Igor is the name given to the usually hunchbacked assistant of the mad scientist in movies that span decades, budgets, studios and quality. Every once in a while a character who for all intensive purposes is the Igor also shows up on TV shows. In fact, some of the Igors who have appeared on TV shows have become legends in their own right. They may not go by the name of Igor, but here’s a little surprise for many of you: neither did the original assistant to Dr. Frankenstein in the 1931 Universal Studios classic. His name was Fritz.
Bruno is the hunchbacked Igor character who appears in a number of horror movie spoofs associated with Monster Chiller Horror Theater on SCTV. Bruno was played by Woody Tobias, Jr. who was actually a hunchbacked actor. Of course, Woody Tobias, Jr. was played by Eugene Levy, who most definitely is not hunchbacked. So what you have with the Bruno character who is the Igor of this TV show is Igor as a postmodern creation. The layer between Woody Tobias, Jr. and his character of Bruno allows “SCTV” to create Brechtian distance between convention and expectation. Thus making Bruno perhaps the single greatest Igor in TV land.
TV’s Frank/Professor Bobo: Mystery Science Theater 3000
“Mystery Science Theater 3000” fans might argue with such an assessment. TV’s Frank was not the original Igor of MST3K although even some hardcore fans might not realize this. But Frank was most definitely the Igor of lasting legacy. As assistant to the pathological Dr. Forrester, TV’s Frank bore the brunt of abuse such as even most of the Universal Studios original and varied Igors and Ygors nver experienced. When MST3K moved to the Sci-Fi Channel, the role of the show’s Igor was taken up by Professor Bobo. Bobo was an ape whose Earth of the future where apes evolved from men was blown up by Mike Nelson
Igor: Gilligan’s Island
“Gilligan’s Island” did not feature an Igor as a regular character, although some might say that Gilligan fit into that role with pretty much everybody else as the Dr. Frankenstein. When Dr. Boris Balinkoff showed up one day and took the castaways back to his creepy castle, however, not only did “Gilligan’s Island” feature an actual Igor, it featured one named Igor. The biggest twist here is that Balinkoff’s Igor was the big guy and the scientist was the little guy. “Gilligan’s Island” also features the funniest scene involving a TV Igor. Balinkoff’s mad science involves brain transference and when big, hulking Igor and super-hot movie star Ginger change bodies, the result is sheer comic gold.
Igor: Hilarious House of Frightenstein
“The Hilarious House of Frightenstein” was a Canadian’s kids show of the 1970s. If you haven’t caught, you really need to track it down as it is quite hilarious. The show is a partly a satire of horror shows and partly a homage. It also features a character named Igor. Keeping mind that “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein” was mainly a kids show–although it is easy enough to see how it would have been a huge hit among teens and young adults in the crazy drug-addled world of its time–the main characteristic setting its Igor apart was his utter lack of control over good grammar.