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The first time I saw Lon Chaney in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) It was an 8mm print I projected silently on my bedroom wall. I was 17 or 18.

I had ordered it through an ad I had found in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine. It was $50 (U.S.) plus shipping. I got the money to pay for it by cutting chickens with a bandsaw for the Saut Ste. Marie outlet of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I got 1.5 cents a bird for cutting and 1.5 cents for bagging. It was meant to be a two person job but they had trouble keeping a second person. I cut a lot of chickens to raise that money.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was the second silent feature I bought. The first, again in 8mm, was Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS (1927). The man I bought them from was John Griggs:  .

METROPOLIS astounded me. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA astounded me and sealed the deal.

I had read the Gaston Leroux novel on which the movie was based. The ending was changed for the movie and, boy, what a change!

As the film ended I felt a thrill that has only been equaled by the thrill I felt watching CITY LIGHTS (1931) with Charlie Chaplin.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since that moment in the 1960s.

Cortland Hall shares my love for this film. I first saw his name with a wonderful mashup of clips from classic horror films set to Frank Sinatra’s STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT:  .

Cortland Hull, descended from actor Henry Hull [who played the werewolf in Universal’s THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)] runs THE WITCHES DUNGEON: .

Like myself he loves THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. He has put together this wonderful DVD that everyone who loves The Phantom (and there are a whole lot of us) deserves to see.–Reg Hartt



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