Looking for Mabel Normand

Madcap Mabel Normand

Marilyn Slater is: 

 ·        A researcher & writer; 

 ·        Keeper of the Looking for Mabel Normand Archive;

 ·        Owner of the Madcap Mabel Yahoo Group; 

 ·        Owner of the Looking for Mabel website;        

 ·        Co-developer of the Madcap Mabel website with David Pearson; 

 ·        Contributor to William Thomas Sherman’s Mabel Normand Home Page and Mabel Normand Source Book; Silent Traces by John Bengtson; Reading Mabel Normand's Library by Mark Lynn Anderson in Film History

 ·        (Vol. 18, Number 2, 2006; The Last Silent Picture Show by William M. Drew, 2010.

 ·        Agent Provocateur and supporter of John Everton's  Malnor Film Project

 ·        Responsible for Rotten Tomatoes Mabel Normand & Her Funny Friends Journal; 

 ·        The author of a number of articles, most recently in the journal Slapstick!#12; and the Venice Historical Society's Journals 2006 from 2013

 ·        The compiler and editor of the reissued 1921 Kinema comic book series from Fantagraphics; listed in 2006/2007 catalog. Mabel Normand and Her Funny Friends; Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle and His Funny Friends and Ford Sterling and His Funny Friends.          

 ·        Part of the film project dealing with Mabel Normand; PVP the Love Story of Mabel & Mack  2007

 ·        Producer of the Smiling So Beguiling - Mabel Normand Parlor Music (in 2010 Jinx was founded by Jay Hendrickson was added to the collection played by William Thomas Sherman)

 ·        General supporter of all things Mabel Normand.

 ·        Head Over Heels Photo Collection used at Slapsticon 2005; Lincoln Center screening of Mabel Normand films including Head Over Heels and others, glass slide collection 2006.   

 ·        George Bernard Shaw Festival’s program for the musical Mack & Mabel used photos contributed from Looking for Mabel collection. 2007

 ·        Introduction during Cinecon42 of the Mabel Normand films: Mabel’s Dramatic Career and Head Over Heels at the Egyptian Theater, for AFI  2006

 ·        Looking for Mabel photos are used by the official videographer authorized by the Samuel French Company for the musical "Mack & Mabel" beginning in 2009.

 ·        Technical Adviser on the independent movie Madcap Mabel, 2010, premiered in California

 ·        Received on screen credit for episodes one and two of TCM 7 part documentary Moguls and Movie Stars in 2010.

 ·        La Naissance de Charlot, Revue 21 Tillie’s Punctured Romance by Thierry Georges Mathieu published in 2010 used a number of items from the Mabel Normand Collection.

 ·        Co-writer of the Looking for Mabel Normand Documentary, shown at Hollywood 2012

 ·        Designer of the cover for the Mr. Griffith’s House with Closed Shutters in 2012

 ·        Mack Sennett 100th Anniversary celebration in September 2012 on TCM, received on screen credit for Mabel Normand’s Mickey







Who is Marilyn Slater?

by Sarah E. Spooldripper*



Marilyn Slater is a girl from Southern California whose life was fated to be touched with a divine silliness ever since her childhood when she was raised by Julia Benson, Mabel's close friend and companion, in a household filled by the spirit of Mabel Normand.  Indeed, it seemed that Mabel's ghost was constantly playing tricks on Marilyn in her childhood, tripping her up and causing her to take wild pratfalls that were the envy of all comers.  When Marilyn put on Mabel's riding boots, the boots started running away while Marilyn was still wearing them.  Marilyn was introduced as a child to Mack Sennett who proceeded to have his Keystone Kops chase her around the room and into the backyard where the pursuit was joined by some of Sennett's Bathing Beauties along with a dog and a cat who may have been descended from the original Teddy and Pepper.  Marilyn's childhood was further enlivened when the FBI tapped her phone line every time she spoke to Charlie Chaplin long distance.  Chaplin very much wanted Marilyn to star in his latest film project but was prevented, could this have been the doings of strange forces employed by the infamous drag queen, J. Edgar Hoover? We will never know -- or will we?  If the freedom of information act has taught us anything, it is that all comes out eventually.

As Marilyn grew into her teens, she began to resent Mabel, not only because Mabel, the sprite was always playing practical jokes on her but also due to the fact that Mabel was forever being held up to her as a perfect example, an almost impossible goal to attain. What an idea, Mabel perfect? For shame, for shame! Do you need an example? Ok, just one, when Marilyn, was being given dancing lessons, she was told how much better Mabel had been as a dancer.  Marilyn was always falling down, but in reality, it was because Mabel's impish high jinks kept tripping her up.  Eventually through sheer force of will, accompanied by some well-aimed kicks at Mabel -- after all it was only fair considering. Marilyn became the greatest dancer in seven counties, or so it was said by those with more silliness in their hearts than any sense of rhythm.

Further trying to place some distance between herself and Mabel as part of her rebellion against the comedienne's domination of her, Marilyn became an anthropologist and lived with an Indian tribe along the Amazon in Brazil for years and years.  Eventually, however, Mabel found out Marilyn's new address and getting together a tribe of filmic Amazons, including Pearl White, Ruth Roland, and Helen Holmes (the last-named was wearing a short skirt as she rode a motorcycle into the jungle), she invaded the South American sanctuary, even without a visa.  Marilyn's efforts to teach the Amazonian Indian tribe dancing came to nought when everybody got drunk on firewater supplied by Mabel and her friends.  After Marilyn got into one enormous tiff after another with the Amazons, she realized she had to admit defeat and headed back for Los Angeles

There she finally made her peace with Mabel by becoming an expert in all things Mabel.  In real life, -- such as it is -- she started specializing in legal copyright issues, oh, how silly the law can be! Leading her to interact with a far wilder tribe than the Amazonian Indians, a tribe known as, Hollywood writers.

Today, Marilyn is a youthful, serene, vivacious, attractive woman of uncertain years who is constantly being tormented by agents, accountants, dog walkers, and other assorted entities, a way of life she finds quite enjoyable now that she is dedicated to all things Mabelescent.  She is teaching the world what she has learned from Mabel--namely, that it is really cool to be silly.  Thus guided by Mabel's spirit, Marilyn has found a new vocation in preaching the doctrine of silliness in the hopes that there are enough silly people in the world who will be silly enough to go read the silly stuff on her silly site and have a wonderfully silly time enjoying the divinely Madcap Mabel Normand. 


 *Sarah E. Spooldripper, whose life of unrelenting toil as the employee of Ring Lardner is legendary has taken up, (I am sure against her better judgment) the grueling task of putting into words the sheer silliness of Marilyn’s trials and tribulation ... and now you know who Marilyn is or do you?


2010 was a very good year


2010 was also a very productive year




2013 The Best Year YET





March 2013

Always something new and amazing!  George Willeman, the nitrate film manager over at Culpeper at Library of Congress just happened to discover the original camera negative of Raggedy Rose (five-reel Hal Roach 1926) in one of their major collections; he said that it has some issues but take a look at what was found!  March 26, 2013 FB  Library of Congress has discovered the original camera negative of Raggedy Rose (Roach 1926)





April 2013






May 2013

An article by one of my best friends, Delores Hanney, from the Spring 2013 Venice Historical Society Journal about my find of The Broken Coin (1915 Uni) http://looking-for-mabel.webs.com/brokencoin1915uni.htm


June 2013