Heir to the Phantom of the Opera and the Wolf Man
Interview conducted by Anthony Servante
Ron Chaney is the Great-grandson of Lon Chaney, Grandson of Lon Chaney, Jr.
and the CEO/President of Chaney Entertainment, Inc.
Anthony Servante: Hello, Readers. The Black Glove would like to welcome Ron Chaney, Jr. to our online magazine. Good evening, Mr. Chaney. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.
Ron Chaney Jr.: Thank you for having me.
Anthony: Just to warm up: Which is your favorite monster from yesteryear and from today?
Ron: I may be a little bias but I’d have to say the Wolf Man. It is and always will be my favorite. After all, I am one.
Anthony: Who was the strongest monster: the Frankenstein monster, Dracula, or the Wolf Man (notice I left out the Mummy—anyone can beat up the Mummy)?
Ron: I’d have to say, Frankenstein was the strongest, the Wolf Man was the quickest and Dracula the most cunning.
Anthony: Could the Wolf Man beat up the Alien creature, you know, Ridley Scott’s monster?
Ron: Of course! He’d severe his neck and rip his lungs out if he had any!
Anthony: Enough warm up: Can you tell us about yourself?
Ron: I’m a contractor by day and monster by night…but of course, only when the moon’s full and bright.
Anthony: What kind of childhood did you have with such a famous surname?
Ron: Most of my friends were unaware of the relation. It didn’t seem to help when I got in trouble, but as I got older more people started putting the connection together.
Anthony: So, when was it that you decided to carry on the legacy of your family name?
Ron: I’ve always had an interest in following in their footsteps but the genesis came prior to my grandmothers passing. My brother Gary and I were moving our grandmother and found some old boxes that belonged to my grandfather. It was the early framework for a book titled, “A Century of Chaneys.” I remember him working on it when we would visit. I knew from that moment it was my time to pursue the family business. How...was my biggest question and the mission. I’ve managed to be involved in several successful campaigns bringing attention to the Chaneys but the ultimate goal is to create new Chaney films for the next generation.
Anthony: What are some of your favorite memories of growing up a Chaney?
Ron: Spending time with my grandfather hearing various stories from his life, playing cards and games with him. He was also an excellent cook.
Anthony: Your great-grandfather is an icon of Horror movies; what can you tell us about him? And how did he change the face of Horror, so to speak?
Ron: Lon was a very private man totally dedicated to his craft, the art of acting, make-up and pantomime. He utilized these abilities by creating characters that scared folks but also evoked sympathy. These early characterizations in film forever influenced the Horror genre; many still look to the master today!
Anthony: Your grandfather also appeared in some comedies, poking fun of his iconic roles in horror. What did you think of this side of his career? (I loved him in My Favorite Brunette with Bob Hope).
Ron: He had a comedic side to him and a great sense of humor. He was a gamer and a pro.
Anthony: Where do you fit in the Chaney legacy? How do you want Hollywood history to remember you?
Ron: Well, hopefully the final Chaney script hasn’t been written yet and that I did my best to preserve and perpetuate the family legacy while discovering my own creativity in the process.
Anthony: Let’s talk Horror. How do you feel about the genre? When I spoke with Sara Karloff, she informed us that she was no fan of the gory movies of today. What’s your take on the subject?
Ron: There are a lot of scary movies out, in some way to real, I prefer a good story over excessive gore.
Anthony: Speaking of Sara Karloff: You and she are part of the group known as “The Monster Kids”; can you give us some background on the nickname and who comprises the group?
Ron: Don’t know too much about that but it’s cool! James Michael Roddy (jmichaelroddy.com) is the person’s whose project it is. We’ve also been called children of the night. Not sure how that looks on a resume.
Anthony: Picking up where we left off on the Horror theme: Are there any Horror movies you like? [If not, What movies do you like?]
Ron: I’m all over the map on films. I like all genres old and new but tend to like action films. The projects I’ve developed or worked on usually have a horror/action angle. It’s obviously in the blood.
Anthony: With all the trends in horror today, Monster Lit (e.g., Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) and Zombie Apocalypse, to name a few, what do you think your grandfather and great-grandfather would have thought of them compared to horror in their day?
Ron: Don’t quite get that one. He was one of our greatest presidents. Times certainly have changed but in regard to my grandfathers, I’m sure they would embrace the new technology, adapt and do their best to elevate the film in some capacity.
|The United States Postal Services 1997 Universal Monsters issue|
Anthony: How do you like going to the conventions honoring the legacy your surname represents?
Ron: I get to hear many wonderful stories and fond memories from the fans, and the impact my grandfathers have had on so many. I’ve also met some of the most wonderful people but I generally only attend one or two a year.
Anthony: What’s the next convention for you?
Ron: Monsterpalooza, April 13th-15th in Burbank, CA. My daughters and I enjoy the show every year and they have some amazing and talented artists that attend. So many wonderful exhibits are on display and it’s a great way for us, “Monsterkids,” to get together.
Ron: Please visit us at lonchaney.com or on facebook.
Anthony: An amazing story. And an amazing family. From The Black Glove and its readers, thank you for your time. It’s been a real pleasure.
Ron: Thank you.
(THE BLACK GLOVE thanks Mr. Chaney for his time and efforts.)