It’s a tricky treat tonight on MeTV- with a movie that seems as rarely seen lately as a full moon on Halloween- and so, we have BOTH tonight! Not to be confused with yet another political debate, it’s definitely a clash of major proportions-as two of the top Universal monsters are revived and ready to rumble when "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man"!
The story begins with an eerie scene totally fitting for Halloween- a foggy graveyard at night! Two grave robbers break into the Talbot family burial vault- hoping to reap the rewards of valuables that are rumored to have been buried with Master Larry. Upon opening Talbot’s ( supposed) final resting place, these two criminal geniuses make a couple mistakes- one, they remove the wolf’s bane covering Larry's body, and two, they fail to notice that it's the night of a full moon ( ANOTHER coincidence with tonight!)!
Jumping forward in time- we find an injured man, discovered on a street in a far away town, who has been hospitalized- and, upon gaining consciousness, tells the doctor that he is Larry Talbot. When the authorities check on his past- they tend not to believe him- since records show that Larry Talbot is dead and buried!
Regardless, Larry knows who ( and what) he is- and that he needs help that the hospital cannot provide. He escapes the institution, and searches out that one person who knows all about his cursed condition who might be able to help him- Maleva the gypsy! She feels that his continuing plight is beyond any help she might offer- and suggests that stories have persisted of a great doctor who might be able to supply some answers- one Dr. Frankenstein!
However, those answers are not to be found- their search for the doctor ends in the village where Frankenstein's creation caused horrible mayhem- the legendary doctor is long dead- and all that remains of his legacy is the rubble of his former castle. There, however, an accidental discovery is made- the Frankenstein Monster, entombed in the frozen catacombs beneath the castle! Amazingly, it still holds a spark of life!
Larry is encouraged, and feels there is a chance that he can locate the late doctor's laboratory notes. He seeks out Frankenstein's daughter Elsa to see if she might offer help in finding those vital diaries. Their meeting coincides with the village's Festival of the New Wine, which Larry, at the urging of Elsa and the local authority, begrudgingly attends -and has to sit through the beloved song bellowed by a goggle-eyed troubadour- "Fa Lo La, Fa Lo Lee!" (Personal note : I know many places state that the correct title is "Fa-RO-La..."-but to my untrained ear, it sounds like "Fa-LO-la"...maybe because it sounds foul). More unfortunate coincidences follow- as a doctor from the hospital Larry escaped from has tracked Talbot - and a certain recently defrosted monster decides to stroll into town! More trouble is on the horizon, as the doctor and Elsa try to help Larry- but the lure of restoring the Monster to full power , once again, proves to be too enticing for one man!
This 1943 film serves as a combination sequel to “Ghost of Frankenstein” and “The Wolf Man”- and features Bela Lugosi as the Monster- which makes some sense, since he played Ygor, whose brain was transplanted into the Monster at the end of “Ghost…” We'll talk about how the preview audience's reaction caused the studio to make some significant changes in the film . This was indeed the first Universal “monster mash-up”- the first time they had two of their classic monsters in the same film, leading to more down the line, like “House of Frankenstein”, “House of Dracula”, and even “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”. We'll talk about the rest of the cast, share some Sven shtick, and, as a Halloween treat, bring you a new special segment from last year around this time- highlights from the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications’ special celebration of my 40th anniversary as Svengoolie!
"Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" brightens- and frightens- your Halloween night on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or check your local listings- or at www.metv.com for your local channel and timeslot. You should tune in an hour before the show for a special presentation of the rarely seen 1979 animated spooky special “The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone”! Also, as always, there will be live Tweeting ( Twick or Tweeting?!) on Twitter during the film- make sure to use the hashtag #svengoolie .In Chicago this morning, we welcome viewers to start off their Halloween with a second look at "Mighty Joe Young" on our main local channel, CW26 , at 11 am.
Some exciting new Sven merchandise is showing up in our store here on our website and at www.metv.com - you asked for them, so here they are- the official Svengoolie coffee mugs! These are genuine MeTV- sanctioned mugs with four new designs, including one with a caffienated Kerwyn- so check them out- and get yours while we have them!
And- as most TV stations remind us, as a public service- don't forget to move your clocks back an hour tonight! (You know the old saying- "SPRING ahead- FALL for anything"…no, wait… oh, just turn your clocks back!)
Tonight, spend Halloween with us- and the Wolf Man and Frankenstein! You can do it- you’ll still be able to get an extra hour of sleep ( unless those two really freak you out!)!