Century of Slapstick #4: A Deaf Burglar

Jocelyn Leigh and Zeigfields


Today is the 100th anniversary of the release of A Deaf Burglar, Henry “Pathe” Lehrman’s first film as a director for Mack Sennett’s Keystone. In this split reel comedy, Fred Mace and Charles Avery play a pair of loud safe crackers whose precarious efforts come to nil when they finally get the safe open and find…a letter urging them to leave their life of crime. The film also featured Ford Sterling and Dot Farley. A rather sedate beginning for Lehrman, who would come to be known for the conspicuous violence of his comedies. Less than two years later, Lehrman would defect from Keystone and start his own studio, taking several members of Sennett’s company with him. (We’ll have a fuller post on Lehrman here in a few weeks).

For more information on the history of silent and slapstick comedy past present and future, see Chain of Fools:  Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube available at Bear Manor Media, and also through Amazon.com and wherever nutty books are sold. 



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