CHANEY JR.'s GRANDSON
COMES OUT TO HOWL!
Ron Chaney at the 1997 Monster Bash's
east coast unveiling
ceremony of the Classic
the United States Post Office!
An interview by Ron
Ron Chaney is the grandson
of Lon Chaney Jr., and it follows, is the great grandson of Lon Chaney
Sr. He's a bright, sincere and wonderful human being to know. And, most
importantly, he loved his grandfather and spent a lot of time in his
younger years with him. His sincerity and care for perpetuating the
images of his grandfathers is a life pursuit, along with keeping the
family in the entertainment business! Ron is the president of Chaney
Entertainment (formerly Chaney Enterprises). On February 15, 2000, I
spoke with Ron and asked him the following questions to help satisfy
the ever growing fans of the Chaney family.
BASH: What are your favorite
Lon Chaney Jr. movies?
OF MICE AND MEN,THE WOLF MAN, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN and I
really enjoy HIGH NOON. Actually, I like 'em all (laughing). Just great
to see my "Gramps" in the movies.
BASH: How did your grandfather
feel about the Wolf Man?
It was his favorite character. He had a great fondness for the Wolf
Man; and his dual personality...
BASH: Did your grandfather
ever talk to you about HIS father?
RC: Sure, he occasionally
spoke about his father. He used to talk a lot about his father practicing
for his role in THE PENALTY. He said he would rehearse at home walking
around in the stumps and how it would hurt him. He'd walk around trying
to get the balance down, so it wouldn't waste production time. (***BASH
note: Chaney Sr. played a legless man, very convincingly, in the film
THE PENALTY from 1920. And without any CGI special effects!).
BASH: How did Chaney Enterprises,
now Chaney Entertainment come about?
RC: Wow, let me think.
I guess the genesis was when my brother Gary and I were moving our grandma
Patsy in San Diego and found boxes which contained the materials, photos,
comments etc. that my grandfather had been assembling for the picture
book "A Century of Chaney's." It revealed a part of our family past
that I found very exciting. You can look for it in the future. I'm involved
in so many projects right now, it is temporarily on the back burner.
BASH: Most people don't
realize how VERY active Chaney Entertainment is....can you tell us some
future projects to look forward to?
will continue to be new products licensed through Universal and Chaney
Entertainment, t-shirts, models...Sideshow's Phantom polystone, Hunchback
of Notre Dame. The polystone Wolf Man is doing very well and a company
named Westland Giftware is developing several Chaney character figurines
and waterglobes: I've seen some photos of the early sculpts, very nice,
also Janus Co. will be releasing the long overdue "The Phantom of the
Opera" in the near future, the fans will enjoy this one. Coming soon
is lonchaney.com! I've been putting together a few shows such as The
Phantom of the Opera 1925 original silent film with live orchestra performing
the original music, and am also working on creating Lon Chaney presents
Haunted Houses hopefully to debut next Halloween in the desert area.
BASH: You're working
on a movie project! CURSE OF THE WOLF MAN! What is the genesis of the
CURSE OF THE WOLF MAN project and where do you hope it will go?
RC: It's in development,
looking for investors presently. We shot a short teaser film -- limited
budget, a short feature to show folks what we have in mind.
BASH: Now the teaser film
has played at The Nortel Palm Springs International Film Festival on
the West Coast, right? And, a sneak peek at the Monster Bash!
RC: I conceived the story,
co-produced and acted in the part as The Wolf Man in this 9 1/2 minute
teaser. Ed French was the make-up artist. Ed has done some great work
in major films such as Eraser, Batman Returns, Star Trek VI -The Undiscovered
Country in which he was nominated for an Academy Award along with Emmy
nominations for Space Rangers and Star Trek-The Next generation along
with television and commercial work. My partner Rich Oliphant, wrote,
co-produced and directed this teaser. We're very excited about it.
BASH: Can you tell us
about the Lon Chaney Jr. Star Fund?
RC: The "Star Fund" is
to put Lon Chaney Jr. on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Something for the
fans. We'll have information about donating to the Star Fund on the
forthcoming website, lonchaney.com. Every contributor will get listed
on the web site. I've been keeping track of everybody. It went up in
cost, it was ten thousand, they've since upped it to fifteen thousand
to get a star on the Walk. We'll get there in time.
BASH: Well your grandfather
would have turned 94 just a few days ago. On a last note, can you bring
to the table, what none of the historians studying the films really
can, which is give us a slice of real life with Lon Chaney Jr.? Perhaps
just a snippet of a memory over a dinner at your grandparent's house
back in the 60's or early 70's?
RC: Yes, I wished him
a personal Happy Birthday, I'm sure along with many others. Well, I
would have to say one of the fondest memories is, we would wrestle with
him in the backyard. He was very good. He'd show us all the moves. We'd
try to pull them off on him. We could never get him down, naaaa, not
even when we ganged up on him!
BASH: By we, you mean
you and your brother?
RC: Yeah, Gary and I
ganged up on him, but we could never....(laughing), get him down. He
loved to cook, he had great recipes, chili and great dishes. He was
just a wonderful storyteller. Hearing him tell stories was wonderful.
He made them come alive, really...he used his hands, voice and face
so much for expression.
BASH: Thank you Ron from
me, personally, and all the other SCORES and SCORES of Lon Chaney Jr.
Ron Adams and Ron Chaney
Lon Chaney Jr., Ron Chaney and Lon
(Ron's addition through the courtesy
of time travel, or...Photoshop)
The legacy rolls on, Ron Chaney's son,
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