Cast & Crew:
Mack Sennett, Director
Raymond Hitchcock, as Gentleman
Mack Sennett, as His valet
Mabel Normand, as Girl
Fred Mace, as suitor
Frank Opperman & Alice Davenport
Duration (in reels) 4 (or 3 reels); silent black & white
Distribution Company: Triangle Film Corp.
Production Company: Keystone Film Co.
COPY: The George Eastman House, in
….My Valet continue
When Mabel Normand did an interview May 20, 1916 for Motography she was asked about working on “My Valet” and to quote. “Working with Raymond Hitchcock in 'My Valet' made up for all the hardships. I think I laughed straight through the 'water stuff.' Fred Mace was the villain. He took me out to a rock in the sea and tied me there. But he was so afraid of the water that he was in terror the whole time, I believe. And at last the current was so strong it swept him away, and we all had to turn in and rescue the frightened 'villyan.'"
A few months later, Mack Sennett told the Saturday Evening Post, in the September 16, 1916 issue … “Fred Mace, for instance is notorious for his nerve ordinarily; but he has an obsession – the fear of drowning. Once we were taking picture on the shore. Mabel Normand was on a rock and Mace was supposed to rescue her. He stood there superb: two hundred pounds – a veritable Samson. That was the picture.
Again, William Drew had a wonderful insight into the story of filming the screens for “My Valet.” …”it was Mabel who ended up doing the rescuing when she came to the aid of poor Fred Mace. Indeed, I notice in Sennett's article a contrast between his depiction of Mabel's courage and resourcefulness compared to the often hapless male comics beset with all manner of phobias. I think, therefore, that this 1916 article, whether consciously or not, is very much in tune with the feminism of the suffrage era. I also have the feeling that the notion of Mabel as a pathetic victim, one even Sennett sometimes indulged in later on, was essentially something that developed from subsequent years when she was beset with her various personal problems. Here, though, she was a very confident woman in control of her own destiny--much like Mary (Pickford), Pearl (White), Ruth (Roland) and the two Helens (Holmes and Gibson). In short, the new woman.”
I would like to read any thoughts that any of you might have on the way the press handled stories about Mabel Normand in the Nineteen-teens as compared to the post-1922 coverage.
It is hard to believe the amount of work that Sennett was doing during this period, there are almost 70 shorts listed as being done by Keystone for Triangle most of them were only two reels long (20 to 25 minutes). In some places “My Valet” is listed as originally planned as a 6 reel film but the Eastman House copy is only 4 reels and the debuted at the Knickerbockers on
There is a great deal of material about the fantastic funny 4 – Mack Sennett – Mabel Normand – Fred Mace – Ford Sterling in any book about the beginning of Keystone, perhaps there is less on Fred then his contribution warrants as he was dead before the end of 1917. He made a huge number of the early slapstick comedies for Sennett.