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Monday, November 2, 2009


Oh, Lon, how I love thee. Let me count the ways... How about 1000, for the "Man of a Thousand Faces!"

If you haven't caught on by now, Lon is my favorite actor. So, this month is dedicated to him- the one, the only, the almighty: ChameLeonidas Chaney! (Yup, I made that one up myself). Lon's gifts as a performer ran deep.  He was a man who was able to use his personal suffering and natural empathy to delve honestly into his characterizations, which were only then enhanced by the brilliant makeups he concocted. Born to deaf and mute parents, Lon learned to use his face and body to communicate emotions, pains, and joys, which the use of words would have dampened. Being born within this silent household, where he didn't even begin speaking until after he was a few years old, Lon would inherit a keen observation of humanity and a sympathy for the underdog, which he would always play, even if some of his characters were a little... evil. Inside each of them beat the heart of a man, usually a heart aflame for a woman who would not have him. Again and again he martyred himself on the pyre of love, his passion for this woman his one redeeming characteristic. There were no cliches, there were no stereotypes. He thought each character out with incite, skill, and compassion, turning the nastiest of devils into a man who was misunderstood and could have been a better guy had he been given a chance. The faces of the Phantom, the Hunchback, and the Vampiric being in London After Midnight have made him legendary, and those unfamiliar with the man are still intimate with the faces he concocted. For those lucky enough to witness the actor in action, perhaps director George Loane Tucker said it best after witnessing Lon's screen test for The Miracle Man: "My God." For all of his contributions to cinema, Lon himself remains The Unknown, shrouded in mystery, hiding behind his many faces, completing and being loyal to the illusions he left on the silver screen, never to be muddied by the knowledge of his private life. What a dirty trick, for Lon Chaney the man was much more fascinating. 

Happy November!


  1. Your Myspace profile? What about mine?? I see that you've helped yourself to one of my photographs -- ahem! I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you did not read my front page footer/warning notification. Unfortunately, of all the pictures to snatch, you picked the stickiest and it is not to be used without permission. Therefore, I urge you strongly to select another.

    I look forward to your month-long examination and review of my life and work, and will notify my internet friends and followers of the availability for reading of your most informative and delightful blog. Also, thank you for your use of a large typeface. It makes reading much easier, from such a great distance.

    Yours truly,

    L. C.

  2. Dearest Lon,

    Forgive my trespassing! I did not see the warning, and I apologize. While hunting the past few weeks for as much info on you as possible, I of course stumbled upon your page, and saw the previously posted photo, which I loved. I was looking for a great picture like that to share, for I had never seen it before! Very cool, indeed. Anywho, respecting your wishes, I have removed it, and I hope all is well.

    Thanks for stopping by! I love your page and all of the great photo albums you have accumulated, particularly of the "Phantom" set. I added a link to my blog to direct all Lon devotees to you, I don't know if you noticed. Take care and thanks again!!!

  3. Dear Miss Grau,

    It is not I who objects so much to the use of the aforementioned photograph as the image's current owner and contributor to my pages. However, I do thank you on their behalf for abiding by their request.

    Also, you must realize that I am a very private man, even now. So, while I am extremely flattered by such lengthy, thoughtful and well-written reviews of my work, I do find unsettling the discussion of personal, financial and family matters. Therefore, I must ask that you please exercise discretion when choosing your topics and selecting your "facts" for inclusion.

    Again, I look forward to your blog series and hope that it attracts many new readers and subscribers to your pages.

    Thank you most kindly.