Frisco Beat: Lon Chaney Hits the Old Mint Again!

If you’ve ever caught the 1920 Lon Chaney silent flick The Penalty, you no doubt remember the sequence where Lon and his mob are looting the Old Mint on the corner of Fifth and Mission. On Thursday March 29 — and, yes, I guess there is some irony involved — Chaney returns to the scene of the crime, as the Old Mint hosts a screening, with some introductory remarks by me before the movie, and then Brian Hollins a.k.a. CitySleuth doing his Then & Now power point on location shots from almost 100 years ago.

You might recall that we recently did these same duties for a showing in the Tenderloin Museum, but the concept proved so popular the crew over at the Old Mint decided they wanted in on the action, too. Why not?

They are adding live music and other stuff to the festivities — and, come on, just getting to see this primo Chaney movie inside the building where the actor is running around on the front steps, what could be better?

I can tell you what the Old Mint has that no other venue will ever have: location, location, location.

Show up if you have the interest. I’ll do my usual thoughts of how I think Dashiell Hammett was inspired by this movie to write his tour de force San Francisco action novel The Big Knockover, and anyone who digs local history will be amazed by CitySleuth’s research — honest, the guy’s the best.

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