You know him as a monster or a bad guy, but originally Creighton Tull Chaney, later known as Lon Chaney Jr., was a leading man. After all, take a close look at that handsome dude above (the young Jr.) early in his career.
Being the son of a famous and successful silent movie actor — Lon Sr., who died in 1930, a year before Junior’s 40-year career began — wasn’t the career cakewalk you might imagine. Junior worked as a youth in a melange of odd jobs to make ends meet before succumbing to the family acting bug. After he did so and became reasonably well known, he often dropped the “Jr.” and billed himself simply as Lon Chaney.
He played some memorable roles as well as more forgettable turns in various horror movies. As producer/director Stanley Kramer once said, whenever a script called for a role too difficult for most actors, he would call in Lon Chaney Jr.
Let’s see how much you know about him. As usual questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Universal is the Hollywood studio famed for its classic horror output. Chaney is the only actor to portray all four of the studio’s major horror screen characters (Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy and Count Dracula. a) True; or b) False?
2) Question: Which one of the following movie first propelled Chaney to stardom? a) High Noon; b) One Million B.C.; c) Man Made Monster; or d) Of Mice and Men.
3) Question: Chaney was often associated in the public mind with which of the following? a) Boris Karloff; b) Bela Lugosi; c) Peter Lorre; and d) Vampira.
4) Question: Chaney, noted for his alcohol-fueled antics on movie sets, was paired in this respect with which one of the following actors? a) Broderick Crawford; b) Robert Stack; c) Robert Mitchum; or d) Rock Hudson.
5) Question: Chaney Jr. memorably played his father, Lon Chaney, in Universal’s 1957 movie biography Man of a Thousand Faces. a) True; or b) False.