Our tribute today to Bud Jamison (1895-1944). The plus-sized actor enjoyed what must have been the most satisfying career it is possible to have for a supporting comedian. After a brief stint in vaudeville he was hired by Essanay in 1915 to play the heavy in Charlie Chaplin pictures. From here, he went over to Hal Roach in 1916, where he played similar roles in Harold Lloyd comedies, also supporting Stan Laurel, Toto, and others. In the twenties he jumped around among various studios, and notably appeared in three Harry Langdon features His First Flame, The Chaser and Heart Trouble. From the 30s through his death in 1944, he continued to appear in talkie shorts for all the major studios with the likes of the Three Stooges, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Leon Errol, Edgar Kennedy, Clark & McCullough, etc. In short the creme de la creme of comedy!
In some of his earlier pictures he was plainly too young for his patented role as foil, and had to be aged up, with whiskers, make up and costume, and even then not too convincingly. By his last years though he had aged into these roles.
For more on comedy film history don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to find out more about vaudeville past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,