Lon Chaney, the Man of a Thousand Faces. I enjoyed the curiosity of silent movies when I was very young. My dad and I watched a lot of black and white movies together. We saw a Harold Lloyd picture and a couple Chaplin pictures. I didn’t see how it would go much past that given the opportunity to see the Keystone Cops.
At some point in high school the public library had a film series. I went to a few. It wasn’t for kids so I was a little out of place amount the old timers revisiting their youth. To their surprise and mine, I was quiet and attentive. At this point in my life I was solidly into art. I was beginning to understand film as an art form and wanted to expand my perception of film.
I’m not sure what films I saw at that time. It was either The Blackbird or The Hunchback of Norte Dame. That was my exposure to Lon Chaney. Having a mind filled with moviemaking and special effects, I was stunned. How could this man do what he was doing? Being in the library, I immediately began finding books on the subject. Stunned again. He did it all with his little box of pain.
Since then I have had a passion for silent films. Only in the last handful of years has the ability to actually see the films come about. It was damned near impossible in the 80s and 90s. Thank you, YouTube.
I just wish I could watch them while I draw.
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