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Lon Jr.'s Last Hurrah


darkblue
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I'm really happy today. Why? Because I got 'Spider Baby' (1967) recorded this morning - something I've been wanting for several years after having caught it once before on TCM Underground.

Easily my favorite cult film from the 60's. Call it horror, call it black comedy, call it whatever - it's a fabulously entertaining movie.

The black and white cinematography is outstanding for a b-movie with undoubtedly modest financing. The acting is first-rate by pretty much everyone - especially the two teen girls and Lon Chaney Jr. 

I once read that a top director (sorry, I can't remember who it was) said that whenever he needed a really good actor for a small role in a film, he'd get Chaney. When I read that I immediately thought of films like 'High Noon' and 'The Defiant Ones'.

Here he gives a really wonderful performance, both comic and tender, as the one person who cares for a family of demented children living with a bizarre affliction. 

I once read about the making of this movie that, after completing a particularly sensitive speech scene, the entire cast and crew around him gave him a respectful and affectionate standing ovation.

As cult films go, this is a great one. Did I mention how happy I am?

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Well, for those TCM subscribers that missed watching it yesterday, and are now intrigued enough to want to see it (or see it again), it is available for the next 7 days (at least until Wed. Feb. 7, 2019) on WATCH TCM ON-DEMAND. 

After DB's write up, I might even take a gander for a second look at it myself.
After all "Long Chaney" was one of my fav's when I was a kid enamored with all those Universal (and related) horror flicks.
Thanks DB :)

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7 hours ago, darkblue said:

I'm really happy today. Why? Because I got 'Spider Baby' (1967) recorded this morning - something I've been wanting for several years after having caught it once before on TCM Underground.

Easily my favorite cult film from the 60's. Call it horror, call it black comedy, call it whatever - it's a fabulously entertaining movie.

The black and white cinematography is outstanding for a b-movie with undoubtedly modest financing. The acting is first-rate by pretty much everyone - especially the two teen girls and Lon Chaney Jr. 

I once read that a top director (sorry, I can't remember who it was) said that whenever he needed a really good actor for a small role in a film, he'd get Chaney. When I read that I immediately thought of films like 'High Noon' and 'The Defiant Ones'.

Here he gives a really wonderful performance, both comic and tender, as the one person who cares for a family of demented children living with a bizarre affliction. 

I once read about the making of this movie that, after completing a particularly sensitive speech scene, the entire cast and crew around him gave him a respectful and affectionate standing ovation.

As cult films go, this is a great one. Did I mention how happy I am?

I love this one also. 

I own it on VHS, but I still watched it yesterday. There was not anything like it at time, so they did not know what to do with it. It was filmed in just 12 days in August 1964, but the producers went bankrupt and it was not released until 1968. It was in mostly drive-ins and was quickly forgotten. It gained a cult reputation in the 1980s and is considered Chaney's last good role. 

The director Jack Hill had said Chaney was his first choice, but Chaney's agent held out for more money, Hill told him he would offer it to Chaney's rival John Carradine. Only then did Lon accept because he liked the script and it was the biggest role he was offered in years. He was notorious for having a drinking problem but remained on the wagon for the entire shoot. 

I think the director you are thinking of is actually producer A.C. Lyles. He had said Lon was one of his closest friends and one of the best character actors in town. 

I think everyone should check this out, you may love it or hate it but you will not forget it. 

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2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

He was notorious for having a drinking problem but remained on the wagon for the entire shoot. 

When I was very small, my grandmother and I saw Lon filming at Mimico Creek in west-end Toronto - where we lived. It was an episode of 'Last of the Mohicans' that was being filmed. Nanny talked about it for the rest of her life - it was the only famous person she'd ever seen in real life, I think.

Did you know that Lon Chaney Jr. left his body to science? That is awesome.

He's my favorite golden age actor.

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5 minutes ago, darkblue said:

Nanny talked about it for the rest of her life -

Isn't she the one that used to call him "Long" Chaney??? :)
(I recall that you shared that with us in another post a few years ago) ;)
I remembered it because when I was a kid, that's what I thought his name was too, and I used to spell it that way. :D

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