Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the property of their original owners. The other main individual mentioned in this story died in 1969, so he qualifies as an historical personage, and can be written about without violating TTH’s rules on stories concerning living people.
All he’d wanted to do was to putter in his back garden for a few minutes. It’d been a long day at work, and after arriving home well past sunset, he’d parked his car in the garage and gone directly from there to relax in his rear yard before entering his West Coast house. The man happily strolling around in the bright moonlight and examining with a keen eye the progress of his roses certainly wasn’t expecting to be attacked, not in such a peaceful Los Angeles residential neighborhood during the year 1936.
Nevertheless, a swiftly-moving figure coming out of the shadows of the rear garden shrubs then tackled him without any warning whatsoever. This assaulted man was knocked onto the ground, his back slamming hard enough against the grass to take his breath away. Gasping in shock, he looked up into the countenance of someone straddling his prone body, who either had a truly bizarre facial deformity, or this assailant was wearing a disguise of some sort, consisting of theatrical makeup far exceeding anything Jack could ever invent.
Grinning with the best dental prosthetics he’d ever seen that showed off an extremely convincing set of fangs, the man holding him prisoner looked down with glowing yellow eyes (Some sort of contacts? No, not even Lon had managed that!), and in the very next moment, the ridged features of his captor contorted from evil amusement into astonished recognition.
Held down on the ground, the prisoner now heard a very shocked Cockney voice blurt out, “Blimey, you’re him,
aren’t you?” Faster than he thought anyone could move, the attacker leapt off his body to stand up straight, until the other person bent down to grip the bewildered homeowner under his armpits, and without any trouble at all, he’d been lifted to his own feet.
Swaying on his shaky legs, the dumbstruck resident suffered himself to be hurriedly brushed off with quick strokes of the other’s right hand, all while listening to an apologetic babble which he couldn’t make head nor tails of:
“Awfully sorry about this, old chap. Believe me, I’d never have done it if I’d known who you were. I’ve been an admirer of your work for years! Your monster in the Frankenstein movies -- the original and the sequel -- bloody fantastic! When I saw them for the first time, I read up and watched everything else you’ve done! Imagine my delight when I learned something else, even though the names have to be just a coincidence. My pater was an only child like me, and I don’t think he had any other near relatives. Um…”
As the voice of this lunatic trailed off, the weird planes of his face now changed into an actual sheepish expression. Digging into his pockets, a crumpled piece of paper and a pen were extracted and tentatively held out, with an accompanying wheedling tone being uttered. “I know this is a bit of an imposition, but would you terribly mind? Don’t worry, just put down both names -- your own and your screen name -- and I’ll be off quick as a wink!”
For the first time in the last few incredible minutes, the numb man finally had something occur that he actually understood. In his extreme daze after taking the eagerly proffered objects, the signature he usually put down upon legal documents was then scribbled onto the paper:William H. Pratt aka Boris Karloff
“Thank you very much!” was gleefully delivered a second later while the stranger examined in absolute satisfaction his newest treasure. Glancing up to beam with those really authentic-appearing fangs, this younger blond man began to sidle back into the garden’s shadows. Just before he completely disappeared into the darkness, a determined voice which oddly combined a Cockney inflection with a much more educated enunciation now stated, “Don’t worry, Mr. Pratt.
I’ll be passing the word around, that both you and this place are totally off limits as long as you’re here. Trust me, nothing and nobody will ever bother you again, or they’ll be answering to William the Bloody!”
After the last echoes of this truly perplexing vow died out in the now-silent garden, the man still standing there alone on the cultivated grounds just stared blankly ahead for several moments. Then, he did what any proper Englishman would do in reaction to the recent inexplicable events. He went off to enter by the back door his home’s kitchen, and while in there, William Pratt made himself a very strong cup of tea.
That’s where his wife discovered him. “Hello, dear,” she cheerfully said, just before catching sight of his absorbed expression, to continue in a concerned voice, “Is something wrong?”
“I’m not exactly sure,” confided the movie actor famed for his sinister portrayals of uncanny individuals. Thoughtfully stirring his cup, he went on in a much more certain tone: “However, I’ve just come to a decision. I never really believed Bela when he told me what some of his fans got up to, but that’s changed. From now on, no matter how much money the studios offer, I won’t ever take on a film role which requires me to portray a vampire.”
Author’s Note: Despite all his creepy characters in numerous films, the British actor with the screen alias of Boris Karloff was reputedly in real life a very kind and gentle man. This person who was actually born William Henry Pratt even managed to overcome a slightly ridiculous surname. In his native country, the word ‘prat’ is a slang insult for somebody unintelligent, much like the American ‘clod’. It’s more familiar here as part of the word ‘pratfall’ as demonstrated in just about every comedy film from the Keystone Kops onwards.
In BtVS canon, Spike the vampire wasn’t given a last name when his past life while still a human was shown on the tv series, only the first name of William. The notion that this demon’s full name is in fact William Pratt has been mentioned enough in fanfiction and other sources. I figured Spike well deserved this ludicrous name, and that he’d also be curious about meeting someone who as well shared this, even if it’s totally by accident. This vampire would soon additionally become sensitive to the laughable qualities of two Pratts meeting each other, and Spike would certainly keep silent about the whole soddin’ subject.
Another Note: The ‘Jack’ alluded to above is Jack Pierce, creator of the justly-famed makeup for the monster in Universal Studio’s Frankenstein
series. You know it: the greenish skin, slab of a forehead, drooping eyelids, the neck bolts -- yet Karloff still achieved artistic immortality by showing a poignant personality through everything covering his face. ‘Lon’ is Lon Chaney, of course, and for the final credit, ‘Bela’ is none other than Bela Lugosi (at whom Spike must’ve laughed himself sick the first time he ever watched this film vampire).
Final Note: It’s unknown how things might work out for the Buffyverse’s Boris Karloff, but in our dimension, the only time ever in all his numerous movies this actor did indeed play a vampire was in the 1963 Italian horror potboiler entitled I Tre volti della paura
, or in the English version, Black Sabbath.
I’ve seen it, and the best you can say about that very low-budget flick is whatever else, Karloff always maintained a professional attitude about his work.