Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ October 28, 2015 – Lycanthrope

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Week #6 (The End)

Question of the day: Was “Wolfman” Jack a lycanthrope?
LYCANTHROPE or more commonly – WEREWOLF (werʹwoolfʹ): n. Folklore, a person changed into a wolf, or one capable of assuming the form of a wolf at will; lycanthrope.**

Hmmmm … think about it … Robert Weston Smith, businessman, by day … howling, wild-‘n’-crazy, mysterious radio DJ extraordinaire, Wolfman Jack, by night. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Halloween is simply not complete without a tribute to the most fun and famous “werewolf” of the 20th century.

If you missed the thrill of personally experiencing Wolfman Jack’s sometimes salacious, always deliciously irreverent howl filling your radio’s airwaves, you missed history. Of course, there are taped airchecks and replays of his vintage shows* still sold in syndication. But there’s nothing like the real thing, baby.

More on Wolfman soon, including where you can hear him again. But first, speaking of the real thing – are werewolves “real”? Owwwwwwoooo
Belief is a powerful state of mind. I firmly “believe” that we can train our minds to accept anything, though it may not be provable. Millions of people do so every day … what do you believe in that you can’t prove exists?

According to the dictionaries, werewolves exist only because we believe in them. A lycanthrope is someone who believes they can, or have, transformed into an animal form – often known as shapeshifting – and most commonly, wolves. But we can be cats and bats, too!

Stoker's real-life inspiration: Vlad Tepes
Legends and literature of werewolves date back to Biblical times in most cultures. is a terrific place to learn about wolves in general (real ones), with a section about how the werewolf regained popularity during the Bubonic Plague. Tales of wolves silhouetted in moonlight – are you getting the picture?

To add to wolves’ famous mystique, the iconic Count Dracula favored them, referring to their long howls as “sweet music.” And of course, Hollywood loves a good – er, bad – vampire and werewolf story. Remember 2003’s Underworld and its popular spin-offs? Or for lighter fangs, Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf?
I got spooks all around me, baby! In 1973, mystery still surrounded an enigmatic DJ who gained fame broadcasting from Mexico on airwaves that reached across much of the U.S., like a sexy swirling Halloween mist. But that year Wolfman Jack broke out of the dark and exposed his true fangs – we finally met the man behind the microphone.

Most everyone knows by now that George Lucas spotlighted his teenage years in a small, Northern California town, cruising the main, listening to his fave rebel DJ on the radio. His American Graffiti wasn’t just a coming-of-age film set in the early 1960s – it was Wolfman Jack’s premiere appearance to the masses. It’s standard, man, I can dig it!

From near-juvenile delinquent in New York, to the most innovative radioman in the industry, Bob Smith transformed his playtime character capers with his nephews, into a million-dollar business. Now that’s something to howl about.
Heading West from New York, Bob learned, matured, and left his raspy, double-entendres walking a thin FCC line along the way. When he hit his ultimate gig at XERB The Mighty 1090, Wolfman Jack was home.

The howling DJ’s storied career spanned more than thirty years and brought us a spooky shot of “Monster Mash.” Following his first book tour, Wolfman Jack died July 1, 1995, in the arms of his beloved Wolfwoman, Lou.

A listening Halloween treat: Wolfman wanders through “A Little Ghost Story” in a timeless 40-year-old Halloween aircheck on the United States Air Force Radio Network.

NOTE: ReelRadio does charge for your aircheck listening pleasure. However, it’s a non-profit broadcasting museum, so your “donation” may be tax-deductible, and it supports this site that collects and shares great vintage airchecks. Relive your youth with beloved DJs of yesteryear who will never be far from our memories. Happy Halloween, Ellery Queen!

Wolfman in prime @ WNBC/New York 1973
No, Bob Smith was not a lycanthrope – he knew exactly who he was and played his role on the world stage with the flare of a master dramatic artist – in wolf’s clothing. Owwwwwwoooo! 

* As you know, wolf spirits transcend every plane of existence, and Wolfman Jack’s howl is alive and vibrant through syndication on these terrestrial and/or streaming online radio stations:
WOLF 102.7 / Santa Rosa, CA
REZ Radio 91.3 / San Diego, CA
KAZM / Sedona, AZ
WKVT-FM / Brattleboro, VT

'Til next time ... have a wonderful "wordful" week!
(Back to whatever passes for normal around here, next Wednesday!)

 **  A psychiatric syndrome not recognized by standard medicine, Lyncanthropy (li kanʹthrɘ pē) is: n. 1) [Archaic] a mental disorder in which one imagines oneself to be a beast, esp. a wolf; 2) Folklore, transformation of a person into a wolf or werewolf.

# # #

No comments:

Post a Comment

Only intelligent, non-abusive comments (preferably with humor), will be published. Thank you for your interest!