Friends, I hope you are ready for a howling good time. Okay, I promise no more puns like that. For your retro listening pleasure today we have an 1977 LP entitled The Wolfman Speaks. Featuring none other than the esteemed Lon Chaney Jr. as narrator, for a nice selection of ghost stories.
I will obviously point out the oddness of the original LP cover for The Wolfman Speaks. You notice it too, right? I was a little shocked to see not an image from 1941’s The Wolf Man but 1961’s The Curse of the Werewolf instead. I will of course admit that as cinematic lycanthropes go, Oliver Reed’s take as a wolfman is pretty amazing too.
In fact I am rather surprised that the 1961 film hasn’t been subject of a remake yet. On the other hand there are some who might claim that it has been. Or at the very least some plot points were perhaps a little similar?
The Wolfman Speaks besides being recorded in what was billed as “Non-Living Scary-O”, features the last recordings of Chaney. The actor had passed away back in 1973 with his final film role being Dracula vs. Frankenstein in 1971. So as to how this record came to be I’m not really sure. I believe that Chaney lost his ability to speak without a throat mic around 1970. I wonder if perhaps this audio was meant for another LP similar to likes that David McCallum or Roddy McDowall produced?
When it comes to Lon Chaney Jr, I will admit I have always felt a bit of sadness. As an actor I think he was always under the impression that he had to escape the shadow that was his Father’s legacy. Naturally I believe he did that in spades with some of his own films. However, much like Bela Lugosi he was typecast into certain roles and it appears that his means of escape came in a bottle. Personally it is hard to watch some of his later work, you can see how time had been unkind to him. At the very least he left a solid legacy of his own behind in his earlier films as well as radio!
Now then, grab your favorite beverage and snacks, sit back and enjoy The Wolfman Speaks!
I’m not sure when you were first introduced to the concept of the Werewolf. But as in fact I’ve mentioned before – I learned all about it thanks to this 1975 poster. One that at the tender age of three years old I pulled from a box of Sugar Crisp!
Images courtesy of the Classic Movie Monsters Blog.
Now I didn’t really get bit with the Werewolf bug until seeing 1941’s The Wolf Man. Starring some rather legendary actors. Like Bela Lugosi, Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, and of course Lon Chaney, Jr.
After catching that film on TV during the Late, Late Show I was hooked. While I was a Universal Monster fan from an early age. It would be not just The Wolf Man but anything Werewolf related that would demand my attention. Which is probably how I ended up watching 1981’s An American Werewolf in London at only nine years old!
Which naturally bring us around to our Retro Records offering for today. A 1974 Power Records 45 rpm entitled “The Curse of the Werewolf!”. In addition it features artwork by Mike Ploog and even Gene Colan. I should add that it at the very least looks like Gene Colan provided the artwork for the scenes involving Dracula.
Furthermore – this is a record that could only have come from the 70s! Like some of the others we have shared such as Kojak as well as Man-Thing. The story is rather dark to say the very least.
So without further ado join us on Retro Records as we listen to The Curse of the Werewolf!
A huge thanks to our friends over at Monster Crazy for this incredible production still for the silent horror classic, the Phantom of the Opera. Released in 1925 and starring Mary Philbin and the legendary Lon Chaney, the actor who was billed as the man of a 1,000 faces, the theatrical adaption of the literary masterpiece by Gaston Leroux continues to impress movie fans.
It was re-released in 1929 as a sound picture, using Vitaphone and disks by Western Electric. It is estimated that 40% of the film had to be re-shot for synchronous sound while the remainder of the film was either dubbed over or had music added. During the re-shoots Lon Chaney was not available so Universal Pictures dubbed dialogue over the scenes featuring the Phantom’s shadow. It is believed that Phillips Smalley (A Day at the Races) was hired for these readings.
The Phantom of the Opera was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1998 as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”