RALEIGH — Witness the all important race to discover the tomb of Genghis Khan when the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences shows “The Mask of Fu Manchu” on First Friday, January 6 at 7pm. Free. Last one there will be unspeakably foul.
The opponents in this race include the sinister Chinese scientist Dr. Fu Manchu and Egyptologist Sir Lionel Barton, spurred on by the British Secret Service. If the Fu tracks down the sword and mask of Khan he will have the legendary conqueror’s power to enslave the world. If Sir Lionel gets there first, he gets to “bring those pretty things back to England.” Who you got?
Evil genius Fu Manchu is played to perfection by Boris Karloff under pounds of pancake makeup. Karloff is one of the true icons of horror cinema, best remembered for his portrayal as the title monster in “Frankenstein” (1931), where he was listed in the credits only as "?" Karloff donned Asian makeup again for his role as detective James Wong in a series of films from the late 1930s. Karloff achieved Christmas immortality as the narrator of the perennial animated TV favorite, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966). Karloff's last great role was as an aging horror movie star confronting a modern-day sniper in the Peter Bogdanovich film “Targets” (1968).
Fu’s diabolical daughter Fah Lo See is portrayed by none other than Myrna Loy, aka the Queen of Hollywood. One of the most popular actresses of the 1930s, Loy was often typecast as an exotic femme fatale early in her career, but transitioned into a much more wholesome character after being cast as Nora Charles in “The Thin Man” (1934) and five subsequent Thin Man movies. Loy’s big screen performances continued through the mid 1950s, after which she primarily appeared on TV series (from “Family Affair” to “Columbo”) for another couple of decades, although she did appear in “Airport 1975” with Charlton Heston and a star-studded cast. Both Karloff and Loy began their careers in silent films.
The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to witness a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, shop at the Museum and Exhibit stores, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live music from our Curator of the Blues, Steve Harvell. You can also visit the Museum’s newest special exhibit, “Genghis Khan,” which tells the amazing true story of Khan — his sword, his mask, and his enduring legacy. Plus, a mummified Mongolian princess on loan from the Mongolian Academy of Science. Special First Friday rate: $8 for Adults, $5 for Children/Students/Seniors, free for Members. This exhibit runs through January 16, 2012.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, located at 11 West Jones Street in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Visit us online at naturalsciences.org. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday, 12-5pm. General admission is free. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.