Looking for Mabel Normand

Madcap Mabel Normand


Mabel Normand – Disabled Seaman

April 1919 Picture-Play



Careening madly down the river, upsetting a rowboat on the way and spilling its two occupants into the water- that’s the way Mabel Normand started her career as “the mate and the cook and the captain bold” of a ferry raft one day not long ago.


“This wasn’t a boat,  though; it was a cross between a grain elevator and a mud scow,”  explained Mabel, who was supposed to guide it up and down in front of the camera for some scenes in “The Pest.”


But the raft happened to be temperamental, and did everything but stand on its head and wave its heels in the air.


“Stop the ship; I want to get out and walk!” shouted Mabel wildly, as the raft veered round directly in the path of an oncoming launch.  The raft staggered on blindly, however, while the launch’s captain, escaping it by the narrowest kind of a margin, yelled contemptuously:

“Say, what made you think you could make a sailboat out of a stem roller?”


Mabel, jerking frantically at the wheel, made no reply at the moment, though later on she thought of a good one, and has been wishing ever since that she could meet that man again.  However, at the time she was too desperate to think at all; she could only long for dry land.


The raft meanwhile was engaged in going an impersonation of a merry-go=round, and began to whirl gaily round and round in midstream, caught in the current.  It began to look as if Mabel would spend the rest of her life there, but just as she was reconciling herself to the inevitable, some of the company rescued her.  And she says that she’s made her last appearance as a marine engineer!



press to return to ephemera