Too Many Cooks
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I found these publicity stills for Joe Cook's series at Educational on eBay a couple of weeks ago and feel compelled to share. An expert juggler, acrobat, sharpshooter, dancer, magician, and musician, it was once said that Cook's understudy was the Barnum and Bailey Circus. And unlike a lot of once-famous depression-era comics, Joe Cook is every bit as capable of winning over an audience today as he was in 1931. Cook's special charm shines through even in silents, as evidenced by this 1925 newsreel appearance in which Cook displays his juggling skills and even a bit of mime. Of all the Broadway comedians who spent time at Educational, Joe Cook appears to have been most successful at bringing his brand of humor to the screen. The two shorts I've thus far seen are hysterically funny and again beg the question of why Joe Cook's film career never took wing. By all rights, as one of the 30s most endearing and versatile "nut" comics, Joe Cook should have been a major film comedy star, and yet he spent his film career producing sporadic shorts and features for the minor leagues. It's more of a legacy than has been left by many another stage talent, but it hardly seems fitting for the comic once described by one Broadway critic as "the greatest man in America".