It’s All Hallows’ Eve eve here at BCB After Dark: the grooviest get-together for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’ve got a party going on and we’d be glad for you to join us. We’ve still got a couple of tables left. There’s no cover charge and costumes are optional. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
The Texas Rangers won Game 3 of the World Series, 3-1, to take a two-games-to-one lead on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The “Road Warrior” Rangers have now won nine-straight road games in the playoffs this year. It may have been a pyrrhic victory, however, as both starting pitcher Max Scherzer and outfielder Adolis Garcia left this game with injuries. Still, the Rangers are now just two games away from their first World Series title in franchise history. Injuries or no injuries, they’ve got to like their chances at the moment.
I will say that my Monday night obligations left me unable to watch much of this game, but I did hear Jon Sciambi call the game on the radio.
Last week I asked you whether the Cubs should be interested in Japanese closer Yuki Matsui. The vote was quite close, but 53 percent of you were against signing the diminutive left-handed reliever.
Here’s the part about the music and movies. Feel free to skip ahead to the end if you’d like. You won’t hurt my feelings.
For most of you reading this, it’s Halloween already and it’s a tradition for me around here to feature “Halloween Spooks” by the jazz vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. This is a great song to play at an all-ages Halloween Party.
I really wanted to close out the Halloween season with a good piece on some Universal horror classic. Unfortunately, time constraints are going to leave you with an abbreviated piece on The Wolf Man (1941), directed by George Waggner and starring Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy and Lon Chaney Jr.
So I’m just going to be able to do some bullet points about what I like and what I don’t like about The Wolf Man.
- The atmosphere of The Wolf Man is pretty great, with the woods that the werewolf runs through always being clouded with fog. This also helps to disguise the fact that they’re on a Hollywood set and not in the Welsh countryside.
- The makeup for Lon Chaney Jr. is pretty great and the way they show the transformation is well-done.
- Any movie is elevated by the presence of Claude Rains, who plays Sir John Talbot, the father of the Wolf Man, Larry Talbot (Chaney). Rains rises above the material, as always.
- Bela Lugosi has a small part as the Romani fortune teller and first werewolf. Even though he’s not on screen much, Lugosi’s charisma shines through.
- On the downside, Chaney’s sad-sack portrayal of Larry Talbot falls flat for me. Chaney wasn’t a natural actor and he sort-of got pushed into it by Hollywood after his father’s death. They changed his name from Creighton Chaney to Lon Chaney so that they could have the big name “Lon Chaney” on the poster, hoping that his famous father’s name would help sell a film. Or perhaps hoping that the public had forgotten that Lon Chaney died in 1930. (The studios generally did not add the “junior” to the son’s name, but film writers did for clarity.) While Lon Chaney Sr. was one of the greatest actors of the silent era, Lon Chaney Jr. is clearly inferior to Lugosi or Boris Karloff in his ability to pull emotion out of these monsters. And certainly less than Rains, who starred in The Invisible Man.
I find Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance as Larry Talbot stiff and awkward. He does do a better job in the Wolf Man makeup as he lets loose his animal nature. And to be fair, doing anything under that makeup is a pretty big achievement.
- The stereotype of the “gypsy fortune teller” and the “gypsy curse” has not aged well.
- Another thing that hasn’t aged well is Larry courting Gwen (Evelyn Ankers) by telling her that he’s been spying on her by turning a telescope onto her window. And other than saying that she’ll be sure to keep the shades closed in the future, she doesn’t run from a man engaging in voyeurism at her expense.
- Unlike Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy, the other three in Universal’s “Big Four” monsters, The Wolf Man was made well after the Production Code went into effect. So The Wolf Man is just not able to portray horror with the same kind of raw edge that those other three were able to.
Overall I like The Wolf Man, mostly for the wolf part. If you’re going to get one thing right, that’s the part to get right. But if you’re going through the classic Universal Monster movies, it clearly ranks behind Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Invisible Man. Probably one or two others as well. It’s definitely inferior to the Spanish-language version of Dracula, although that’s not generally spoken of in the same breath as the others.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
Tonight’s question is about everyone’s favorite Cubs’ free agent, outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger. Sahadev Sharma has a new article out in The Athletic about Bellinger (sub. req.) where he talks to scouts and asks them to give their opinion of Bellinger and his fit with the Cubs. Anonymously, of course.
The gist of the article for those of you who don’t subscribe is that the feel that Bellinger is likely to age well and is the kind of player the Cubs should be wanted to lock up to a long-term contract. They admit that it’s not a slam-dunk and no one thinks he’ll return to his MVP form with the Dodgers, but they do think Bellinger’s renaissance this past season was real and not an illusion. The scouts also seem to think that the Cubs should sign Bellinger and worry about where he and Pete Crow-Armstrong play later.
But I’m not going to ask you should the Cubs re-sign Bellinger. I know the vote would probably be 90 percent in favor. Instead, I’m going to ask you will the Cubs sign Bellinger.
We haven’t really gotten into the rumor season yet—MLB would like the World Series to be over before teams start leaking their interests to Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal. But over the course of the past season, we have a good idea of the teams that are interested in Bellinger.
The biggest team linked to Bellinger has been the Yankees. That team is in desperate need of left-handed power and Bellinger’s dad won two World Series title rings with the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees have traditionally been willing to spend whatever it takes to get a player that they really want.
Another team strongly linked to Bellinger has been the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are in desperate need of more offense and they have a big hole in center field. They also lost out on both Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa last winter, so they have the money to spend. However, Oracle Park isn’t the best place for left-handed hitters and the Giants will be making a big push for Shohei Ohtani as well.
The Red Sox certainly can’t be ruled out, especially with former Cubs front office executive Craig Breslow running the team. After back-to-back last place finishes, the fanbase in Boston is demanding the team make a big splash and if they can’t convince Ohtani to come to Boston, it seems like Bellinger would be a logical backup plan.
Finally, I’ve seen some chatter about the Blue Jays and Astros having some interest in Bellinger. A Dodgers reunion is probably not going to happen, but if the Angels can’t re-sign Ohtani, they will be looking to replace his production in some way.
So will the Cubs re-sign Cody Bellinger? And if you think they won’t, tell us which team you think he’ll play for next year in the comments.
Will Cody Bellinger play for the Cubs in 2024?
This poll is closed
Thank you so much for stopping by for our little holiday party. I hope you’ve enjoyed being here as much as we’ve enjoyed having you. Please get home safely. If you checked anything, let us get that for you now. Recycle any cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.