Looking For Mabel
Marilyn Slater, the go-to person for all things Mabel Normand, has just debuted Looking For Mabel. It includes a virtual tour of Mabel's LA, Mabel-centric songs, articles, loads of rare images, and Marilyn promises more to come. Mabel Normand, the silent cinema's first great comedienne, is one of those film trailblazers who, until relatively recently, was remembered more as a vague icon of the early silent era than for her specific talents or the body of work she produced. But much like her frequent Keystone co-star Roscoe Arbuckle, Mabel and her films are being rediscovered and given their proper due, thanks in no small part to Marilyn's efforts. Her website is a terrific and authoritative introduction for anyone as yet unfamiliar with "Keystone Mabel".
Incidentally, Marilyn Slater is the mastermind behind Fantagraphics' reprints of silent comedian-themed comic strips. There are two 32-page volumes so far, Mabel Normand and Her Funny Friends and Fatty Arbuckle and His Funny Friends, each priced at $4.95 and featuring nifty cover art by Kim Deitch (I want to illustrate these covers!). These strips starring such silent luminaries (and not-so luminescent luminaries) as Normand, Arbuckle, Chester Conklin, Ford Sterling, and others, are from the pages of the UK comic weekly Kinema Comic, sister publication of the better-known Film Fun. At $4.95 an issue, you have no excuse not to buy these.