Original Appearance: “The Wolf Man,” Universal (1941)
Other Appearances: “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man” (1943), “House of Frankenstein” (1944), “House of Dracula” (1945), “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948)
Biography: Larry Talbot returned to his ancestral home in Wales after some time in America, hoping to reconcile with his father, Sir John Talbot. He meets a local girl who runs an antique shop, from whom he buys a silver-headed walking stick decorated with a wolf, which he is told represents a werewolf. That night, Larry attempts to rescue a friend of the girl's from a wolf attack, kills the wolf, but is bitten in the process. Larry learns it was a werewolf (the son of the gypsy fortuneteller Maleva), and has now become a werewolf himself. As the Wolf Man, Larry prowls the countryside until his father bludgeons him to death with the silver-headed cane. However, some time after his death, Larry's tomb is opened by graverobbers on the night of the full moon, and Larry revives, turning into the Wolf Man once more. Alive again, Larry goes to Frankenstein's castle in search of a scientific cure for his lycanthropy, discovering the frozen Frankenstein monster and meeting the Baroness Elsa Frankenstein. The Baroness has her father's notes, and gives them to Dr. Mannering, who has been tracking Talbot, in hopes that Mannering is able to drain all life from both Larry and the Monster. However, Mannering decides he wants to see the monster at full strength, and revives the monster – on the night of the full moon, unfortunately. The Wolf Man attacks the Monster, only to have the two apparently die in a flood after the town dam is blown up to drown the castle's inhabitants. However, this is not the end of Larry Talbot! Both he and the Monster are discovered frozen soldic in the catacombs of the castle by Dr. Gustav Niemann, who is traveling with his hunchbacked assistant Daniel and a gypsy girl. Larry and the gypsy girl fall in love, but Daniel loves her as well. When Niemann revives the Monster on the night of the full moon (nobody ever checks these things), Larry turns into the Wolf Man again, but is shot by the gypsy girl using a silver bullet, although she perishes as well. The Monster and Niemann end up drowing in quicksand. However, Larry did not permanently die from the silver bullet, as he appears again searching for a cure from Dr. Edelmann, who is also approached by Count Dracula, himself in search of a cure. Larry accidentally discovers the presence of the Frankenstein Monster during an abortive suicide atttempt. Edelmann manages to cure Larry, and Larry falls in love with Edelmann's lovely assistant, but apparently things didn't end well there (the monster was apparently burned to death when the castle is destroyed). Larry later learns of a plot of Count Dracula's involving the Frankenstein monster, and employs the assistance of two railway baggage clerks, Chick Young and Wilbur Grey. During the misadventures that ensue, Larry transforms again into the Wolf Man and battles Dracula, with the two of them apparently perishing when both fall over a balcony and into rocky seas.
Powers: As a werewolf, Larry Talbot has amazing agility and strength, and quite likely stronger senses of smell and hearing. His claws and fangs are able to maim human flesh very easily. Any victim of the Wolf Man's who is not killed by their wounds would become a werewolf themselves. The only vulnerability the Wolf Man has is to silver, although apparently this is not a permanent death. Perhaps if Larry's tomb hadn't been opened, with his corpse exposed to the rays of the full moon, he would have stayed dead; instead, this apparently gave him eternal life, with any injury later given to him by silver only having a temporary effect.
Group Affiliation: None
Miscellaneous: The Wolf Man is the only one of the classic Universal monsters to be portrayed by the same actor in every movie he appeared in. Most of the elements of werewolf lore that appeared in these movies were created by Hollywood. Lon Chaney Jr. would also play a werewolf in a 1959 Mexican film named “La Casa del Terror,” a 1962 episode of Route 66 that also featured Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster, and in one scene in 1971's Dracula Vs. Frankenstein. The 2010 “The Wolfman” remake apparently changed quite a bit of the plot, and was not nearly as successful financially as the original (relatively speaking, anyway).