Researches for a current project led me to look for all the images I could get from Universal’s horror cycle of the thirties. And one thing I found was… lots of tea breaks.

Director James Whale was English, and insisted on proper tea breaks: elevenses, and high tea (I’m Scottish, so I don’t know what those are, but they’re some kind of tea-break). The Americans weren’t invited, noted Gloria Stuart.


Are Colin Clive and Valerie Hobson in character, pretending to have tea, or out of character, actually having tea?

Pretty sure THIS isn’t a scene from either FRANKENSTEIN or BRIDE.

No tea actually visible in this one, but I infer its presence close by. Una O’Connor needs her pick-me-up.


Yes! Ernest Thesiger was a keen painter as well as a needlepoint enthusiast.

This is the famous one —   

13 Responses to “Tea-time”

  1. “GO! You LIVE!! GO!!! YOU stay! You be mum!!!!!”


    “In the name of God, now I know what it feels like to be mum!”

  3. Elsa Lanchester has said that she didn’t drink any tea while costumed as “the Bride”, because of how long it would take to unwrap her so as to allow her to go to the toilet. She would only pretend to be drinking tea for the camera.

  4. Wheels within wheels! Fake monsters fking drinking.

    I’ve seen Elsa’s Bride wig. Disappointingly brown.

  5. I should have mentioned — if anyone out there has any large-ish on-set stills from The Old Dark House — behind the scenes action — let me know about it!

  6. David:did you see the photo I shared yesterday of March,Hopkins and Mamoulian having their own Whale-style tea break on the set of Dr.Jekyl..?

  7. Karloff appears to have his neck bolt plugged into an extension cord in the second photo, and it’s leaking visible electricity!

  8. Yes, some kind of jiggery-pokery going on there. Extension cord or tea-spout?

    Yes, Lawrence, the Hyde tea-break is the best of all. Fredric is really throwing himself into it.

  9. Not entirely authentically British; there are tea-bags in those pots. No loyal Brit really would stand for that.

  10. Maybe these are more a photo-opportunity, then. But Gloria Stuart certainly insisted the tea-breaks were a real thing.

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