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Larry Talbot
Wolf Man
The Wolf Man
Aliases: Wolf Man
Lawrence Talbot
Lawrence Stewart Talbot
Franchise: Universal Monsters
Notability: Main character
Type: Werewolf
Gender: Male
Location: Llanwelly Village, Wales
Known relatives: John Talbot [1]
Elizabeth Talbot [2]
Martin Talbot [3]
Status: Alive
Born: 1910 [4]
1st appearance: The Wolf Man (1941)
Actor: Lon Chaney, Jr.
Benicio del Toro

The Wolf Man, aka Larry Talbot, was a Welsh aristocrat who was born at Talbot Castle in the village of Llanwelly. Played by American actor Lon Chaney, Jr., the character is known for being the most famous werewolf in horror film history. Although Chaney immortalized the role of the Wolf Man, he is not the first werewolf under Universal's aegis. In 1935, Universal Pictures produced Werewolf of London starring Henry Hull as the lead character. However, Hull's werewolf was not as sympathetic a character as the tormented Larry Talbot and did not amass the infamy that Talbot's Wolf Man had acquired. The Wolf Man proved to be one of the more popular of the Universal Monsters and was featured in four more films. The Wolf Man's final classic appearance was in the 1948 comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. In 2010, Universal produced a remake of the original 1941 film featuring Benicio del Toro in the role of Larry Talbot.

Biography Edit

The Wolf Man Edit

"There's something very tragic about that man... and I'm sure that nothing but harm will come to you through him."
Frank Andrews

Larry Talbot was born in 1910 to Sir John Talbot and his wife in Llanwelly Village in Wales. The second of two children, Larry was always overlooked in favor of his older brother who, like traditional families, was considered in almost everything, while the younger son was often ignored. In 1923 at the age of eighteen, a bitter Larry Talbot left his family's ancestral home to travel abroad, eventually finding work in the United States. As an adult, he did some work at an optical company in Los Angeles.

Larry Talbot 001

Meet Larry Talbot

In 1941, Larry received news that his brother had died in a tragic hunting accident. Having been away for more than eighteen years, Larry finally returned to Llanwelly where he reconciled with his father, Sir John Talbot. The two promised each other that they would no longer allow old grudges to impede their relationship and Sir John reminded Larry that he now stood to inherit the family estate. He encouraged him to explore the village and meet the townsfolk.

While examining one of his father's telescopes, Larry learned about a young woman named Gwen Conliffe. Gwen and her father lived above their shop, Charles Conliffe Antiques in the village. Larry watched Gwen in her room through the telescope and became instantly smitten with her.

He went to the antique shop and introduced himself. Working under the pretense of shopping for a walking stick, he began hitting on Gwen who showed no interest in Larry's advances. Larry persisted however, but Gwen dodged his aggressive flirtations by convincing him to purchase a silver-tipped wolf's head cane. Through the course of conversation, Gwen pointed out a pentagram etched on the side of the head – the mark of the werewolf. She recited an old poem concerning werewolves, "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the Autumn moon is bright". Larry asked Gwen to accompany him that evening to have their fortunes read, but Gwen denied him. As it was however, Larry refused to take "no" for an answer, and he returned to the shop promptly at 8:00 pm, just as Gwen was leaving.

Gwen Conliffe 001

Gwen Conliffe

Gwen finally relented and agreed to go out with Larry, but insisted that her friend, Jenny Williams, should come along with them. Larry was put out, but politely agreed. They visited a nearby gypsy festival and they met a fortune teller named Bela. Jenny asked to have her fortune read, allowing Larry the chance to put the moves on Gwen. At this time, Gwen warned him that she was engaged to be married to a man named Frank Andrews.

As the evening grew darker, Larry and Gwen heard a scream, and he rushed to see what was happening. A giant wolf was attacking Jenny Williams. Larry raced into the moors and beat the wolf down with his cane, but suffered a severe bite as a result. Gwen and an elderly gypsy woman named Maleva brought Larry home.

The following morning, Larry awoke only to discover that the wound he suffered had nearly healed. While convalescing, he was visited by his father as well as Chief Constable Paul Montford. They explained to him that Jenny was killed along with a fortune teller, Bela – the same man who had read Jenny's fortune. Larry's silver-tipped cane was found next to Bela's body. They insinuated that in the confusion, Larry had accidentally killed Bela, but Talbot insisted that it was a wolf that he had killed not a man. This matter caused Montford and Sir John great concern and Larry grew extremely uncomfortable.

He later attended Bela's funeral where he overheard Maleva muttering a prayer over Bela's casket. Larry then went to the Conliffe’s place to console Gwen. He expressed his condolences over Jenny's death and explained what had happened that evening. At this time, Larry met Gwen's fiancé Frank Andrews. Andrews was suitable unimpressed with Talbot and suspected that he had held an interest in Gwen. He was also disturbed by Larry's wolf's-head cane.

After visiting a local fair, Larry encountered Maleva the gypsy. He remembered that she had helped him home on the night of the attack. Maleva informed Larry that Bela was her son and that he was a werewolf. Larry didn’t believe her, but Maleva ignored his outbursts and offered him a charm. Etched with the sign of the pentagram, the charm was believed to be a symbol of protection. Maleva coldly told him, "Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives... becomes a werewolf himself". Frantically, Larry accepted the charm and left the camp. Larry then ran into Gwen Conliffe. He didn't fully believe Maleva's warning, but it made him nervous enough to give Gwen the pentagram charm. He indicated that it would protect her from him.

Wolf Man 003

The Wolf Man

That evening, Larry returned home and transformed into a werewolf for the very first time. He stalked off into the night and went to the churchyard where he murdered a gravedigger named Richardson. Richardson had been preparing a grave for the late Jenny Williams. The Wolf Man howled into the night, awakening the villagers.

The following morning, Larry awakened in his bedroom. He saw muddy animal tracks across the floor leading to the open window. Without revealing his true fears, he consulted with his father who explained to him the psychological elements of Lycanthropy – a man who believes himself to be a wolf.

That evening, Talbot turned into the Wolf Man for the second time. While lurking through the marshes, he learned to his own discontent that several townspeople, now wary of a possible werewolf sighting following the Richardson murder, had planted bear traps all throughout the area. The Wolf Man caught his right foot in a trap and the pain was enough to render him unconscious. Maleva the gypsy appeared and muttered the same prayer that she said over the body of her son Bela. The Wolf Man turned back into Larry Talbot. Maleva helped him to escape before the hunters could track him down.

There was no doubt in Larry's mind any longer that he was a werewolf. He ran to the antique shop to warn Gwen. He confessed to murdering Bela and Richardson and told her that he had to leave town. Gwen tried to convince him that he was not a murderer when Larry suddenly saw the sign of the pentagram in her palm. He then ran back to the family estate and confessed everything he knew to Sir John. His father didn't fully believe him, but he knew that Larry intended on turning himself in to the police. To humor Larry's fears, Sir John took him to an upstairs bedroom and tied him to a chair with the promise of locking him inside the room. Larry made his father take his silver-tipped cane with him for protection.

John Talbot vs. the Wolf Man

John Talbot vs. the Wolf Man

That evening, Larry transformed into the Wolf Man and escaped from his room. He stalked through the forests once again and came upon Gwen Conliffe. He leaped upon Gwen and began to throttle her when Sir John appeared from behind. The Wolf Man dropped Gwen and attacked John Talbot, not realizing that he was now fighting his own father. The two wrestled with each other on the ground, but ultimately Sir John used the deadly silver cane to beat the Wolf Man to death. Afterward, the werewolf turned back into the form of Larry Talbot. Maleva appeared and spoke a prayer over his body, "The way you walked was thorny; through no fault of your own. But as the rain enters the soil; the river enters the sea; so tears run to a predestined end". [5]

Larry Talbot was entombed at the Talbot family crypt; his coffin filled with wolfbane flowers.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Edit

Wolf Man 002

The Wolf Man reborn!

Four years after his death, Larry Talbot made a miraculous recovery. Two grave robbers broke into the Talbot family crypt believing that Larry had been buried with large sums of money. As they removed the lid to his coffin, they discovered it filled with wolfbane covering Larry's prone body. The light of the full moon shown into the crypt and resurrected Talbot as the Wolf Man. He killed one of the grave robbers, Freddy Jolly, but the other managed to escape. The Wolf Man broke out of the crypt and stalked off into the night.

He wandered as far as the capital city of Cardiff where he killed a police constable. The following morning, another constable found Larry Talbot unconscious in an alley with a severe laceration across his brow (the result of being beaten to death by his father). He was taken to Queen's Hospital where he met surgeon Doctor Frank Mannering. Talbot had yet to realize how much time had passed, and was not even aware that he had been dead. A police man named Inspector Owen informed Mannering's patient that Larry Talbot died in Llanwelly four years ago. It was at this moment that Larry Talbot realized that he was immortal. He tried to explain to Owen and to Mannering that he was a killer, but they refused to believe him. Mannering felt that Talbot suffered from the mental side-effects of Lycanthropy and had him restrained in his room.

That night however, Larry Talbot turned into the Wolf Man and escaped from Queen's Hospital. He journeyed back to Llanwelly where he found the aging Maleva at the old gypsy camp. He explained his situation to her and exclaimed that he would rather be dead then live on with this curse. Maleva told him about a scientist who might be able to help him – Doctor Frankenstein.

Larry and Maleva traveled to the village of Vasaria in the hopes of locating Doctor Frankenstein. When they arrived however, they learned that Frankenstein was dead and that his estate was in ruins. Larry was stricken, but still maintained his reserve. He inspected the ruins, desperately hoping to find Doctor Frankenstein's notes. Falling through a cavern, he found an expansive, underground glacial cave. Frozen in an icy wall was the preserved body of the Frankenstein Monster. Believing that the monster might know the location of his creator's notes, he thawed the creature out and befriended it. The monster, blind and addle-brained, proved little help to Talbot.

Larry decided to track down the last known living descendent of Doctor Frankenstein, the Baroness Elsa Frankenstein. Under the pretense of looking to buy the estate, Larry finally found Elsa and told her his story. Elsa felt sympathy for Larry's situation, but was not sure how she would be able to help him.

Frankentein vs. the Wolf Man

The Wolf Man vs. the Frankenstein Monster

Larry and she attended the Festival of the New Wine in Vasaria whereupon they came across Doctor Mannering. Mannering had tracked Talbot all the way from Cardiff and was now convinced that he was telling the truth. He revealed that he wished to help Larry, either by lifting the curse, or by finding some means to end his life forever. Talbot brought Mannering and Elsa to the ruins of Frankenstein Castle and presented them to the Frankenstein Monster. Elsa found her father’s notes and gave them to Mannering, who believed that he might be able to use them to cure Talbot. The records, as they pertained to the monster, suggested that by drawing electrical energy out of his body, he would be able to destroy him. Talbot felt that this same process might also be used to cure him.

Mannering got to work repairing the laboratory in preparation for the experiment. While simultaneously working on both Talbot and the Frankenstein Monster, Mannering had a change of heart, and could not bring himself to destroy Frankenstein's creation. He instead began feeding the monster more power, making him healthier and stronger. Coincidentally, this operation took place on the night of the full moon and Larry Talbot changed into the Wolf Man. Breaking free of the operating table straps, the Wolf Man attacked the Frankenstein Monster and the two began tossing each other across the laboratory.

Outside the castle, a villager named Vazec planted dynamite outside a nearby dam. The explosion destroyed the dam and the ensuing torrent of water flooded the lower chambers of the castle, washing the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster away. Their bodies fell into the underground glacial cavern where they were frozen in ice. [6]

House of Frankenstein Edit

Deranged scientist and escaped convict Doctor Gustav Niemann and his hunchbacked assistant Daniel found the preserved bodies of the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster in Vasaria. Niemann thawed them out and the Wolf Man turned back into his human form of Larry Talbot. Niemann promised Larry that if he helped him to find the Frankenstein records, then he would use his scientific knowledge to put Talbot’s brain into a new body, freeing him of the curse of the werewolf. Talbot agreed and quickly recovered Frankenstein's records.

Although he intended on helping Talbot, he was more concerned about his own research, not to mention exacting revenge against the men who sent him to prison. When they reached the laboratory, Niemann put Daniel and Talbot to work, fixing up the equipment and preparing for the operation. Talbot knew that time was of the essence for the moon would soon rise, and he would become the Wolf Man once again. Niemann told Talbot to be patient and that it would soon be time to perform the experiment.

That evening, Doctor Niemann and Daniel tracked down the last two men who testified against him at his trial: Ullman and Frederick Strauss. Abducting them and bringing him into his caravan, he told them how he was going to place each of their brains into the bodies of the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. He brought them back to his laboratory and prepared them for the operation, but his work was interrupted once again. Talbot insisted on Niemann performing the operation that would save his life immediately, but Niemann needed more time to conduct research on the Frankenstein Monster. He never told Larry his true intentions.

When the moon rose, Talbot turned into the Wolf Man for the second night in a row. During this time, he attacked Ilonka who shot him with a silver bullet, but in so doing, lost her own life. [7]

House of Dracula Edit

Larry Talbot and the vampire Dracula were both seeking a cure for their respective monster afflictions, and sought the aid of a brilliant scientist named Doctor Franz Edelmann. Tired of being a slave to his vampiric bloodlust, Dracula believed that Edelmann held the key to a cure.

After reuniting with the doctor's beautiful assistant, Miliza Morrelle, however, Dracula's evil nature reasserted itself and he infected Edelmann through a blood transfusion of his vampire blood, which turned the scientist into a Jekyll and Hyde like creature. Though Edelmann succeeded in destroying Dracula, he realized that he was slowly degrading into a murderous monster himself.

Lawrence Talbot arrived at Edelmann's castle soon after, seeking a cure for the curse that turned him into a werewolf. Growing impatient with Doctor Edelmann, and knowing that the moon would soon rise, Talbot surrendered himself to the police, demanding to be put somewhere where he could do no harm. Inspector Holtz and Doctor Edelmann both witnessed Talbot's transformation into the Wolf Man.

Edelmann and Milizia had him transferred to the doctor's castle the following morning. Edelmann told Talbot that he believed his transformations were not triggered by the moonlight, but by pressure on the brain. He believed he could relieve the pressure, but Talbot had to exorcise even further patience so that the Doctor could gather more juice from his flowers.

Unwilling to suffer even one more night with this curse, Talbot attempted suicide by leaping off a cliff into the ocean. It was too late however. Lawrence turned into the werewolf and survived the fall. He eventually made his way back to the doctor's castle, where Edelmann performed the operation on him. By this point however, the mania from Dracula's infected blood was making Edelmann even worse.

When Edelmann's gardener turned up dead, suspicion began to fall on Larry Talbot. Inspectors Holtz and Steinmuhl followed the now-cured Talbot back to the castle and interrogated him. Steinmuhl however, was convinced that Edelmann was the murderer, and assembled a mob to execute him. Through the course of events, the Frankenstein Monster became involved in this affair as well. While the recently revived creature battled against the local authorities, Larry Talbot succeeded in shooting and killing Doctor Edelmann. Talbot then trapped the Frankenstein monster under some fallen shelving. A fire broke out, and everyone else fled the burning castle. [8]

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Edit

Wolf Man 004

The Wolf Man on the prowl

While staying in London, Larry Talbot learned that the vampire Dracula had embarked upon an ambitious new plan to revitalize the Frankenstein Monster and turn him into his personal servant. He tracked Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster to the coastal community of La Mirada, Florida. He telephoned a shipping station that was scheduled to receive two crates; one containing Dracula's coffin and the other containing the monster's inert body. While speaking with a baggage handler named Wilbur Grey, Talbot turned into the Wolf Man and was unable to warn them about the sinister nature of the shipment they were about to receive.

The following day, Larry flew out to the United States and found Wilbur Grey, as well as his partner, Chick Young. He tried to tell them the truth about Dracula and the monster, and while Wilbur was receptive to Talbot's warning, Chick didn't believe a word of it. Larry also had to wrestle with the notion that soon, he would undergo the change once again. He asked Wilbur to lock him up inside his hotel room, with instructions to keep him inside no matter what anyone heard coming from inside the room. Wilbur thought the request was silly, but agreed to Talbot's wishes. Moments later, Wilbur realized that Talbot had left his suitcase in their room and went across the hall to return it to him. He found no trace of Larry Talbot and began writing a message, indicating that he had returned his grip. Talbot was actually in the bathroom, having just turned into the Wolf Man. He silently stalked Wilbur who puttered about the room, but Wilbur managed to leave just before the Wolf Man could pounce on him.

The following morning, Chick and Wilbur came to Larry's room to check on him and found the place in shambles. The two men thought that Talbot had gone on a drinking bender, but Larry tried to explain to them that when the full moon rises, he turns into a wolf. Both men appeared incredulous of Larry's claim.

Talbot continued to research Dracula and Frankenstein's activity, and tracked them to a castle on an island just off La Mirada. He learned that Dracula had assumed the alias of Doctor Lejos and had been working with a scientist named Doctor Sandra Mornay. That evening, Larry attended a masquerade ball and again encountered Chick and Wilbur. Chick put on his masquerade costume, which consisted of a wolf's mask. Larry was immediately put off by the visage of the mask and asked Chick to remove it. Sooon after, Doctor Lejos and Doctor Mornay arrived at the party. Talbot tried to expose Lejos as Dracula, but the distinguished nobleman merely scoffed and told Talbot that he was confused by his masquerade costume (which consisted of the traditional suit and cape of Dracula).

As before, the full moon rose and Talbot transformed into a werewolf. He skulked through the nearby forest and came upon a man named Mister McDougal. He attacked McDougal, clawing at his throat, but McDougal managed to survive. He then came upon Wilbur Grey, who was searching the woods trying to find his date, Joan Raymond. He lunged at the portly man, but got himself caught between two trees. Wilbur thought that the Wolf Man was just Chick wearing his masquerade mask and kicked him in the backside for trying to scare him. The Wolf Man eventually freed himself and chased after Wilbur, but Wilbur got away.

The following day, Larry Talbot awakened in the woods. Chick Young found him and told him that Wilbur had been abducted by Dracula. The two men took a boat to Dracula's castle and they found Wilbur tied to an operating table inside Dracula's laboratory (Dracula intended on transplanting Wilbur's pliable brain into the body of the Frankenstein monster). Talbot began freeing Wilbur, but the moon rose and he turned into the Wolf Man. Dracula entered the room and the two creatures began fighting one another with Wilbur caught in the middle. The Wolf Man chased Dracula out of the laboratory into the upstairs area of the castle. Dracula tried to keep him at bay by throwing chairs and potted plants at him, but the Wolf Man just kept pressing his advantage. Finally, Dracula decided to retreat from the castle alltogether. He went out onto the balcony and transformed into a bat, intent on flying away. The Wolf Man leapt after him, grabbing hold of Dracula's bat form in mid-air and the two of them plunged down into the waters below.

Larry Talbot's activities following this incident, or whether he is even still alive, are unknown.

Notes Edit

  • Lon Chaney, Jr. is the only actor to have played the Wolf Man in all of his classic Universal appearances. This distinguishes the Wolf Man from other Universal Monsters who were portrayed by different actors from film to film. In addition, Chaney is also the only actor who has played all four of the primary Universal Monsters; Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. In the 2010 remake of the Wolf Man, Larry Talbot is played by Benicio del Toro.
  • In the original script draft, Larry Talbot's name was Larry Gill.
  • When Larry Talbot transforms into the Wolf Man for the first time, he is wearing a white undershirt and grey trousers. In the following scene in the marsh, the Wolf Man is wearing darker pants and an over shirt.

See also Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. Also known as Sir John Talbot; Father, deceased.
  2. Ancestor, deceased; Name revealed on Talbot family crypt.
  3. Ancestor, deceased; Name revealed on Talbot family crypt.
  4. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man indicates that Larry was 31 when he died. This assumes that the The Wolf Man takes place in the same year that it was released.
  5. Wolf Man, The (1941)
  6. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
  7. House of Frankenstein (1944)
  8. House of Dracula (1945)

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