Nope. Never did. Not in the book, not in the movie. In the first film with Boris Karloff
as the monster, the good doctor has a lab assistant named Fritz. He was hunchbacked but he did not talk like Peter Lorre
as most conventional Igors do. The third Frankenstein film, Son of Frankenstein
, finally introduced a character named Ygor
but he was not a lab assistant, or even a hunchback. He was a broken necked murderous blacksmith who used the Monster to do his bidding and kill his enemies for him. He was also not played by Peter Lorre
, but the famous Bela Lugosi
So how did contemporary movie monster mythology come to ensconce the idea that Dr. Frankenstein has a hunchbacked assistant named Igor who wrings his hands and talks like Peter Lorre? Seriously, who has ever heard of a Frankenstein WITHOUT Igor? How did it come to be that everyone who sees the first film nowadays is shocked and a little disappointed to learn that there is no lab assistant named Igor?
I think the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein has a lot to do with it, but then if that film saw fit to spoof a character named Igor, why then did they make him the doctor's assistant, and not base him on Lugosi's character? Why not call him Fritz? Why didn't Fritz become the immortal assistant?
There is some explanation in that Peter Lorre's character in Arsenic and Old Lace plays an assistant much like the stereotypical lab assistant, but why did this unrelated role become mistakenly embedded in public consciousness as having been in another movie altogether? If you went out into the street to ask one hundred people to fill in the blank and say, 'Frankenstein and blank', I bet every one of them would say "Igor". But really there never has been such a character. I think it's interesting that modern myth has basically invented this character out of thin air, piecing his name, appearance and personality together from other roles, much like the monster was pieced together from various corpses' body parts.