Excellent read, X-human! I don't think there's much doubt that Chaney was tapped for Dracula, and the studios would have worked out an arrangement to let him take the role. It would definitely have been interesting to see what would have happened next. In all likelihood, Chaney's Dracula would have been at least as big a hit as the film that was eventually released--which would have raised the stakes for Chaney to take the Frankenstein monster role, too. I don't completely agree that Dracula's lack of a score is a problem. In my opinion, Dracula is one of the few flicks that gains spooky ambience from the relative background silence. The low-key stillness of Lugosi's more vampiric scenes only makes them that much more unnerving. Werner Herzog seemed to recognize this, as some similar passages in his Nosferatu remake also play without music. Like you, I think things at Universal worked out for the best. Chaney Sr. is near and dear to me, but so are Bela and Boris. Had Chaney lived through the 30s, it certainly would have resulted in reduced opportunities for Bela and Boris. And who knows how it would have altered Universal's classic horror output?