Cruising the usual hotspots for news, I came upon this item over at THR.com about the heirs of Lon Chaney, Jr. suing Universal for a million dollars for continued use of his likeness. Basically, a deal that Chaney, who passed away in 1973, negotiated with Universal, for continued use of his likeness, name, voice, signature, silhouette, DNA and bone marrow (okay, maybe not those last two), expired in 2008. But no new agreement has been done and Universal reportedly continues to reap the benefits of that expired deal. That’s the story, but there was a statement that the article’s author made that seemed preposterous to me until I gave it more than a passing thought. According to THR’s Eriq Gardner, Chaney’s face is famous — although most people likely have forgotten his name since his passing….
Now I’m of the age that I actually shared the planet with Chaney for about a year before he stopped pretending to not be alive. I grew up on those films in which he starred, although admittedly I’m not quite as hardcore a fan as some others, like the UMF (Universal Monster Fundamentalists) who despised Van Helsing with the intensity of a thousand suns (didn’t the UMF have a contract out on Stephen Sommers at one point or something?)
Basically, what I’m wondering is: is there absolutely anything to that statement at all? Has Lon Chaney been forgotten, if not by us thirtysomethings / fortysomethings, then by those who are younger than say, Cool as Ice (how I came up with that film as a benchmark is as much a mystery to me as it is to you)? Do you whippersnappers even know of whom I speak?
Fire back on the talkbacks and / or on the boards.