Silent Clowns Launch Summer Series Tomorrow



A large number of the surviving silent comedies are held by the worldʻs film archives. One of the foremost is the Library of Congress. Since the early 1940s, the LOC has done yeomanʼs work preserving films, plus an important part of its mission is to make its resources available. This summer the Silent Clowns Film Series will be showing:

Sat June 29 at 2:30pm
Syd Chaplin in “THE MISSING LINK” (1927)
Perhaps the best training ground for silent screen comedians was the English music hall’s Fred Karno Co. The famous class valedictorian of the troupe was Charlie Chaplin, but many other Karno veterans found their way to Hollywood, including Charlie’s brother Sydney. Although overshadowed by his younger brother, Sydney still had a substantial career on his own, and THE MISSING LINK (’27) is a very good example of his starring work for Warner Brothers. Opening the bill is fellow Karno grad Billie Ritchie in the premier L-Ko Comedy LOVE AND SURGERY (’14).

Sat July 6 at 2:30pm
Douglas McLean in “ONE A MINUTE” (1921)
The demand for comedy was so great in the silent era that the amount of comedies actually produced has never been fully documented. This program’s three featured comics were very popular but have gotten lost in the shuffle today due the rarity of their surviving films. ONE A MINUTE (’21) stars Douglas MacLean, a light-comedy leading man who made numerous fast-paced and financially successful features in the 1920s. Also on hand are the neglected Marcel Perez and Alice Howell in their shorts SWEET DADDY (’21) and UNDER A SPELL (’24).

Sat July 20 at 2:30pm
Edward Everett Horton in “HELEN’S BABIES” (1924), with Clara Bow and Baby Peggy
Persnickety Edward Everett Horton is still remembered and beloved for his sound films such as TOP HAT (’35) and THE GANG’S ALL HERE (’43), but he also had an overlooked and sizeable career in silent pictures. Beginning in 1922 he racked up eighteen features before he had the chance to speak on screen. In HELEN’S BABIES (’24) Eddie plays a child-rearing expert who’s never been near a real kid and inherits two rambunctious nieces, with a young Clara Bow and Baby Peggy adding to the fun. Our extra-added attraction is HORSE SHY (’28), one of eight two-reelers produced for Horton by Harold Lloyd.

Sat Aug 3 at 2:30pm
Louise Fazenda in “FOOTLOOSE WIDOWS” (1926)
Silent comedy has always been something of a “boy’s club” with the male practitioners getting most of the attention. Plenty of women also worked long and hard at getting laughs, and this program highlights Louise Fazenda, a longtime Mack Sennett star who moved into starring Warner Brothers features. FOOTLOOSE WIDOWS (’26) is a snappy comedy about two gold diggers on the prowl at a swanky resort hotel. Sharing today’s spotlight with Fazenda is Wanda Wiley, a vivacious and athletic leading lady, in her two-reel Century Comedy QUEEN OF ACES (’25).Sat Aug 3 at 2:30pm

The Silent Clowns Film Series is held at
(at the back of Lincoln Center)
111 Amsterdam Ave, between 64rd and 65th St
Subway:  1 to W 66. or C to W 59

Admission is free.
Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model
For more information visit or call 212-712-SCFS.


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