Stars of Slapstick # 53: Arthur Ripley
This is one in a series of posts we are producing in connection with our new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, available from Bear Manor Media in February 2013.
Today is the birthday of Arthur Ripley (1897-1961). He is remembered chiefly today as part of the creative brain trust behind Harry Langdon, an outgrowth of his tenure as scriptwriter and gag man for Mack Sennett from 1923 to 1926. Prior to this he had been a film editor at various studios, having started off in the business cleaning negatives in 1909 (do a little math: he was just a kid!)
In the mid to late 20s, he left Sennett with Langdon, sticking with the tempermental comedian just a little bit longer than Capra. In the sound era, he was in demand as a director of comedy shorts, helming two W.C. Fields classics for Sennett (The Pharmacist and The Barber Shop) as well as comedies with Edgar Kennedy and Leon Errol at RKO, Andy Clyde at Columbia, and Robert Benchley at MGM. He continued on a a screenwriter and director of film and television until the end of the 1950s. He was also instrumental in helping found the Film Center in UCLA.
And now, the hilarious Fields short, The Pharmacist:
Don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.