Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stuff and Nonsense, Part II

More ink-based classic comedy odds and ends filched from Ebay.

A 1922 trade ad for Charley Chase's brother Paul Parrott's first series for Hal Roach.

At five reels, Grandma's Boy (1922) was Harold Lloyd's first true feature, the four reel featurette A Sailor-Made Man having been released the year before. I love the copy emphasizing that Grandma's Boy was still doing phenomenal business "in the Midst of Summer", a reminder that in the days before air-conditioning, crowded theaters in Summer were nasty, smelly sweatboxes you wouldn't want to spend too much time in.

1926 Pathe' exhibitor's yearbook promo for Lloyd's features. There's something a little unsettling about that portrait of Harold.

And speaking of unsettling, here's a 1922 trade ad for Eddie Lyons' Arrow comedies. Maybe that expression meant "zany funmaker" in 1922. Today it means "dangerous madman concealing a knife".

Nothing duller than a "respectable" silent short comedy. If you were the type of movie patron offended by the crude and untoward antics of, say, that disreputable rapscallion Buster Keaton, you could always watch Carter de Haven for a round of polite and barely audible chuckles. Mr. P. A. Powers is the same Pat Powers that distributed and provided the sound equipment for Walt Disney's first talking cartoons, screwed him out of his profits, and then signed his key animator and business partner Ub Iwerks out from under him to set up another studio.

Exploding stoves are wacky! Look at that cat fly! Ho ho! Who stars in Fox Imperial Comedies? Apparently no one worth mentioning by name. Just put your trust in William Fox that the stars are fully qualified and accredited Laughmakers. George Marshall did direct some of the Imperial Comedies, but King of the Kitchen (1926) was directed by none other than former Karno vet and Chaplin crony Albert Austin, best remembered as the wonderfully deadpan man whose alarm clock Chaplin eviscerates in The Pawnshop (1916). Austin reportedly spent his final years as a studio guard at Warner Brothers.. sad, but a definite improvement over the fate of former silent star Karl Dane who was reduced to selling hot dogs outside the MGM gates... as I'm sure I've mentioned before, ghoul that I am.

This 1926 promo for the Fox Animal Comedies was drawn by cartoonist, animator, puppeteer and all-round renaissance man Tony Sarg, who, among other things, created the first figural balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927 (including the first character balloon, Felix the Cat). Sarg's association with Fox and the Animal Comedies is a total mystery to me as he had been out of the film business for several years. As for the films, I'm assuming they consisted of comically edited and doctored up nature footage.

Any idea who the mustachioed star of Educational's 1922 Mermaid Comedies might be? At first glance I thought it might be Billy Bletcher, but the dates don't add up. Is it Jimmie Adams, perhaps?

In 1926, Educational's tag "The Best of the Old and the Best of the New" had yet to take on the decidedly negative connotations it would during the 30s when the studio developed a decidedly unfair reputation as the elephants' graveyard of film comedy. They had a pretty good lineup in 1926, but I suspect that Educational made more money that year from the globally popular Felix the Cat cartoons than from the rest of their of their output combined.

One of Hal Roach's numerous Westerns starring Rex the Wonder Horse, this one written in part by Stan Laurel. There's even a horse love interest, "Lady", and a horse villain, "The Killer"! Kids in 1926 must have gone nuts over this.

1926 Charlie Chaplin reissues from Pathe'. The copy essentially reads "Chaplin. 'Nuff said."

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Blogger Steve said...

The moustached comedian in the Educational ads is Lige Conley, who would loose the lip fur before appearing in his better-known Educationals like AIR POCKETS and FAST AND FURIOUS.

Steve Massa

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Detroiter said...

As to the 1926 Educational ad, Lloyd Hamilton was still a big star at that time, the Christie and Mermaid Comedies were draws on their own, and Lupino Lane was a comer. While Felix was as popular as any animated cartoon was at that time, he was not more popular than Educational's big names. Now, of course, Felix is the only familiar name from that lineup.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous east side said...

Boy, Harold Lloyd wasn't shy about letting the world know how great he was.

5:14 AM  

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