Hollywood & Vine
A point of interest on the Lost Souls of Hollywood Boulevard GPS-guided audio walking tour.
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Lon Chaney carried many-a titles in his life—actor, makeup artist, screenwriter, director—but was most often known for his ability to bring a character to life. Specifically, silent horror film characters with grotesque makeup that he skillfully designed himself. In fact, he was so skilled at makeup design that he was given the nickname “the man of a thousand faces.” If you’re a silent movie buff, it’s entirely possible that you’ve seen him lurking around on the screen in 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame or the popular 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera.
Chaney was working on a film called Thunder, a 1929 American silent melodrama about a railroad engineer (obviously Chaney) who’s obsessed with running his train on time—a riveting piece we’re sure but unfortunately you’re not likely to see it because somehow the film was lost and only half a reel of the entire footage is know to exist today… in any case, he was working on this film during the winter of 1929, when he developed pneumonia. He would be diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer later that year, which was made significantly worse when pieces of the “artificial snow” that was used in Thunder, which was made out of cornflakes (we’re not joking here) lodged in his throat and created an infection. He was treated aggressively, unfortunately whether it be the time during medicine or the state of the illness, he passed away on August 26, 1930.
Chaney has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which you’ll find on the south side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard, but you might be lucky enough to see his ghost sitting at a bench on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine. He used to sit on a bus bench just like this one everyday waiting for rides to the studios in the area where he could search for work. Those familiar with this corner say that Chaney can still be seen waiting to go to work, though the original bench he sat on has long been removed.
I have some terrible news. This is the last time you'll hear my soothing, baritone voice. Sadly, our tour is coming to a close. Let's head east across Vine street. Our last tour stop, the Pantages Theatre awaits.
Lost Souls of Hollywood
This POI is featured on the Lost Souls of Hollywood Audio Walking Tour, part of the Tripvia Tours mobile app available for Android & Apple.
All audio walking tours are self-guided and include fully narrated commentary.
Each POI has a fun multiple choice trivia challenge you can test your skills on.
The trivia questions are separate from the commentary and completely optional.
The app keeps score for you so you can challenge your friends and family.