Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #00090131: LON CHANEY

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Extremely rare and very desirable vintage 8x10-inch sepia-tone portrait as the armless knife-thrower Alonzo in Tod Browning's The Unknown (1927), signed and inscribed in brown fountain pen in the late 1920s: "To Ralph D. Blumenthal / Most sincerely / Lon Chaney". In fine condition for its age, with tape remnants on the reverse side and the writing clear, but penned against the dark brim of his hat. This image has an interesting provenance, originating as part of a group of limited edition souvenir albums of signed film star photographs that were presented in 1928 to benefactors of the newly formed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which included Blumenthal. One-of-a-kind horror icon Lon Chaney, Sr. was dubbed the Man of a Thousand Faces for his ability to transform himself, via make-up and body contortion, into every manner of deformed, exotic or unseemly personage.  Before his tragic death of cancer at the age of 47, he was unforgettable in Treasure Island (1920), The Penalty (1920), Outside the Law (1920), Oliver Twist (1922), While Paris Sleeps (1923), The Shock (1923), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), He Who Gets Slapped (1924), The Monster (1925), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), the silent and talkie versions of The Unholy Three (1926, 1930), The Blackbird (1926), The Road to Mandalay (1926), Tell It to the Marines (1926), Mr. Wu (1927), The Unknown (1927), Mockery (1927), London After Midnight (1927), Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928), While the City Sleeps (1928), West of Zanzibar (1928), and Where East Is East (1928).