For my Hallowe'en viewing a couple of days ago, I selected "American Masters Lon Chaney Man of a Thousand Faces." I hadn't seen it for some time, and I vaguely remembered that Mr. Bradbury appears in several places giving his memories and insights on Lon Chaney, Sr., and how he influenced Ray Bradbury from his earliest childhood. I remember reading in "Tricks! Treats! Gangway!" that when RB was only a few years old, his grandmother took him to see Chaney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and he was forever marked by it. As an admirer of Chaney for many years I can relate to that. Lon Chaney had no words to express himself, but he didn't need any. His hands, face, and body were as eloquent as any words. As eloquent even as Ray Bradbury's words. One genius recognizes another, one could say-- Happy Hallowe'en all, and especially to Mr. Bradbury!
Hey, Viktoria, you stole a bit of my thunder as I was about to post something similar on Buster Keaton, who Ray actually met in person but as far as anyone knows has not commented on past saying he met him. (Anyone who knows differently, notify me.) I did not post yesterday as I was too tired. We'll see how I do today. Meanwhile I leave you with a picture worth a thousand words.
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dandelion, I have one of Michael Blake's books on Chaney, and MB appears several times in the Chaney biographical film we are discussing here. It was especially fascinating to see the films of Chaney in civilian clothes working out his interpretation of Quasimodo, leaping up and clinging to the side of the cathedral, then dropping to earth hunched over and walking crookedly; then the film instantly changes to the "Hunchback" movie and there LC is in full, incomparable makeup, moving in character exactly as we just saw him. What a genius! As a balletomaine of long standing, I have always admired Lon Chaney's incredible physical grace. He was a dancer, too, and the way he stretched and contorted his body led to that physical grace, exactly the way a cat attains it by stretching its body. Hope everyone had a nice Hallowe'en--
The link below will take you to the excellent 2000 Turner Classic Movies documentary, LON CHANEY-A THOUSAND FACES, narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It includes participants who knew and worked with Chaney, one of the finest American actors ever. Also interviewed for the documentary are Ray Bradbury, who always acknowledged the impact Chaney's films had on him when he saw them as a child, and Forrest J Ackerman. Now, if only someone could unearth a complete copy of perhaps the most desired "lost" film, LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT, which starred Chaney and was directed by the great Tod Browning. (TCM put together a version of that lost movie using available stills and a copy of the script, but it just isn't the same!)