Category Archives: April
Lon Chaney was born in Colorado to deaf mute parents. To communicate with them, he relied on pantomime and facial expressions. As natural performers, he and his brother produced their own play and toured it throughout the West. While traveling, Lon had a son, Lon Chaney, Jr., another early film legend. The Chaneys settled in Los Angeles, where Lon, Sr. worked as a choreographer and actor. After his marriage and theater career disintegrated, he turned to the silver screen. Beginning in 1913, Lon enjoyed a prolific Hollywood career, playing a variety of horrifying and imaginative characters. While he debuted in The Miracle Man playing a cripple, he adopted legendary roles like Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Erik, the title character in The Phantom of the Opera. As “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Lon was renowned for his ghastly facial expressions, ability to contort his body, and the groundbreaking makeup he sported. He was reluctant to embrace the new technology of sound movies, or “talkies,” however, and made only one shortly before his death in 1930.
How do you think Lon’s childhood helped his silent film career?
During the Age of Exploration, few nations were as prolific as Spain. Along with Christopher Columbus, it hired conquistadors to travel to the New World and claim land for its empires. One of these men was Juan Ponce de León, who founded the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico. Ponce de León is also credited as the first European to land on and explore the territory of Florida, a feat accomplished on his search for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Though others had probably sighted Florida, León was the only man to claim it for the Spanish crown, and dubbed it Pascua Florida, a nod to the concurrent Easter feast of the time. He returned to Florida eight years later to establish a colony, but after a skirmish with the natives, was mortally wounded and died in Cuba, where he and his party had retreated. His legacy wasn’t forgotten though, and Spain’s first Floridian settlement, St. Augustine, was established in 1565. Spain maintained a grasp on Florida until 1819, when it was ceded to the U.S.
Research the Age of Exploration. What was it, and what did it mean to American history?