"Chaney's pictures are the only ones that don't get the raspberry." - Ex-convict working in Hollywood (1930)
The statement above refers to movies played for entertainment in the various correctional institutions of the day. "[Chaney] knows how a crook thinks, acts and talks," said the ex-con. In an article claiming to be the last interview that Lon Chaney gave before his death in August, 1930, writer J. Eugene Chrisman goes on to say that "Lon Chaney understands the underworld and its people because he has studied crime and criminals. He has studied them so long and so deeply as to be recognized by leading authorities as one of the finest amateur criminologists and penologists in the world."
Chaney was so popular with convicts that he was often asked by them to come and speak on the subject. In this interview, in the October 1930 issue of Motion Picture Classic, Chaney says that, "men on the inside of our jails are no more wholly bad than men on the outside are wholly good, and the line between the two is often faintly drawn."
Monster Magazine World readers may recognize the name J. Eugene Chrisman as the same author who appeared in a string of recent posts about Boris Karloff. Note the credit given to George Hurrell, the well-known Hollywood portrait photographer.