Now that the dust has settled after the Royal Wedding- we shall chronicle a different type of royalty tonight on MeTV. He’s the first in the regal bloodline of Universal Studios’ wolf men- bringing terror to England via Tibet- as the victim of an accursed attack that triggers a hideous transformation with exposure to the full moon- behold the "Werewolf of London"!
We join botanist Wilfred Glendon and his assistant on an expedition to Tibet – with the goal of finding a rare flower that will only bloom in the light of a full moon. Despite dire warnings and strange , seemingly supernatural, occurrences- Wilfred finally discovers the plant high upon a mountain- only to be attacked by a mysterious creature! He survives the attack, though bitten in the process (or was he bitten in the arm?), and manages to procure a single specimen of the flower- whose botanical name is the mariphasa.
Returning to England with his new specimen, he ensconces himself in his botanical laboratory to study the plant. Even his beautiful wife Lisa finds it difficult to lure him out of the lab- eventually coercing him to come out and greet a flock of visitors. Wilfred finds them a distraction, and would rather return to his work- though he notices an old friend of Lisa’s paying a great deal of attention to the lovely lass. A new and unfamiliar visitor arrives- a Professor Yogami, begging to converse with Wilfred, claiming he encountered him on his Tibet trip- but Wilfred has no recollection of their meeting. Yogami begins a supernatural tale regarding the newly-acquired plant; first warning Wilfred that the bite he suffered might cause him to become a werewolf; and secondly, that utilizing the bloom of the mariphasa plant is the only way to stop the transformation! Wilfred, being a man of science, discounts the story as a superstitious legend- but soon learns differently. During his experimentation, he is using a lamp that simulates moonlight to encourage the plant to blossom, and his hand strays into the light- and begins to become furry! He experiences the full effect when an actual full moon occurs- and he completely transforms into a werewolf! Still having the presence of mind to recall that he can use the rare flower to stave off the horrible change- he heads into the lab- only to find that someone has taken the few blossoms that had bloomed, sending Wilfred out on the prowl through the streets of London.!
When the full moon’s effects have worn off, Wilfred must feverishly attempt to get more blossoms blooming before the next moon cycle. His relentless pursuit of gaining the cure wears even more on the strained relationship with his wife, who feels rejected and turns to her old childhood sweetheart for comfort. The plant is taking time to flower again, so Wilfred attempts to seal himself away from harming anyone by taking a room in a low-rent inn where he can lock himself in. Regardless, the next full moon takes its toll on him- and he again roams the city in search of victims. His greatest fear is that one more part of the old legend will prove to be true- that a werewolf will instinctively kill the one he loves the most! Can Lisa- and London itself- escape the savage power of the supernatural?
As mentioned, this 1935 film is truly the first werewolf in the Universal horror catalog- preceding Lon Chaney Jr. claiming the role of Larry Talbot- the best-known Wolf Man- in 1941. You’ll hear about the cast members like Henry Hull and Valerie Hobson- and those who found fame in other roles- Spring Byington- who became a popular star of early TV- as well as Warner Oland, who made his mark in the movies as a beloved detective character. We'll also give you some in-depth information regarding the make-up- thanks to information provided to us by Courtland Hull, whose great uncle Henry stars in tonight's film. Thanks to Courtlandt, we are able to tell you the actual true story about Hull's make-up – and clear up some misinformation and downright untruths that have been passed around as fact for years. (Again, we ask our blog commenters who might know the real facts to PLEASE keep them to yourself until after the show airs). Plus- one more time- it’s a semi-classic encore edition of our drawing game “Too Drawn Out”!
"Werewolf of London" airs on MeTV tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, and, if unsure when or where we are on in your area, just check your local TV listings or go to www.metv.com and click on "where to watch". In Chicago, local viewers can get their morning fix of coffee, orange juice, and spiders at 11 am on our sister station, WCIU, with our final showing of “Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo”.
If you’re near the Harvard, IL, area today- come visit with me at the Harvard Milk Days celebration- I’ll be helping to wind up the parade that starts at 1 pm, then spend some time on the fairgrounds meeting and greeting, singing autographs and taking photos . We will have Sven merchandise available for purchase. Full information is under the “appearances” tab here on our site.
Even though we just had a full moon earlier this week- be prepared for more moonshine and a hairy Henry Hull tonight!