Following up our showing of the classic “Frankenstein” last week, we have another original first appearance of one of the most iconic monsters in the Universal horror gallery- the tragic tale of young Larry Talbot- whose return to his ancestral home to heal old family rifts results in his being victim of a supernatural curse- that leaves him doomed forever to spend each full moon as- the “Wolf Man”!
Larry has made the trip from America back to Talbot Castle in Wales, after the death of his brother. Though estranged from his father, he wants to make amends- and reconcile with Sir John, who is more than pleased to have his son back home. Larry is fascinated by his father’s new telescope, and , while trying it out, ends up peeping at an attractive young shop girl in town. He heads to her family’s store, and tries to make time with her- even purchasing an item in the shop- a walking stick with a silver wolf’s head handle! This brings the legend of the werewolf to the lovely Gwen’s mind- which Larry scoffs at, while acting a little like a wolf himself!
When a caravan of gypsies comes to town, Larry wants to bring his new friend to enjoy the entertainment at their camp- and , she agrees- but also invites her gal pal Jenny along as a welcome (for her, anyway) third wheel. They decide it’d be fun to have their fortunes told by a gypsy- but- when Jenny goes first- the fortune teller Bela sees a sign in her palm that drives him to tell her to flee! So much for entertainment- and, later, as Larry trudges home through the fog-enshrouded moors, he hears a scream- and rushes to help, finding poor Jenny being attacked by -a wolf! Larry tries in vain to save her, finally beating the animal with his silver-headed cane, but getting bitten in the process.
When the authorities go to the scene of the crime, they don’t find the body of a dead wolf- but the corpse of a man with his head bashed in- along with the weapon used- a silver wolf’s head cane! Confronted, Larry insists that it was a wolf he killed- but is shocked to find out the body found was that of the fortune teller Bela- whose mother, the gypsy woman Maleva ,mourns her son, and yet, seems relieved he has found peace.
Meanwhile, Gwen is being held responsible by Jenny’s mother and her local ladies group for not “taking care” of Jenny- and Talbot steps in to defend her, making him even less welcome in the neighborhood. In an odd second visit to the gypsy fun fair, Larry runs into Gwen and her-ahem- fiance, and, while joining them for carnival games- finds something upsetting, and he runs off – meeting Maleva, who gives him a pentagram charm for protection- which Larry ends up gifting to Gwen.
Another grisly murder sends the town- and the gypsies- into a frenzy- as Larry begins to realize that his battle with the wolf- and his injury which seems to have disappeared- have actually left him marked by something far worse than a mere animal bite- as he begins to see that the werewolf legend is for real!
This 1941 film, which actually set up a great deal of the werewolf lore familiarly used in horror films, established the character of Larry Talbot- a role played only by Lon Chaney Jr. in the classic run of Universal horror. We have plenty of cast members we all know- including Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Bellamy, and, of course, Claude Rains as Sir John Talbot- we’ll tell you about them , and about the production and make-up. We’ll also bring back our visit with our friend, the fine actor David Dastmalchian- Russian computer hacker Kurt in “Ant Man”, Murdoc in the rebooted “McGyver” series, and more- plus- a conversation with two of our favorite lovely alumni of “Nightmare on Elm Street”- Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss! Oh- you will get a Sven song, as well!
“Wolf Man” begins tonight on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or , check for time and channel where you are in your local listings or at www.metv.com . In Chicago, viewers get another look at “Frankenstein” at 11 am on WCIU, the U.
Our Sven Halloween season tour really gets rolling next weekend, with the Chicago Ghost Conference at the Brauerhouse in Lombard, IL (come meet me, get an autograph, take a photo)- find info at http://www.chicagoghosts.com/conference.html One that fans in or near northwest Indiana should enjoy is a Halloween costume party with yours truly at the Chicago Street Theatre in Valparaiso- followed by their presentation of the musical “Hair”! Come meet me, dress in your favorite costume, and enjoy another terrific show from the Chicago Street Theatre Friday night, October 13th (Friday the 13th!!!) You can find info and ticket information at www.chicagostreet.org
The current list of all appearances will be released first to our newsletter subscribers, but, shortly after that-be watching under our “appearances” tab for the full list- which are subject to addition and/or change, so make sure you check back often.
But, tonight- be pure of heart, and say your prayers by night- and don’t skimp on the wolfsbane- we’ll expect you out on the moors of MeTV!