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Meanwhile, our month of classic Universal movies continues tonight on MeTV - with the origin story of the one monster who made repeated appearances in various movies, but was always played by the same actor- Lon Chaney Jr. – in his role as the tortured Larry Talbot- who is cursed to transform, upon every full moon , into the “ Wolf Man”!
The story begins on somewhat of a sentimental note—with young Lawrence returning to the ancestral Talbot home in England, to reconcile with his father and mourn the passing of his brother. While working on his father’s new telescope, Larry manages to scope out a pretty young woman in an apartment window in town- and decides to seek her out. He finds her working in her father’s shop below the apartment , but lovely Gwen seems to be unimpressed by the stranger- and maybe a little creeped out that he was spying on her! Unwilling to give up on forming a relationship with her, Larry makes a purchase- a walking stick with a silver wolf as the handle. He eventually is able to convince Gwen to go out with him for an evening’s entertainment- but she is wily enough to invite her girlfriend Jenny along, much to Larry’s disappointment!
They visit a camp where a travelling group of gypsies are entertaining the townsfolk- and decide to partake in the gypsy custom of having their fortunes told. Larry and Gwen wander off while Jenny goes first- but the fun is about to end. The fortune teller, Bela (played by a real-life Bela- Mr. Lugosi!), sees the sign of the pentagram on her hand- and abruptly ends the session, shouting at her to leave at once! The frightened Jenny flees out onto the moors, and shortly, Larry and Gwen hear her shrieking! Larry runs to her aid, and sees a savage wolf attacking the helpless girl! He beats the wolf to death with his walking stick, and is bitten in his failed attempt to save Jenny. When the local authorities come to investigate - they find the body of the attacker- it is not a beast, but a man! Larry insists that what he killed was a wolf- not a man- but no one is convinced.
When he returns to the gypsy camp- Larry meets the wise old gypsy Maleva- who reveals the shocking truth that the "wolf" he killed was her son Bela- who transformed into a werewolf! When she finds out that Larry was bitten, she warns him that he too will now become a wolf when the full moon rises! She instructs him on the werewolf lore- that he will see the sign of the pentagram in the hand of his victims- and, even with tokens of protection, will be unable to escape this awful supernatural curse. Larry sadly discovers that she speaks the truth. He finds he is being treated like a pariah by the townspeople, who still think he killed a man- and his father begins to worry that he’s having psychological problems.
While the locals set traps for a wolf- the full moon is coming! Larry Talbot must convince his father of the horrible truth- and find a way to keep the Wolf Man from going on the prowl and killing again!
The Larry Talbot character went on to appear in four additional Universal films after his 1941 debut. This origin story not only features Lon Chaney Jr., but also the great Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, the afore-mentioned Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskya, and Ralph Bellamy, among others. We'll provide info about the cast- a delightful musical number- and we have some special segments featuring interviews with “Nightmare On Elm Street” alumni Amanda Wyss and Heather Langenkamp and – the original visit to our dungeon by long-time Sven fan David Dastmalchian, currently playing the Russian computer expert Kurt in “Ant Man and the Wasp”!
"Wolf Man" lurks tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or, check for channel and time in your local listings or at www.metv.com - please remember for those of you setting – once again, check what your provider is listing our program as- either the movie name or “Svengoolie”. As always, MeTV again invites you to live-Tweet during the show on Twitter- and use the hashtag #svengoolie.
Our Chicago area viewers can get a second look at the classic “Son of Frankenstein”" at 11 am on WCIU, the U.
Tonight, though, even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night- can enjoy the original classic that gave Lon Chaney Jr his best-known role- even when there isn’t a full moon in the sky!