Looking for Mabel Normand

Madcap Mabel Normand

The Golden Era of Film Comedy



Mack Sennett

Hal Roach


Mack Swain was a giant of a man whose sinister makeup and


costumes highlighted the ridiculous situation in which he was





Among women comics, Mabel Normand was rated as tops. “Mabel


 could do anything that Chaplin could do.” Mack Sennett asserted


“To me she was the greatest comedian that ever lived.”




The 300 – pound Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle needed no expensive

props,or elaborate sets to become a great slapstick comedian.

 Although his career ended in tragedy, he is always remembered

 as one of the funniest of the film pioneers.



 W.C. Fields, previously a top stage comedian, began his film

 career a star of the silent movies.  Even in that early day, his

 bullroars pose and “double-take” reaction made him famous in

 theatres everywhere.


 Ben Tuppin, whose eyes were forever crossed (and in fact were

 licensed against ever straightening out), was one of the great

 early stars. Among his other claims to fame was being the

 target of the first custard pie.


One of the most beloved woman in Hollywood, as will as one of


 the funniest was Marie Dressier.  Her first great hit, “Tillie


 Punctured Romance,” remains a classic in the history of early


movie humor.  


The Keystone Kops took part in some of the most hilarious chases ever


filmed.  Max Asher, Hank Mann, Jimmy Finlayson, Bert Roach and Ford


 Sterling brought film buffoonery to some of its greatest moments,


forever careening madly down a road in zigzagging motorcars. 


Harold Lloyd was the only comedian of the early era whose popularity


 approached that of Chaplin.  An early used of trick photography; he


 concentrated on being a “clean-cut fellow in comic situations.”  


 Harry Langdon, with a baby face and childlike innocence, was the

 forerunner of the “George Gobel” type of humor; Langdon was

extremely funny despite the fact that he usually seemed on the verge

of tears.


The undisputed king of early comedy was Charlie Chaplin.  The best-

known and most-admired comic of his day, Chaplin’s sensitivity in

appealing to people’s hearts and native sense of humor took the industry

by storm.  His early comedies are still playing in art theatres

throughout the world.


 The great “stone face” of early comedy belonged to Buster Keaton. His

 ideal visage in hilarious comedy situations was a sure laugh maker.  He

is the only performer from this era still appearing in films.


Among the most famous teams in early comedies were the Mack Sennett

 “Bathing Beauties.”  They never really had to act, according to

Sennett, but were assigned to “be around to be looked at” while the

comics made funny.


Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were among the last and greatest


 comedians of the “Golden Years.” These two wonderful clowns not only


entertained their generations of film-goers – they had the facility of


making even their felloe comedians laugh out loud.   



Will Rogers was perhaps the most beloved of all performers in the silent


 movies.  Primarily a “humorist” rancher than slapstick comic, he


combined warm friendliness with “folksy” situations to bring laughter to


his audiences.