WOLFMAN LON CHANEY LEGAL WAR
You just can’t keep a good monster down as “The WOLFMAN” LON CHANEY’s heirs raise hell in bombshell lawsuit.
Most film buffs know full well that Creighton Tull Chaney was the son of silent star “Man of a Thousand Faces” Lon Chaney and changed his name to Lon Chaney, Jr. to get acting gigs.
Chaney has played ALL the monsters in Universal Pictures creature feature repertoire toplining as “The Wolman” in 1941 but he also played the Frankenstein Monster, The Mummy and the Son of Dracula.
In fact, in “Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein” he doubled for Glenn Strange as the Monster battling The Wolfman (who he was starring as) so, thanks to some judicious cutting, Lon actually battled himself!
Now in the wake of other stars like Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart estates winning post-mortem rights a new legal battle has been launched on behald of the late Chaney who died in 1973.
The Hollywood Reporter says Chaney Entertainment, a company run by the actor's heirs, is blind siding Universal about the Lon Chaney legacy with a bombshell lawsuit seeks $1 million in damages for exploiting Lon, Jr.’s likeness.
According to a complaint that was filed in L.A. Superior Court, Universal had deals with Chaney to exploit his name, voice, signature, silhouette and other aspects of his persona. But this prior agreement whereby Chaney appointed Universal as the exclusive representative over likeness rights expired in 2008.
Now, Chaney Entertainment claims that despite the end of the term of that deal, Universal continues to negotiate licensing agreements that concern his rights with various manufacturers of toys, action figures, movie poster repros, etc.
Interestingly enough, the lawsuit comes close on the heels of the first major release of Universals monsters in a blu-ray collection.
“Dracula” star Bela Lugosi’s son, Bela Lugosi, Jr., a lawyer, has staked a claim in repping dead co-stars of his late undead dad including Boris Karloff’s daughter, Sarah but is NOT legally representing The Chaney Estate in THIS case.
“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a litigant when the Autumn moon is bright…”