William A. Seiter: From Stunt Man to Director

william-seiter-1935


Today is the birthday of William A. Seiter (1910-1964). Starting out as a stuntman in 1913, by the following year he was playing bit parts for Mack Sennett at Keystone. By 1918 he was in demand as a director; through the 20s he helmed pictures starring Reginald Denny, Douglas Maclean, Marcel Perez, and Carter De Haven.

It was in the talking era, however, that he truly made his mark, directing a number of what are now considered classics starring some of the great comedians and comedy teams: Laurel and Hardy in Sons of the Desert (1931); Wheeler and Woolsey in Caught Plastered (1931), Girl Crazy (1932) and Diplomaniacs (1933); Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Roberta (1935); Shirley Temple in Dimples (1936), Stowaway (1936), The Little Princess (1939), and Susanna of the Mounties (1939): the Marx Brothers in Room Service (1938); Abbott and Costello in Little Giant (1946); and One Touch of Venus (1948), written by Frank Tashlin, S.J. Perelman and Ogden Nash. In the mid 50s he began directing for various television shows, including 54 episodes of The Gale Storm Show: Oh, Susanna! 

To learn more about silent and slapstick comedy films and directors like William Seiter 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

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