Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Wolf Man

"The Wolf Man"
You already have a mental picture of Lon Chaney, Jr., made-up in his best-known role, don't you?!
(Gee, what could he ever have on his mind?!)
Did you ever wonder about how the make-up artist, Jack P. Pierce, made such a big hairy deal out of Chaney?
This is from "The Wolf Man (The Original 1941 Shooting Script);" edited and compiled by Philip Riley; MagicImage Filmbooks; New York; page 49:
"The Wolf Man makeup, though it takes 4 hours to apply, is not as complicated as the Frankenstein Monster's. It consists principally of an artifical nose piece and bristles on the head, face, and neck, which are literally applied yak hair by yak hair. After the application, I singe the hair to give it that 'animal-like' appearance. I also make-up Chaney's feet and I give him claws. It takes about forty-five minutes to remove his makeup at the end of the shooting day."
To conclude this tribute to Jack Pierce on a humorous note, here are Lon Chaney Jr.'s personal thoughts on the makeup removal process by Jack Pierce.
"What gets me," said Lon, "is after work and I'm all hot and itchy and tired, and I've got to sit in that chair for forty-five minutes more while Pierce just about kills me ripping off the stuff he put on in the morning! Somtimes we take an hour and he leaves some of the skin on my face!"
I would have turned wolfish too if somebody
tried to take my fur off all the way down
and including the skin!!
You can check out more about Lon Chaney, father AND son at
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