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Saying Hello and Goodbye

February 12, 2003

Almanac Transcript

Saying hello and goodbye this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, Iím Steven Knoche Kite.

Oklahoma is home to, and the birthplace of, many well-known and important personalities. Various musicians, actors, politicians, writers and artists from Oklahoma have become household names in countries around the world. This week we are featuring two such individuals: Lon Chaney Jr. and the Comanche leader Quanah Parker.

Quanah Parker was born to a Comanche Chief and Cynthia Parker a Euro-American woman who at the age of nine was captured by Comanche's. Given the power and ethnic blend of Parkerís parents, the young Comanche was in a good position to deal with the transition of his people from a Native American culture to that of the Euro-Americans. Quanah, after gaining the role of Chief of all of the Comanche bands in the late 1800ís, led his group from war to peace gaining great respect along the way. In his later years he lived with his five wives in a imposing structure near Cache built for him by wealthy cattlemen from Texas. It was in this week of 1911 that thousands of mourners gathered at the great Comancheís house and the Post Oak Mission near Cache, Oklahoma to attend his funeral. Inflicted with an illness Quanah Parker passed away February 11, 1911.

As we say good-bye to Quanah we take time to welcome the arrival of Lon Chaney Jr. born on February 10, 1906 in Oklahoma City. Lon Chaney Jr., actually named Creighton Tull Chaney was the son of the famous actor Lon Chaney. It was while his parents were performing in Oklahoma City that Creighton Chaney had the great fortune to be born an Oklahoman. As he began in show business, agents to exploit the name of his famous father, changed Creighton's name to Lon Chaney Jr.

While Chaney played prominent roles in films like Of Mice and Men and High Noon, it was in the horror genre that Chaney made his greatest impact. After portraying the Wolfman in 1941, Chaney went on to become the only actor ever to play the part of the four big movie monsters: Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy. Although Chaney was a valued and respected actor, it has been said of him that his lack of versatility locked him into playing only horror films.

By the mid 1950ís sickness, alcoholism and the fading market for scary movies forced the actor to accept increasingly low quality productions bottoming out with his last picture Dracula Versus Frankenstein, in 1971. The Wolfman, Mummy, Frankensteinís Monster and Dracula appeared all at once in the form of Lon Chaney Jr. born in Oklahoma City in this week of 1906.

I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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