Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Thousand Faces - Part 1 of 2

 (Note:  I’ve left a few political comments about other issues, including UFO “disclosure,” at the conclusion of today’s tribute. . .)

As a kid in the fifties, I became a faithful reader of the magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland.  The first issue I ever read was number eight, and I was so fascinated with the contents and thumbed through it so often that I had to staple the pages back together when it fell apart.  Well, that event didn't actually happen because of all the articles and pictures -- it was a piece on silent (mostly) film actor Lon Chaney that kept me returning to those pages.  Maybe it was the pictorial layout, showing a face shot of Chaney as "The Phantom of the Opera," (1925) coupled with a haunting moment showing Chaney in a vampire-like pose from "London After Midnight (unless something has changed historically, the last print of this 1927 classic perished decades ago, leaving behind only black and white stills to tell the story).

"Man of a Thousand Faces," starring James Cagney would be produced years later, as Cagney played the part of Lon Chaney in this major movie bio-drama, giving theater audiences a taste of the late actor's many film characterizations.  Finding the movie LP music soundtrack a few years ago was a plus for me.

Chaney, who died of throat cancer, was noted particularly for the extremes he would undergo in the application of both makeup and devices which tortured and contorted his body into almost unimaginable positions (his rendition of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is a prime example of a grotesque and painful bodily manipulation, as was his need in another performance to bend his legs so as to appear an amputee -- when Chaney reportedly trussed himself up tightly enough to dangerously threaten blood circulation, if I recall correctly from my old readings). 

Lon Chaney probably had a childhood filled with the need to express pathos and invent characters and situations because both of his parents were deaf and unable to speak.  His life was destined to be difficult and vastly different from other children's lives from the moment he was born in 1883 in Colorado.

A visit to Lon Chaney's page at reveals a dizzying list of motion pictures beginning in 1912, a list seemingly without end as one scrolls down and down and down.

His son, Lon Chaney, Jr.(a head full of useless knowledge reminds me that he was born Creighton Tull Chaney) probably had more fun than his dad because he got the gig roles in those Werewolf/Frankenstein/Dracula movies for Universal Pictures -- and, bonus, these were all "talkies."

During this Halloween month, I'm posting all the Lon Chaney photos in my collection of small proof sheet displays, acquired when I was a kid.  Sorry that some are a little tilted, that's just the way they ended up in the scanner because I wasn't about to risk taping or affixing them to anything due to their age.

This is the first of two intended photo pages, the other to follow in a few days.  Today's photos concentrate mainly on the silent classic, "The Phantom of the Opera," and without exploring the Net I don't recall the title of the movie starring Chaney as a ventriloquist -- there was a time when I could readily identify all the pictures, but that was over 50 years ago.  Cursed time, it  doesn't simply march on, it sprints.

DISCLOSURE ISN’T WHAT IT DIDN’T USED TO BE:  To you folk wringing your hands and waiting for the Obama bunch to present a UFO tell-all, just keep in mind that these are the same people who apparently ignored frantic requests from our embassy personnel in Libya to provide increased protection months before our embassy grounds were violated and American lives taken, and in fact had already withdrawn security personnel who might have made a difference.  And if the best they can do to reassure another four years in the White House is to throw Sesame Street’s “Big Bird” into a campaign commercial, while the Middle East burns directly via Obama’s misguided or incompetent policies, they surely don’t give a damn about disclosing anything to you except requests for campaign funds.

Now we find what everybody with a functioning mind realized from the start – that the much touted anti-Muslim video had nothing whatsoever to do with what was, indeed, a well-planned attack in Libya, and everybody from the President to Hillary Clinton to Susan Rice to Jay Carney and, I’m sure, a host of others behind the scenes gave us a bold-faced lie from the beginning.  Lies, frauds, that’s what this Administration seems to be all about.  I have friends who are faithful Democrats, and I’ve no love for what the Republicans and George Bush put us through, but as an Independent voter who used to embrace Democrat ideas, I have to say – the Democrat party seems to have been sequestered and infected with political organisms intent upon running this country into the ground, whether by design or (doubtful) accident.

For what it’s worth, the gentleman who made the video in question is a Coptic Christian, and despite his faults and violations of law, keep in mind that he likely had seen enough of other Coptics being slaughtered by the wonderful Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – an activity still engaged in enthusiastically as I write this.

Nevertheless, there was Obama and there was Hillary Clinton, taping an unnecessary and absurd  apology to the Middle East for the irrelevant video, once again finding reason to make the USA the culprit.  And what’s this nonsense in the United Nations, approved by Mrs. Clinton, a resolution to make it a crime to criticize Islam?  This would have to be approved by our Senate, of course, and I hope they still remember we have a First Amendment if a vote comes up.  This just sounds too outrageous to be believed, actually.

I just wish one or two high-ranking, familiar faces from the Democrat side -- and I feel the same about the Republicans, but their time isn't now -- would step forward and just admit what a fraud the whole thing is and what a pathetic, if not dangerous, occupant currently resides in the White House.  I'm telling ya, those people would be national heroes overnight for speaking the truth, political parties be damned.  I think we're so close to using the word treason right now that I can't imagine what's going to happen next.  Impeachment would be nice, I guess.  Prison might be better for some.  If the American  people don't understand that we just experienced the biggest overt lie of Mr. Obama's presidency, complicit with numerous players, then another four years may be well deserved for those folks. 

THE PERFECT BOMB FOR ALL OCCASIONS?  Well, if one MUST blast some errant civilization into the Stone Age, I still think my preference would be the neutron bomb, but having once served in the Air Force I was more than a little curious a few years ago when news reports indicated that the USAF was working on the “gay bomb,” a chemical device which somehow would turn enemy troops temporarily gay and insistent upon having same-gender relations.  Supposedly, this grand idea went down in flames when its troubled research existence became public knowledge, but a part of me hopes it survived and went to Israel so that Israel can drop a few of them on Iran, should push come to shove.  In a country run by insane mullahs and an Iranian president who insists there are no homosexuals in Iran (um, that would probably be because they are executed routinely), I’d pay to see these human throwbacks chemically bombed into doing what they hate the most, knowing they would have no religious alternative but to kill one another later on when they realize their actions.  If the pheromone can be mightier than the atom, why resort to nuclear destruction when you have a gay bomb?

CALLING ASPIRING ARTISTS WILLING TO DIE FOR THEIR EFFORTS:  If you pay really close attention to United Nations buffoons and the radical Islamic element, you’ll find a trend calling for the world – including the United States, oh, particularly the USA – to outlaw speech critical of Islam.  That would seem a bit problematic when put up next to our First Amendment rights, but you know how things are these days, what with the Obama bunch and such who just want to play nice with everybody in the global neighborhood, no matter what. 

The rad Muslims go bonkers when anybody attempts to depict the prophet Mohammad in art, a problem Christians don’t seem to have when it comes to Jesus.  I think what we need is for artists around the world, by the hundreds of thousands, to flood the Internet every day with fresh  impressions of Mohammad, Jesus and any other religious figures who come to mind – especially Mohammad, though.  How about multiple Facebook pages for Mohammad, facial impressions colorfully depicted, with vivid descriptions of his reportedly sordid life?  This kind of stuff will drive the extremists nuts, and artists may well be killed for their work by throwback sub-humans, but once there’s a depiction of Mohammad and his story on every Web page, much of the world will get an education of which it was unaware (well, until nations tear down the Web pages).  Maybe the winner of the best drawing of Mohammad could get a trip to Disney World or Hollywood or something.

THE SANDUSKY LESSON:  Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky is off to the slammer for 30-60 years.  The legal system industry sure showed him and other pedophiles, didn’t they?  On a personal and victim level, I’m sure some felt he deserved nothing less, and probably more.  But what is the lesson – reinforced – here?  Same as always, with boldness.  The tendency to hand out these incredibly lengthy sentences in similar instances might send out the wrong message – that is, if somebody intends to expose young children to sexual encounters, the stakes are higher.  After the deed is done, maybe better to shut the victim up for good.  Maybe better to destroy the evidence so that nothing is ever found, not ever.  Considering the alternative, maybe it’s worth the risk.  And so, before society continues imprisoning people and throwing away the key based upon predatory sexual activities (aren't all sexual activities predatory?), maybe the real question to ask parents intent upon maximum justice for such things would be – Would they rather have their child returned sexually violated but alive. . .or would they prefer sexually violated and dead, or not ever found at all?  This, I suspect, is never a question posed by district attorneys or judges running for re-election under the lucrative, vote-producing flag of child abuse.  Sorry, I’m getting too old not to be blunt.