Arthur Ripley: Part of the Langdon Brain Trust


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.

For more on silent film comedy please see Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube

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