Versatile actor, HENRY HULL (1890 - 1977)

best known by most fans as the ill-fated Dr.

Wilfred Glendon in the "Werewolf Of London"

was the great uncle of "Witch's Dungeon" creator, Cortlandt Hull.  Character actress, JOSEPHINE HULL (1886 - 1957), best known as the bouncy spinster murderess, Abby Brewster in both the stage & film versions of "Arsenic & Old Lace", married Henry Hull's brother, and therefore, by marriage, was the great aunt to Cortlandt.  Few can say they were related to a werewolf & a murderess -

it definitely is "in the blood"!


The Hull family was originally from Connecticut, Henry Hull's branch moved south. Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1890, Henry was well known on the stage, which he loved, beginning his long career in 1909.  On Broadway, his most successful performance was that of "Jeeter Lester" in "Tobacco Road" (1933).  Hull was a master of character roles, ranging from poet, Lord Byron, early in his career, to Mark Twain, he created much of his own makeup for his stage performances. 

Possibly his most challenging stage role was that of brooding author, Edgar Allan Poe.  The play,  "Plumes In The Dust" was written by Sophie Treadwell, originally intended for veteran actor, John Barrymore.  After some lengthy legal problems with Barrymore, the playwright handed the leading role of Poe to Henry Hull.  The part required Hull to transform himself into both a young Poe, and a much older Poe, in the latter portion of the 1936 Broadway production.  His makeup was praised in the “New York Times”, as was his performance, but, as a stage play, Poe's tormented life, did not appeal to the reviewer.

Nevertheless, it seems this was a very dynamic

performance by Hull, and sad it was never captured on film.

Henry was equally busy in movies, radio and later television, as he was on the stage.  Hull appeared in several silent films, including the murder mystery "One Exciting Night" (1922) in the role of John Fairfax, directed in a grand scale, by screen legend, D.W. Griffith.  This involved a spectacular wind & rain storm, created by airplane propellers and water hoses manned by the local fire department.

Moving into the sound era, Hull was in many acclaimed films.  Henry had 75 features, in total, to his credit, some starring roles, but mostly character parts, which he enjoyed.  Among these performances are, the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, with makeup by Jack Pierce, in Universal's 1934 production of "Great Expectations", directed by Stuart Walker.  Other parts ranged from the role of Major Rufus Cobb in "Jesse James" (1939) with Tyrone Power & Henry Fonda, to a Broadway producer in "Babes In Arms" (1939) with Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney, and the part of Briggs in "The Chase" (1966), with Marlon Brando.

Henry's trademark deep raspy voice, was a

natural for many radio shows in the 1940's. 

Even impressionist/actor, Frank Gorshin, could

not resist imitating Hull's voice.  In the 1950's, Gorshin had appeared with Henry on the stage.  Between films, during the 1950's & 1960's, Hull was a frequent guest star in many TV westerns, such as "Wagon Train", "Laramie", & "Bonanza". 

Among some of Henry's favorite films, were

working with Alfred Hitchcock on "Lifeboat"

(1944), and co-starring with Vincent Price in

the Jules Verne fantasy, "Master Of The World"

(1961).  Price commented... "What a joy it was

to work with Henry, and the entertaining stories he would tell us, on the set."

Probably he is best remembered as the first "wolf-man" in films, with the 1935 classic "Werewolf Of London".  Boris Karloff was intended for the part, but Karloff was scheduled to shoot "The Bride Of Frankenstein", at the same time.  So, Hull was re-united at Universal with director, Stuart Walker, and makeup wizard, Jack Pierce, from "Great Expectations". 

Having done his own character makeups on the stage, Henry was well aware of Jack Pierce's techniques.  When reading the script, Henry realized, even as the werewolf, he would be recognized as being the "Dr. Glendon" character.  The makeup Pierce planned, resembled his later "Wolf Man" design for Lon Chaney Jr.  Henry felt, with such extreme makeup, the audience would not be able to make the connection of the doctor, as the werewolf.  Pierce refused to alter his concept for the transformation.


Since Henry felt strongly about this "Jekyll & Hyde" style performance, he met with Universal president, Carl Laemmle.  A memo from Laemmle to Pierce, confirmed the makeup was to be toned down.  The "widow's peak" hairline, was Hull's idea, and gave the creature a more demonic look.  It later influenced makeups on Oliver Reed in "Curse Of The Werewolf" (1961) & Michael Landon in "I Was A Teenage Werewolf " (1957) and recently the series “Teen Wolf ” on MTV. Being the creator of Karloff's "Frankenstein Monster" & "The Mummy", Jack Pierce's pride was injured.  The makeup artist did not want any photos taken of him making up Henry as the "Werewolf Of London".

Nevertheless, the character, created by Pierce & Hull, has become a "Famous Monster".  The film has been released by Universal, on several video formats.  In recent years, there have been a “Janus Models” kit, figures from "Sideshow Collectibles",  and of course, Henry's "Werewolf" is featured in "The Witch's Dungeon",  The value of original poster material on this film, has risen dramatically.  In his later years, Henry was seldom interviewed, he would find all this attention unbelievable.


Born in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1886,

Josephine Sherwood, attended the New England

Conservatory of Music & Radcliffe College, in

Massachusetts. 1905, marked her stage debut.

She appeared in minor roles, and as a chorus girl in various productions.  In 1910, she married actor, Shelley Hull (the younger brother of Henry), and retired from the stage.  After Shelley died in 1923, the actress returned to stage work under the name, Josephine Hull.

Josephine was mainly known for her stage career, but appeared in five films, plus various radio and television shows.  She had a key role in the Broadway production of "You Can't Take It With You", but not in the Frank Capra film version, as she was still performing the show on the stage.  However two other Broadway triumphs, originated by Josephine,

on the stage, were re-created for the screen.

"Arsenic & Old Lace" was a huge Broadway hit.

The 1941 play starred Josephine Hull & Jean Adair, as two spinster sisters, who have a habit

of poisoning lonely old men, then burying them in their cellar.  It was written primarily for Boris Karloff, in the role of Jonathan Brewster, the strange brother, of these two equally bizarre sisters.  The Frank Capra film version was shot, while the play was still a hit.  The Broadway producers allowed Hull & Adair to leave the play, to re-create their roles on film, but not Karloff.  So, his part was played by Raymond Massey.  In the 1944 film version, Josephine also starred with Cary Grant.  Grant said, "Josephine was a sheer delight, very bubbly, and had a wonderful sense of comedy timing."  Hull returned to perform the play on tour, often with Bela Lugosi, playing Boris Karloff's role.

Also in 1944, Josephine starred in the Broadway fantasy play, "Harvey", featuring a six foot invisible rabbit, only seen by her slightly off-center brother.  Again, this was another long-running hit for Hull.  In the 1950 film version of "Harvey", Josephine co-starred with James Stewart.  Hull won the Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actress" in that film.

Josephine appeared in one more hit Broadway play, "The Solid Gold Cadillac" (1954).  This  was re-worked on film, for the younger actress, Judy Holliday.  Still, Hull's performances in "Harvey" and especially "Arsenic & Old Lace" have become classics, entertaining audiences

of all ages, today.


All photos - “Witch’s Dungeon/Cortlandt Hull Collection”

special thanks : Joe Shea, Doug Prosch, Ron Borst & “Sideshow Collectibles”



name, image & logos - copyright/tm 2014 Cortlandt Hull

“CLASSIC MOVIE MONSERS” - copyright/tm 2014 Universal Studios

Karloff Enterprises, Chaney Entertainment, Lugosi Enterprises

All web pages, photos & content - copyright 2014 Cortlandt Hull / “The Witch’s Dungeon”





“ARSENIC & OLD LACE” (stage)


“ARSENIC & OLD LACE” (stage)




Cortlandt Hull with figure

of his great uncle HENRY HULL

“Sideshow Collectible” figure


JACK PIERCE making up


final makeup for Hull


preliminary  JACK PIERCE makeup on HENRY HULL






HULL as “Edgar Allan Poe”

HULL as “Mark Twain”

HENRY HULL as “Lord Byron”



1935 Movie Poster

original release 1935 lobby card