Bud Duncan: Partner to a Ham

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 

Today is the birthday of Albert “Bud” Duncan (1883-1960). The Brooklyn-born son of pioneering vaudeville ventriloquist A.O. Duncan, Bud made his vaudeville debut at age 15. By 1911 he was playing “Jeff” in a series of Mutt and Jeff comedies for Nestor Film Company. Standing 4′ 11″, Duncan was a natural for the cartoonish part. This experience would translate easily to his best known screen persona, Bud of the successful “Ham and Bud” series for Kalem (1914-1917) in which he co-starred with the much larger Lloyd Hamilton (who was later to become a solo comedy star in his own right).

After Kalem folded and the team split in 1917, Bud Duncan had the tougher time adjusting. In most of their films he had been a sort of puppet or Mini-Me to Hamilton. He managed to soldier on in a solo career for over a decade without much distinction before clicking again in a minor way with the Toots and Caspar series, based on the comic strip. His career seemed to wink out in 1931, but he came out of retirement in the early ‘40s to star as the title character in a couple of Snuffy Smith pictures for Monogram.

And now here are Ham and Bud in “Whirlwind of Whiskers” (1917):

For more on silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

chain%20of%20fools%20cvr%20front%20only-500x500

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.

safe_image

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: