor that Leroux’s character was based on the real-life soprano of the same time period, Christina Nilsson. This is another detail that plays a role in RoseBlood.
- Although in the Broadway version, the Phantom has no name, in Gaston Leroux’s novel he’s known simply as Erik.
- During the original story, when he’s in public, Erik wears a papier-mache nose along with his mask.
- Erik steals a horse named Caesar and uses him to transport Christine into his underground lair. Caesar was white, which seems fitting transport for a ghost.
- The command from the book, “Keep your hand at the level of your eyes,” isn’t to protect characters from seeing the Phantom’s monstrous face. Erik was adept at disposing of victims with the “Punjab lasso,” a wire noose employed like a garotte to strangle victims. Keeping a hand at the level of one’s eyes prevented the weapon from tightening around the victim’s neck. It was the only defense against strangulation and a gruesome death.
- In the way of other retellings, there is both a well-known prequel and sequel to the original Phantom tale, written fairly recently and by two different authors: Phantom by Susan Kay & The Phantom of Manhattanby Frederick Forsyth.
- The sequel, The Phantom of Manhattan, partly inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2010 stage sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, known as Love Never Dies.
And this leads us to the entertainment portion of the post.
Broadway and film facts:
- In 1984, Lloyd Webber conceived of the idea to produce a romantic musical/theatrical version based on the book. He screened both Phantom movies available for viewing at the time: the 1925 Lon Chaney and 1943 Claude Rains versions. Neither one held the ingredients necessary to make the leap from film to stage. Later, in New York, while at a second-hand bookstore, he stumbled upon a copy of Leroux’s original, long-out-of-print novel. Inside, Webber found the inspiration to develop the now-famous and beloved musical.
- The Phantom of the Opera 1925 movie, starring Lon Chaney, Sr. and Mary Philbin, features a scene in which Erik plays the organ and Christine creeps up behind to peel off his mask. It’s cited by film critics as one of the most memorable moments in film history. I’ll leave the video clip below, so you can decide for yourself.
- Robert Englund, best known for his portrayal of Freddy Krueger of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, played the role of the Phantom in a 1989 horror version.
- The Broadway “Masquerade” scene uses life-sized mannequins to make the party seem larger. So it’s no surprise there are mannequins in my retelling, right? But I assure you, they’re much creepier and serve an entirely different purpose in RoseBlood.
- For early London Phantom rehearsals, animatronic rats, a white horse, and real doves flying through the theater were incorporated—though these ideas were discarded before previews began.
Let us know in the comments if you know of any Phantom trivia we missed!
Thank You to author A.G Howard for sharing!
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