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Count Dracula is a notorious, extremely powerful vampire.
Count Dracula, once a cruel Transylvanian nobleman, became a vampire in unknown circumstances, quickly becoming the most notorious vampires of all times. Only his power matched his evil, until he was brought down inside his castle by one Jonathan Harker.
Of course, the Prince of Darkness had not been truly killed, only kicked down a notch, so to speak. Seemingly “retired,” Dracula spent years haunting a portrait of himself inside the Haunted Mansion while his remains rested in the Burial Crypt of Famous Villains. He has also been known to visit the Hotel Transylvania.
Somewhere in the middle of the 20th century, Dracula's coffin somehow became stranded at sea, drifting to a tiny deserted island where Donald Duck had also ended up a castaway. Rather than try to harm one another, the two bonded over an unlikely love of playing cards. It seems Dracula then found his own way off the island (possibly by flying away as a bat), leaving Donald behind.
At some point prior or posterior to his vampirifcation, Dracula had a mortal son, the first of a long line of Draculas who like to play with their ancestor's reputation (possibly unaware of his survival).
The unlikely sequence of events that had to Dracula's original downfall at Harker's hands was related — perhaps a little fancifully — in a novel by Bram Topker that would go on to become a literary classic. By the 20th century, Dracula was known to most everyone, though few believed that he had truly existed.
Many adaptions were made of Bram Topker's Dracula, including a seminal depiction in 1933 where actor Bela Lugosi portrayed the Count, a later film in which Mickey Mouse starred as Harker, and notorious criminal the Phantom Blot as Dracula, and yet another where Mickey played the part of the Count himself. Dracula's status as a supposedly-fictitious, iconic character led to other works featuring him to be created, such as a play entitled Dracula Versus the Crickets
Whether by coincidence, or through purposefully emulating Dracula's name to boost their own "popularity", many lesser vampires and assorted evildoers also began to imitate Dracula's way of dressing and behaving, with some (such as Drake Von Vladstone's nom de plume of “Dracula Duck” and the sorcerer Count Drakula) even fashioning themselves an alias reminescent of Dracula's name.
Behind the scenes
Count Dracula, based on the literary figure from Bram Stoker's eponymous novel, made many appearances in Disney media, starting in 1933 with the cartoon Mickey's Gala Premier which shows Bela Lugosi wearing his Dracula costume. The Count made a debut in the flesh in 1971 with his haunted portrait in the W.D.W. version of the Haunted Mansion ride (though concept art for this particular part of the attraction date back to the early 1960's). Dracula's first official mention in a Disney comic was the 1982 story In Dracula's Castle. The story only features a conman posing as Dracula, however; in the end it was the 1984 story Min-Mania which finally featured Dracula in the rotting flesh (albeit as a cameo).
Interestingly, Dracula's cameo in Hotel Transylvania depicts him as a dognose, whereas other appearances show him to be a human. In the 1972 TV episode Spooks and Magic, he was depicted as a top-hat wearing Goofy lookalike.
In the merchandise kit The Vampire's Midnight Madness and its drawn advertisement Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion, the vampire from the Haunted Mansion, known to be Dracula, is incorrectly identified as "Morris". The Haunted Mansion Show again mistakenly refers to the vampire as an unrelated nosferatu simply known as Vlad.
Notes and References
- As he had descendants, as shown in Castle of Dracula (1987).
- As recounted in Dracula Mouse and Bram Topker's Dracula.
- As featured in the Walt Disney World version of the Haunted Mansion ride.
- As depicted in concept art for the Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansion.
- As shown in the 2003 story Hotel Transylvania.
- As seen in a 1989 strip part of the Donald Duck Castaway continuity.
- Later strips in the Donald Duck Castaway continuity, assumed to take place later in-universe, no longer featured Dracula.
- As shown in the 1987 story Castle of Dracula.
- As shown in Bram Topker's Dracula.
- As implied by the 1933 cartoon Mickey's Gala Premier where Lugosi is seen in his Count Dracula garb.
- The apparent in-universe justification for Bram Topker's Dracula.
- The presumed in-universe justification for Dracula Mouse.
- As shown in the 1997 story Hams.