Although Lon Chaney Jr. secured a spot as horror film royalty by playing the title character in “The Wolfman,” his best work often occurred outside of the horror genre. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” film historian Troy Howarth explores Chaney’s erratic but often intriguing career, tracking his remarkable work in “Of Mice and Men” and “High Noon” and his shaky endeavors as “Son of Dracula” and in the “Inner Sanctum” series, with a pause to address the urban legend surrounding his live television “Frankenstein” performance.
BOOTLEG FILES 680: “Keeping Fit” (1942 all-star short film).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not to my knowledge.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Rare World War II-era film that had no postwar reissue value.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe in an anthology of wartime shorts or as a special feature on a DVD.
After the United States entered World War II, the Hollywood studios churned out a series of morale-building films were created to keep civilian audiences engaged in supporting the war effort. The studios often put their biggest names into these films to add a level of star wattage to the messaging.