The Lone Wolf
(Michael Lanyard)
Created by Louis Joseph Vance (1879-1933)

Louis Joseph Vance's MICHAEL LANYARD, better known as THE LONE WOLF, didn't start out as a private eye, but as a criminal.

However, like Jack Boyle's Boston Blackie, thanks to his numerous re-creations in film, radio and television, The Lone Wolf is now best remembered these days, if at all, chiefly as a sort of gentleman thief turned private eye.

All of Vance's books feature Lanyard as a charming sort of rogue, a European jewel thief with a soft spot for damsels in distress, trained in the criminal arts by the mysterious Irishman, Bourke. It's said The Lone Wolf was the inspiration for Leslie Chartis' The Saint. He certainly proved to be popular, right from the start.

His first appearance in film was in 1917, only three years after the first novel appeared. He remained a criminal right into the talkies, but by 1939's The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt, he was a reformed gentleman thief and amateur sleuth on the side of the good guys. In The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady (1940), he acquired a valet, Jamison, whose chief job, it seemed, was to provide comic relief, and to become hopelessly entangled in the plots.

In 1948, after appearing in close to two dozen films, The Lone Wolf moved to radio, and began a new career, with the cultured European jewel thief now an American private eye, even if the cops still didn't trust him. The radio series also proved successful enough to eventually spawn a television series, in 1954. The TV show had a rather schizophrenic hero, with actor Louis Hayward (left) playing the character as a retired French gentleman by day, and the shadowy, wall-crawling Lone Wolf by night.

The Lone Wolf eventually did go gently into that good night, until he was unexpectedly resurrected in comic book form in 2002 by Moonstone, along with -- yes -- Boston Blackie. Seems you can't keep a good character down... but they're sure trying. In this latest incarnation, The Lone Wolf is inexplicably a young babe who works alone for the most part.

COLLECTORS' CORNER

  • Nope, I don't know where you can find a pendant like The Lone Wolf wore on the old TV show. Sorry, boys. Maybe eBay? Gary Stark, a visitor to this site, had one given to him as a kid, so we know they're out there

NOVELS

.....

FILMS

  • THE LONE WOLF
    (1917)
    Silent
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Starring Bert Lytell as THE LONE WOLF
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF
    (1924)
    Silent
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by S.E.V. Taylor
    Starring Jack Holt as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Alphonse Ethie, Dorothy Dalton

  • THE LONE WOLF RETURNS
    (1926, Columbia)
    Silent/61 minutes
    Based on a character created
    by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Ralph Ince
    Starring Bert Lytell as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Billie Dove
    The first of many Lone Wolf flicks from Columbia, this one starred Bert Lytell who had already played the character several times in prior films, including the first Lone Wolf film way back in 1917.

  • ALIAS THE LONE WOLF
    (1927, Columbia)
    Silent/7 reels
    Based on a character created
    by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Edward H. Griffith
    Starring Bert Lytell as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Lois Wilson

  • FALSE FACES
    (1930, Columbia)
    Silent
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Starring Henry B. Walthall as THE LONE WOLF
    .
  • THE LAST OF THE LONE WOLF
    (1930, Columbia)
    70 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Richard Boleslawski
    Starring Bert Lytell as THE LONE WOLF
    Supposedly the first in the series to have sound.
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF RETURNS
    (AKA "The Return of the Lone Wolf")
    (1935, Columbia)
    68 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Roy William Neill
    Starring Melvyn Douglas as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Gail Patrick, Tala Birell, Arthur Hohl, Thurston Hall
    A remake of the 1926 film.
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF IN PARIS
    (1938, Columbia)
    66 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Albert S. Rogell
    Starring Francis Lederer as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Frances Drake, Walter Kingsford, Leona Maricle, Olaf Hytten, Albert Van Dekker
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF SPY HUNT
    (1939, Columbia)
    67 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Screenplay by Jonathan Latimer
    Directed by Peter Godrey
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Ida Lupino, Rita Hayworth, Virginia Weidler, Ralph Morgan, Don Beddoe, Tom Dugan
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF STRIKES
    (1940, Columbia)
    57 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Sydney Salkow
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Joan Perry, Alan Baxter, Astrid Allwyn, Montagu Love, Robert Wilcox, Don Beddoe

  • THE LONE WOLF MEETS A LADY
    (1940, Columbia)
    71 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Sydney Salkow
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Jean Muir, Warren Hull, Thurston Hall, Victor Jory, Roger Pryor

  • SECRETS OF THE LONE WOLF
    (1941, Columbia)
    62 minutes
    Directed by Edward Dmytryk
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison

  • THE LONE WOLF KEEPS A DATE
    (1941, Columbia)
    65 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Sydney Salkow
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Frances Robinson, Bruce Bennett, Thurston Hall, Jed Prouty
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF TAKES A CHANCE
    (1941, Columbia)
    76 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Sydney Salkow
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Lloyd Bridges, June Storey, Henry Wilcoxon, Thurston Hall, Don Beddoe, Evalyn Knapp
    .
  • COUNTER-ESPIONAGE
    (1942, Columbia)
    71 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Edward Dmytryk
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    In the mid-1940s Columbia dropped the "Lone Wolf" from several of the films in hopes of attracting new audiences.

  • ONE DANGEROUS NIGHT
    (1943, Columbia)
    77 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Michael Gordon

  • PASSPORT TO SUEZ
    (1943, Columbia)
    76 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Andre De Toth
    Starring Warren William as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Ann Savage, Robert Stanford, Sheldon Leonard, Lloyd Bridges, Gavin Muir
    .
  • THE NOTORIOUS LONE WOLF
    (1946)
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    and a story by William Bowers
    Screenplay by Martin Berkeley, Edward Dein, Garrett Graham
    Directed by D. Ross Lederman  
    Produced by Ted Richmond
    Gerald Mohr as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    Janis Carter, Eric Blore, John Abbott, William B. Davidson, Don Beddoe, Adele Roberts, Robert E. Scott, Peter Whitney, Olaf Hytten, Ian Wolfe, Edith Evanson, Maurice Cass.
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF IN MEXICO
    (1947)
    69 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Ross Lederman
    Starring Gerald Mohr as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Sheila Ryan, Jacqueline de Wit, Nestor Paiva, John Gallaudet
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF IN LONDON
    (1947)
    68 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by Leslie Goodwins
    Starring Gerald Mohr as THE LONE WOLF
    with Eric Blore as Jamison
    Also starring
    Nancy Saunders, Evelyn Ankers
    .
  • THE LONE WOLF AND HIS LADY
    (1949)
    71 minutes
    Based on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Directed by John Hoffman
    Starring Ron Randell as THE LONE WOLF
    Also starring
    June Vincent, Alan Mowbray, William Frawley

RADIO

  • THE LONE WOLF
    (1948, Mutual)
    Based on characters created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Starring Walter Coy as THE LONE WOLF
    Later replaced by
    Gerald Mohr

TELEVISION

  • THE LONE WOLF
    (1954)
    Syndicated as Streets of Danger
    39 episodes
    Based on characters created
    by Louis Joseph Vance
    Writers: Jonathan Latimer, others
    Starring Louis Hayward as THE LONE WOLF
  • Season One
  • "The Long Beach Story" (aka "The Smuggling Story")
  • "The Avalanche Story" (aka The Reno Story")
  • "The Chinese Story"
  • "The Carnival Story"
  • "The Blue Lantern Story"
  • "The Ski Story"
  • "The Plantation Story"
  • "Pursuit"
  • "The Malibu Story" (aka "Malibu-Laguna")
  • "The Murder Story"
  • "The Honolulu Story"
  • "Skid Row"
  • "The Arena"
  • "The Karachi Story"
  • "The Las Vegas Story" (May 14, 1955)
  • "The Italian Story"
  • "The Hunt"
  • "The Oil Story"
  • "The Boy Story"
  • "The Emerald Ring"
  • "The Department Store Story"
  • "The Mexico Story"
  • "The Art Story"
  • "The Carlsbad Big Lie Story"
  • "The Last Ballet Story"
  • "The Beverly Hills Story"
  • "The Jet Story"
  • "The San Francisco Story"
  • "The Savage"
  • "Deep Sea Diving"
  • "The Werewolf Story"
  • "The Stamp Story"
  • "The Minister Story"
  • "The Robbery Story" (aka "Memo: Robbery")
  • "The Wife Story"
  • "The Planetarium Story"
  • "The San Pedro Story"
  • "The Runaway Story"
  • "The Newhall Story" (aka "Phoenix-Newhall")

  • Due to discrepancies in source material, the following episodes may -- or may not be alternative tiltes for the above episodes.
  • "The Blue Lantern Story"
  • "Centerville"
  • "Death of a Lawyer"
  • "Missing Child Story"

COMIC

  • THE LONE WOLF
    (2003, Moonstone Books)
    48 pages, black & white
    Based (very very loosely) on a character created by Louis Joseph Vance
    Written by Dan Jolley & Marie Croall
    Art by Gabriel Rearte
    Cover by Doug Klauba

RELATED LINKS

  • Moonstone Books
    For more information on the Lone Wolf graphic novels, this seems like a good place to start.

  • The Saint and Leslie Charteris Blog
    A nice post on Dan Bodenheimer's Saint blog that traces the links between The Lone Wolf and Simon Templar another gentleman thief.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Illustration by Doug Klauba, courtesy of Moonstone Comics.


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